At its inception, the United States of America was defined by its Constitution. Over time, America was redefined and redefined again by Amendments to its Constitution. And when questions arose about the meaning of its Constitution, Americans respected the answers from the Supreme Court. That was true from 1789 all the way to Richard Nixon; he accepted the answer of the Supreme Court and turned over the Watergate tapes, even though doing so meant the end of his Presidency.
America no longer accepts the answers of the Supreme Court. The President, Speaker of the House, and Majority Leader of the Senate, in their own words, believe: (1) the “role and operation of the Supreme Court” needs to be examined; (2) the Supreme Court is “illegitimate”; and (3) the Supreme Court “will pay the price” if it doesn’t rule as they demand.
On April 9, 2021, the President signed an Executive Order creating the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. The Order requires the Commission to produce an “account of the contemporary commentary and debate about the role and operation of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system and about the functioning of the constitutional process by which the President nominates and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints Justices to the Supreme Court”.
The definition of the Supreme Court is under attack, and is facing a total re-write.
The definition of Congress is under attack. The Constitution says Congress has the power to “declare war” and the power to “make all Laws”. Presidents hold that definition in disdain. Presidents wage war whenever and wherever they want, without a congressional declaration of war. The current President refuses to acknowledge the existence of existing immigration laws.
The definition of religious liberty is under attack. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The Speaker of the House told the Catholic Church that it must abandon one of its core beliefs and must accept her conflicting heretical belief. A Member of Congress told the Catholic Church the same thing, and added that he “dares” the Church to disobey him.
The definition of science is under attack. The government says large crowds of maskless people who it likes do not pose a risk of spreading the coronavirus, and large crowds of maskless people who it doesn’t like do pose a risk. The government, by its behavior, says its being maskless does not pose a risk.
The definition of law and order is under attack. The government says a year of murder and mayhem across America is an allowable mostly peaceful protest, and a Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore is an unallowable risk.
The definition of education is under attack. The line between education and indoctrination has been cancelled. Proficiency requirements have been cancelled.
The definition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream — that our children will be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin — has been declared racist.
The list of definitions that no longer exist is longer than long, and is existential.
What does it mean to have a United States of America that is undefined? What remains? Does a nation remain, or do 330 million people remain?
The question is not who is right, or which ideology is best. The question is what remains when E Pluribus Unum is no more.
History tells us that we won’t know what remains, not until the revolution ends and we see who won. May the winner not be the same advocates of Utopia for the proletariat who won in Russia, China, and Cuba.