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Tyrannical Timeline: A SCOTUS Backstory

In 2014, I published a nonfiction tome, Raising Questions: Daring to Denounce the Religious Right to Defend Our Civil Rights, in which I pitted the Bill of Rights of our Constitution against the Ten Commandments and tenets of the Catholic Church.

The chapter on voting rights is prefaced with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: The war of freedom will never really be won because the price of freedom is constant vigilance over ourselves and our government.

In that chapter, I made the following observation:

When the Supreme Court appoints a president of the United States in contravention of the people’s right to vote, especially due to a state’s grievous error and not that of the people, it not only tramples on a citizen’s right to vote, it makes a dictatorship out of democracy and a ruin of a Republic.

My focus was Bush v. Gore, a decision of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2000 wherein he, a right-wing self-styled demi-god who often interspersed Catholicism in his legal opinions, declared George W. Bush the winner of a presidential election against Al Gore, who won the popular vote. The absurdity of hanging chads aside, another issue of this election in Florida involved disenfranchisement of Black voters. More on that in a bit.

Now that I’m writing novels, I recently read an article about weaving “backstory” into plots. The current travesty of a Supreme Court has a pertinent backstory of a deviously devised Republican plot. A downright tyrannical timeline beginning prior to the 2000 “anti-election,” roughly 30 years ago.

All roads therein lead to an autocratic, fanatical-religion-based, misogynist, right-wing conspiracy to stack the Supreme Court and eviscerate the rule of law as we know it.

Enter Clarence Thomas who has served on the Court since 1991—if you can call it actual service given it took him ten years to ask a question while he voted in lockstep with Scalia 98 percent of the time. George H.W. Bush appointed Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall, first Black man on the Court and crusader for civil rights.

Thomas, in stark contrast as the second Black associate justice, thanked Catholic nuns when he was sworn in. And one other pesky tidbit. He was accused of sexual harassment in the workplace and there was a publicized congressional hearing about it before his appointment.

The way accuser Anita Hill, a Black woman, was treated by Republican Senators and President Bush was appalling in its condescension and demoralizing in its clear indication of how women were and still are seen as second class citizens in the US.

Women are and were vilified for coming forward with their backstories of manipulative men. Men criminally out of control yet seeking to silence and control women while claiming their sanctimonious superiority.

Men who are not held accountable for their misdeeds because they make sure they call the shots—including stacking the Court with cretins of their ilk. Because Thomas was only the first of accused sexual predators to be appointed on this misogynistic timeline, with three more justices appointed by a “grab ‘em by the pussy” sexual predator in the White House.

Next up, Samuel Alito, appointed in 2005 by George W. Bush, the guy who Scalia handed the presidency. It’s particularly significant, and sickening, that Alito was picked to replace a retiring Sandra Day O’Connor, first and only female on the Court at that time.

O’Connor was appointed by Reagan and leaned right as a Republican, but that didn’t stop her from drafting the majority opinion in 1992 of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which, among other things, upheld the Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.

At issue was a Pennsylvania law commanding that a married woman seeking an abortion must sign a statement that she had notified her husband. O’Connor said this was unconstitutional. Her opinion stated:

The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.

Justice Scalia, predictably joined by Thomas, wrote a dissenting opinion in which he concluded that a woman’s decision to abort her unborn fetus is not a constitutionally protected “liberty” because the Constitution says nothing about it.

Sound familiar?

Justice O’Connor, noting the dissenting justices not-so-subtle desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, addressed the legal precept that used to be followed by the Court known as stare decisis, as in let the decision stand:

Overruling Roe’s central holding would not only reach an unjustifiable result under stare decisis principles, but would seriously weaken the Court’s capacity to exercise judicial power and to function as the Supreme Court of a Nation dedicated to the rule of law.

Ya think? O’Connor also said:

Men and women of good conscience can disagree, and we suppose some always shall disagree, about the profound moral and spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest stage. Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.

