A Hard Right Turn
As the United States Supreme Court wrapped up its spring term today, its marbled halls risked representing the setup to an ironic joke — albeit one not funny but rather cruel, dangerous, and foreboding.
The building is supposed to symbolize stability, fairness, and temperance. Instead, it has become headquarters for a majority group of highly partisan, reactionary players who make clear that they are uninhibited by history, precedent, or the will of the majority of the American people.
Their black robes are meant to convey modesty, humility, and wisdom. Yet this collection of politicians demonstrates the direct opposite.
This Supreme Court term will be remembered as the moment a cynical and anti-democratic movement, decades in the making, reached its zenith, empowered by bad faith and opportunism. Now the cabal lords its power over a broken political system from a perch of increased influence and lack of accountability.
This is power politics by unelected actors, appointed largely by men who lost the popular vote for president. Its path was paved by Mitch McConnell’s Machiavellian exploitation of the deaths of two justices. He was a master of shamelessness with a single purpose — to accomplish via judicial appointment what he could never have achieved through democratic means.
The damage he and his hard-right radicals have wrought touches all aspects of society, from abortion rights to commonsense gun control to the environment to what I believe is an overlooked evisceration of the separation of church and state. What we have are the ruins of what many took for granted as our constitutional rights. And nothing suggests these justices are anywhere near sated.
We have now firmly left behind the realm of the theoretical. This is real, and it will get only more so. For years there were those who warned that Roe wasn’t safe, and neither was anything else, that these justices were licking their chops to devour a modern America and spit out a distorted version of the past. Too many of these prophets were dismissed as hysterical, their fears histrionic and overblown. Surely, they were lectured, precedent matters. Certainly there would have to be some legal basis to rewrite America’s social contract and decades of settled rights.
All of you who spoke up, who tried to get others to pay attention, you deserve an apology.
There can be no hiding from it now. All of this is out in the open. The justices aren’t even trying to obscure what they are doing and where they intend to go. But in their transparent power plays, there are still faint glimmers of hope.
I hear from people who in the past had rarely talked about the court. Now, they are suddenly enraged. Many are focused on how, just today, the justices accepted a case for next year that could allow state legislatures to take a torch to fair elections. How many people in the past got so riled up about an upcoming court docket?
The Supreme Court relies on its reputation, and these days, its reputation for humility, fairness, and wisdom is in tatters. Its rulings increasingly seem to be far outside where most Americans are. Wait until they tackle contraception and the privacy of one’s bedroom.
To all who feel bereft of hope, I offer the lessons of social movements of the past. Perseverance is power. Organizing inspires optimism. Resilience breeds results.
In order to solve a problem, you first have to see it, name it, contend with its truth. That is the stage many are in now. But many others have already been there for a long time. This is a movement that already has leadership. Now it has momentum born from a desire to ensure that America goes forward, toward progress, and true to the Constitution and the will of its people.