The Supreme Court is illegitimate

The opinions expressed in The Lawrentian are those of the students, faculty and community members who wrote them. The Lawrentian does not endorse any opinions piece except for the staff editorial, which represents a majority of the editorial board. The Lawrentian welcomes everyone to submit their own opinions. For the full editorial policy and parameters for submitting articles, please refer to the about section.

The Supreme Court is illegitimate. The Supreme Court’s job is to interpret the Constitution, and judges are expected to rule based on a judicial philosophy, not a personal or religious one. And yet, conservative Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have pushed a far-right wing and theocratic judicial agenda.  

On Friday, June 24, the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. This took away the constitutional right to abortion, and abortion is not the only issue on the chopping block. The court recently ruled in West Virginia v. EPA against the government’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, ruled in Vega v. Tekoh that police officers can’t be sued for failing to respect the Miranda rights of detainees and ruled in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District that a public school coach in Washington State had the right to lead his students in prayer.  

As a final fuck you, the “pro-life” court ruled in favor of a company that screwed over dialysis patients by limiting their insurance coverage right before the judicial term ended. Thomas hinted that overturning Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage and Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized sodomy, may be on the agenda for the next term. Interestingly, Thomas has not mentioned Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage, and without which his own marriage would not be legally recognized. Also pending for the upcoming term is Moore v. Harper, a case which will test the idea of the independent state legislature, or the idea that state legislatures alone have the power to run elections without interference from the courts or state constitutions. There are concerns that this ruling will lead to state-level Republicans drawing blatant racial gerrymanders, appointing themselves to oversee election disputes or even throwing out election results they don’t like.  

Holy shit. Well, at least these bozos were properly appointed and have conducted themselves ethically, professionally and maturely once making it to the court, right? (wrong)  

The judges who’ve made these rulings do not have the right to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia died when Barack Obama was president, and Obama had the right to choose his replacement, but Republicans in the Senate refused to even hold hearings until Donald Trump became president and appointed Gorsuch. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insisted that Supreme Court nominees not be confirmed during election years. Then, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died with Donald Trump in office, Republicans rushed through the confirmation of Barrett less than a week before the 2020 election. On top of that, both Kavanaugh and Thomas have been credibly accused of sexual assault and harassment by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill, respectively. Thomas’s wife, Virginia, supported the insurrection on January 6, 2021, and Thomas failed to recuse himself from a case involving the turning over of Trump’s White House records, in which he sided with Trump. He is not the only one who failed to recuse himself from cases involving their own self-interest. It also came out recently that Barrett is a member of a very conservative “Christian” cult that promotes male supremacy. Alito might actually be the only one of the five remotely qualified for the job. 

Other issues notwithstanding, all five justices promised during Senate hearings that they would respect Roe v. Wade as settled precedent, before voting to repeal it. Lying under oath is perjury and should be a disqualifier for a Supreme Court seat.  

Another problem is that these five justices, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, were put on the court to advance an agenda that further concentrates power in the hands of corporations and wealthy people. In 2018, the court ruled against labor unions in Janus v AFSCME, which diminished a union’s ability to collect fees. Gorsuch in particular has been known throughout his career as an extremely pro-management judge, siding with bosses in even the most egregious cases, including being the only dissenting opinion when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado voted that Trans Am Trucking didn’t have the right to fire a worker who abandoned his trailer, possibly saving his life, during an extreme blizzard.  Gorsuch has also worked to limit the ability for corporations to be held liable during class-action lawsuits, because he believes they are unfair to the companies. 

Although Gorsuch is the worst on corporate issues, Barrett and Kavanaugh’s professional bootlicking should not fly under the radar. Barrett was appointed by Trump to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois and handed down many pro-corporate rulings. Barrett ruled in FTC v. Credit Bureau Center LLC and Michael Brown that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not have the right to seek restitution for victims of corporate wrongdoing, as well as siding with a debt collector that overcharged a customer in Deborah Walton v. EOS. According to the New York Times, Kavanaugh has written dissents arguing that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not have the authority to implement net neutrality and sided with SeaWorld when the Department of Labor held it accountable for endangering its workers.  

According to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Roberts court has sided with corporations over 90% of the time. Roberts, Alito and Thomas also ruled that laws that restrict the amount of money corporations and unions can contribute to political campaigns were unconstitutional and struck down most remaining campaign finance laws in Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC.  

The Supreme Court’s agenda is not our agenda. It is a far-right, pro-corporate, Christian fundamentalist fascist agenda. It is an illegitimate and authoritarian government body, and if it can’t perform its function, then it should be reformed, or abolished. When Chief Justice John Roberts publicly questions Americans who don’t trust the Supreme Court, he should look at his own lieutenants as the reason why. In any case, Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas are far-right judicial activists and must be removed from public office. Roberts is just a dick.