At the end of June, the United State Supreme Court issued 4 major decisions that were highly anticipated and with great concern confirming it has become a far right activist court. The first was the court’s rejecting an attempt to empower legislatures with exclusive authority to redraw congressional districts without court intervention. The second struct down decades of affirmative action in college admissions. The third ruled that a Christian business owners can discriminate and withhold services to the LGBTQ+ community based on religious grounds. The fourth invalidated President Joe Biden’s student loan debt relief plan. This blog article reports on all 4 decisions and the continuing partisanship and erosion of confidence in the country’s highest court.
SUPREME COURT REJECTS “THE INDEPENDENT STATE LEGISLATURE DOCTRINE”
The case of Moore v. Harper involved “the independent state legislature doctrine”. The fact that it was even considered by the court was astonishing in and of itself given how extreme it was and how it would have undermined the election process. It involved an appeal where the North Carolina Supreme Court undid a partisan gerrymandering of the state’s congressional map that would have given Republicans a large advantage in races for House seats. Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the North Carolina State Supreme Court on grounds that the GOP map violated the state Constitution. A state court-drawn map produced seven seats for each party in last year’s midterm elections in the highly competitive state. The question for the justices was whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections completely cuts state courts out of the process.
Several Republican state legislators asked the Supreme Court to restore the biased map for primary elections. Their emergency filings with the US Supreme Court claimed that the North Carolina state supreme court did not have the power to even review the legislatively drawn congressional map, despite the fact that the map violated several guarantees in the state’s constitution. Republican lawmakers argued that neither state courts nor state constitutions should have a say in how federal elections are run. Republicans also challenged whether the North Carolina court got its decision right but also argued state courts do not have any role to play in reviewing laws passed by legislatures that deal with federal elections.
Links to quoted and related sources
Republicans control a majority of state legislatures and there is a national coordinated effort to disenfranchise voters by not allowing for “mail in” balloting and requiring in person voting on election day. Americans are losing faith in elections after years of hearing false claims of widespread fraud from former President Donald Trump and his allies. After the 2020 presidential elections and Trump’s unfounded allegations of voter fraud, Republican control legislatures rushed to change their election laws asserting election law reforms were needed to protect the vote from widespread fraud when there is no fraud found at all in at least 51 federal lawsuits filed by Trump.
At the center of the dispute is a clause in the Constitution that delegates responsibility for federal election rules to the “legislature” of each state subject to oversight by Congress and not the Courts. Republicans argued the plain meaning of the constitution that state legislatures, and only state legislatures, have the power to set those rules. Such a reading of the clause would cut governors, election officials and state courts out of the rulemaking process giving all power over federal elections to the legislatures who could simply invalidate an election saying it was fraudulent with no proof.
At least 4 of the Supreme Court conservative justices signaled varying levels of interest in the idea of giving legislatures more power, embracing “the independent state legislature doctrine”. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh said that the North Carolina lawsuit presented an “important” question and that “both sides” had “advanced serious arguments.” Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts are viewed as near the ideological center of the court but given how they voted to overturn “Roe v. Wade”, they could easily change their minds. Kavanaugh has also shown he is not above lying to congress saying he is “impartial” and respected prior court precedent as he did with the case Roe v. Wade just to turn around and vote to throw out 50 years of s Supreme Court precedents.
MOORE V. HARPER RULING
On Tuesday, June 27, the United States Supreme Court ruled that state courts can curtail the actions of their legislatures when it comes to federal redistricting and federal elections gerrymandering. The Supreme Court rejected arguments by North Carolina Republicans that could have dramatically altered races for Congress and President in the state and beyond. The justices voted 6 to 3 to uphold the North Carolina Supreme Court decision that struck down the state legislature’s congressional districting plan as excessively partisan under state law. However, the Supreme Court did indicate there could be limits on state court efforts to police elections for Congress and president, suggesting that more election-related court cases over the issue are likely.
