by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Chief Justice John Roberts should get up, look into the mirror and declare “I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with.” That mantra from SNL’s “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley” ” seems appropriate after the former Smalley comedian (and former U.S. Senator) Al Franken has declared Roberts a “villain” and his Court “illegitimate” in the latest attack on the institution.
Now that Franken has turned to a podcast as a public platform, the comforting sweaters are gone and the dark Stuart Smalley has emerged. Call it “Daily Condemnations with Al Franken.”
Franken declared that “The court is a very divisive entity now, institution right now. And the Supreme Court, to me, is illegitimate.” He added that Roberts is a “villain” for heading such a divisive court.
Roberts needs to keep in mind that Franken may be “a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but he is not a [sitting Senator].”
Franken resigned from the Senate in 2017 amid sexual harassment allegations.
He is also not much of a constitutionalist.
The Supreme Court has long been the subject of public ire over unpopular decisions. It was designed to resist the demands of the public or politics to rule according to the rule of law. In other words, it is meant to be “countermajoritarian” — resisting the pressures of the majority of the country to protect constitutional values and rights.
The first Chief Justice John Jay was so hated for that he once remarked that he could travel the “country at night by the light of [my] burning effigies.” One editorial declared: “John Jay, ah! The Arch traitor — seize him, drown him, flay him alive.” Crowds burned Jay in effigy, including a Kentucky mob that stuffed its effigy with gunpowder, guillotined it, then blew it up.