Yesterday the Supreme Court changed for what is probably the next 30 years. Justice Neil Gorsuch was sworn in to return the Court to a functional balance with what is presumably a solid conservative bench of Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Thomas, and Alito. The liberal bench is comprised of Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan with Justice Kennedy being the crucial swing vote.
In the short term, there is expected to be little substantive change in the court’s anticipated rulings. The ascension of Gorsuch to the seat previously occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia is just a return to the status quo from a practical perspective. At least that is the belief of those who installed him on the Court.
One never knows for sure what a Supreme Court Justice will do. That’s the entire point of having them be on the Court with lifetime appointments. They are now free to act as their conscience dictates unfettered by obligation to any person or party. The thinking is that once they are secure they can do that which they deem in the best interests of the country. In theory, they will take the high road and act without loyalty or affinity to outside interests.
Whether that happens or not is up for debate. The current conservative bench has a definite love of corporations and rarely, if ever, sides with the little guy in matters resembling David v. Goliath. Perhaps that is due to the quality of the lawyers that are paid astronomical sums by corporations to plead their cases. Perhaps it is due to the changing views of our society of what is to be valued.
After all we have been leaning towards the idolization of the corporate behemoth for decades now. This latest development, of a President who is unreservedly capitalistic and dismissive of those who would reach out and care for the less fortunate, may take us to depths of despair that have not been seen since the 30’s. The Great Depression came about from a confluence of factors, not the least of which was the relaxed regulations of the financial markets, where con men reigned supreme. The devastation that was wrought upon our country was famously recorded by photographic artists like Dorothea Lange, who catalogued the desperation of parents and children.
Could we be faced with another such period as a result of this President and his policies? Certainly it is possible. We are not even 100 days into his term and it looks like the only thing he has truly accomplished is filling a Supreme Court seat. Is the direction he is leading us similar to the 20’s and 30’s? I think so. I see a man who is hell-bent on destroying his predecessor’s legacy at the expense of our country’s environmental controls, financial controls, and social well-being.
The balance of power in our country, the three legs of government that form a stable republic, relies on each leg doing its job, taking its responsibilities seriously, and proactively working in our country’s best interest. When they are swayed by corporate interests they are concerned not with the needs and concerns of the great mass of people, but of the dollar. Corporations are focused on quarterly results, not long term benefits to those who have little, or no, voice.
It is often said that you can tell a person’s character by how they treat those who can do nothing for them. If someone is abusive, or dismissive to the wait staff in a restaurant it’s a safe bet that they are bad person. Conversely, if they treat everyone with respect and dignity, they are likely to be a good person.
We have a Supreme Court, President, and Congress that bends over for the corporate contingent because of the money they spend on lobbyists. The little guy, the “waitstaff” in our society, is generally treated poorly, dismissively and expendably. They are taken advantage of by unscrupulous corporations that care more about the quarterly reports than doing the right thing for their customers and society in general.
This is why Presidential politics matter. This is why Supreme Court Justices matter. We did not get a President Trump for just four years. We have his legacy to contend with, but also our future. A future that was, and is, at stake.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra