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Striking Imbalance: The Conservative Long Game for the Courts

By Charles Murn | September 22, 2020

This post originally appeared on


With the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death Friday of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the idea of any semblance of balance on the high court seems remote. However, as put forth in Adam Cohen’s latest book, Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court’s Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America, this is hardly a sudden change. Rather, conservatives have been quietly racking up victories at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) for five decades.

“The Supreme Court has played a critical role in building today’s America, in which income inequality is the largest it has been in nearly a century,” writes Cohen, who before becoming a journalist was a staff attorney in the New York office of the American Civil Liberties Union and from 2002 to 2010 served on the New York Times editorial board. The court’s decisions, he contends, “have lifted up those who are already high and brought down those who are low, creating hundreds of millions of winners and losers.”

Inequality is indeed a defining political issue of our time. The United States has the most inequitable distribution of wealth and income of any developed country. As a result of systemic racism, Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic or Latinx Americans are most frequently denied a decent standard of living. Cohen’s focus on inequality resulting from the Supreme Court’s conservative jurisprudence is therefore salient and important: SCOTUS rulings in favor of the richest 1 percent are legion, and Supreme Inequality covers them well.


Charles Murn is a humanist philosopher and works as a legal writer and lawyer. He edited and contributed essays to the book, The Best of The Humanist: Humanist Philosophy 1928 - 1973, published in 2018 by Humanist Press. His web page is


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