Friday, October 2, 2020

Supreme Injustice

You do not know where this is going, just from the title, do you? Oh, he’s going to write about the rush to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. No, he’s going to write about the verdict in the Breonna Taylor murder. The answer to both assumptions is “yes.”

The press and the pundits have revealed themselves to be tone deaf by not linking these two events. The Supreme Court is still viewed largely as all about decisions that affect privileged white folks, while individual cases at the local and state levels are of vastly more importance to people of color….at least unless and until they reach the Supreme Court, which they too rarely do. One decides what kind of life decisions you can make for yourself. The other decides whether or not you are, or were, entitled to live at all.

The Kentucky decision regarding Breonna Taylor’s assailants, and I don’t know what else to call them, regardless of whether they were representatives of law enforcement, completely devalued her life. That there was not a single shred of empathy is appalling. It is also evidence of no intent to hold police accountable for their behavior towards people of color. Ever. That we are not talking about how to elevate this issue to the level of something that should be addressed by the Supreme Court is telling.

No indictments, no appeals, obviously, but there should be another avenue for the victim and their kin, beyond civil litigation that does nothing but determine monetary damages. It is clear that this kind of preventable tragedy is going to keep on happening without intervention from some greater authority. Short of God, it would be the Supreme Court.

The high court (and I’m not talking about the basketball gymnasium in the same building) is entirely too politicized, and that is putting it politely. This particular vacancy could not have come at a worse time, when Republicans and Democrats are at such polar opposite ends of the spectrum, let alone right before a potential change in the party in power at the executive level. Fortunately, it is not lost on the press that to ram through a conservative nominee just prior to what could be another contested election would favor the incumbent President. That scenario alone should be the end of the debate: no nominee until after the inauguration.

Our judicial system is about one thing and one thing only: law. Please do not confuse the judiciary with religion, morality, or God. Those are all separate things. Religion is a human institution like business and government. Morality is an independent social construct to help inform our daily personal conduct towards others. One could argue that God, too, is a human invention, and It may be, but from my own perspective, I at least view It as an independent entity that does not play favorites, even between species. I digress.

The ideal nominee for a seat on the Supreme Court would be an individual with impeccable examples of personal conduct, who has respect for the history of the court, who has a depth of legal experience commensurate with the position, strong research skills, and a mind open to persuasion through constructive deliberation with their colleagues. They should be moral, yes, but not be a vehicle for imposing their definition of morality on the citizenry.

The ideal nominee realizes that respect for previous decisions is at least as important as the impact of what they rule for future generations. Lastly, but not least, they recognize their power to elevate the lives of minorities to the same level as those who enjoy white (male) privilege.

Justice and equality and ethics should all have the same definition. At the least the application of justice should have ethics as its driving force, and equality as the goal. That ethics so seldom plays a role in the process is heartbreaking and infuriating, at all levels of our judicial system. I’ll be paying more attention to the judges on my November third ballot this year.

1 comment:

  1. OK, so in the past, your family were slave holders and you are making up for it. I really don't care. Perhaps you could try some other form of escape.