Judges, particularly those appointed to the Federal bench, are appointed to ensure that laws are followed. Their role is to interpret the law according to the Constitution. Political affiliations and religious beliefs are not supposed to influence a judge’s opinion. There is even a process in place to remove a judge who has run afoul of the legal process.
Except when it comes to the Supreme Court justice or other appointed Federal judges.
Apart from impeachment, there is no process in place to discipline a Supreme Court justice who has allowed their decisions to have political and/or religious motives. This method has only been enforced once in our history, although it was used to force the resignation of the one Supreme Court justice.
The leak of a draft of a Supreme Court decision has sparked outrage on both sides of the political aisle. Those on the left, who support a woman’s right to choose when it comes to specific healthcare needs are incensed that the Conservatives on the high bench are looking to overturn 50 years of precedent. Meanwhile, those on the right, (You remember them, don’t you? They are the ones screaming about “Cancel Culture”.), are demanding that those responsible for leaking the draft be punished.
Apparently, Supreme Court justices are allowed to maintain a veil of secrecy where their thought processes and decisions are above reproach. In other words, they are not accountable to anyone but themselves.
So, who judges the judges?
In a justice system dominated by ultra-Conservatives, there is little accountability. Judges who have been rated “not qualified” were repeatedly elevated to the Federal bench by the Trump administration. Worse yet, they are among the youngest magistrates ever appointed, meaning they will control the judicial landscape for decades to come.
How Did We Get Here?
To understand the breakdown of an impartial judiciary, you have to go way back to 2016 when then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to allow President Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland to have a hearing to confirm his elevation to the Supreme Court. McConnell reasoned that, it being an election year, the voters should decide whether a Liberal or Conservative justice should be seated. This opened the door to a slew of ultra-Conservatives being seated when Donald Trump assumed the office.
Of course, Trump outsourced the job of choosing who would be made a Federal judge to the Federalist Society; a group of Conservative lawyers who espoused strict adherence to the wording of laws. Because of this, there are imminent threats to the rights of the LBGTQ community, same-sex marriages and abortion rights.
These judges already have made an impact on the Biden administration. They struck down the mask mandates on public transportation. They refused to allow the Trump enacted policy known as Title 42, which keeps pandemic restrictions in place for immigrants, to lapse. And they are poised to strike down Roe vs Wade, virtually eliminating a woman’s right to an abortion.
Normally, judicial decisions are based on the rule of law. That’s no longer the case. These newly appointed judges aren’t even hiding the fact that their rulings are religiously motivated. The line separating church and state hasn’t just been blurred; it’s been entirely erased!
And there is nothing anyone can do to stop them. The upcoming midterm elections are poised to tighten the Republican stranglehold on our liberties for years. With no accountability, we are turning back the clock on so many hard-fought rights.
That is why it is so vitally important that we get out in force this November. Since impeachment is the only possible solution to removing these reactionary judges, it is imperative that Democrats remain in control of at least one of the legislative branches.
There needs to be some way we can judge the judges.