Last week the American Constitution Society of Notre Dame brought in Erwin Chemerinsky, Constitutional Law professor at Duke, to talk about the prospects of the Supreme Court with new additions Roberts and Alito.
His stated subject was, of course, predictive. He did throw in some very value-based comments regarding, among other things, abortion and affirmative action, but I suppose he and his sponsors were abundantly clear about his liberal identity, so we should perhaps expect as much and allow it. At any rate, I'll leave that and question instead his predictions.
Chemerinsky is obviously very intelligent. He was a good speaker, and relatively persuasive. That said, I don't buy all he had to say. Upon reflection, his views seem rather apocalyptic. Basically, now the court will overturn Roe v. Wade, return to segregation, allow rampant religious establishment, and let the President claim imperial power (are ALL those bad things?). Apparently Alito is a super-extremist and Bush should have chosen an O'Conner clone to save America from upheaval and right-wing tyrrany. I'm not so sure the sky is falling.
One: Overturning Roe v. Wade. That's pretty big, and I think the Court is aware of that. Overturning it would cause some serious political (not to mention cultural) fallout, and the Court won't do it lightly. If they do, is that so bad? If you are pro-life (*ahem* like me), you'll see it as a positive thing. If you're pro-choice, well, it just means now you get to lobby your state legislature instead of Congress (actually, that's true for pro-choicers, too).
As for the others, I don't think, even if Chemerinsky IS right about the balance of the court, we are not going to see as large-scale fallout as he seems to predict. Give the justices some credit, man. And the public. Life will go on. The battles may move to different grounds, but they will always be there. Have some coffee and relax.
Comments, you law nerds and law nerd wannabes?