Stephen Reinhardt: Why our democracy is not the enemy

In today’s Times, Linda Greenhouse, who for many years covered the Supreme Court for the paper, wrote about Stephen Reinhardt, the federal appellate judge who sat on the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco.

It is, as always with Greenhouse, a deeply interesting and intelligent piece. In it, I came upon the paragraph below, which, in Reinhardt’s own words, is a finer and terser description of our democracy than I managed a few days ago. And, almost as a sidebar, it puts into words why liberals think the way we do: we’re optimists.

[Reinhardt] was an optimist, he said in his 2015 article on habeas corpus. “I see a trend toward progress and social justice, sometimes after painful battles and sometimes after painful lapses or even painful defeats,” he wrote. “Yet this is a nation that in most respects continues to improve its democracy, sometimes dragging the Supreme Court with it and sometimes being dragged in that direction by its judiciary. I would hope that some of the recent errors the court has made will be corrected as the arc of history unfolds.”


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