Today’s Supreme Court
By Jim Thompson
Conservatives should be happy with today’s Supreme Court. I must admit, there was a time when I thought Chief Justice John Roberts was playing politics (remember the decision on Obamacare where it appeared he switched sides at the last minute?).
Other than Moore v. Harper, where the Court created new law from the straightforward “Elections Clause” of the US Constitution, this past season of the Court upheld many foundational principles our society must follow to function in a clear and unambiguous manner.
From separation of church and state (303 Creative LLC v. Elenis) to disallowing discrimination (Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College) to upholding enforceability of contracts (Biden v. Nebraska), this Court got it right.
Civilization is based on clear rules perceived fair by the majority. It makes no difference what government style (republic, democracy, socialism, communism, dictatorship, kingdom), when the majority feels the rules are onerous, severely unfair, or they have nothing to lose, they take to the streets.
The Supreme Court is the final arbiter in promulgating decisions that keep the majority off the streets. It is as simple as this.
Does this mean everyone is happy? Of course not. More on this later.
Matters which keep the majority satisfied or are so minor they never make it to the Court simply never see the inside of the Court.
What continues to be disturbing is the reaction of the minority in cases of high visibility. Last year’s ruling on Roe v. Wade resulted in near permanent protestors at the homes of Supreme Court judges. The ruling in 303 Creative LLC vs. Elenis has resulted in death threats to Plaintiff Lorie Smith.
For many decades now, people have taken to the streets to bring attention to unjust conditions. Hillsboro itself has a history of this going back to Mother Thompson (no relation) and the Temperance Movement, all the way up through the famous Lincoln School Mothers.
What has changed in recent decades has been, nationally, the willingness to escalate to the protest level matters that are diminutive in nature. Part of the reason this has become popular is the ever-decreasing costs of communications. These days, a small cadre can create a very large bullhorn for tiny money through social media. This has worked well, and it is thus a pathway that continues to be employed by copycats of this modus operandi.
In this situation, I think it becomes incumbent on all of us to “consider the source” and evaluate not by volume but by content the issue at hand. Some small issues deserve a hearing, others do not. The Supreme Court decisions in recent times have largely served to remind us of what our important foundational principles as a society are.
Someone once asked Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist, when civilization started. She responded with an event, not a time. She referenced the discovery of one of our ancient ancestors whose bones showed a fractured femur that had been set and healed. Her reasoning was that this is the first evidence of one human being caring for another, hence the beginning of civilization.
Perhaps we should use such an example of caring to sort out our societal differences in this complex era.
Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.