Republican Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the 6 vote majority that “state courts retain the authority to apply state constitutional restraints when legislatures act under the power conferred upon them by the Elections Clause. But federal courts must not abandon their own duty to exercise judicial review.” The Moore v. Harper decision was the fourth case of the term in which conservative and liberal justices joined to reject the most aggressive legal arguments put forth by conservative state elected officials and advocacy groups. Earlier decisions on voting rights, a Native American child welfare law and a Biden administration immigration policy also unexpectedly cut across ideological lines on the court.
The practical effect of the Moore v. Harper decision is minimal in North Carolina. The North Carolina state Supreme Court, under a new Republican majority, has already undone its redistricting plan ruling. Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said they would have dismissed the North Carolina case because of the intervening state court action.
Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that the decision “preserves state courts’ critical role in safeguarding elections and protecting the voice and the will of the American people.”
Former President Barack Obama applauded the outcome as “a resounding rejection of the far-right theory that has been peddled by election deniers and extremists seeking to undermine our democracy.”
Notwithstanding the courts ruling, the leader of a Republican redistricting group said he was pleased the court made clear there are limits on state courts. Adam Kincaid, president and executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, said this in a statement”
“[This decision] should serve as a warning to state courts inclined to reach beyond the constitutional bounds of judicial review. This is a first, positive step toward reining in recent overreaches of state courts.”
Derek Muller, a University of Iowa law professor and elections expert, said the decision leaves some room to challenge state court rulings on federal election issues. Muller said this:
“[Future challenges] are likely to be rare cases. … The vast majority of state court decisions that could affect federal elections will likely continue without any change.”
You can read the entire Moore v. Harper ruling here:
STAKES WERE HIGH
The Moore v. Harper case attracted major attention of Supreme Court watchers because 4 Republican conservative justices had suggested before that the Supreme Court should curb state courts’ power in elections for president and Congress. Opponents of the Independent Legislature Theory had argued that the effects of a robust ruling for North Carolina Republicans could be reach much further than just that one state’s redistricting.
The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law said what was potentially at stake were more than 170 state constitutional provisions, over 650 state laws delegating authority to make election policies to state and local officials, and thousands of regulations down to the location of polling places. Republican lawmakers in North Carolina told the Supreme Court that the Constitution’s “carefully drawn lines place the regulation of federal elections in the hands of state legislatures, Congress and no one else.”
Former federal appeals court judge Michael Luttig, a prominent conservative who joined the legal team defending the North Carolina court decision said the outcome could have transformative effects on American elections. Lutog said this:
“This is the single most important case on American democracy, and for American democracy, in the nation’s history.”
The link to the quoted news source is here:
Had this ruling gone the other way, the New Mexico legislatures re alignment of the state’s Southern 3rd Congressional District in 2021 would likely have been affected to some degree.
SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
On June 29, the Republican Supreme Court issued its decisions in the case of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College that colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admission. The decision overturns decades of standing precedent that has benefited Black and Latino students in higher education. A plaintiff had challenged race-conscious programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The vote broke strikly along ideological grounds, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the conservative members in the majority, and the liberals dissenting.
Republican Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the Republican conservative majority, saying the Harvard and University of North Carolina admissions programs violated the Equal Protection Clause because they failed to offer “measurable” objectives to justify the use of race. He wrote for the majority the programs involve racial stereotyping and had no specific endpoint.
The opinion claims the court was not expressly overturning prior cases authorizing race-based affirmative action, and suggested that how race has affected an applicant’s life can still be part of how their application is considered. The majority effectively overruled its 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the court upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s consideration of race “as one factor among many, in an effort to assemble a student body that is diverse in ways broader than race.” Republican conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined the Roberts opinion.
The decision was the latest in a series of challenges to the role of race in university admissions. In both the North Carolina and Harvard cases, the plaintiffs had asked the justices to overrule Grutter v. Bollinger. In her opinion for the majority in that case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor reaffirmed that “student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions,” but she warned that race-conscious admissions policies should not last forever. In 25 years, she suggested, “the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest” in diversity.
Democrat Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a graduate of Princeton and Yale Law School, who once called herself “the perfect affirmative action baby”, dissented, in an opinion that was joined by Democrat Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Sotomayor emphasized that the majority’s decision had rolled “back decades of precedent and momentous progress” and “cement[ed] a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society.” In a demonstration of the controversial nature of the case, justices read their dissents from the bench for the first time since 2019.
