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Echo Chamber of Extremism
A legitimacy in tatters
A day at the Supreme Court that shakes America to its core.
What to say that hasn’t been said but needs to be said again, and again, and again: This is not a court of humble jurists who are bound in any way by fidelity to precedent, the law, or common sense. There is nothing “conservative” about these damaging decisions, or the men and woman who have imposed their extreme views upon the American populace.
Right-wing politicians decry “elitism,” but what is more elitist than unelected and unaccountable activists using the language of legal argumentation as a fig leaf for their naked exercise of power?
There is no way that these decisions would pass a vote of the American public. Indeed, a majority of the justices were installed by presidents who lost the popular vote. And the polling on the issues these rulings tear asunder suggests that what these justices are doing is unpopular — in many cases, very unpopular.
But they sneer from their echo chamber of extremism. They are emboldened by a system that has been fixed, with the complicity of Mitch McConnell and others, to advantage minority viewpoints by leveraging a branch of government not designed to be a political actors' stage in order to circumvent the legislative and executive branches.
Where to begin, and where will it end?
The Supreme Court has further cemented its role as a reactionary force in American life.
Today it was abortion, on top of recent decisions on gun regulations, public funding for religious schools, and Miranda rights. Soon they will likely gut environmental regulations, and we can guess at what comes next — gay marriage? Contraception?
We can’t let this moment pass without recognizing what a horrific decision today's is, and how it will relegate women to second-class status in decision-making over their own bodies. This will lead to a host of suffering and likely death. It will imprison women where control will be imposed by the state. It is the opposite of freedom. It is a right that existed — and still should.
The Supreme Court depends on its legitimacy, and today that is as tattered as the constitutional rights on which it has trampled. The Roberts court will be marked as a cabal of intemperance that made America far less safe and far less free. It will be noted for its zealotry and its cynical embrace of the ends justifying the means.
But as with all chapters of history, how our present is ultimately viewed depends on what comes next. Will these rulings lead to outrage-fueled activism that upends the political system, or apathy and defeatism? Will the majority mobilize? Will there be reforms? Will there be a recalibration of the current balance of power?
One of the few things I have learned with any certainty over the course of my life is not to attempt to predict the future. I have seen unimaginable change come about. I have seen long odds overcome.
I leave you today with the words of Sherrilyn Ifill, civil rights lawyer and president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She has experienced the fight from the trenches of justice, and her perspective mirrors my own. I could not have expressed it better.