What a Conservative Court means for America

Empty Chair at Supreme Court. Photo: OneNewsPage.com

Empty Chair at Supreme Court. Photo: One News Page.

I’ve been struggling to collect my thoughts on this. All I can come up with is how heartbreaking it is. The Supreme Court has often (clearly not always, see e.g. Dred Scott) been a beacon of hope for political minorities asking for validation of their rights and acknowledgement of their humanity.

The legislature and the executive are elected offices. They are there to express the will of the majority. But the genius of our founders was in their recognition that protecting the rights of the minority, even in the face of popular opinion, was critical.

So, in cases from Brown, to Roe and Griswold, Plyler, Engel, Atkins, Gideon, VMI and Obergefell, racial, ethnic and religious minorities were protected, as were women, sexual minorities and the accused. Discrimination and mistreatment, no matter how popular, was forbidden.

I have always been moved by this wondrous check on tyranny embedded into our system, and accepted by all, even those who disagreed with a particular decision. My wife and I named our daughter Brennan after my favorite Supreme Court Justice, and almost named our son Marshall after my runner-up.

I’ve traveled to DC for dozens of important Supreme Court arguments (most recently Gill v. Whitford), always feeling as if I was truly entering a sacred Temple of Justice.

Now, it appears that for the time-being, and possibly for decades, the Supreme Court will no longer be a source of comfort to the oppressed. It will instead be the stern ally of the oppressors, even bigots, vote-suppressors, polluters, misogynists and wealth’s indifference to the suffering of the poor.

It seems that each day of this administration, we see a small part of what actually makes America great die. Now we will see a major pillar of our greatness pass away. I imagine I will personally be fine. I possess almost every privilege it is possible to have in our society. But for so many, this will be devastating. And to those who care about the great experiment this country represents, it will be profoundly sad.

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