Opinion | A Progressive’s Guide to Reclaiming the Constitution – by Jerediah Purdy – NYT

“The centerpiece should be a constitutionalism of strong democracy. Fighting against the vote-suppression efforts of a Republican Party that dominates national politics despite being in the minority in presidential and Senate votes, Democrats are recognizing the extent of disenfranchisement — of former felons, incarcerated people, Puerto Rican citizens and those whose jobs and family responsibilities keep them from the polls on any given Tuesday.

In the mid-1960s, the Supreme Court announced a fundamental right to vote and established the one-person, one-vote rule. But as the court has grown more conservative direction, it has upheld voter-suppression laws, eroded the Voting Rights Act and, in a quietly momentous decision in 1974, held felon disenfranchisement constitutional.”

. . . .    “Progressives are winning important victories on these fronts by electing reformist prosecutors, but constitutional rulings can press change throughout the system, not just in sympathetic cities and states. The core work of the law is organizing and disciplining government’s coercive power, and whether that power reinforces racial and economic inequalities or helps to neutralize them is one of the most basic questions for a legal system.

Fourth is a constitutionalism that respects the rights of noncitizens. Spurred by President Trump’s nativism, a new wave of mobilization and solidarity with migrants has highlighted the extreme legal, economic and sexual vulnerability of millions of undocumented residents and workers.

The courts have long tolerated different treatment of foreigners than of United States citizens and authorized residents. But the family-separation crisis at the border has highlighted the American archipelago of lawlessness that asylum-seekers and unauthorized border-crossers face: little meaningful process, and opaque and seemingly arbitrary decisions with life-or-death consequences. The right to due process of law applies to everyone in the power of the United States government, not just citizens. A progressive jurisprudence would strike down policies like family separation and require a decent, intelligible and transparent process to decide on the rights of noncitizens. It would be more expensive than the present system, but legitimacy is not free.

It may seem like pointless fantasizing to plot progressive rulings when the right is tightening its grip on the courts. But these things change quickly: No one expected Mr. Trump to be appointing justices. And the demographic, generational and ideological changes that are reviving the left may well shape decades of politics.”

DL: Is this a prescription for prayer, or political activism, or visualization clarity. I guess all three.

“Jedediah Purdy is a professor of law at Duke and the author, most recently, of “After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene.” ”    I’d like to look at this book. The title makes no sense to me. There is no after nature, just after the garden of eden, we are headed for hell on earth.

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