Back around the time when I first started this blog, I predicted that the next president following Obama would sign into law a repeal of most, if not all, of the Dodd-Frank Act. And sure enough, with little fanfare as the media is largely focused on Russian phantoms or (more understandably) the destruction of what little public healthcare exists, the end of most of Dodd-Frank is proceeding down the legislative pipeline. Any hopes that the “populism” of a real estate mogul president would lead to tougher bank regulations is fading fast.
With the death of bigot and child death penalty advocate Justice Scalia, President Obama set upon his constitutional obligation to appoint a new Justice to the Supreme Court. A number of people of color legal all-stars were discussed as likely candidates, and as late as early this morning a connection of mine in the White House said it looked like Sri Srinivasan was going to get it. That build up probably contributed considerably to how disappointed the Progressives of the Democratic Party are at the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. With the nomination of Merrick Garland, the Obama administration and Democratic establishment have doubled down on upholding neoliberalism as the core of the party’s politics. The legal punditry must break free of the misleading categories that have long dominated our analysis, especially of the Supreme Court. Pro or anti-government; progressive or textualist; and activist or conservative all are false binaries and obfuscate the truth. Judge Garland in particular reveals a truth that the marginalized people of this country have known for centuries: the law is construed to fit the politics of the powerful.