Editorials, Opinion

Far-right Supreme Court has damaged Americans’ trust

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court made yet another controversial ruling that further solidifies its image as a political body rather than a neutral arbiter of the law.

In a 5-4 decision, with the only moderate left standing, Justice John Roberts, siding with the court’s liberals, the Supreme Court opted to allow a racially gerrymandered Alabama electoral map to remain in place through the 2022 election cycle.

 In this case, Alabama declined to redraw districts to create two Black-majority districts, despite census data indicating there were enough Black voters to necessitate such a change. Opponents claim Alabama’s map is in direct violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial gerrymandering. Specifically, this would be “packing” — keeping members of a voting bloc contained to one district, so the “group’s voting strength is weakened everywhere else,” in the words of the Brennan Center for Justice.

Much like Texas’ 6-week abortion ban, Alabama’s electoral map is clearly unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court has overridden the correct rulings of lower courts in order to allow these laws to stand until the Supreme Court has heard arguments and can make a final judgment.

Of course, in the meantime, thousands of people will suffer as their rights are infringed upon.

Is it any wonder that this is the least popular Supreme Court in the last two decades?

A Gallup poll conducted in September 2021 indicated 53% of people disapprove of the job the Supreme Court is doing. Forty-six percent of people have little to no confidence in the judicial branch under this Supreme Court, while a staggering 63% of people have only some or very little confidence in the Supreme Court itself.

We predict Gallup’s next poll will show an even higher disapproval rating, particularly in light of The New York Times Magazine’s exposé on Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife. Virginia “Ginni” Thomas has been a politically active figure for the duration of her husband’s term on the high court. She is currently a board member of the Council for National Policy, a conservative Christian organization with a powerful political arm that encouraged conservative leaders to contest the 2020 election’s results.

As The Times reports, Ginni also co-founded a group with Stephen Bannon that meets with “influential conservatives,” some of whom have matters before the Supreme Court. It’s also been revealed Ginni acted as a “peacemaker” to bring together different factions for the Jan. 6 rally that turned into a deadly insurrection. And afterwards, the CNP quickly circulated talking points to Republican lawmakers, instructing them to play down the events. Ginni even co-signed a letter condemning the House Jan. 6 committee, and when a subpoena for Trump White House records came before the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas was the lone dissenting vote.

Add this on top of scandal-ridden confirmation hearings, contentious shadow docket rulings, obvious hints of willingness to overturn precedent and lack of respect for constitutional rights, and it should be no surprise that nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t trust in what was once the United States’ most irreproachable branch of government. Under this minority-controlled court, the Supreme Court’s image as a body that exists above the filth and vitriol of politics is forever tarnished.