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The Degradation of Civic Charity

By December 1, 2020December 12th, 2020No Comments

We are proud that Tom Griffith has joined NICD as a Senior Advisor.  Nominated by George W. Bush, Judge Griffith retired in September from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.   He just published the this thoughtful reflection of civic charity in the Harvard Law Review.

The thesis of Professor Michael Klarman’s Foreword is that Republicans have declared war on democracy. President Trump governs according to an “authoritarian playbook,” while elected Republicans — and Republicans alone — continue their decades-long “assault on democracy.” Meanwhile, the Justices on the Supreme Court “defend[] the interests of the Republican Party,” not because of any principled legal reasoning, but because of their “personal values” and “political calculations.” Republican voters appear in the story only as stereotypes — as a “disappearing white majority,” a “disappearing Christian majority,” and “Neo–Ayn Randians.” These voters, Klarman seems to think, are trapped in a “right-wing media ecosystem,” uncritically accepting talking points from Fox News pundits. Klarman’s solution to preserve democracy is straightforward. Democrats should win the Presidency and the Senate, then “entrench democracy” against future Republican attacks with a series of bold moves: “ignore the constitutional provision mandating two senators for every state”; “create[] new states to expand their advantage in the Senate and the Electoral College”; replace the Electoral College with a direct popular vote; and consider packing new seats on the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts with judges appointed by Democrats. Needless to say, Klarman’s form of “constitutional hardball” would radically reshape our political system.

Read the entire response and citations on the Harvard Law Review Forum