Our Constitution does not give any of the three branches of government (Congress, President, Supreme Court) any power over the other two branches. Yet, in 1803, the Supreme Court declared itself supreme over the other two branches. [Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)]
Until 2021, every Congress and every President has gone along with the Supreme Court’s declaration of supremacy. If the Supreme Court were to say it’s unconstitutional for any citizen to sue any politician or corporate CEO, that would be the law of the land.
Since 1803, many political candidates have criticized the Supreme Court. That’s another way of saying that many political candidates have believed that many of We the People don’t think of the Supreme Court as supreme.
In 2021, the supremacy of the Supreme Court changed dramatically. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden became the first Congress and President to openly declare that the Supreme Court is not supreme. They both have taken big steps to begin the process of re-making the Supreme Court. (President Franklin D. Roosevelt threatened to re-make the Supreme Court, but he didn’t take big steps to begin the process.)
Supreme Court decisions always will be both liked and disliked. That’s because they always involve disputes between opposing sides. But has anyone in the highest levels of government ever actually threatened the Supreme Court with vehement rhetoric, the way Senator Schumer threatened it on March 4, 2020? Schumer was so threatening, that Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. felt the need to respond that very same day: “This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside. Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that “You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden do not stand alone against the Supreme Court. Supreme Court Justices stand with them.
On February 21, 2020, Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor stood with Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden by claiming “this Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process.” [Wolf v. Cook County Illinois, 589 U.S. _____ (2020), February 21, 2020] Imagine that! A Supreme Court Justice claims that the Supreme Court is “to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process.”
On July 1, 2021, Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan stood with Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden by claiming “What is tragic here is that the Court has (yet again) rewritten — in order to weaken — a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness, and protects against its basest impulses. What is tragic is that the Court has damaged a statute de-signed to bring about ‘the end of discrimination in voting.’” [Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, 594 U. S. _____ (2021), July 1, 2021] Imagine that! A Supreme Court Justice claims that the Supreme Court “has (yet again) rewritten” a statute rather than interpreted it.
The intersection of Schumer, Pelosi, Biden, Sotomayor, and Kagan is not insignificant. It is the seat of power, concentrated with laser-like focus.
From 1803 to 2021, the Supreme Court has fallen from being unquestionably supreme to being at the doorstep of being re-made. What a fall from grace!