The Supreme Court as Political Hacks

New Supreme Court justice Amy Barrett gave a speech not long ago wanting to assure the American public that “we [Supreme Court judges] are not political hacks.”  I was not assured.  

Portrait of former President Richard Nixon from the Library of Congress. Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash.

All I could think of when she uttered those immortal words was Richard Nixon saying before the TV cameras “I am not a crook.”  Turns out he was.  And his party learned so little from his crookery.

Justice Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court in a rushed confirmation while an election was in progress.  Does she have any misgivings about that rushed process?  Or the fact that it was accomplished in contrast to the previous president having been denied even a hearing for his nominee by the senate leader on the grounds that there was to be an upcoming election one year away

Barrett’s sole contribution to the abortion debate two days ago was to remind people that there are orphanages in which to drop off one’s unwanted babies.  Not exactly a deep insight or evidence that she and others on the supreme court are not political hacks.

After all, this Supreme Court has already done more damage to the foundations of American politics and survival than any other since the Dred Scott Decision which pretty much brought on the Civil War and guaranteed that white supremacy would find a home in the American consciousness for a very, very long time.

Let us list some of that damage:

  • Refusing to count all the ballots in the Florida election of 2000, thus putting into the presidency a man who lost the total popular vote of the country and whose administration failed to stop the 9/11 carnage and who invaded Iraq as a response (even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11) and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, thousands of Americans and one trillion American dollars.
  • Declared, in its “supreme” wisdom, that there was no longer any problem with voting rights in the south so the Voting Rights Act, achieved by the spilled blood and jailing of thousands of people, John Lewis among them, was no longer needed.  The result?  The situation we find ourselves in today where state after state is making laws excluding millions of citizens of color and young people from ready access to voting.
  • Refusing to address gerrymandering, thus leaving a wide open Wild West attitude toward reshaping congressional districts in every Republican-led jurisdiction in the country.
  • Telling us, in their “supreme” wisdom, that corporations are people.  (Isn’t it strange that the Catholic bishops have not spoken out strongly about the reductionism committed on personhood?  Yet they go on non-stop about how they have a right to tell women—all women not just RC women–what to do and not do with their bodies.  So non-stop that the Pope had to intervene recently and tell them to get a grip.  Of course these are the same bishops who elected an Opus Dei archbishop as head of their organization.)
  • Telling us it’s just fine that dark money flood our elections, what difference could that possibly make, after all?
  • Refusing, in their “supreme” wisdom, to stop a Texas law that encourages vigilantism to chase down women seeking an abortion and their partners and their taxi drivers and all, thus effectively ending a constitutional right to abortion guaranteed by the same supreme court for the past fifty years.

Ms. Barrett, I am sorry to inform you, but you are already political hacks.  And have been for years.  The horse is out of the barn.

Swearing in ceremony of the Supreme Court Justice, Amy Barrett. Originally posted to Flickr by the Trump White House Archives.

Speaking of hacks, does it get under your skin at all that you are there because of a man who told the world that he wants to grab women’s vaginas?  How do you explain that to your children as they get older?  Just asking.  

How do you in conscience deny your sisters the right to decide what to do with their own bodies and choose to turn their and your daughter’s bodies over to state and male politicians to make decisions for them?

Judge Barrett, it is still possible for you to change your mind and prove to the people of America that you are not, after all, a political hack.  It concerns Roe vs. Wade.  But time is short.

See Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Group photo with Trump nominated Supreme Court Justice, Amy Barrett. Originally posted to Flickr by Trump White House Archives.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you also find a likeness between Nixon’s claim that he is “not a crook” and Judge Barret’s declaration that the Supreme Court is not full of “political hacks”?  What evidence do you come up with, pro or con?

Recommended Reading

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

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15 thoughts on “The Supreme Court as Political Hacks”

  1. Avatar

    I’d like to share something that’s helping me to stay connected to todays DM and the journey into what Mathew Fox calls the via negativa, which is to juxtapose this next to Richard Rohr’s DM for today which is the journey into the via positiva. Personally I found that juxtaposing these two DM’s for today, and placing them side by side, has helped me to stay centered, in some kind of balanced way between the tension of these two pathways. For me, it’s kind of like carrying a lit candle of light with you, as you enter into a dark place. Hope that you check it out for yourself, especially if your someone like me, whom in all honesty is a bit afraid of the depths that darkness can take you down into. I’m someone whom needs a little light for the journey, so I don’t get lost.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you so much for your honesty. I believe you’re right, somehow we’ve all got to find our balance between the Via Negativa and Via Positiva–we can only take so much negativity before we get discouraged and come to despair our existence. We need the positive to help us to see the good things that make life worth living…