Republican Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion. He pushed back against the idea, advanced by Democrat Sotomayor in her dissent, that the 14th Amendment “does not impose a blanket ban on race-conscious policies.” Thomas in his memoir discussed the “stigmatizing effects of racial preference” that he felt after he was admitted to Yale Law School in the 1970s under a race-conscious admissions program, was also sharply critical of the UNC and Harvard programs from a practical perspective.
Thomas argued the admission programs “do nothing to increase the overall number of blacks and Hispanics able to access a college education” but instead “simply redistribute individuals” among colleges and universities, “placing some into more competitive institutions than they otherwise would have attended” and where they may be less likely to succeed academically. Thomas wrote that even if they do succeed, they may still be harmed by the stigma that race-conscious admissions programs create. Rather than solving existing issues of inequality, Thomas argued, these policies themselves divide students and “lead to increasing racial polarization and friction.”
Republican officials celebrated the decision as Democrats decried the courts decsion. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the justices “just ruled that no American should be denied educational opportunities because of race.” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement, “This is a great day for all Americans.” Former President Donald Trump also called the decision a “great day for America.”
Democrat Vice President Pamela Harris, who is the first African American Vice President and who is an attorney and former prosecutor, suggested the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action undermines the importance of equal opportunity. She said the court did not “fully understand the importance of equal opportunity for the people of our country. … “And it is, in so very many ways, a denial of opportunity.” Harris also rejected as a “complete misnomer” a narrative suggesting the ruling was about so-called colorblindness in admissions. Harris said “In fact, it is about being blind to history, being blind to data, being blind to empirical evidence about disparities, being blind to the strength that diversity brings to classrooms to boardrooms.”
Democrat President Joe Biden said in a short speech at the White House scheduled specifically for him to react to the decision slammed the US Supreme Court as “not a normal court” after it ruled to end race-conscious admissions at universities across the country. He announced he will ask the Department of Education to look into ways to maintain student diversity in higher education. Biden said “The court has effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions and I strongly, strongly disagree with the court’s decision Biden noted that “the court once again walked away from decades of precedent” after its six-strong supermajority of conservative justices prevailed over the opposition of the bench’s three liberal-leaning justices.
FREE SPEECH RIGHT TO DISCRIMINATE
On June 30, the Republican Supreme Court ruled in favor of an evangelical Christian web designer from Colorado who refused to work on same-sex weddings in the case of 303 Creative LLC., ET AL vs Elenis, ET. AL. The glaring problem is that it was based on a “hypothecal” scenario where no one was force to provide a service. Lorie Smith, who opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds and who wanted to run a business designing websites, sued the state in 2016 because she wanted to accept customers planning opposite-sex weddings but reject requests made by same-sex couples wanting the same service. Smith has strongly held beliefs that “marriage is between one man and one woman — and that union is significant.” The problem is she offered no evidence that any gay couple sought her services nor took action to force her to provide services.
Smith sued the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and other state officials concerned that she could be sanctioned under its antidiscrimination law that bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations. Lower courts ruled against Smith, prompting her to appeal to the Supreme Court. Smith was never penalized for rejecting a same-sex couple but sued on hypothetical grounds. Smith argued that as a creative professional she has a free speech right to refuse to undertake work that conflicts with her religious views of marriage.
The justices voted 6-3 on ideological lines ruling that Lorie Smith, as a creative professional, has a free speech right under the Constitution’s First Amendment to refuse to endorse messages she disagrees with. The Supreme Court ruled she cannot be punished under Colorado’s antidiscrimination law for refusing to design websites for gay couples. The ruling could allow other similar business owners to evade punishment under laws in 29 states that protect LGBTQ+ rights in public accommodations in some form. The remaining 21 states do not have laws explicitly protecting LGBTQ rights in public accommodations, although some local municipalities do.
Republican Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the court majority:
“The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place, where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands.”
