Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Supreme Court

America is a legal oligarchy. Lawyers and Judges run this country and we need to stop pretending this isn’t as bad as it really is.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, notorious progressive Justice behind decisions as monumental and controversial as Roe vs. Wade, has died. Upon her death, thousands of grieving progressives flocked to the Supreme Court building to mourn her passing. Many in the intelligentsia media class felt devastated, even taking to Twitter to express their shock and outrage. For about fifteen minutes, everything seemed alright: people on both sides of the aisle were respectful and courteous.

Then, everyone remembered what timeline we’re all living in. Immediately, the online world caught fire once progressives and conservatives realized that Pres. Trump would have the opportunity to push through his third Supreme Court Justice in his first term, and only months before the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, I sat, sipping my tea, watching the chaos unfold.

I find it humorous how wrapped up people get with the Supreme Court, specifically, progressives. These are the same people who want to dismantle the heteronormative white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy, aka all power systems in existence, and yet, here they are writhing in grief over a woman who held more power than almost anyone in the federal government. It seems that even the revolutionaries can’t escape the allure of power, no surprise there.

Americans have a strange habit (or compulsion), to immediately react to any talk of royalty with a quick, guttural jab of “We hate Kings over here! No royalty in America, no way!”

And yet, we basically worship figures such as RBG (Just Google Notorious RBG). Ginsburg’s status was very much Queen-like. She was not elected, she had no term limit (even after becoming gravely ill), and her words were law. The comfort that many Americans feel with the Court is curious, and must be challenged.

If we are truly at a point where the Republic is lost if the Supreme Court tips one way or another, then I’m sorry to say, we have already lost. Just imagine trying to explain this scenario to Alexander Hamilton or George Washington, who saw the Court as so inconsequential that they put it in the basement of the Capitol building. They would have laughed at those who felt it necessary to hold a vigil for RBG, and they would have immediately recognized the religious overtones it carries.

I am not trying to disparage Ginsburg, I am saying I refuse to worship her. I do not believe in submitting (in the Islamic sense) to a human power, especially one who serves in the government. This goes for the ridiculous pageantry of funerals held in the Capitol as well, such as when John McCain died. I do not believe that we should worship our government leaders, I think they should be treated as flawed human beings, just like everyone else. They are not Gods, people!

Devoting yourself to a person will never, ever end well. Our country knew this, and this is why George Washington refused to turn the Presidency into a dictatorship. People are not gods, and they should never be treated as such. Doing so goes directly against the very core of Liberalism, the founding ideology of this country (Although this, too, might be wrong)

The Supreme Court is itself an incredibly dubious institution. Based solely on the Constitution, the Court’s jurisdiction exists only in original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction, neither of which grant any power in asserting power over the Legislative or Executive Branches. Judicial Review, or the ability of the court to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress, was not added until 1803 in the case Marbury v Madison. After this monumental case, the Supreme Court gave itself the power to determine if laws were constitutional or not.

On the surface this feels reasonable, after all, who will act as a check on the federal government if not the courts? Upon deeper analysis, this ability is in fact the most powerful lever of control that exists in the federal government. This lever is not wielded by an elected body, but by legal oligarchs who answer to no one.

Take Roe v Wade, for example. We can all agree: the Constitution has no mention of the unborn, of abortion, or of the role of the state in matters of pregnancy. And yet, the Supreme Court was the body that enshrined abortion as a woman’s right. Whether you agree or not, it is shocking that a decision as politically charged as abortion would be decided by oligarchs, and not popular vote.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical case before the Supreme Court. The plaintiff claims that they have the right to own nuclear bombs, since the Second Amendment makes no limits on what “arms” mean. A public opinion poll reveals that 30% of the American public believes that it is a right to own nuclear weapons, while 70% do not. What would happen if the Supreme Court decided that yes, nuclear bombs are covered by the Second Amendment?

Congress could pass a law banning their sale, but the Court could turn around and declare it unconstitutional, nullifying it. Who checks the checkers?

You shouldn’t support oligarchy just because it agrees with you most of the time.

Be skeptical of all authority, and don’t place your “faith” in glorified bureaucrats.