Wed, Jun

Why Should We the People Respect a Court That Subverts the Will of the People?


SCOTUS JUSTICE - When Supreme Court member Justice Samuel Alito's secret plan for canceling the constitutional right of women to end their pregnancies leaked out to the public, Republican politicos went ballistic! Over the leak, that is.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the perpetually sour old goose who heads the Senate Republican caucus, had a hissy fit when the news leaked out that American women are about to have their most fundamental constitutional right taken from them by a right-wing cabal of Supreme Court judges.

What made Mitch twitch, of course, was not the bad news for women... but the leak itself. He huffed that revealing the court's scheme to the public was a "stunning breach," spewing that it's "an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court." Uh, Mitch... the so-called Supremes have been meeting behind closed doors specifically to plot an all-out attack on the independence of some 170 million women to control their own bodies. Why aren't you opposing that autocratic governmental secrecy, rather than supporting the court's subversion of women's liberty?

Perversely, the entire Republican leadership is outraged by the leak, rather than the attack on women's rights. Right-wing blowhard Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, yapped that informing the public "will do lasting damage to the integrity of the court." Uh, Ted... you and your ideological ilk annihilated the court's integrity — and its legitimacy — when you stacked it with a covey of corporate-coddling partisan hacks like Alito and justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.

Then came Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a Trump acolyte, ludicrously blathering that the leak of the judicial plan is "despicable." Why? Well, he explained to us commoners, the court "is not a political body." If ignorance is bliss, Mike must be ecstatic! The GOP majority on this court is so immersed in its own partisan biases that it is routinely ruling against workers, the environment, women, voting rights, local communities... and democracy itself.

No surprise then that public trust in the integrity of these "arbiters of justice" is crashing. If the court won't respect the people's democratic ideals, then the people won't respect the court.

The court's Republican chief justice, John Roberts, called the unauthorized disclosure an "affront" to the majesty of the Supremes. Likewise, Republican congressional leaders have furiously demanded to know whodunit and why! Way beyond their political screeching and posturing, however, a Pennsylvania woman quietly wrote a letter to The New York Times that calmly posed a couple of honest, more fundamental questions: "Why are Supreme Court votes and processes so hidden in the first place?" and "How did this grip on secrecy become so sacrosanct?"

After all, as important and enormously powerful as this tiny body is, it's still a governmental agency doing public business that affects every American. So, the legal work that the nine members of this ultimate judicial authority do — including their internal machinations to reach such awesome decisions as nullifying fundamental human rights — ought to be transparent to all who will be affected.

The ugly truth is that today's third branch of government has needlessly, dangerously and rather ludicrously become a black-robed autocracy. Bear in mind that these nine individuals are enrobed for life, choose the cases they consider, make up their own rules of ethical conduct, operate almost entirely behind closed doors, can conspire to issue decrees — and the bare majority of only five of them can arbitrarily overrule presidents, congresses, states, other courts, voters... and your own personal life decisions.

And now comes a six-person GOP majority of supreme justices determined to entrench corporate plutocracy, right-wing theocracy and Republican sovereignty over all of us. That's why we must finally lift the medieval veil of secrecy the partisan judges are using to shroud their actions.

(Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the books "Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow"(2008) and "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion" (1998). Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. This story was featured in Common Dreams.)