The Long Game

By Thomas’s reading, Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act, to say nothing of Medicare and Medicaid, might all be unconstitutional. “Justices can be influential by indicating to lawyers the boundaries of what’s possible,” Eugene Volokh, a professor at U.C.L.A. School of Law and a widely read blogger, said. “There is conventional wisdom about what’s possible, like ‘Whatever you think about the Commerce Clause, no one is going to go back to the pre-1937 approach,’ or ‘The Second Amendment is a closed issue.’ Thomas has shown that sometimes the conventional wisdom is wrong.”

Jeffrey Toobin has a fairly terrifying story in the New Yorker about Clarence Thomas’ judicial philosophy and growing influence. “Partners” outlines how Thomas’ strict originalist approach is reopening Supreme Court rulings that have been thought settled for decades.

In aligning his decisions with the Tea Party political maneuvering of his wife, Thomas is leading a block to undermine the regulatory framework that enables many of our governing institutions.

Toobin also touches on the institutions, money and training networks that have brought this viewpoint to prominence. It’s sobering to think how little of a response has been organized by proponents of shared, effective government.