The Supreme Court is losing Ground

Hector Santana
4 min readApr 22, 2022

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Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash

The United States Supreme Court is losing support among the general public. For decades, the court was seen as the best way to get justice in America. It was a fair and seemingly impartial entity among the levers of government. Its rulings were often seen as course corrections on issues like civil rights, government overreach, police misconduct, and the battles among government branches.

Many think the Supreme Court has lost its way. Why is that you ask? Well, the politicization of the appointment process and how the court is being used by party politics has left much to be desired of the highest court in the land. The polarized “foosball” played by the parties particularly the Republican party has wounded the public’s perception of the court and its standing in the public. Several issues point to this trend including recent decisions by the court that have left a sour taste in our mouths. Let’s go back to the nomination of then-Judge Merrick Garland during the Obama administration. Judge Garland was nominated by President Obama to replace Justice Antonin Scalia only to be spurned by the republican senate led by Mitch McConnell. Senator McConnell in defiance of constitutional doctrine told the American public that the senate would not confirm Garland because of the upcoming election. As if that was ever a consideration in filling Supreme Court vacancies. This blatant disregard of standard operating procedures began the slippery slope of nominating candidates to the high court. Garland never got his chance at a confirmation hearing. He was denied the opportunity by the Senate Republicans. Where did they get the power to permanently delay a presidential nomination based on nothing but partisan politics? Your guess is as good as mine.

But it does not end there. The recent spate of state legislatures across the country overturning decades of precedent that the high court has allowed to stand has not gone over well in most communities. Legislation like the Texas and Mississippi ban on abortion, the Covid-19 debacle about mandates and face masks, the recent gerrymandering cases, and several cases involving discrimination that the court has refused to hear. None of those actions gave the court added credibility in the eyes of the public. It only exacerbated what was already a disconnect between the public and the court. As long as challenges to that legislation were not heard in the Supreme Court it affirmed the acquiescence of that legislation by the court and destroyed the appearance of an unbiased branch of government. Many thought the court was clearly showing interest by refusing to hear those cases.

Add to that the recent discovery that Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife had participated in or supported the January 6 storming of the US Capitol, and the outrage only grows. Supported by texts of her urging others to “overturn” the results of the election did not bode well for the court. After the revelations, many felt that Justice Thomas should have recused himself from any of the January 6th proceedings. But so far, Justice Thomas has said nothing about the controversy which only adds fuel to the fire. Then there is the court’s recent signal that they may be inclined to overturn Roe V. Wade by agreeing to hear a Mississippi case banning abortions after 15 weeks. There you start to see a disturbing trend. In Oklahoma, a total abortion ban follows the Texas ban on abortion that has been allowed to stand by the Supreme Court notwithstanding decades of precedent striking down infringements on Roe V. Wade. These laws are contrary to current Supreme Court doctrine, yet the high court has refused to intervene. Why? There are many theories, but one can be traced back to the “emergency orders” or shadow docket where a single justice can deny certiorari or standing in the court and effectively deny justice and constitutional protection to everyone affected. The shadow docket denied a challenge to the Texas abortion law and gave the go-ahead to a Trump-era anti-environment regulation that stands to hurt the environment. Yet the cases were never heard by the court. In doing so the Supreme Court is effectively taking away your rights without any redress or even so much as a hearing. The effect is chilling and offers a glimpse into how some of the justices are making a mockery of the court and destroying its good name. You don’t have to take my word for it just look into what is being said by scholars and constitutionalists all over the country and you will see that the court is losing ground even among its most ardent supporters. What is happening has shed light on the political activism of judges and exposed how the Supreme Court lacks controls designed to ensure insulation against partisan politics. Unfortunately, the court is following the polarized party politics of the land instead of holding steadfast to its constitutional role.

George Washington summed it up when he said, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterward the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” George was right on the mark with that statement, his thoughts have become our reality.

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Hector Santana

*Top Writer-Camping. I love to write about the great outdoors, survival and foreign policy. An avid outdoorsman and survival instructor.