What to do About the Illegitimate Supreme Court
The preliminary judgement to strip precedent shows that the court has grown too comfortable in its power.
Like many of you, I found myself angry, (but not surprised), at Alito’s drafted judgement that strips essential protections for half the population. The fact that his decision, as well as the decision of the other five justices was so easily predicted is indicative of the astounding tilt of the court away from its mission to be an impartial body into a partisan machine that eschews its own traditions and precedents.
We can even see how this tilt has radicalized itself in Alito’s draft, which reads less as a legal document and more as some sort of manifesto posted on r/incel. It’s riddled with historical inaccuracies and suppositions, not to mention how it is dripping with contemptuous sexism that makes exhaustively stupid assumptions about the lives of everyday Americans.
Its clear that Alito and the other four justices are motivated not by a commitment to law, but to their own religious conviction. This draft is a religious decision dressed up to appear as legal reasoning, and does nothing but insult the very people it affects. It has showed how much they are out of touch and off-mission and it is up to us to begin to course correct.
What is Wrong with Robert’s Court
There are two illegitimate judges on the bench, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, who were rammed through by republican senate that refused to function by its own rules. It could also be argued that Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is also deeply suspect considering the prematurely aborted investigation into his allegations of sexual assault.
With nine justices that means that 22%-33% of that court should not be there. There is also the question of Thomas’s history of impropriety, including the most recent revelations about his wife’s activities and how that calls into questions his own (lack of) ethics.
The problem is the Supreme Court’s assumed untouchable nature means that they have a unique position to not have any real checks or balances on their power, and as an appointed office, they are not accountable to the people they affect. That allows them the luxury to make decisions with real-world consequences while never having to answer for them outside of their legal rulings.
The supreme court’s position has allowed it to remain mostly untouchable, issuing decries with no day-to-day experiences with those consequences. It does not function the way other courts do, and the justices rarely, if ever, have any long exposure to the people who they victimize when they make decisions like this. The more surety they have of their longevity of the court, the less likely they have to publicly answer for the consequences of their stance.
It is time to consider how to open up that office for greater accountability.
Option 1: Term Limits
This is by far the most popular solution. It is understandable that the American public is weary of lifetime appointments, it keeps aging politicians with backwards ideas in power for much too long.
Having the justices rotated out on a regular basis means an opportunity to update the court’s thinking by bringing in someone with recent, in-person legal experience. It leaves it so we are not beholden to the opinions of people who were born before the civil rights movement, or who grew up in an era before women could legally have their own lines of credit.
It would mean that more often than not, in their lifetime, they will have to witness new supreme court justices litigate their past decisions without their direct input. This way we don’t end up with someone with an ideological chip on their shoulders holding onto grotesque beliefs, only able to put those decisions in action when the conditions are ripe for exploitation.
Option 2: Pack the Court
Nine justices may be the tradition, but congress has the ability to amend that. A judicious solution might be to have a president nominate a justice per term. This way presidential elections have guaranteed stakes. Make it that presidents can only do so once and cannot when a justice dies, retires, or terms out, and thus keeps it generally fair and a reflection of the people. That might mean that the number vacillates depending on circumstances, but it also prevents Presidents from getting an outsized advantage on the court.
However, considering two seats were previously stolen by senate chicanery, it may help to nominate two to three additional justices to balance the scales as it stands.
Option 3: Allow Cameras in the Court Room
If we can casually see our other elected officials have their casual nervous breakdowns on C-SPAN then there is no reason why we might not be able to do the same while the Supreme Court is in session. The court has regularly refused this on the idea that it would turn the court proceedings into a spectacle.
Perhaps it would, but its clear that the main issue is that it would mean that the justices would have to be treated to reviewing themselves when it broadcasts on the nightly news. It would make them more aware of how they are perceived, and perhaps make them more self-conscious.
Their privacy has been an undue privilege, and it is about time it was stripped away.
Option 4: Make a New Constitution
We’ve turned a 200 hundred year old relic into an idolatrous symbol of the United States. The veneration of a limited, singular historical object ignores that country is not just a collection of laws that have been imposed on a population that is radically different from its original architects. Our identity lies in a shared history, one that is often painful for those who are willing to engage in it unflinchingly. Our strength is built on our continuous push towards more equitable liberties, not because of but in spite of this perverse constitution.We are bound together in a common drive and hope for a more prosperous tomorrow. For us to continue, we need to look forward by evaluating who we are now, and craft a new document that represents the whole of America.
We’ve kept ourselves chained to an object that was meant to be changed, but is now held to an a-historical rigor. Unfortunately, people in power have crafted a myth from that written work and turned the “founding fathers” into false gods. These same people have removed the flawed humanity inherent in its crafting, one that was supposed to make room for growth and change.
There is no benefit to holding ourselves to a document that was supposed to grow with us, but that has stopped doing so. What good is a constitution that a few bigoted individuals can reinterpret to ignore evolving precedent? Precedent that those same falsely elevated people can ignore based on their personal whims.
A new constitution could better reflect us as a people, and assure the freedoms and liberties that we have come to rely on. We are now cognizant that those same liberties can be unjustly stripped away if those rights are not enumerated in precise language.
How Do We Get To Where We Need To Go
I’m by no means a legal expert, I’m simply an active citizen. I’m also pregnant person, who suddenly themselves as a victim of circumstance by residence to be a class below the fetus that is developing inside of me.
What I do think needs to happen is that we must murder civility, and leave it as a rotting corpse on the steps of the capital. In times like these, civil disobedience is not only laudable, it is necessary and patriotic to maintain the dream of the United States. We need to maintain this anger, and make it a a core part of our mechanism to disturb this march towards authoritarianism.
Ironically, we need to return to our roots of revolution, for when a government no longer serves the needs and rights of its people, it is time that that government change.