How does the Supreme Court serve the “common good”? What is the Court's responsibility, as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution, in our constitutional system of government? This essay explores that question with an eye on the recent performance of the Court in highly controversial and divisive cases. What explains the Court's decisions in cases involving such issues as campaign finance regulation, gun control, abortion, affirmative action, health care reform, voting rights, and even the 2000 presidential election? This essay argues that there is a right and a wrong way for the Supreme Court to interpret and apply the Constitution; and whereas the Warren Court properly understood its responsibilities, the Court in more recent decades has adopted a less legitimate and more troubling mode of constitutional interpretation.

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