F. Michael Higginbotham, the Dean Joseph Curtis Professor of Law in the University of Baltimore School of Law, tells Marc Steiner of the Real News Network that the U.S. Supreme Court of the post-Great Depression—the Court that advanced civil rights in cases like Brown v. Board of Education—was an aberration. Still, social progress is made, usually when Justices who might generally be labeled conservative land on a decision that takes the country in a different direction.
“Most of the time, the Court has been a conservative Court. The Court has stood for preventing progress, particularly on areas of civil rights,” Prof. Higginbotham says.
But there are exceptions, such as the Brown v. Board of Education case or the more recent Obergefell v. Hodges.
The phenomenon of “swing Justices” helps the nation achieve a balance of power that might not occur if the judicial branch consistently went along with the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, Higginbotham says.
“Oftentimes it happens that Justices don’t necessarily follow verbatim the values of the president that’s appointing them,” he says.
Watch the interview on The Marc Steiner Show.
Learn more about Prof. Higginbotham.