Earlier this week, a major German-speaking newspaper asked me to write an opinion piece (“Kommentar” in German) on the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action and the recent rulings more broadly. I did. But then the paper refused to publish my piece because they regard my argument that the rightwing majority stands in direct opposition to multiracial, pluralistic democracy and the modern state as not plausible and too extreme. My bad, I guess, for trying to sneak in some subversive leftwing radicalism like describing the majority on the Court not as moderate conservatives or nonpartisan institutionalists, but part of the rightwing political project and the spearhead of the reactionary assault on the post-1960s civil rights order.
As someone who isn't the least bit aware of domestic German politics and only slightly aware of German news media (pretty much just DW and Der Spiegel), can I ask why their coverage seems to be weighted further right than US domestic news media?
It appears that someone at the paper knows your work and values it. But actually trying to get your piece published has triggered a veto... perhaps from management or above?
This is a very reasonable and sober assessment of the U.S. Supreme Court’s history, direction, and recent decisions. The tenor of political discussion in Germany must be very anti-democratic to see your article as too “left” or inflammatory.
I read the piece (the English version) and I agree that there is nothing radical in its assessment of the US Supreme Court and its actions.
Critical and clear assessments of processes in the US should be welcomed in Europe, including Germany, if the European Union wants to build strategic autonomy and take its place as a major political superpower on the international stage.
You left out that white affirmative action, established by legacy admissions to the Ivies, remains under the court decision. As I read of the past and present use of courts to secure illiberalism or fascism here and in Europe, and the participation of the industrial elites in such a project, I sense a distinct foreboding of doom. I think you commentary caused frisson in the newspaper editor. Something was echoing in the hallways.
Um welche Zeitung handelt es sich? Which Journal? asks a German reader
"We'd like your opinion, unless, in our opinion, we don't like your opinion." Pathetic!
Not plausible isn’t necessarily the same as too extreme- they decided- belatedly- they don’t like your opinions and don’t want to give you a platform, or they don’t believe your analysis is accurate?
If only that German editor would read the dissents of Jackson and Sotomayor, or even just listen to what President Biden has said about this SCOTUS. Are these radical left wing voices?!
Your essay is spot on.
Professor Zimmer, the current make up the court can only be described as the best court conservative money can buy.
The court has been politicized by the right, #MitchMcConnell. It has been recently populated by a twice impeached, criminal president.
This all goes back to the elephant in the room - MONEY. Money used by billionaires to distort, divide and drive a ultra-conservative white agenda. Unless that faucet is turned off, nothing will change.
Given the current Congress, the (current) position of President Biden re: reforming the Court, and the inability to reform or get rid of the filibuster, actual Supreme Court reform seems a goal for the (hopefully not too distant) future. Given that, what should our strategy be right now?
Part of it certainly seems to be laying bare the hypocrisy and blatant politics of the right wing of the Court along with highlighting the corruption scandals. That tactic seems to be working at least a bit to delegitimize the Court in the eyes of the public (which should hopefully allow politicians to move in the reform direction). Anything else you can think of that stands a chance at working?
After reading the English translation I am left even more baffled by the German newspaper's decision not to publish. The only reason left in my mind for such a decision is that the Overton distortion is now so thick that pointing out actual subversive minoritarianism is re-filtered as evidence of leftwing radicalism. It's bonkers and perhaps a dangerous pre-state to something far more dangerous.
It’s difficult for me to see what an objection would be to your article, which is in keeping with the clear-eyed analysis we’ve had from you these past years.
It appears to come down to a similar choice as that in your final paragraph: either be comfortable and ignore what the court is doing, or raise your head and look around. I’m sorry that the German press is staying shuttered.