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The Supreme Court is a follower, not a leader

Summary:
Both progressives and conservatives obsess about who is appointed to the Supreme Court, as if political ideology determines whether someone is a highly qualified judge. Or perhaps it is because they believe their preferred justices will produce a better set of public policies.  In fact, the hope of remaking the Court to fit one’s ideology remains a mirage, always hovering just over the horizon.  Here’s Janan Ganesh of the FT: Whoever was “right”, the evidence that liberalism won continues to amass. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled to extend LGBT rights. It also frustrated President Donald Trump over the treatment of young undocumented migrants. And this is after the right’s Long March through the judiciary, masterminded by the Federalist Society and other

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Both progressives and conservatives obsess about who is appointed to the Supreme Court, as if political ideology determines whether someone is a highly qualified judge. Or perhaps it is because they believe their preferred justices will produce a better set of public policies.  In fact, the hope of remaking the Court to fit one’s ideology remains a mirage, always hovering just over the horizon.  Here’s Janan Ganesh of the FT:

Whoever was “right”, the evidence that liberalism won continues to amass. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled to extend LGBT rights. It also frustrated President Donald Trump over the treatment of young undocumented migrants. And this is after the right’s Long March through the judiciary, masterminded by the Federalist Society and other campaign groups. Away from the recent cases, which dealt with statutes, the call for the strictest possible adherence to constitutional text has the romantic aura of all lost causes.

Ganesh’s essay is entitled “How conservatives lost the culture war”:

The failures do not end there. Take immigration. When conservatism hardened into a movement in the mid-20th century, 5 per cent of the US population was foreign-born. Now the level is near an all-time high at 14 per cent. Or take the status of gay people. Public opinion on same-sex marriage has flipped from two-to-one against to two-to-one in favour since the millennium.

President Trump recently put a hold on H1-b immigration, but given polling data (increasingly favoring immigration) I expect a surge in immigration in the future, perhaps as soon as 2021.  That’s partly because the pause in high-skilled immigration is like shooting ourselves in the foot, while “Making Canada Great Again“:

Mr Trump’s decision to extend a ban on permanent US residency applications and stop issuing other work permits such as H-1B visas has transformed Canada’s ability to compete for scarce talent, said technology and consulting executives who are among the biggest users of such visas.

“This may be a Canadian Jobs Creation Act. You can go to Toronto and hire people there and work quite effectively,” Cisco chief executive Chuck Robbins told the Financial Times this week. . . .

Rich Lesser, chief executive of Boston Consulting Group, told the FT that his firm had already offered jobs to several candidates who would be affected by the new H-1B and L1 visa rules. Instead of rescinding those offers, “by necessity we will move them to other countries, probably Canada”.

The US risked suffering “a migration of top talent” which would otherwise have been paying American taxes, he warned, dismissing the administration’s argument that the measures would speed the recovery of the US economy.

A CBRE study last year found that Toronto was North America’s fastest-growing market for tech jobs and its third largest after the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. . . .

“Interest has exploded,” said Irfhan Rawji, who founded a company called MobSquad 18 months ago to help American start-ups place tech workers rejected by the US immigration process in Canada.

Note that Toronto was already booming before the recent US moves to limit immigration.

Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.

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