Scott may have more on this later, but the fact that Supreme Court justices’ opinions on free speech correlate with whether they agree with the speech is like the least surprising thing ever. I’m amazed that anyone has ever seen SCOTUS justices as somehow above politics and acting on actual constitutional principles that don’t line up and reconfirm their own personal beliefs.
And yet, here is genuine surprise from experts:
Lee Epstein, a political scientist and law professor who conducted the new study with two colleagues, said it showed the justices to be “opportunistic free speech advocates.”
The findings are a twist on the comment by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. that the First Amendment protects “freedom for the thought that we hate.” On the Supreme Court, the First Amendment appears to protect freedom for the thought of people we like.
“Though the results are consistent with a long line of research in the social sciences, I still find them stunning — shocking, really,” Professor Epstein said.
Why on earth is that stunning? I think a lot of people have blinders on about the Court that somehow these people are not as political as they actually are.