The Big Picture brings together a range of PS commentaries to give readers a comprehensive understanding of topics in the news – and the deeper issues driving the news. The Big Question features concise contributor analysis and predictions on timely topics.
Anti-Democracy in America
The US Supreme Court has recently overturned the constitutional right to abortion established in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, struck down a New York State law restricting concealed handguns, and dealt a major blow to President Joe Biden’s climate agenda. Many fear that a far-right assault on democracy is underway from the Supreme Court bench – and could get much worse.
In this Big Picture, Princeton University’s Peter Singer shows how the Court’s own reasoning in overturning Roe implies that it has too much power. And Ian Buruma warns that a Supreme Court now controlled by religious radicals poses a grave threat to US institutions. Likewise, George Soros fears that the Court’s radicalization is part of a larger plan to create a repressive regime in America.
In particular, Mark Medish, a co-founder of the non-partisan civic organization Keep Our Republic, argues that a revival of the states’ rights doctrine could be twisted into a tool for engineering a constitutional coup d’état. Much will depend on the outcome of looming legal battles – including in the Supreme Court’s upcoming term – over state versus federal control of national elections. But to repel the authoritarian threat, argues Antara Haldar of the University of Cambridge, America’s democratic forces should take a leaf out of former President Donald Trump’s book and court public opinion rather than relying on logic alone.