In his classic 1906 book “The Devil’s Dictionary,” the writer and Union Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce defined the word admiration as “Our polite recognition of another’s resemblance to ourselves.” So, we admiringly recommend people have a look at a newly published book, “The Most Dangerous Branch,” by David A. Kaplan, a former legal affairs editor of Newsweek.
In his book, Kaplan takes a jaundiced view of the role the judiciary, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, has taken in recent decades. In researching his book, Kaplan talked to former law clerks, judges and even past and current members of the Supreme Court. He writes about the views of the justices in the book but doesn’t reveal who said what because “that was part of the deal,” Kaplan said during an Oct. 31 interview on the NPR program “Fresh Air.” In these conversations, the justices would at times speak dismissively of the ineffective job Congress and the presidency are doing. “And that is a kind of arrogance that is remarkable to me,” Kaplan told “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross.
Kaplan followed that up by declaring, “I don’t recall any part of the Constitution stating that it should be up to the court to decide issues when the other branches don’t behave responsibly.”
We’ve been making this point for years, and welcome Kaplan to the cause.
Beat Movement hero Allen Ginsburg once recounted that fellow poet Ezra Pound once told him his long-held anti-Semitic beliefs were a “stupid suburban prejudice” he had denounced. As we learned again on Oct. 27, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the evil that is anti-Semitism is much more than a mere prejudice. People should stop making excuses for it.