A Lawyer Responding to Yesterday’s DM on SCOTUS & Dread

I do not often respond to the “Comments” section of our Daily Meditations, but today I choose to do so because the stakes are exceptionally high. 

“‘Republicans in robes’: SCOTUS critics see politics behind action on Trump immunity case.” Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern and The Nation justice correspondent Elie Mystal discuss with MSNBC‘s Alex Wagner. 

I thank Kenneth Larry Matheny for his Comment yesterday to my SCOTUS/Dred Scott DM and want to share it because I think it names much of the pain and suffering I and many other Americans are feeling due to current legal professionals in America, including clearly the once Supreme Court.

Matheny tells us he is a retired lawyer but has been deeply concerned about his profession for some time.  There is much to learn from people speaking about their own professions, the via positivas and the via negativas, of our work worlds.    

Work is such a central dimension to our spiritual lives which is why I wrote my book The Reinvention of Work 30 years ago.  Spirituality and work are bed partners.

Legal scholar/civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill joins MSNBC‘s Jen Psaki to discuss the direction evolving within today’s conflicted Supreme Court.

And since the legal profession affects us all—and certainly at the level of judgeships and law making and interpreting and especially at the level of SCOTUS–it is important to hear from those within the profession. 

Matheny informs us that “historically the court has been reactionary,” and “Dred Scott is the worst decision ever.”  He also deplores the SCOTUS decision that upheld concentration camps for Japanese citizens; and decisions undermining labor unions; and then we have Citizens United, which struck a perhaps fatal blow to democracy.

Let us pause there.  SCOTUS, under the headship of the current chief justice, “struck a perhaps fatal blow to democracy” with Citizens United.  This is surely worth our deep meditation.  And it links to the DM of yesterday which responds to a ruling that, because deliberately delayed to late April, could render voters this year in the dark as to whether a presidential candidate committed insurrection.  Strike number two against democracy in John Robert’s court?

Don Caron sings a blistering critique of the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court. Parody Project

Says this retired lawyer: As I watch the judge in Florida and SCOTUS deliberately delaying the Trump trials, I have to say that I no longer have any respect for the federal courts.  This is a profound confession from a retired lawyer—it is news we all need to meditate on.

Indeed, it seems to be one of the major signs of our times concerning the moral and spiritual bankruptcy infecting our professions.  

To be continued. 


See Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time.

Also Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

Banner Image: “SCOTUS for Sale” Collage: Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wikimedia Commons; For Sale sign photo by Lidia Nikole on Unsplash


Queries for Contemplation

What are you learning from Matheny’s critique of his own profession?  How does it encourage you to look at critiquing your own work world?  Do you see Citizens United as a “near fatal blow to democracy?”  Why or why not?


Recommended Reading

The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time

Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics


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5 thoughts on “A Lawyer Responding to Yesterday’s DM on SCOTUS & Dread”

  1. Avatar

    The American electorate gets what it deserves, both politically in legislation and in the legal courts. The two party system has outlasted its usefulness, other than to the lobbyists that work both sides of the street, and there has become a ‘black and white’ polarity with divisiveness at an all time high. The country needs a wider political spectrum, one that exists in lots of democracies, and a wider set of views that are representative of an educated and informed electorate. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    The Citizens United decision clearly has led to political bribery by making it
    Legal for corporations and extraordinary wealthy individuals via dark money
    groups to funnel money to politicians and buy influence.
    Yes, It is destroying democracy. It is antithetical to justice and fundamentally
    deeply unspiritual.

  3. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson MD

    “Citizens United” (a 180 degree opposite euphemism) is a terrible decision and dark money IS destroying democracy. The power of corporate and ultra-wealthy people to twist the system to their benefit, at the expense of the country, is now blatantly obvious. Billions of dollars get spent to protect and expand the industries which make weapons, which is our primary export. Most Americans do not read much anymore, and get their “news” from the purveyors of amusement and scandalous commentaries. But the worst thing now, I believe, is what is happening thanks to SCOTUS, to protect a criminal ex-president, who ran an insurrection which was almost successful, and give him a chance to complete the turning of the country into a dictatorship, with no checks and balances. I have been reading Bessel Van Der Kolk’s ground-breaking and coherent research on trauma. His brilliant book is the result of a lifetime of working with victims of abuse, especially child abuse. I now understand more deeply, that people who think Mr. Trump is “good” are people who think being treated with contempt and derision is NORMAL. In households where there are many factors contributing to abuse, including alcoholism, addiction, rage-aholic behavior, physical violence, and failure to give a child safety and security emotionally, the result is to raise people who accept that contempt and derision and “voicelessness” is normal. These are the “base” for Mr. Trump.

  4. Avatar

    I think that dark money has always existed and we are just more aware of it now, perhaps. In my lifetime, Joe Kennedy bought the election for JFK, as Papa Bush bought the election for his son. The Citizens United decision just brought it out into the open and “normalized” it. I remember talking to an old political hand 4 years ago, and he reminded me that Roy Cohn (of the McCarthy “Hearings” that destroyed so many lives) was a close advisor to Trump’s father and taught him to twist the system of law to his advantage by constantly bringing his “enemies” to court to tie up resources and put off any decisions that might be to his disadvantage. You can see that the current Trump learned the lesson well. Other would be dictators like the governor of Florida follow the same playbook. Laws are passed that are clearly against both the state and federal Constitutions, and most will not be changed because challengers run out of money and will. But I take hope in the organizations and individuals who work to stem the tide. And in prophets like Matthew who keep us informed.

  5. Avatar

    Clarence Thomas, a man in an interracial marriage, is passionate about originalism, which treats the words of the founding fathers’ and their contemporaries’ laws as gospel. If the death penalty was constitutional when the founders wrote it, it must be preserved as inspired law. If race-consciousness was almost unheard of to most of the founders, then we must also follow their example and ban affirmative action (even though Thomas himself benefited mightily from it). The blatant flaws in “originalism” are ignored. To pretend to climb inside a” unified” group-mindset of founders (who were a contentious, passionately disagreeing lot) and claim to be producing “inspired, pure, unbiased law,” based on the thinking of that supposedly brilliantly enlightened group of rich white men who lived 250 years ago, is bonkers. Those “dear” founders would have enslaved Thomas, outlawed his marriage, denied him the ability to vote (much less be a judge), confiscated his property holdings, and demanded that Ginni be married to a white man who would then own her body and property, to do with as he wished, and of course she, too, would never be able to vote. “Originalism” denies the evolution of society’s morals and values, and erases all the laws, precedent, and Constitutional rights added over the last two centuries. It’s a demand to live in a past that we proudly moved away from,

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