The Supreme Court of the United States sits on the bench of public opinion

When the anti-abortion organization Fe y Libertad hosted the thunderous rally on Friday where Donald Trump called the Democrats "left-wing fascists" and Liz Cheney, the Republican who attacks him the most, "crazy," the representative of the host group thanked the former president for having fulfilled "his word to appoint conservative and pro-life judges.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
24 June 2022 Friday 12:10
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The Supreme Court of the United States sits on the bench of public opinion

When the anti-abortion organization Fe y Libertad hosted the thunderous rally on Friday where Donald Trump called the Democrats "left-wing fascists" and Liz Cheney, the Republican who attacks him the most, "crazy," the representative of the host group thanked the former president for having fulfilled "his word to appoint conservative and pro-life judges." The presenter thus alluded to one of the most important and difficult legacies of the Trump era: his appointment of three right-wing magistrates who, along with many others who were already there, form an invincible conservative majority of 6 to 3 in the Court Supreme; the majority that, except for surprise, is about to overthrow, in days or weeks, the right to abortion here in force for 49 years.

The forecast of overthrowing the doctrine that enshrined said right in 1973 with the Roe vs. Wade met in early May through what was the first and surprising leak of a draft resolution in the entire history of the Supreme Court.

The unusual information leak, which in Spain would have been one in a million, caused a strong scandal with political derivations. Suspicions of an attempt to pressure and change the minds of the five judges in favor of suppressing the free termination of pregnancy proliferated. Some magistrates suffered escraches in front of their houses, and, ten days ago, the police arrested a young armed man who confessed to having planned the murder of one of them, Brett Kavanaugh.

The outbreaks of tension in the demonstrations organized before the Supreme Court by groups opposed to and in favor of the draft sentence led the Washington authorities – highly publicized by the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 – to install a two-meter-high fence around the courthouse.

The defenders of full reproductive rights not only cried out against the Supreme Court's plan but also against the 26 anti-abortion laws recently approved or in preparation in as many other states of the country. Thirteen of them are called "activation" and are scheduled to come into force when the Supreme Court lifts the ban. Some foresee harsh prison sentences for women who abort and those who help them.

Added to the broad social and political unrest against the Supreme Court's veto project is concern about its also imminent ruling on the right to own and bear arms: an equally sensitive issue at this time after the Uvalde massacre, which resulted in the death of 19 children and two teachers, and the killing of 10 people in Buffalo for racist motives. The Court will soon resolve an appeal by two individuals, plus the National Rifle Association, against the restriction by which for more than a century the state of New York only allows those who prove that they face a danger to his life.

In the context of maximum public respect that the Supreme Court enjoyed until a few years ago, the resolutions on abortion and weapons would have generated debate, without further ado. Today the picture is much more disturbing. The High Court is now suffering from a crisis of legitimacy that has collapsed public trust in the institution. “Will this court survive the pestilence generated by the public perception of the politicization of justice?” progressive judge Sonia Sotomayor wondered during the abortion hearing in December.

The Republican blockade of the candidate for judge proposed in 2016 by President Barack Obama, now Attorney General Merrick Garland; the bitter political fight over the appointment of Kavanaugh in 2018, who was investigated by the FBI for allegations of sexual assault; and the increasingly conservative line of the resolutions by virtue of the majority of such trend reaffirmed with the appointments of Trump help to understand the fact that in just two years that public confidence in its most important judicial body has exceeded 70% to 50% or less. And that the index of those who see it as too politicized now rises to 74%, according to recent polls.

On top of that, the negative opinion of the Americans regarding the Supreme Court could have worsened in recent days as a result of the news about the pressure that the wife of conservative judge Clarence Thomas, Virginia Thomas, exerted in favor of annulling the 2020 presidential elections. The committee investigating the assault on the Capitol plans to call her to testify. It is what the court lacked, now sitting on the bench of public opinion.

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