Absolutely spot on. Fast forward to a leaked draft opinion in 2022 by none other than O’Connor’s replacement Alito, and it’s patently clear why it aims to overturn both Roe and Casey. Because Justice O’Connor also said:

Constitutional protection of the woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy derives from the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. It declares that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” The controlling word in this case is “liberty.”

This raises a snag for Alito’s opinion stating the right to privacy is found nowhere in the Constitution. Because the word liberty certainly is. Plus, his personal moral code isn’t part of the Bill of Rights.

In this pathetic excuse for legal analysis, Alito is joined by three justices appointed by a president who lost the popular vote in 2016. This former guy who also lost the popular vote and the election in 2020 (more on that momentarily) was able to stack the Court with unqualified fanatics with the help of the alt-right Federalist Society and repugnant Republican Senate Majority (now minority) Leader Mitch McConnell.

First, Scalia died in Feb 2016, with eleven months left in the second administration of Barack Obama, our first Black president. In contravention of the Constitution, which states that the Senate shall give advice and consent, as in a hearing, for all Supreme Court nominees, McConnell refused to hold a hearing for Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland. A willful, blatant miscarriage of constitutional duty.

Hence, arch-conservative Republican Neil Gorsuch was appointed to SCOTUS in 2017, after the presidential election, and after the Senate’s Republican majority changed the Senate’s rules regarding nominees to remove the 60-vote threshold needed to end debate and proceed to a vote, circumventing what’s known as the filibuster.

Sound familiar?

Next up, Brett Kavanaugh after conservative Justice Kennedy suddenly retired, an act still strangely questionable. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault and comported himself like an irate, nasty disrespectful teenaged boy at his confirmation hearing, but at least he got a hearing. What he didn’t get was vetted by the FBI as the American public was assured would happen prior to his appointment.

Perhaps because the head of the FBI was also a member of the Federalist Society that’s been busy arranging to stack the Court for decades. A group of conservatives advocating for a “textualist” and “originalist” interpretation of the US Constitution. As in its original racist misogyny while blatantly ignoring the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Sound familiar?

The final knife to the heart of liberty was the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, weeks before the presidential election in 2020. But that didn’t stop McConnell from ramming through another unqualified hapless religious hack who’d never tried a case in an actual courtroom. This time a woman who is both a member of the Federalist Society and belongs to a religious sect that deems her subservient to her husband, Amy Coney Barrett.

It should be noted that in their confirmation hearings, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett all stated under oath that Roe v. Wade was establish law subject to the legal principle of stare decisis adhered to by the Court. Not one uttered statement regarding the right to privacy not being found in the Constitution or otherwise revealing dissatisfaction with established Supreme Court precedent of a woman’s bodily autonomy.

But let’s go back to how the big lie started, how all this became possible. Bush v. Gore.

In the presidential election of 2000, Florida attempted to, and succeeded in, denying African Americans the right to vote using a bogus list of felons. At the helm, Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

After Scalia conveniently declared Bush president, it was discovered that Database Technologies had scrubbed 57,700 legal voters from the Florida polls, most of whom were considered likely to have voted for Gore. At least 8,000 of those voters came from a list of Texas (not Florida) felons provided by a company called Choicepoint. The other problem was that these supposed felonies committed were mere misdemeanors that would not have prevented voting eligibility.

Not only were tens of thousands of citizens improperly barred from casting ballots in Florida, but there was no way those individuals could challenge the fraudulent list and still vote for their chosen candidate that day.

Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris was subsequently elected to Congress from 2003 to 2007.  See how that works? Harris had been the co-chair of Bush’s election campaign and served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. What’s more, Choicepoint contributed large amounts of money to Republican candidates in 2000.

It had become perfectly clear, as I noted in Raising Questions, that Republicans would stop at nothing to ensure their candidates’ victory, including commission of crimes against the people.

