The Republican salute to constitutional ethics
Last week the justices came perilously close to rock bottom with three decisions upending precedent and “deeply rooted” laws, culminating in the outright reversal of Roe vs. Wade (as opposed to simply letting the 15-week Mississippi abortion ban stand, which would have been bad enough). The other two decisions, throwing out a century-old law on concealed carry of guns in New York and forcing Maine taxpayers to subsidize private religious schools, also solidified this court’s role as what Slate legal writer Dahlia Lithwick called a “vending machine” for Republican partisans: “You put in your quarter, you get out your Skittles. You want guns, you get guns. You want Roe overturned, you get Roe overturned. No surprises.”
This is utterly depressing and deeply undemocratic — and sadly, likely a preview of what’s to come. On Monday, the court followed up its Roe reversal by delivering another blow for the Christian right, siding with a public school football coach whose year-to-year employment wasn’t renewed after he refused to stop praying with players on the 50-yard line after games. You want school prayer, you get school prayer…
The Supreme Court is not accountable to the people. So what can check its power?…Don’t take these decisions as the final work, fight back, vote and mobilize. The court has historically responded to changes in the public mood, even when the justices stayed the same. ACLU lawyer David Cole writes: “Most important, we must elect politicians who believe in the right to abortion and the need for reasonable gun control — and then hold them to it…Use our civil liberties to defend the values we hold most dear.”
Political corruption always requires political fightback. Especially in the present context…overthrowing the rule of corrupt judges!