The Senate’s obscene rush to affirm Amy Coney Barrett – in time to allow her, as Donald Trump did made clearTo aid in his efforts to steal the elections, even the most blink of an eye should be forced to recognize the profoundly political nature of our justice system. Following the Senate’s refusal to give Barack Obama’s candidate Merrick Garland a hearing at all, and subsequent confirmation from Neil Gorsuch for that stolen seat, the recent Republican power game has done much to eradicate the mystique that previously ruled the Colonel’s Nine Court of Justice had veiled judges. Despite their black robes, ritual use of Latin, and lifelong appointment, they are simply fallible mortals with the same prejudices and preferences as the rest of us.
Unlike blindfolded justice, the Supreme Court has a long history of blindness on just one side: the left. Since 1794, as Associate Justice James Wilson authorized Using federal troops to terrorize farmers in western Pennsylvania and pay a new whiskey tax that benefited wealthy merchants and manufacturers has been a reliable servant of money and power. The court that ruled in the Dred Scott versus Sandford (1857) Black Americans “had no rights that whites had to respect,” but that jumped to extend the protection of the 14th Amendment from People to Corporations, which sanctioned the masses of Japanese Americans during World War II and all overturned limitation of the Corporate spending in elections during granting The right of business owners to deny their employees birth control health insurance has rarely been of concern to the working population. Or quick, to correct your mistakes: the gap between Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v Board of Education kept black Americans in a state of legalized racial oppression for over half a century.
Joe Biden’s announcement on 60 minutes that he would appoint a “bipartisan commission of scholars” to consider how best to reform the courts would have been tactically smart and would have deprived the Trump campaign of at least one weapon of mass diversion. But Bidens annotation “The last thing we have to do is just turn the Supreme Court into a political football,” shows a remarkable ignorance of both court history and current political reality.
The nation was long in this fight. From James Bradley Thayers 1884 dispute against the excessive tendency of federal judges to overthrow laws they face against I.F. Stein’s warning in The court orders (serialized on these pages): “Democracy must curb the Supreme Court, or the Supreme Court, instrument of our great concentration of economic power, will destroy democracy.” This magazine has never been inclined to treat the judiciary with undue respect. Or to flex the myth of impartial judges, detached from political passion or financial interests.
“The Supreme Court has been” full “of safe, conservative majorities for years,” wrote Stone in 1937. “Those safe, conservative majorities stood in the way of almost all of the major social laws enacted by the elected representatives of the Americans.” And if a Democratic President and Congress don’t act decisively and boldly, they will do just that again. As nation Justice correspondent Elie Mystal points out that there is simply no way for a Biden government to deliver on its promises of health care, racial or economic justice, the environment or corporate monopolies without addressing the reactionary bias of the courts.
Unlike some Democrats, Mystal doesn’t shy away from the label or the idea of court packaging – on the grounds that adding 20 judges to the Supreme Court would not only make up for the packing of Republican courts, but also improve the court by having rigid majorities and fewer judges likely to be more amenable to belief. And unlike proposals to impose time limits, the enlargement of the court does not require a constitutional change.
But the number of judges is not magical. What is more important is a willingness to accept the court for what it always was: an unelected political body that restricts our democracy. The Republicans have not hesitated to exercise this reluctance. Until the Democrats show they are ready to stand up to get America to deliver on its promise, the fight will remain one-sided.