by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
David French of National Review Online highlights a recent threat Democratic U.S. senators aimed at the nation’s highest court.
I just finished reading of the most astonishing legal briefs I’ve ever read. It is easily the most malicious Supreme Court brief I’ve ever seen. And it comes not from an angry or unhinged private citizen, but from five Democratic members of the United States Senate. Without any foundation, they directly attack the integrity of the five Republican appointees and conclude with a threat to take political action against the Court if it doesn’t rule the way they demand.
The brief is so outside legal norms that, had I drafted it as a member of the Supreme Court bar, I’d be concerned about facing legal sanction for recklessly impugning the integrity of the Court.
Here’s the background. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand filed their short brief in a case called New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. the City of New York, the first Second Amendment case the Supreme Court has taken in nearly a decade. …
… The ostensible purpose of the Democratic senators’ brief is to support the city’s claims that the case is moot and should be dismissed. Fair enough. Senators have the same rights as any other citizen to have their voice heard in the nation’s highest court, and mootness arguments are common when defendants change rules to evade judicial review.
The true intent of the brief, however, is to cast aspersions on the integrity of the Court itself. The senators ask the Court to dismiss the case to “stem the growing public belief that its decisions are ‘motivated mainly by politics.’”