Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe was interviewed by the Washington Post about the Supreme Court. His answers were very informative. He refers to the current Court as “the Thomas court.”

Do you consider the Supreme Court to be in crisis now?


Yes. I have no doubt that the court is at a point that is far more dangerous and damaging to the country than at any other point, probably, since Dred Scott. And, in a way, because we even find Justice [Clarence] Thomas going back and citing Dred Scott favorably in his opinion on firearms, the court is dragging the country back into a terrible, terrible time. So I think that it’s never been in greater danger or more dangerous
….

You testified against [failed 1987 conservative Supreme Court nominee] Robert Bork a long time ago and alluded to the kind of vision that he would have brought had he been on the Supreme Court. Where do you see the justices now on that spectrum — do you consider them to be similar to Bork?


I think there are five Robert Borks on the court right now.


Do you really?


And they are, in fact, probably to his right — that is, Robert Bork at least seemed to believe in preserving those aspects of free speech that conduced to meaningful democratic self-governance. That is, I didn’t see in Robert Bork the disregard for democracy, writ large, that I see in the current Supreme Court majority led by Clarence Thomas. And it is now surely more the Thomas court than it is the Roberts court.
Bork and the current justices, I think, were pretty much in the same place with respect to privacy. They all thought that Griswold v. Connecticut was wrong. And I think Thomas is much more candid than Alito in saying that he would certainly get rid of the right as a people to decide to use birth control, to use contraceptives, to have sex for purposes other than procreation. I think that it’s clear that they are going in that direction.

Take a case like Loving v. Virginia, which should matter to Clarence Thomas, given that he is himself, obviously, in an interracial marriage. There’s no basis for it in the Bork universe because, in the Bork universe, the original meaning of the Constitution is to be derived by what it looked like in 1868 or so. Racial intermarriage was unthinkable at that time. And neither the due process nor the equal protection bases of Loving or of Obergefell [v. Hodges] fit into the universe that Robert Bork envisioned.
What happened to Robert Bork is that he was more candid than people like Barrett,[Brett] Kavanaugh and Gorsuch and Alito and Thomas about their views. Remember when Thomas testified, he said he hadn’t even discussed Roe v. Wade. He barely knew the name of the case. And that, when he was a justice, he would basically be like a runner who would be stripped down bare and would start afresh and have no preconceptions and no agendas. What utter BS. I mean, I don’t expect anyone to come to a court with a blank slate — an empty mind, an empty heart. People bring experiences and ideas. But at least something of an open mind. These people don’t appear to have an open mind. It’s clear, on the things that are agenda items for them, they know exactly where they’re going to come out. And although they don’t literally lie under oath when being asked by Susan Collins, “Do you think this is precedent?” “Oh, yes. Oh, yes, it’s precedent,” they certainly were misleading. So it does feel like Robert Bork redux. It feels like “Back to the Future.” Except it’s back to a terrible past.

Do you think justices can be or ever were impartial? Is that an ideal that can be attained?

The court has always been quite political. And throughout much of our history, it’s been quite regressive. It is kind of a myth that the Supreme Court has been, you know, the shining city on the hill. It’s only during the very brief period from 1957 to 1969 or so, during the [Earl] Warren years, that the court really performed the function of ensuring one person, one vote, and moving toward racial and gender equality. That was a limited period. The court, for most of its history, has been very much in the thrall of economically and politically powerful groups. It retarded the progress after the Civil War by invalidating the civil rights acts and its invalidation of parts of the Voting Rights Act was fairly typical.

So I don’t have any illusion that the court was ever really neutral, nor do I think one can really define a point of neutrality. The idea that judges could be apolitical doesn’t make sense. But they can at least be fair. They can listen. They can give reasons for what they do and not have points of view that are so closed and preset that you might as well have an algorithm as a group of human beings. And what the current court is doing more than any court in our history that I can think of is simply saying, “It’s so because we say it’s so.” And then pull out things that are so transparently not arguments.

The entire interview is fascinating but too long to copy. I hope you can open it and read it.

For example, when Justice Alito says in the majority opinion in Dobbs: Don’t worry, this will have no implications for contraception; it’s special because it involves potential life. Well, of course, so does contraception involve potential life. And besides, he’s equating a definition with an argument. The underpinnings of his theory are that if you don’t find it written down in the Constitution — or in a history that goes back far enough that he’s citing judges who favored burning women as witches — if you don’t find those roots, it doesn’t exist. Well, if you apply that logic, it wipes out whole swaths of rights. So that’s not what I call a fair argument. That’s simply basically saying, you know, “I’ve got the votes, and so shut up.”