It was Gorsuch who wrote a 2020 ruling that expanded LGBTQ rights in the employment context. However, he said that public accommodation laws play a vital role in protecting individual civil rights and wrote:
“At the same time, this court has also recognized that no public accommodation law is immune from the demands of the Constitution. In particular, this court has held, public accommodations statutes can sweep too broadly when deployed to compel speech.”
Civil rights groups argued that Smith was asking the Republican conservative-majority court for a “license to discriminate” that would destroy public accommodation laws that require businesses to serve all customers. David Cole, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the court had for the first time found that some people have a “green light” to violate antidiscrimination laws. Smith said this:
“The court’s decision opens the door to any business that claims to provide customized services to discriminate against historically-marginalized groups.”
Democrat Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing the dissent, said the court’s ruling was part of “a backlash to the movement for liberty and equality for gender and sexual minorities” and a type of “reactionary exclusion,” calling it “heartbreaking.” Sotomayor read a summary of her dissent from the bench, saying in court that the decision allowing Smith to sell her product only to opposite-sex couples “makes a mockery of the law.”
She compared Smith’s situation to historic cases of racial discrimination in which restaurants would refuse to serve Black people inside but would allow them to collect pick-up orders from a side counter, effectively treating them like second-class citizens. Sotomayor noted that Smith will still sell her services to LGBTQ+ people only if it is for an opposite-sex wedding. For LGBTQ+ customers, Sotomayor said, “she will sell at a side counter.” Democrat liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, both joined Sotomayor’s dissent.
Smith’s lawyer, Kristen Waggoner, said the court had simply reaffirmed that Americans cannot be forced to say things they do not believe. Waggoner said this:
“This is a win for all Americans. The government should no more censor Lorie for speaking consistent with her beliefs about marriage than it should punish an LGBT graphic designer for declining to criticize same-sex marriage.”
This was the second case that gave the Supreme Court the opportunity to rule on the question of whether goods and services can be denied by a business owner based on religious grounds. The Supreme Court ruled in a similar case in 2018 in favor of a Christian baker, also from Colorado, who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. The court ruled then that the baker, Jack Phillips, did not receive a fair hearing before the state Civil Rights Commission because there was evidence of anti-religious bias.
The Supreme Court ruled on the Colorado baker case before the retirement of Republican Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted in favor of LGBTQ rights in key cases. Following 3 appointments made by then-President Donald Trump, the court has now has six Republican conservative and three Democrat liberal justices. Kennedy was in the majority when the court legalized gay marriage on a 5-4 vote. In another major victory for LGBTQ rights, the Supreme Court in 2020 — to the surprise of many court-watchers — ruled in the decision written by Gorsuch that a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in employment protects LGBTQ employees.
A year later the court ruled in favor of an agency affiliated with the Catholic Church that the city of Philadelphia had barred from its foster care program because of the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage. In other cases in recent years the conservative majority has consistently backed religious right
On June 30, the Supreme Court invalidated President Joe Biden’s student loan debt relief plan. The Republican Supreme Court was once again divided 6-3 on ideological and politcal party lines. It ruled in one of two cases that the program was an unlawful exercise of presidential power because it had not been explicitly approved by Congress. One case was brought by 6 states, including Missouri, and the other was brought by 2 people who hold student loan debt. The Supreme Court ruled that the program was unlawful in the case brought by states and found in the second case that the challengers did not have legal standing.
The Supreme Court rejected the Biden administration’s arguments that the plan was lawful under a 2003 law called the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, or HEROES Act. The law says the government can provide relief to recipients of student loans when there is a “national emergency,” allowing it to act to ensure people are not in “a worse position financially” as a result of the emergency.
Republican Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority said the HEROES Act language was not specific enough and the court’s precedent “requires that Congress speak clearly before a department secretary can unilaterally alter large sections of the American economy.”
The Biden plan would have allowed eligible borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in debt and would have cost more than $400 billion and it has been blocked since the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary hold in October. Upwards of 43 million Americans would have been eligible to participate. The student loan proposal is considered politically critical to Biden because tackling student loan debt was a pledge he made on the campaign trail in 2020 to energize younger voters.
