In a scathing review of the new NBC drama, Outlaw, about an ethically challenged, conservative Supreme Court justice who resigns from the bench to seek social justice, Dahlia Lithwick describes “the Supreme Court conservatives’ view of the legal system” as “the law is an airless, mechanistic set of fixed rules that privilege those who write the laws and often fail those who are weak or powerless.” This may be the liberal court commentator’s perception of judicial conservatives view of the legal system, but I cannot think of a single conservative justice — or judge or legal thinker for that matter — who espouses such a view.
UPDATE: Some commenters have suggested that I’ve misrepresented what Lithwick wrote by pulling it out of context. I don’t think so, but just in case (and for those too lazy to follow the link), here’s the context:
There are tiny fibers of an interesting argument here—about whether or not courts exist to protect the weakest citizens—but Outlaw’s conclusion is upside-down. Garza is so certain that the law and the courts oppress the weak, he leaves the court and goes outside the bounds of law to correct it. He is so persuaded that no judge can do “justice,” he gives up on them altogether. This is the Supreme Court conservatives’ view of the legal system: That the law is an airless, mechanistic set of fixed rules that privilege those who write the laws and often fail those who are weak or powerless. It’s a view that’s quite fashionable in some quarters, but also a view that hugely undersells both the court and Americans’ notions of justice. How liberal Hollywood presented such a deeply conservative show about an allegedly liberal hero is the real mystery of Outlaw.