Let's Make Supreme Court Corruption a Campaign Issue
Reforming the Supreme Court may be the only way to restore its legitimacy
The rigged, unelected Supreme Court did it again. Barely a year after overturning Roe v. Wade, the 6-3 conservative majority ended affirmative action in higher education. This is a devastating opinion borne of willful ignorance of America’s past and present. As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson put it in her dissent:
With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces 'colorblindness for all' by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life," Jackson wrote. "And having so detached itself from this country's actual past and present experiences, the Court has now been lured into interfering with the crucial work that UNC and other institutions of higher learning are doing to solve America's real-world problems.
UPDATE: The Supreme Court also just struck down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.
This is, of course, part of a pernicious pattern. Much of what ails American politics can be traced back to decisions made by the Supreme Court during John Roberts’ tenure — allowing billionaires and corporations to buy politicians in the Citizens United decision; gutting the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder; legitimizing partisan gerrymandering in Rucho v. Common Cause; making it harder to protect Americans from gun violence in District of Columbia v. Heller. As President Biden said today: “This is not a normal court.”
Even though the Supreme Court may be near the apex of its influence — at least since the Warren Court, it is at the nadir of its legitimacy. Considering Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell’s efforts to rig the Courts, controversial decisions, and rampant, blatant corruption of Justices Thomas and Alito, the legitimacy of the Court is being questioned by a record number of Americans. A corrupt illegitimate Court being used to ram through a policy agenda rejected by the majority of Americans is a crisis for democracy on a grand scale.
The potential responses to the aggressions of this corrupt, rigged Court are limited in scope and impact. These decisions are deflating because they can not be easily addressed through normal politics. We are not one election away from ending the conservative majority that has done so much damage in the last few years. But that does not mean that we are without recourse. The Court overreached and Democrats now have an opportunity and a moral imperative for Democrats to make Court reform a significant part of the 2024 campaign message.
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