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The Fourth Divided by Six Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

4 July 2022

Today isn't all about hot dogs and fireworks. Depending on where you live and who you spend it with, it's likely going to be about abortion, climate change, gun control, church-state separation, LGBTQ rights and voting rights, too. All subjects turned on their heads recently by the Supreme Court.

Spiral Dogs. The secret to a delicious dog.

In the past few days the Supreme Court has "erased the constitutional right to an abortion, narrowed the federal government’s ability to regulate climate-warming pollution and blocked liberal states and cities from barring most of their citizens from carrying concealed guns outside of their homes," as Jonathan Weisman wrote last week in the New York Times.

Unfortunately for the court, the country mostly isn't buying those decisions. The unfortunate part is that no Supreme Court has enjoyed such little legitimacy as this one.

The point of writing a decision is to persuade not to legislate. But when you lose legitimacy, it doesn't matter what the majority writes. It has lost our respect.

And how did that happen? Not all at once. But nail by nail.

You can go back to Bush v. Gore when it simply ignored the right to vote and halteds the recount in Florida giving Bush the presidency.

You can jump to Citizens United when the Roberts court fantasized that corporations are people who had a voice protected by the First Amendment.

These weren't just "egregiously" wrong. They were unpersuasive.

But it wasn't just decisions. It was also the machinations of Mitch McConnell, somehow still a senator from Kentucky. He concocted the policy that no president can put forward a nomination for the Supreme Court in an election year. And thus denied a vote on Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, holding the seat for Trump to nominate Neil McGill Gorsuch.

It got worse. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the end of Trump's term, McConnell pushed Amy Coney Barrett through just days before the election.

Either Gorsuch or Barrett is illegitimate. Using McConnell's own standard(s). Even the Senate majority leader can't have it both ways.

With both seated this term, the wheels came off the bus when this Taliban court, as Gloria Steinem described them recently, shredded "settled law" and what consensus still existed in this country in just a few days.

But wait, it gets even worse.

There's Clarence Thomas. Whose wife leaned in on the Big Squeal, trying to influence a variety of political operatives to overturn the vote of the last presidential election. Which he nevertheless doesn't feel requires him to recuse himself from related cases.

Could this court get any less legitimate? Of course it could. Six of its members have shown a real knack for illegitimacy. They no doubt have more tricks up the sleeves of their robes.

So fire up the grill and roll the dogs on it. And may your holiday conversation somehow steer clear of abortion, climate change, gun control, church-state separation, LGBTQ rights and voting rights.

Even if those topics weigh heavily on all our minds.

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