New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor’s recent piece about the sham investigation the Supreme Court did to try to find out who leaked the draft of the Dobbs decision, overturning Roe v. Wade, was shocking. But then again, it came as no surprise.
While the underlings working in the court had to sign affidavits, turn over their phones, documents, and emails, and basically subject themselves to intense scrutiny; conversely, the nine justices merely engaged in a bit of chitchat with investigators. The most striking part of Kantor’s piece was that so many of the clerks of the court spoke to her about their unhappiness. Rarely does anyone at the court speak to the press.
Who wouldn’t be unhappy working for or with Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, or the “fiendish five?” These so-called justices lied their way onto the court by professing allegiance to the precedent that was Roe. What a joke that turned out to be, but it isn’t a joke to the many people in this country who could be subjected to jail time or back-alley abortions because of the five prevaricators who cannot be held to account.
I specifically cited their impermeability when the Dobbs decision was leaked last year: “Overturning Roe v. Wade is only a start. It lays down a marker for how far out these justices are willing to go. They are impervious to second-guessing, to appeals, to impeachment it seems. Six, and especially five, justices are out to demolish any rights that aren't 'listed in the Constitution' but are listed in the Bible. They're using our precious document of freedom as a stabbing dagger and God's word as a sinister scalpel.”
I added, “And because this decision is enormously consequential, my guess is that one of the justices (I guess Clarence Thomas) leaked the opinion in order to give states time to create their own anti-abortion laws before the SCOTUS decision is officially released, probably sometime late next month.” And we don’t have to interview Thomas or engage him in nonsensical light chatter to know that he was the culprit.
Trust in the Supreme Court is at an all-time low since Gallup first began polling on the court’s activities in 1970, and these horrible numbers can be traced back to the arrival of the fiendish five. They have illegally upended precedent, destroyed the court's morals, flaunted skimpy court rules, and let Clarence’s wacky wife, Ginni, run wild.
Yes, Congress codified marriage equality last year, but the fiendish five are hell-bent on having their own say about the right to marry the one you love. The court will have its say on marriage, on contraception, gun rights (more to come), and yes, even gay sex. Why wouldn’t they go this far? They are running amok, like in the Wild West, slinging the pistols they made legal, and shooting down every law that isn’t listed in a 240-year-old Constitution, but every sin that is listed in a book written in the fifth century.
That’s the problem with the fiendish five. They are so shockingly out of step with the here and now, with Americans, and with reality. They can do whatever they want, treat the court’s solemn traditions and rituals blasphemously, lie to Congress and to federal investigators without penalty, and put fright in the eyes of anyone who sees their images.
The above also perfectly describes Ginni Thomas. It’s horrifying that the wife of a Supreme Court justice can run amok, like the court, without any consequences for her actions. And that the court, namely Chief Justice John Roberts, can do nothing to stop her. Ginni Thomas appeared before the January 6 committee, and she took a cue from her husband, who most likely said, “Lie to them like I did. They, and no one else, will ever hold you accountable." So she did.
And Clarence was the lone dissent in the court’s order in January rejecting Donald Trump’s attempt to withhold documents from that very same committee. Ginni told that committee that they don’t talk shop when they are alone. “I generally do not discuss with him my day-to-day work in politics, the topics I am working on, who I am calling, emailing, texting, or meeting," she said. Why that committee didn’t double over with laughter is beyond me.
I theorized what they did talk about in a column last September, “When there is a scandal, when there is bombshell news in the Beltway, when a president doesn't concede an election, when he's toying with the legislative and executive branches of government to help him overturn an election, you can be damn sure that all those involved in government who work and live in Washington were only talking about one thing: Donald Trump and the 2020 election and its aftermath.” If they didn’t talk about this, they were the only people in Washington who didn’t.
Clarence, Ginni, and their four cohorts are howling at the moon because of their viciousness and howling hilariously with each other that they can do whatever they damn well please. “What a bunch of fools America is,” they must say. “Thank God we’re on the Supreme Court, where we can get away with murder,” they froth. “The only place in this country where we have no law, no order, and how ironic we are to be the bastions of law and order,” they sputter.
The upcoming rulings by the court are bound to show the justices have no bounds when it comes to decisions that adversely affect America’s marginalized communities, women, and those fighting for more stringent gun laws. And if they feel it will help their cause, one of the fiendish five will leak, in advance, an opinion or two in order to galvanize the far right. Just watch! The Dobbs leak was only the beginning.
Across the street from the Supreme Court building is the Capitol, where a far-right House is also ready to shred the decency and decorum of its rituals and traditions. It will be a battle of who is best at getting away with murder. The Supreme Court loves its guns, and one of the House Republicans' first acts once they gained the majority at the beginning of January was to remove the metal detectors from the House chamber.
Now the brainless and careless Lauren Boebert can walk onto the House floor with her ammunition. Who’s to say she’s not going to fire some rounds if someone pisses her off?
It will be a neighborhood battle of the lawbreakers: Marjorie Taylor Greene versus Amy Coney Barrett, Paul Gosar versus Samuel Alito, and Matt Gaetz versus Clarence Thomas. Scruples be damned, ethics eviscerated, lying encouraged, crime reputed. My money is on the justices. They wear robes, which are great at hiding guns and stolen documents.
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.
Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.