Section I, Article III of the Constitution vests the ultimate judicial power in the country to the Supreme Court. However, it does not set the size of the Court. The polarization of current politics has created a hunger for power that has made assembling a court that represents the diversity of the American population an impossibility. It’s a sad reality that politics triggers pathological opportunism and corruption in a significant number of people who become elected officials. Despite the brilliance and thoroughness of the Constitution, the passage of time has proven that corrupt political hypocrisy can exist and go unpunished. Republican Supreme Court Justices suspiciously profess their loyalty is not to their political party or the president who placed them on the Court. They profess loyalty to the rule of law, yet based on political or personal bias they bend the laws to ridiculous extremes to support the conservative agenda. Democrats also vote aligned with the ideology of their party, however they show more willingness to vote based on the law as it was intended and to demonstrate respect for established law. Unfortunately, Republican conservative ideology places limiting or taking away the rights of women and minorities as their main goal.
The current Supreme Court is an example of how a corrupt president, who breaks laws and governs only to retain power, can damage the integrity of the Court. With the freedom to stack the Court, a president can create a severe imbalance of ideologies resulting in laws that violate the rights of Americans who don’t share the politics of the majority. The idea of expanding the number of Justices is controversial. However, it may be a necessary change to mitigate the damage done by presidents who appoint specific judges known to have rigid, extreme personal beliefs. Expanding the Court could reduce the kind of partisan power-grabbing that allowed Trump to get three extreme conservatives seated during his one-term (thank God) presidency. Imagine a law that established the Court would be made up of 5 judges from each party at all times. If a tie vote occurred, the rulings from the lower courts would prevail. Power-grabbing by presidents and their parties has corrupted the functioning of the Supreme Court, so maybe drastic change is essential. As Sotomayor said regarding the conservative justices ruling on the heinous Texas anti- abortion law, “there is now a “stench” that may destroy the institution’s integrity. Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” she asked. “I don’t see how it is possible.”
During Trump’s presidency, he did not appoint one black judge to the federal courts. It cannot be because no black candidates were qualified to be elevated to life-long federal judgeships. His three Justice appointees were all white, Christian conservatives. Trump took the Republican party’s apparent rejection of diversity and expanded its white supremacy leanings to an extreme, hateful, divisive level. His Court appointees do not represent the true face of America, and the two men are not of the caliber of character and compassion demonstrated by outgoing Justice Breyer. Neil Gorsuch is a man who was the only Justice who refused to wear a mask in the chamber to protect his fellow Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, from potential exposure to COVID. Sotomayor has diabetes. His cold, anti-mask stance politicized him and weakened his honor. Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by a credible woman, however, the charge was minimally investigated because of partisan obstruction. He comported himself in a disrespectful manner during his confirmation hearings, at times demonstrating unhinged anger and a lack of self-control. It has been noted in the press that Trump delayed appointing Amy Coney-Barrett to the Court in hopes that when Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg died it would be better to have a conservative woman Justice in place when ” his” Court proceeds to overturn Roe v Wade.
With the current level of mistrust and low opinion of the Supreme Court by most Americans, the cruel, cold, or legally questionable rulings they make will likely not be obeyed. Ex- president, Donald Trump modeled a disrespect for the law by breaking it whenever it suited him. He lowered the bar on respecting the rule of law, so it is likely that if a politicized, super conservative majority Court rules to limit certain rights for women and minorities, people will find their way around those laws. The Court will no longer be seen as the final say on how Americans live their lives.