When learning about the Supreme Court, they are always treated as a monolith. The separate justices were never really discussed, unless they were remarkable, or upon their deaths.
Obviously, this is not the case any more. Every Justice on the Supreme Court not only has a name, but some sort of recognisable personality…and sadly, an agenda. Growing up, I always felt that judges were imbued with extreme impartiality; the paragons of fairness. I figured that was the only way that they would have the ability to judge a situation.
The first time I was disabused of that notion was the struggle for Chief Justice Roberts’s position. I admittedly distrusted President Bush, so I would not trust any of his appointments. Chief Justice Roberts, while resolutely conservative, is more moderate than expected. Every other Supreme Court appointment has been a struggle of political proportions.
NPR plays a huge part in my interest in the Supreme Court; Nina Totenberg’s relaying of the arguments is one of my favourite things during All Things Considered and Morning/Weekend Editions. She reads the arguments, only changing her intonation when asking a question. I do yell at the radio when I am particularly incesed. Perhaps I should have been a lawyer.
That being said, I yelled a lot at Jusice Scalia’s arguments and questions. His most infuriating argument was during Fisher vs University of Texas, where he implied that black students weren’t intelligent enough to go to universities:
There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.
Not to mention his dissent of Obergefell v. Hodges, which decided the legality of same-sex marriage. Justice Scalia argued that because it would have been illegal during the time of the writing of the Constitution, it should be illegal today. Being homosexual would have been illegal during the writing of the Constitution, which is utterly ridiculous.
So, when one says one must not speak ill of the dead, I’m afraid I will have to keep silent on this Justice and his bigotry.
Until next time, then. – SDM
Photo by JC Fitz