Is the Supreme Court Legitimate?

Thu, Sep 19, 2019, 4:30 pm
James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
Program in American Studies

James Madison Program Constitution Day Event


In recent months, there have been sharp public attacks on the Supreme Court. Especially in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment, critics question the Court’s legitimacy. Comparable attacks on the Court’s legitimacy have occurred in the past — for example, during the New Deal and the Civil Rights era. But they are now playing out under conditions of extreme partisan polarization, waning public trust in institutions, and an increasingly executive-dominated government. Are the attacks on the court mere partisan hysteria or are there genuine reasons to worry about the Court’s legitimacy? What could or should the justices do to allay concerns and restore public confidence in the court?

Michael S. Greve

Michael S. Greve is professor of law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he teaches constitutional law, administrative law, Federal Courts, Legislation, and Conflict of Laws. Previously, he was the John G. Searle Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Prior to his AEI engagement, he co-founded and directed the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), a public interest law firm specializing in constitutional litigation. He has authored numerous scholarly articles and ten books, including The Upside-Down Constitution (Harvard University Press, 2012). He serves as a board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Greve received his undergraduate education at the University of Hamburg (Germany) in 1981 and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1987.