In the 2020 election, the former guy who had not won the popular vote in 2016, lost the election. To this day, he still claims it was stolen from him, inciting a violent insurrection to prevent the certification of votes. Through countless lost legal challenges, he and others erroneously claimed election fraud, voter fraud, ballot fraud, ballot machine fraud. They’re still claiming it, and it’s all a grand projection.

All of these things likely made a Bush win possible, along with Scalia’s SCOTUS help, in 2000. What are the odds these very machinations made a supposed Republican win possible in 2016? The duplicity is palpable when it comes to Republican cries of election fraud. Through their accusations, they have telegraphed exactly what they’ve been up to for the past 20 years, at least.

And here’s the kicker. The aim of this 2020 election challenge was to have the decision land in the lap of the Supreme Court once again, through manipulation of votes by secretaries of state, including Florida. Because it if worked once…it would likely work again. Especially now that the Court had five more justices handpicked by the Federalist Society to ensure Republican victory no matter what.

At the conclusion of Raising Questions, I ask:

Can we afford to instill with power those who would sell off liberty under the godly guise of litany? History has shown us that blind faith does not lead us into blind justice. Furthermore, justice is no longer blind in the objective sense, but instead often lacks insight derived from reason, a form of malevolent myopia of men that suppresses liberty in the darkness of ignorance without enlightenment born of a quest for knowledge—and the search for truth. Self-evident truth.

Is it not religion that instills this lack of reason while suppressing enlightenment in those who are legally as opposed to morally bound to seek liberty versus follow liturgy? A smug superiority that hurls justice heedlessly down a slippery slope, throwing caution to subjective winds and burying objectivity of the law under a rockslide of right-wing righteousness.

The goal of a secular democratic nation should be integrity. The difference between right and wrong as opposed to right and left, and the difference between free will and involuntary servitude. No branch of our democracy should cave to the cacophony of religious fanaticism when it should be standing tall with compassion, civility and citizenship.

Religion should have no bearing on civil rights provided by an American Constitution.

Does any of this sound familiar in 2022? Is anyone listening? Because they weren’t listening or heeding 30 years ago, or in the year 2000. Time to wake up and smell the treason, the permeating stench of the no-longer-Supreme Court. There will be no victory without vigilance and vindication.

The twist to this winding road of a backstory is it’s really about power and greed under the guise of religion.  Suppressing the vote and campaign financing running amok in order to produce a result in contravention of the will of the people. Because it is about preserving power for rich white males.


2 thoughts on “Tyrannical Timeline: A SCOTUS Backstory”

  1. This is something that has been going around our office and we’ve been talking about. And the fact that these conservatives have tossed around Socialist, Communist, Fascist and Nazis and everything else so that no one knows the meaning of the words anymore, they are just sounds, really scares me.
    I was talking with my cousin a couple days ago on Facebook, I like getting him railed up sometimes. We were talking about a meme I had posted about allowing children to have guns vs allowing them to read books. i pointed out that the above were the ones to ban and burn books, we continued on for a while then he mentioned that he couldn’t find a children’s book on the conservative law makers for children… but liberal ones were all over the place. I said that was because conservative law makers couldn’t (or didn’t want) to bring their works down a child like leavel so they could read them, they weren’t important enough, couldn’t understand what they were reading anyway. They wanted Their life to be in lofty words, for adult minds that think like theirs. That was when he called me a Nazi. That is when I laughed and said I had to get back to work.

    Nobody knows these are NOT all the same, and can function with a Democrat/capitalism side, but most are Totalitarianism Rule. They just know what they have been spoon feed and are afraid of any new idea that comes down the pike to them.

    thank you for an enlightening and wonderful post.

    1. Lauryne Wright

      Thanks, Melissa, and thanks for sharing your experiences. It can be exasperating trying to have a rational conversation with those who don’t choose to deal in facts and reality. Keep up the good fight.

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