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Can We Trust the Integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Protesters at the US. Supreme Court
Two important leaks at the U.S. Supreme Court. Will the truth ever be determined?

The New York Times is not always known for its even-handed reporting. Right leaning folks have long complained that the iconic newspaper leans left. Still, all Americans should be concerned about a Times report about an alleged Supreme Court Breach. No, not that one; the other one. Read on . . .

As most of our readers know, the Supreme Court is currently investigating the recent leak of the Dobbs decision overturning the Court’s landmark abortion decision, Roe v Wade. Apparently, however, in addition to that infamous leak, there was a previous leak, of the 2014 Hobby Lobby decision, that went in favor of a private company that, at the risk of paying huge fines, refused to use its health care plan to pay for drugs that could terminate life. The case stands for the proposition that private companies do not have to pay for something that they oppose for religious reasons. The Times suggests that the leak came from Justice Alito during a dinner he hosted for a right-wing donor.

Obviously, both of these decisions were important triumphs for the religious right. Sam Alito, the Justice who may have leaked both opinions, was appointed by George W. Bush, as was Chief Justice John Roberts. Clarence Thomas was appointed by President George H. W. Bush. Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett were appointed by Donald Trump, a one-term POTUS who lost the popular vote in two elections.

Considering its current 6-3 majority, do you honestly believe that this Supreme Court will ever get to the bottom of these leaks? Do they have any reason to care whether the public lacks confidence in their integrity? Lord Acton, a British historian in the early twentieth century coined the phrase, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” While I don’t have enough evidence to charge the current Supreme Court majority with corruption, it is a stain on the High Court that two such important decisions were leaked.

For the record, Alito denies the Hobby Lobby allegations. However, the person who brought the leak to Chief Justice Roberts’ attention is a prominent reverend of the religious right. That the religious right is the whistleblower reminds me that almost every witness who testified in front of the oft-criticized January 6th Congressional Committee was a Republican.

The United States Supreme Court essentially polices itself. Justices have their own “honor system.” However, they are attorneys, and the canons of ethics apply to all attorneys. Something to think about: Attorneys may be disbarred for violating canons related to undue influence and conflict of interest. So, why not Supreme Court Justices? Like Trump, are they above the law? If a Justice is disbarred, he or she could no longer serve as a Supreme Court Justice.

Elections have consequences. The vast majority of the American people opposes these two ‘right-leaning’ decisions and their right-wing ideology. Three of the current six majority justices were appointed by Trump. For those of you who say that it doesn’t matter who the president is, remember the Trump administration. It will haunt you for years to come.

Mark M. Bello is an attorney and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series, ripped-from-the headlines, realistic fiction that speak truth to power and champion the rights of citizens in our justice system. These novels are dedicated to the social justice movement. They educate, spark discussion and inspire readers to action. One of these novels, Betrayal High, was written in response to school shootings. For more information, please visit Mark also hosts the Justice Counts podcast with Lean to the Left editor & publisher Bob Gatty, presenting bi-weekly interviews focused on social justice.

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