Politicization of Supreme Court is a threat to Republic


Throughout the past four decades, the decisions of the court have become the subject of increasing political debate. Two rulings in particular, the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, have caused abortion and campaign finance laws to become huge political issues. 

The problem with these rulings, besides the content of the opinions themselves, is that the court settled problems that should have been left to the legislative branch. 

Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution explains that the intent of the judicial branch is to settle controversies that arise between two or more states and between a state and its citizens. 

It does not state that the courts should settle questions that have not been addressed by the constitution such as abortion and campaign finance. Supreme Court decisions have now become de facto legislation rather than definitive answers to constitutional controversies. 

There is no better example of this than the current discourse surrounding abortion in our nation. The decision of Roe v. Wade is the closet thing that this country has to a national abortion law. Because of this dynamic, those in the legislature wishing to change the law must manipulate the court to get their way. 

Part of the reason that we have seen Supreme Court nominations become such political circuses is that politicians from both parties are fully aware of this dynamic. 

On March 4, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at an abortion rights rally hosted by the Center for Reproductive Rights outside of the Supreme Court building. Meanwhile, arguments for June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, a case that challenges a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admission privileges, were being heard inside. 

During the rally, Schumer commented that two Supreme Court Justices appointed by President Trump, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, would “pay the price” if they ruled in favor of Louisiana. 

I found that Schumer’s threat to two sitting justices was extremely inappropriate and improper, but unfortunately, his comments are just another example of the extreme politicization of the highest court in the land. 

In 2016, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland. In 2018, Senate Democrats tried to discredit the character of Brett Kavanaugh. The political controversies and divisiveness surrounding both Supreme Court nominations have one underlying cause: abortion. 

Regardless of your stance on abortion, this type of political maneuvering should raise concern. When it comes to questions such as the legality of abortion, it is impossible for justices to be impartial on the matter. 

This is why such questions are best left to the legislative branch, where an appropriate space is given for such debates to occur. One needs to look no further than our current discussions surrounding abortion to see that our republic suffers when we grant the courts the power to make such decisions. 

When a case regarding abortion is brought before the court, all objectivity is thrown out the window. The justices on the Supreme Court have basically become unaccountable lawmakers, undermining the role of our national Congress. 

In theory, all three branches of the federal government should have checks and balances. The framers of our constitution did not intend for our Supreme Court to embrace judicial activism. The only possible way a decision that the court made can be overruled is if they do it themselves. Such a system was not indented for rulings that are treated the same as laws. 

We as Americans have the responsibility to call on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to restore impartiality within the Supreme Court. 

Instead, people like Chuck Schumer are adding fuel to the fire by continuing this divisive rhetoric. For over 40 years, Congress has failed their constitutional duty to keep the court in check. As a result, the American people no longer have a say in what needs to be done concerning the most divisive political issues of our time.