The ruling immediately puts pressure on the Biden administration to find an alternative avenue to forgive student debt that could potentially withstand legal challenge. Biden is likely to announce new actions to protect student loan borrowers, according to a White House official.
Advocates, as well as some Democrats in Congress, say the Education Department has broad power to forgive student loan debt under the 1965 Higher Education Act, a different law than the one at issue in the Supreme Court cases. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the ruling was “disappointing and cruel” and noted that the Biden administration has “remaining legal routes to provide broad-based student debt cancellation.”
Not at all surprising Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was delighted at the ruling saying Biden’s “student loan socialism plan would be a raw deal for hardworking taxpayers.”
The three Democrat liberal justices dissented, with Justice Elena Kagan saying that by ruling against the plan, the court had “exceeded its proper limited role in our nation’s governance.” Kagan wrote the states bringing the challenge did not have legal standing to even bring the case, and in analyzing HEROES Act, the conservative Republican justices ignored the clear language of the law. Kagan wrote:
“The result here is that the court substitutes itself for Congress and the executive branch in making national policy about student-loan forgiveness.”
The court decided the case in part based on a legal argument made by the challengers that the conservative majority has embraced called the “major questions doctrine.” Under the theory, federal agencies cannot initiate sweeping new policies that have significant economic impacts without having express authorization from Congress.
The conservative majority cited the major questions doctrine last year in blocking Biden’s Covid vaccination-or-test requirement for larger businesses and curbing the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon emissions from power plants.
The challengers argued that the Biden administration’s proposal violated the Constitution and federal law, partly because it circumvented Congress, which they said has the sole power to create laws related to student loan forgiveness. The Biden administration proposed forgiving up to $10,000 in debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year (or couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $250,000 annually). Pell Grant recipients, who are the majority of borrowers, would be eligible for $10,000 more in debt relief.
The administration closed the application process after the plan was blocked by a federal court. Holders of student loan debt currently do not have to make payments as part of Covid relief measures that will remain in effect until after the Supreme Court issues its ruling. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in September that Biden’s plan would cost $400 billion.
ABC NEWS POLL
On July 2, ABC news released a ABC News/Ipsos poll. A majority of Americans, 53%, believe that the nation’s highest court rules mainly on the basis of their partisan political view, 33% believes the court rules on the basis of the law while 14% said they don’t know. The poll found that 76% of Democrats and 51% of independents believe that the Supreme Court rules mainly on the basis of their partisan political view. 36% of Republicans who believe that the court makes rulings based on their political views. These margins have shifted from a January 2022 ABC News/Ipsos poll, where 38% of Americans believed that the justices rule mainly on the basis of law, versus 43% who believed that the court rules on the basis of their political views.
The link to read the full ABC poll story is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The United States Supreme Court has been viewed with a unique “sense of awe” and respect because it consistently interpreted the United States Constitution as a “living, evolving document” meaning one that evolved and ensured and protected civil rights and remedies to conform with changing times, changing norms, changing viewpoints.
Thomas Jefferson said it best:
“Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.”
Without such constitutional evolution, slavery would still exist in the United States, woman would not be allowed to vote, discrimination based on a person’s gender, race, color or religion would be allowed, interracial marriage would be illegal, and the doctrine of “sperate but equal” and Jim Crow laws would still be the law of the land.
The United States Supreme Court’s legitimacy has always depended upon the public perceiving the court and its decisions as being based on the rule of law, prior precedent known as “stare decisis” and not partisan politics. So much so that labels such as “liberal”, “progressive”, “moderate” and “conservative” are used in referring to Supreme Court Justices’ philosophies instead of party affiliations. Supreme Court Justice’s and federal judge’s party affiliations are never identified or reported by the media and it’s a charade.
The Supreme Court’s decision last year overturning Roe v. Wade striking down 50 years of a woman’s right to choose an abortion and this year’s decision to eliminate affirmative action in higher education has been major goals of the Republican conservative legal movement for decades. In the span of a mere 370 days, the current United States Supreme Court with the appointment of 3 supreme court justices by President Donald Trump has made both a reality. Fifty years of Supreme Court precedents have now been overturned to the delight and celebration of the far hard right.
