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Shelden Publishes in Washington Post on the History of the Supreme Court

Shelden Publishes in Washington Post on the History of the Supreme Court

Center director Dr. Rachel Shelden

The Washington Post recently published an article by Richards Center director Rachel Shelden on the history of partisanship and the Supreme Court. The article, "The Supreme Court used to be openly political. It traded partisanship for power," appeared in the print edition on the front page of the Outlook section for the weekend of September 26-27. The article also is available online for subscribers. In the wake of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg scholars, journalists, and the general public are debating the propriety of nominating and confirming a new justice so close to the upcoming federal elections. Those debates are grappling with the Court's relationship to partisan politics. In her article, Dr. Shelden describes a Supreme Court that was openly partisan for much of its history. In the early twentieth-century, however, it adopted a pose of nonpartisanship in a successful bid to accrue greater power. In response, the executive and legislative branches have ceded considerable ground to the Court to wield constitutional authority. Shelden recounts how that expanded constitutional authority is now coming under greater scrutiny in today's increasingly polarized political climate.