Liberal Fragility

Liberals really are extremely fragile people. This helps explain why they need “safe spaces” with cuddly stuffed animals, grief counselors, and warning labels against “microaggressions.”

The latest evidence is a completely unironic and totally un-self-aware piece in the New York Times about the anguish of liberal law professors having to teach constitutional law at a time when the Supreme Court leans right. It’s so upsetting that some professors are moved to tears and can’t conceive of continuing. The New York Times thinks this is actually “a crisis.”

Seriously, you can’t make this up:

Rebecca Brown, at the University of Southern California, has been teaching constitutional law for 35 years. “While I was working on my syllabus for this course, I literally burst into tears,” she told me. “I couldn’t figure out how any of this makes sense. Why do we respect it? Why do we do any of it? I’m feeling very depleted by having to teach it.”

I’m skeptical that she “literally” burst into tears, though I expect she literally misused the word “literally” here. In any case, shouldn’t the phrase, “I couldn’t figure out how any of this makes sense?” have been applied to Wickard v. Filburn ever since it was put to paper in 1942? And yet somehow the few conservative law professors that existed behind enemy lines in law schools managed for 80 years now to explain Wickard (and dozens of other ridiculous liberal Court rulings) with a straight face and without bursting into tears, or having anxiety attacks.

The Times inadvertently gives away what’s really going on here (beyond general liberal fragility):

“The people who taught us were all Warren court people,” said Pam Karlan, a constitutional and voting-rights expert at Stanford law school, referring to Chief Justice Earl Warren, who through the 1950s and 1960s led a court of both Democratic and Republican appointees to expand civil rights, equalize political representation and liberalize the criminal justice system. “They’d clerked on that court. They valorized it. There was this notion that judges were these heroes who would save us all. Our students do not have that view.”

Ah yes, the glory days of the Warren Court, which invented new “rights” left and right (actually just “left”). There’s never been an era with more result-oriented jurisprudence that the Warren Court, but it delivered results liberals liked. But now that the Court is delivering rulings liberals don’t like, it’s the end of the world. Or at least their world.

It gets worse:

“We’re witnessing a transformation in the New Deal consensus,” said Mark Graber, a leading constitutional scholar and Regents professor at the University of Maryland.

Oh please, don’t get my hopes up like this!

There’s a serious irony here. Back in the late 1990s, after the Supreme Court had once again botched a significant case in Romer v. Evans, overruling a precedent on sodomy laws from just 1986, the conservative journal First Things published as symposium on “The End of Democracy” that called into question the legitimacy of the Supreme Court in the wake of its serially bad decisions in Casey v. Planned Parenthood and Romer v. Evans, among others. It caused a huge ruckus on the right, and several leading conservatives attacked First Things and resigned from its editorial board, including Gertrude Himmelfarb, Peter Berger, and Walter Berns. This “smash the Court” enthusiasm didn’t gain much acceptance, and quickly passed from the scene.

I see no such intramural argument on the left about the Supreme Court. Now it is the left that is bent on delegitimizing the Supreme Court. It is all toddler temper tantrums and hair-on-fire freakouts that some jurists, many with Ivy League law degrees, have a different opinion from theirs.

Prediction: I know that a lot of liberal law professors can’t stand it that Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and J.D. Vance all went to Harvard or Yale for law school. There is likely before long to be an effort to screen out conservative applicants to elite laws schools so that they don’t have an Ivy League credential.

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