In light of recent events, it has once again come to the attention of the American people that the Supreme Court abuses their imbalance of power and is willing to abuse their power for partisan political ends.
Based off of their own website, the Supreme Court functions as a “guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.” It already seems unrealistic to guard and interpret the founding document that our nation is built on, there needs to be some sort of separation. It has become common language surrounding election time to say “Vote! The president will choose the next Supreme Court Justices,” which in and of itself is a distressing statement. In order to protect your potential rights in this country, you are going through a middle man in the hopes they choose justice in your favor.
There are arguments suggesting that the Supreme Court is the best protection for minorities, but it has proven time and time again that this is not the case.
Take Obergefell v. Hodges, a case many liberals and progressives took as a huge win. That was in 2015. Six years ago. Although this is a very simplified view, how are we supposed to take this as progress and change when Stonewall happened over 50 years ago? Issues such as this move at a snail's pace, and it is impossible for the Supreme Court to set precedent in the hopes of progress when they can barely catch up to the needs of modernity.
There are cases as recent as the last year in which the Supreme Court failed to protect voting rights. In the case of Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the Supreme Court rewrote certain laws surrounding the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This ruling makes it significantly more challenging to oppose discriminatory voting laws, which is a direct action against the people.
Looking at what happened last month in Texas, Senate Bill 8 was introduced, directly conflicting with Roe v. Wade. It was strategically introduced because the Supreme Court was stacked in conservative favor.
This blatant political skewing goes against everything that the Supreme Court is supposed to stand for. It is not about party alliance, it is about the American people and their wants and needs, not a temporary political agenda.
In times such as this, when the population has outgrown its justices, it is possible to adjust. The amount of justices allowed to sit on a court has changed six times, with the last being in 1869, leaving us at our current nine justices. Although there is a belief that a small court can lead to greater action, how can nine people, who are all appointed in their party’s interest, respect, interpret and update a document that our country’s values rest on? The idea of increasing the size of the court usually comes up from a party when it strongly leads in an opposing party’s favor. Taking the idea of packing the court aside, it makes logical sense to expand the court in reference to population.
The Supreme Court has become a game of waiting. Waiting for it to swing in your party’s favor, waiting for your “constitutional” rights to be honored or overturned, waiting for real positive change.
The original intention of a life term with the Supreme Court was to diminish the tie to one’s party, though it has historically done the opposite. It has led justices to get comfortable and become disengaged with the average American. This speaks to a greater flaw inside U.S. politics: The well opportune and privileged getting the responsibility of law making when in reality they represent none of us.
Ultimately, the lie of the court is that it needs this overarching power to protect and serve minorities. We have seen that, if anything, it has served to destroy minorities and empower the elite. In the words of William Howard Taft, “Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.”
Lily is a sophomore at UTK this year studying journalism, political science and philosophy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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