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bridging the divideRoe V Wade newspaper headline with red Overturned stamp on the United States Constitution

Introduction

bridging the divide

Bridging the divide between the people and recent Supreme Court decisions may be impossible unless the people reject the extremism of the Republican MAGA influence on the court. Already reeling from conservative justices’ alleged disregard for judicial ethics, this court is also the first to roll back rights that were granted by Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court. Let’s look at some specifics of the Court’s disregard for the majority views overturned by this Court.

The Supreme Court of the United States, as the highest judicial authority in the land, plays a crucial role in shaping the nation’s legal landscape. However, there is growing concern that the Court is out of touch with most of the American people, particularly in decisions that erode established rights. This editorial essay delves into six notable instances where the Supreme Court’s behavior has seemingly diverged from public sentiment. Furthermore, it explores potential solutions to bridge this gap and restore the Court’s alignment with the will of the American people.

Bridging the Divide: The Erosion of Voting Rights

One glaring example of the Supreme Court’s detachment from the American people is the decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The Act was enacted to safeguard against racial discrimination in voting practices, ensuring that all citizens have equal access to the ballot box. However, the Court’s ruling effectively weakened these protections, disregarding the widespread recognition that ensuring fair and equal voting opportunities is essential for a thriving democracy. This decision failed to reflect the nation’s commitment to equal access to the franchise, leaving marginalized communities vulnerable to discriminatory voting practices.

Bridging the Divide: Limiting Access to Reproductive Rights

In recent years, the Supreme Court has handed down decisions that restrict access to reproductive rights, despite most Americans supporting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) and June Medical Services v. Russo (2020), the Court imposed burdensome regulations on abortion providers, making it increasingly difficult for women to exercise their constitutional right to choose. These rulings ignore the fact that reproductive freedom is a deeply personal matter and fail to reflect the evolving social norms and beliefs surrounding women’s reproductive health.

Bridging the Divide: Rolling Back LGBTQ+ Protections

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018) exposed a disconnection between the Court and public sentiment on LGBTQ+ rights. While the Court narrowly decided the case, it failed to provide adequate protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. This decision disregarded the growing acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals and undermined their right to equal treatment under the law. It failed to acknowledge the widespread support for LGBTQ+ rights and the desire for inclusive policies that promote equality and fairness.

Bridging the Divide: Curtailing Workers’ Rights

In Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis (2018), the Supreme Court delivered a decision that curtailed workers’ rights to join in addressing workplace grievances. The Court ruled that employers can enforce arbitration agreements that prevent employees from pursuing collective legal action. This decision disregards the desires of most Americans who believe in fair labor practices and the ability of workers to collectively seek redress for workplace injustices. It undermines the power of collective bargaining and limits the avenues available for workers to challenge unjust employment practices.

Bridging the Divide: Weakening Environmental Protections:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency (2015) revealed a disconnect with the concerns of the American people regarding environmental preservation. The Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had failed to adequately consider costs in its decision-making process, thereby weakening efforts to regulate harmful pollutants. This decision ignored the public’s desire for robust environmental safeguards and sustainable policies. It failed to acknowledge the urgent need to address climate change and protect the health and well-being of current and future generations.

Bridging the Divide: Limiting Gun Control Measures

The Supreme Court’s rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) expanded the interpretation of the Second Amendment, restricting the ability of lawmakers to implement meaningful gun control measures. These decisions disregarded most Americans who support common-sense gun regulations aimed at protecting public safety while respecting individual rights. The Court’s decisions failed to reflect the growing concerns over gun violence and the need for responsible gun ownership.

Possible Solutions

Judicial Nominations

Ensuring the appointment of justices who demonstrate a broader understanding of societal changes and empathy towards marginalized groups can foster a more representative Court. By diversifying the Court’s composition, it becomes more likely that the justices will reflect the perspectives and concerns of the American people.

Public Engagement

Encouraging public discourse and engagement in the judicial process is vital. Providing opportunities for citizens to participate in the selection and confirmation of justices and to express their views on important cases can help raise awareness, build consensus, and hold the Court accountable to the will of the people.

Diverse Bench

Increasing diversity among Supreme Court justices, including representation across gender, race, and professional backgrounds, can bring a wider range of perspectives to the Court. A more diverse bench ensures that a variety of viewpoints are considered when making decisions that impact the lives of all Americans.

Term Limits

Implementing term limits for Supreme Court justices can promote regular turnover and prevent justices from becoming detached from the evolving values of the American people. This measure encourages fresh perspectives and allows for a more dynamic Court that remains in tune with the societal changes of the times.

Constitutional Amendments

Advocating for constitutional amendments that explicitly protect key rights, such as voting rights and reproductive rights, can safeguard these principles from the changing dynamics of the Court. By enshrining these rights in the Constitution, they become less susceptible to reinterpretation and erosion.

Strengthening Lower Courts

Bolstering the authority and resources of lower courts can distribute the judicial workload more evenly and provide additional checks and balances on Supreme Court decisions. Empowering lower courts can help ensure that a broader range of perspectives and interpretations are considered, minimizing the potential for the Supreme Court to become disconnected from public sentiment.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court of the United States holds immense power in shaping the nation’s legal framework. However, its decisions must reflect the evolving values and aspirations of the American people. By recognizing the Court’s occasional disconnect and implementing the aforementioned solutions, we can work towards a more representative judiciary that upholds the rights and values of all citizens. Through these efforts, we can bridge the divide between the Court and the American people, ensuring a harmonious alignment that strengthens our democracy and promotes justice for all.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

2 thoughts on “Bridging the Divide: The Supreme Court’s Disconnect”
  1. […] A Constitutional Revolution has infected the Supreme Court of the United States; engineered by the far right wing and the packing of the court with dogmatic justices. No longer can one argue that Justice is BLIND. No, now we may simply call justice by the rule of dogma. The entire core of the idea of the rule of law is turned on its head as it lands with disbelief on the body politic of the United States. Out-of-step dogma now rules as if to suggest that law is a sovereign command rather than an evolving democratic exercise of reason and compromise. This trend does not bode well for the United States. […]

  2. […] No, not this court. Surely they comprehend that they are out of sync with the majority of Americans, or perhaps not. Denial ain’t just a river in Africa. But either way, this conservative (and I use that term broadly albeit the conservative majority borders on something akin to the morality police, a Taliban phenomenon.) majority seems hell-bent on forcing their religious beliefs on the rest of us. […]

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