THE REPUBLICAN TRUMP COURT
The very nature of the process of selecting a Supreme Court Justices is as partisan as it gets. The overlap between “judicial ideology” and the “political ideology” and party affiliation of those who select supreme court justices is undeniable to the point that they have come to be one and the same. The President nominating and the Senate having a confirmation process leads to the selection of Supreme Court Justices whose political and ideological approach to interpreting the law is identical with the views shared by the political party in power in the White House and the US Senate.
Ryan C. Williams, assistant professor of law at Boston College Law School, put it in perspective in a column written for MSNBC when he wrote:
“The polarized nature of our politics has contributed to a court that is closely divided on numerous hot-button political issues — such as abortion, gun rights, campaign finance regulation and affirmative action. In the 1980s and 1990s, the partisan nature of these divisions was mitigated to some extent by justices whose views did not match the ideology associated with the political party of the president who appointed them, such as David Souter and Byron White. But since the 2010 retirement of [the very liberal] John Paul Stevens, appointed by President Gerald Ford, all of the Justices appointed by Republican presidents have been recognizably more conservative than the justices appointed by Democrats.
The court’s perceived partisan orientation has been further exacerbated by the gamesmanship and spectacle surrounding confirmations. The court’s three most recent appointees — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Barrett — have each taken office amidst controversy. Gorsuch’s appointment was made possible by the Republican-controlled Senate’s decision to deny a hearing or vote to Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, resulting in a 14-month vacancy on the court.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was placed in jeopardy by accusations of sexual assault that he denied, leading to a highly contentious and much-publicized confirmation hearing. Barrett’s confirmation was rapidly pushed through the Senate shortly before the 2020 election by the same Republican Senate leaders who had earlier used the pending presidential election as an excuse not to vote on Garland.
The willingness of Republican politicians to play hardball with the confirmation process and the resulting shift in the balance of power on the court has left raw feelings on the left and led to increasing calls for retaliatory measures — including court-packing. The nominees were not themselves the architects of these strategies. But nor were they mere passive bystanders. Their willingness to accept and press forward with their nominations involved at least a degree of cooperation with the sharply partisan methods through which their appointments were secured.”
NO LONGER VIEWED AS ETHICAL
The Supreme Court’s eclectic mix of decisions over the past two years by the super majority conservative Republican court has raised concerns about its legitimacy. Attacks on the court’s legitimacy have been aided by the ethical missteps and challenges of court members and the supreme court not having any code of ethics as is the case with all other federal courts. There have been repeated reports of undisclosed vacations, jet travels and gift payments to family members of Justice Clarence Thomas and Samiel Alito from billionaire Republican donors. The appearance of impropriety is unmistakable to the public despite their defense that they have done nothing wrong nor unethical.
United States Supreme Court Chief Justice has done the Supreme Court’s reputation and challenges to its legitimacy no favors as he has resisted instituting a Code of Ethics for the Supreme Court. Roberts goes as far as to say that Congress has no authority to impose a code of ethics on the court. Roberts merely promises that the Court will do more to show it will adhere to high ethical standards, but has yet to condemn the actions Thomas and Alito.
NO LONGER FAIR AND IMPARTIAL
Part of the greatness of the Supreme Court has always been that the public has had a tremendous respect for the Supreme Court because it has been viewed by and large as “fair and impartial” and “a political” not subservient to any political party nor religious philosophy. With the reversal of Roe v. Wade and the reversal of a well settled constitutional rights for women, voting rights and civil rights, the United State Supreme Court has lost its legitimacy and credibility with the American people.
As the saying goes, elections have consequences. The 2024 elections are once again shaping up to be one of the most consequential elections in our history where recent Supreme Court decisions will be on the ballot as well as the control of congress, not to mention our basic right to vote in an election.
A story has been told and retold about founding father Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, when someone shouted out, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” To which Franklin supposedly responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
What we have now is a “politcal judicial monarchy” complete with 9 people all dressed up in black ropes with gavels replacing scepters and a courtroom replacing a royal thrown room as they render their decrees of justice to carry out the will of the Trump Republican Party.