Recently, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade’s constitutional impact and the looming threat of many more reversals of decisions widely hailed as crucial civil rights cases (including those that enshrine and protect the rights to contraception, same-sex marriage, and even interracial marraige), Americans are rightly worried about the future of our country and its democratic ideals.
Distrust in many of our institutions is at an all-time high. In a 2000 poll, 63% of Americans sampled said they had middling to no confidence in the Supreme Court; a figure that has swelled massively in the modern day, with a 2020 poll showing that 75% of Americans have very little confidence in the Court. The future, however, is not the only thing to be concerned about. At present, Congressional institutions designed to enforce the rule of the minority work to unravel the progress of the last century, and the Judiciary sits poisoned by rampant and unconstitutional politicization. The government’s structure is diseased with the taint of toxic ideology and political ambition, and the time has come to heal the damage.
The point of a democracy is not to get people to agree by necessity, but to bring the will of the majority into effect so that as many people as possible are sated in life, and so that all have their natural and civil rights protected through a contract such as ours. A semi-remote government is a necessary sacrifice to the true majority will in a Republican system such as ours for the sake of efficiency. In a democracy where everyone has direct input, things quickly become disordered and overly complicated. A Republic is supposed to solve these problems by offering fair representation to all people while lowering the size of government significantly. However, there is a key difference between necessary sacrifice for the sake of efficiency and a blatantly counter-democratic design.
The Supreme Court and Senate have worked hand-in-hand to position the GOP in such a way that it seems very likely the progress borne of many civil rights eras will be wiped from the scoreboard.
A governmental institution that is designed to objectively identify the legitimacy of laws clearly should not be blatantly politicized, with Justices labeled under party leanings. Yet this is exactly what has occurred with the Court in the last few decades. The Court has been warped from its original purpose as an impartial tool to administrate and review the law, and transformed into a political tool used for the advancement of Political and Ideological Agendas which should have little place in our society. And without the political balances of the other branches, as most Americans have no direct say on who gets appointed to the Supreme Court, this is a frightening new addition to the government.
Even if the Democrats held a majority on the Court — even if all nine Justices were Democrats — I would still be writing this article in the same vein, though probably with different exemplary cases. The Supreme Court itself is outlined by the Constitution, and by consecutive legislative acts, as an Impartial Governmental Check — not just another Wing of Government. By treating it as such, we are undermining our society’s greatest strength – that of the people.
Alongside this, the Senate is highly under-representative; due to the even splitting of senators across states, those who live in (largely Republican) smaller states have more control over the senate per person than those in (largely Democratic) larger states. This design, while ostensibly to balance out the power of the House of Representatives, has never done such; indeed, the House’s initiatives for new laws are often thwarted by a minority of the minority chamber. The Senate’s own procedures are designed to allow a minority party to cling to their positions of power. Both chambers of Congress, and especially the Senate, are widely recognized as the most unpopular branch of government; the GOP has not represented a majority in Congress since 1996, and yet continues to strangle nearly all efforts by Left-leaning congress members to create laws. A branch that flaunts its independence from the will of the people in the face of democracy cannot be allowed to stand without repair. As for the Filibuster, and the originalist viewpoint, the Framers did not even want political parties in government (rightly thinking they would cripple a democracy); to say that much that goes on in our government to this day aligns with the thinking of the Founders is highly doubtful, not least because they lived nearly two hundred and fifty years ago.
It’s not too late to fix things. If the Court is brought to an impartial state by necessary action, and the Senate removes its restrictive procedures and allows for the course of democracy to flow, the monumental progress made from the movements of the last centuries may not be erased. No one who supports a truly fair state should have anything to fear from this proposal; after all, a level playing field is a great and historic American ideal.