Nancy MacLean, a well-known History professor at Northwestern University, has written an excellent article over at History News Network on the ideological origins of Chief Justice John Roberts's recent decision to oppose the use of race in public school integration plans. According to MacLean, "[Roberts's] opinion has its lineage in a well-documented conservative strategy to hijack civil rights rhetoric to roll back advances toward substantive equality." She continues, "[Historically, conservatives have] used their peculiar readings of the Constitution to limit what democratic government could do for its citizens, an approach embraced today by the Federalist Society and the conservative block on the Supreme Court. [Conservatives] fought the quest for social justice at every turn. They urged the defeat of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and every measure to promote true fairness thereafter."
I think MacLean wants us to see the new conservative majority's ideology for what it is. Abstract theoretical arguments between "strict constructionists" and "liberal constructionists" aside, the fact is that conservative jurists have consistently thwarted attempts to create a more just, inclusive and egalitarian society. Their decisions have catered to large wealthy interests over the interests of ordinary Americans, private property over the common good, inequality over democracy. Folks can try to dress that legacy up in whatever rhetorical jujitsu they'd like, but the facts remain.
Take a look at MacLean's full article here...
Nancy MacLean, "The Scary Origins of Chief Justice Roberts's Decision Opposing the Use of Race to Promote Integration"