    1. Avatar

      I do not know if you are familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures in which prophets called their people to repentance, which is what Matthew Fox is doing, in my opinion. Just as John the Baptist did. Jesus overturned the money changers tables in the Temple, which was a direct criticism and attack on the political situation and corruption within the Temple, which reflected on the corruption of the Roman “system” of government and repression. Polis is the city, and what affects the city is a concern of all who call themselves people of faith. Matthew is speaking from faith and exposing the darkness in our country and the spiritual malaise that has spread, spiritual carnage he has called it in the past. The media and talking heads are not generally speaking from a spiritual point of view. I prefer to follow Matthew and others like Fr. Rohr who speak the truth to power. Sometimes, it is hard to hear.

  2. Avatar

    Rev Fox thank you for this most clarifying, succinct summary and perspective on the world today. I think this is the best piece I have read yet on the subject of the court. I feel we are still engaged in that age old struggle or battle if you will between good and evil.

  3. Avatar

    It means a lot to me when someone of spiritual life and wisdom, like M.Fox, does not hesitate to call out harmful political trash. As a Christian, I often feel guilty or judgemental when I give voice to my thoughts against the shocking evil powers. I believe the bottom line in criticism of political powers is: Are they acting, ultimately,in behalf of the marginalised people of the world?

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Dudley, Matthew does not hesitate to call out harmful political “trash.” He didn’t hesitate in speaking out against the Church when he was a Catholic priest, and he does not hesitate now to speak out as a citizen of the world!

    2. Avatar

      That is an excellent point. Our question should always be, cui bono, who benefits? And clearly, it is not the marginalised people of the world or even the majority of citizens of the US. In all the decisions that Matthew cites, it is clearly power and money and a minority who want to keep it that benefit.

  4. Avatar

    I am not sure if Matthew has included the one that just burns me up, equally with those described. It is the one that somehow distorts religious freedom into allowing a company to refuse contraception to its employees and thus undercut Obamacare. It was brought apparently by a group of nuns, for heaven’s sake!

    I have been concerned over the past few decades at the very intentional rolling back of laws protecting people and organizations like unions at the federal and state levels, to the point that we will soon be fully back into the 19th century of robber barons and the wild, wild west where vigilantes are not restrained.

    Painful as it is, we must face facts. Maybe we have become too complacent and need the waking up that the pandemic and political repression has brought. Maybe we need to realize that our comfort and way of life have been purchased at the cost of many others, including slaves here in the past and current slaves who produce so many of the goods we enjoy from other countries. Maybe we need a taste of what real suffering is. I don’t know.
    Someone said that hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up, which means that it is active and not passive. So maybe we are being called beyond our comfort zone to act not just for ourselves but for the good of all.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, So many good points… In the vain of your first paragraph I would also add instances where a gay couple was denied a wedding cake, when it was found out that the couple was two men, or a certain fast food chain that tried to use the freedom of religion clause to allow them to discriminate against gay people. I agree with both of your other paragraphs as well, but will just highlight the important point you bring up concerning slaves in other countries from whom we benefit. What does the “Golden Rule” mean in this instance? How do we show compassion for those who provide for us in other countries. Thank you for your comments!

  5. Avatar

    Matthew’s timeline revealing the gradual degrading of the institutions of American Democracy is in line with Mike Duncan’s analysis in his book THE STORM BEFORE THE STORM: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic [2017]. Duncan describes the decades leading up to the end the Roman Republic in which the Senate faced off with the Assembly [Congress] over issues of the great discrepancy of wealth between the elites and the poor, issues of who could vote, early versions of ‘gerrymandering’ in favour by the elites, citizenship and who could be full citizens with all of the associated rights, concerns about immigration, endless ‘profitable’ wars funding the military, the growing lack of respect for the very institutions that were designed to create a viable Republic and, near the end, violent civil unrest even in sacred precincts… not unlike January 6, 2021…

  6. Avatar

    Thank you Matthew, for calling out the Supreme Court and taking action. It inspires us all to be better citizens as we witness the methodical deconstruction of democracy.

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