FDR might have tried to “pack” the Supreme Court with extra justices to make them stop overriding large parts of the New Deal, but he probably didn’t foresee a day when lawyers attempted to pack the Court with themselves in an effort to participate in the now-fastest manner of having your way with the entire country.
The NYT writes of “an increasingly influential cadre of lawyers specializing in Supreme Court cases, attracted to the importance and intellectual challenge of the work. Many are willing to serve without charge to draw prestige and paying clients to their firms.”
I think something more is at play here. The article references it in these lines on page three:
There is nothing new or exceptional about tension between lawyers seeking to move the law in a particular direction and those focused on representing a particular client. Not everyone agreed with Thurgood Marshall’s incremental litigation strategy in the battle to desegregate public education. Many gay rights advocates opposed the lawsuit brought by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson challenging California’s ban on same-sex marriage, fearing that it would result in a negative decision if the issue reached the Supreme Court too soon.
Between these lines, first an obvious point: The Supreme Court can change the laws of our entire country. This power explains all the increasing fuss. People want a piece of it. But why should now arise this flurry of Court-ward activity? Because the Court did not originally have the power of the nation’s final arbiter.
“Activist judges” and “legislating from the bench” have become hackneyed passphrases for Righties. So I won’t close with those supposedly definitive accusations. Instead, here’s what concerns me: When law does not rest on immutable principles, but on whatever ideas are politically correct at the moment, how could factions not seek to seize this power for their own good at society’s expense by seeking to redefine what is socially and politically accepted? And the consequences of this (go Federalist 10) are rapidly-shifting minority tyranny (=societal chaos).