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Op-Ed: America the disputable – Regressionist rampage in the Supreme Court is ugly and achieving nothing

The Supreme Court is supposedly a court of law, not a rest home for lobbyists and fanatics.

U.S. Supreme Court. — Photo: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters
U.S. Supreme Court. — Photo: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

The Supreme Court of the United States is turning into a circus for crackpot conservative grandstanding on a colossal scale. Recent headlines regarding the Supreme Court include:

Regardless of the partisan nature of appointments to the Supreme Court, the cases themselves are almost prehistoric in nature. None of these issues have ever been resolved, and constant legal challenges cannot possibly help.

The political environment hardly helps, either. It’s an interesting reflection on the nature of American politics that one side of politics can earnestly believe in a cabal of child predators while going absolutely nothing about it, legislatively or by enforcement action.

This is America the Disputable, the dysfunctional America which appears to have no clear goals. The abortion issue is a classic case. If abortion is a matter of religious belief, Congress cannot legislate. Yet, under the pretext of “medical services”, they subject remains an open wound.

Gun-control is yet another partisan-based legal issue. The Second Amendment is widely considered by legal professionals to be one of the most misinterpreted constitutional amendments. Yet, gun-control remains a routine issue for the Supreme Court. As the NRA fades into a barely coherent legal mess, it’s still an issue?

What is all this achieving?

The sum total of decades of Supreme Court abuse is precisely zero. No issues have been resolved, and nobody is moving forward. This is the antithesis of the original America, the progressive, forward-looking nation based on aspirations and a belief in the future.

Using the Supreme Court as a venue for political fantasies and real-world unrealities is hardly the best use of the court’s time. Many of these cases are so contentious, that it doesn’t even matter what the findings are. If people disagree sufficiently with these findings, laws will continue to be broken.

The war on drugs, arguably one of America’s all-time greatest law enforcement disasters, is a case in point. After all these decades, marijuana is being legalised around the country, and billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars have been wasted on enforcement.

The situation isn’t exactly helping the Supreme Court. The sheer level of inefficiency, with multiple endless hearings on the same subjects, is palpable. Anyone’s moral tantrum can become headline news, possibly affecting millions of people.

The credibility of the Supreme Court has been severely damaged bipartisan political appointments. The assumption is that appointees will simply find in favour of whoever appoints them. This isn’t the case in many instances, but the inference remains, to the detriment of the Supreme Court.

The Regressionist Crusade

Regressionism is based on a very strange mix of traditional values, media imagery, and disinformation on a generational basis. A strange mix of people, from organised criminals to religious zealots inhabits this strange, objective-less world.

Consider this:

  • The standard conservative position of deregulation simply makes laws unenforceable a major bonus to criminals. Prohibition-style legislation instantly creates black markets. Cigarettes are a case in point, worth billions to organised crime.
  • The other standard conservative position of law and order has incarcerated far more citizens than any other country on earth. Many of these incarcerations are for trivial offences, costing the country billions.
  • The xenophobic responses to migration, people smuggling, and similar issues a guaranteed never to achieve any kind of positive outcome.

Polarising every issue has simply generated a lot of quite unnecessary stress. The Supreme Court is caught in the middle of this mindless declaration of war by America on itself.

The question is whether or not the Supreme Court is now able to do its job. The original intention of the Supreme Court was at a final arbiter; now it’s a routine cast member in the eternal Washington soap opera.

How many of these cases are simple reiterations? Why are not these ancient matters put legally to rest? On what basis can you continue to contest prior Supreme Court findings for decades?

America the Disputable simply doesn’t work. It can’t. The right to dispute is not in question; the right to continue banging away on the same cases on ideological grounds, however, must be disputed.

The increasing irrelevance and antiquity and many of these issues is another problem. Trying to rewrite the world to meet the criteria of your great-grandparents is beyond absurd.

Regressionism is anti-future, anti-human, and anti-reality. These are hardly the ideal bases for court cases. The world cannot go backward. The way out of the mess is to go forward, not return to a world which barely existed at all, if ever.

Conservatives are treating the court like a commodities market. It’s easy to see a range of derivatives and the judicial equivalent of junk bonds on the horizon. The Supreme Court must act in its own defence to keep itself credible and effective.

For example – 18 Republican states were refused a hearing regarding the Affordable Care Act on the basis of “not having standing” to make a case. The sheer level of legal incompetence in this matter is astonishing, and it’s not the first time this has happened. The mere fact that 18 states simply didn’t know that, or if they did proceeded with the case regardless, is a case in point, excuse the expression.

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The other 32 states didn’t raise the matter at all. Why? Were they better legally informed, or simply didn’t have a problem? Yet 18 Republican states apparently did have an issue which just happened to be a major Republican whipping boy.

How else would you define political abuse of the Supreme Court? This Crusade to Nowhere must cease. It’s being carried out at the expense of other cases, other people with problems, and other major legal issues. The Supreme Court is supposedly a court of law, not a rest home for lobbyists and fanatics.

Written By

Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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