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Politics From Barrett’s confirmation to today’s election, everyone is debating ‘legitimacy.’ Here’s what it means.

14:25  03 november  2020
14:25  03 november  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Democrats fear Judge Barrett ' s confirmation to the lifelong post will favour Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach America' s top court for Democrats argued for weeks that it should be up to the winner of the 3 November election to pick the nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy.

Will Americans feel that the 2020 election results are legitimate? Did Amy Coney Barrett’s rushed confirmation hurt the Supreme Court’s legitimacy? With questions like these being widely discussed, “legitimacy” has clearly become a hot button in U.S. political discussion.

Election workers sort through some of the the thousands of mail-in ballots at the Orange County Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana, Calif., on Monday. © Mike Blake/Reuters Election workers sort through some of the the thousands of mail-in ballots at the Orange County Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana, Calif., on Monday.

So what is legitimacy, and why does it matter in politics? Here’s what you need to know.

What is legitimacy?

Most people have an intuitive understanding of what legitimacy means. It implies something more than just popularity and something different from legality. It’s easiest to think of it in terms of a relationship. On one side of the relationship are people who share norms, values, or expectations. On the other side of the relationship is the object of legitimacy — such as an election, a nomination, a law, a leader, or any number of other things whose legitimacy might be questioned.

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Judge Barrett ’ s confirmation has always been the virtually certain result of the hearing and the With the hearing taking place closer to an election than any other Supreme Court confirmation — and OK, so in English that means that I interpret the Constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text

With Election Day just weeks away, a bitterly divided Senate on Monday will launch the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett , President Donald Trump' s choice to fill the seat of the late liberal icon, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Legitimacy means that the object of legitimacy meets peoples’ expectations, and that those people believe their expectations are desirable or appropriate. In this way, legitimacy is like fair play in a game. The rules define the relationship between two teams, and play is only fair when both teams approve of the rules, and when both play by the same rules.

For example, people in the United States select government officials through elections. The principle of one person, one vote” sets the expectation that, in our elections, no person’s vote should count for more than another’s. If people in the United States consider this principle desirable or appropriate, then a U.S. election will only be considered legitimate if it adheres to that principle.

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Republicans defended the decision to confirm Barrett so close to the election and sought to Here are five takeaways from day one of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings: It ' s all over but the As a result, both sides have a clear eye to the election three weeks away as they debate the Supreme

Judge Barrett also argued that elected politicians make "policy decisions and value judgments", not Supreme Court justices. Mrs Barrett will face questions from members of the Judiciary committee in hearings that will last through the week. After the hearings end, any committee member can require

That’s why politicians on the right and the left are sounding alarms about the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Whether they are making unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud or condemning efforts at voter suppression, there is consensus that violating the one-person, one-vote principle will undermine the legitimacy of the election.

How will Americans respond when there's another split between the electoral college and the popular vote?

Why are people talking about legitimacy?

Increasingly, informed observers have been asking whether U.S. political processes and institutions continue to have legitimacy.

In 2001, sociologist Morris Zelditch Jr. wrote, “Legitimation is a process that brings the unaccepted into accord with accepted norms, values, beliefs, practices, and procedures.” Legitimation, or establishing that something is legitimate, routinely relies on justifications. Justifications serve the social function of maintaining and repairing relationships when expectations have been violated. For example, if my family expects me home by 5 p.m. and instead I walk in unharmed three days later, our relationships might be damaged if I cannot offer an acceptable justification for my absence.

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Barrett : Well, Senator Blumenthal, I don't think I am competent to opine on what causes global warming or not. Sometimes it felt appropriate, as when senators tried to counteract what they saw as unfair characterizations of Barrett ' s opinions on the 7th Circuit.

Amy Coney Barrett . I Just think IT is such a coincidence to be, I actually didn't know IT until yesterday. Having justices with this background, to of whom were appointed by the current president, decide any case related to the upcoming

As social scientists have observed in other contexts, justifying something’s legitimacy is common when legitimacy is in doubt. Take for example Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s extended discussion of legitimacy at Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing on Oct. 26. “Legitimacy comes from traditions, rules, and the Constitution,” McConnell said, adding, “We have abided by the norms and traditions dictated by our history.”

It seems likely that McConnell sought to blunt criticisms that the confirmation process was an illegitimate power grab. If voters’ expectations have been violated — for instance, voters may now expect that confirmations should not take place during an election year — the Republican Party may have felt it was important to justify Barrett’s confirmation as voters prepared to assess their relationships with the government today.

Trump’s refusal to respect the vote shatters ‘all the historically ingrained expectations’ about American democracy

Why does legitimacy matter?

Many social scientists see legitimacy as a precondition for effective governance. Legitimacy promotes stability, support and acceptance of authority. Ensuring that everyone agrees to a set of rules and everyone plays by those same rules increases the likelihood that people will accept an outcome — whether it is the winner of an election, the passage of a law, or the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice — even if that outcome is not what they’d hoped for.

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The Indiana conservative would replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as a secretive Catholic group, of which Barrett is a member, steps into the spotlight.

Here is a look at some of Judge Barrett ’ s views in major cases on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and what they suggest about her impact if she is confirmed . “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” she wrote.

When some aspect of our political process lacks legitimacy, we can no longer take for granted that people will accept or comply with the outcome.

That’s what we are seeing now. Because Republicans reversed their positions on whether the Senate should confirm Supreme Court nominees in a presidential election year, instead of widespread acceptance of a Court that’s to be highly conservative for years to come, academics, politicians, and legal experts alike are increasingly discussing judicial reform. And as the president has sown doubt about the legitimacy of this year’s election, his allies have hinted at the possibility of violence if he is not declared the winner.

To be sure, a loss of legitimacy will not necessarily cause the U.S. political system to collapse. As sociologist Colin Beck writes, “history is full of numerous examples of regimes that were believed to be popularly illegitimate but persisted…”

Rather, the risk of a political system losing legitimacy is that governing will depend on personal incentives — people supporting the system because it benefits them, or because they fear reprisal for opposition—instead of relying on a social contract. What is at risk, then, is the foundation of our democracy.

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Eric W. Schoon (@ewschoon) is assistant professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

Fact check: Claim noting time between CARES Act and Barrett confirmation is true .
The Senate confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the fraction of the time it’s been considering a second coronavirus relief bill. © J. Scott Applewhite, AP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber after final roll call vote to put Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) On Oct.

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