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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) meets with Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (2nd L) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) February 1, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It's Time to Unpack This Right-Wing Court

It's time to right the wrong and restore legitimacy to the Supreme Court by counterbalancing the illegitimate appointments of Gorsuch and Barrett and appointing four new, fair justices.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been packed with right-wingers in contradiction of constitutional norms, majority opinion and any regard for honest and fair play. It has lost all pretensions of nonpartisanship or respect for judicial independence. Contrary to Chief Justice John Roberts' description of justices as "neutral umpires calling balls and strikes" the court majority are now hard-core right-wing politicians wearing bright red shirts under their black robes.

The way to restore the rightful role of the Supreme Court is to add four new justices to nullify the seats on the court stolen by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Republicans refused to even consider a nominee forwarded by Barack Obama when a seat on the court opened up with almost a full year left in the term of a president elected by a strong majority vote. Neil Gorsuch should never have been given that seat on the bench. Then the GOP, totally contradicting their own arguments, confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the court when tens of millions of ballots had already been cast in the presidential election that Joe Biden won by more than 7 million votes. Barrett should not be on the Supreme Court as well.

The way to restore the rightful role of the Supreme Court is to add four new justices to nullify the seats on the court stolen by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Notably, the number of Supreme Court justices is not specified in the Constitution and has been changed numerous times during our nation's history.

Some might say reversing McConnell's thievery would harm the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, but this court has precious little legitimacy to be harmed. The public's faith in the court has plummeted with the conduct of the current rightist majority and the scheming of McConnell. A recent Gallup poll found approval of the court has hit a new low, and a YouGov survey reported that public confidence in the court has dropped by an astounding 40% since Barrett's confirmation.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal summed the situation up well: "I think these last few years have really been very dangerous and potentially devastating to the Supreme Court's credibility because the public is seeing the court as increasingly political, and the public is right."

The 6-3 conservative majority on the court is the successful culmination of a decades-long aggressive campaign by the Federalist Society, financed by the Kochs and other right-wingers, to seize control of the judicial branch in order to impose the will of the minority on the majority. Five of the six right-wingers were appointed by presidents whom a majority of Americans voted against and were confirmed by senators who represented a minority of the American population.

The actions of the rightist justices have further undermined public respect for the court. They have been making the rounds of partisan and ideological gatherings, engaging in ethically questionable activity and issuing controversial rulings without public hearings or justification.

The rightist court is increasingly ruling through the shadow or midnight docket, with decisions released late at night without the usual and expected hearing process or even a formal opinion. The increasing use of the shadow docket has reached such extremes that even conservative Chief Justice Roberts has publicly criticized the actions of the five judicial extremists. These rulings have used to impose gerrymandering, wipe out environmental safeguards and eliminate health care protections.

According to Professor Stephen Vladeck, a nationally recognized expert on the federal courts, "What is so troubling about this trend is … the Court seems increasingly untroubled by deciding big questions that affect lots of people this way."

It's time to right the wrong and restore legitimacy to the Supreme Court by counterbalancing the illegitimate appointments of Gorsuch and Barrett and appointing four new, fair justices.

© 2021 The Capital Times

Spencer Black

Spencer Black served for 26 years in the Wisconsin state legislature. He was chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the Assembly Democratic leader. Since leaving the Legislature, Black has been vice president for conservation for the national Sierra Club and adjunct professor of planning at UW-Madison.

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