Supreme Court Op-Ed by Tom P. Taft

This is a letter regarding the current state of the Supreme Court recently received and well worthy of being widely read and widely distributed. Please help to do so. See below:

Less Like a “Supreme” Court and More Like a Blatantly Political Court

I grew up in a family that honored the law and revered the Supreme Court. Perhaps that is not surprising because my father was a lawyer and county commissioner, my grandfather was a lawyer and a mayor, and his father, William Howard Taft, was a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

We sat down to dinner every night together, and after discussions about the day’s events and regular ribbing from my older brother, we often discussed issues of fairness and justice. The really interesting ones did not have clear, obvious answers. 

Ultimately, my father pointed out that is why we have the Supreme Court.  I learned early on that Supreme Court justices were awarded lifetime appointments so they could be free from any political pressure and decide difficult issues based on what was fair and just and consistent with the United States Constitution.

My great grandfather spent his entire life aspiring to become a Supreme Court justice. During the Warren Harding administration he was finally offered and accepted the role to which he had so long aspired.  As Supreme Court Chief Justice, he pushed hard to elevate the court to its proper position as one the three equal branches of the Federal Government, including the construction of the current Supreme Court Building. The official history of the Supreme Court includes this statement:

Finally in 1929, Chief Justice William Howard Taft, persuaded Congress to end this arrangement and authorize the construction of a permanent home for the Court. Architect Cass Gilbert was charged by Chief Justice Taft to design “a building of dignity and importance suitable for its use as the permanent home of the Supreme Court of the United States.”

It is exactly because of this family history, and the deep respect that so many Americans have for the role of the Supreme Court, that this current court’s actions represent such a devastating, debilitating, democracy-destroying effect on our country, on our past, and tragically, on our future.

The six current conservative Supreme Court justices have shown themselves to be more like political hacks of the worst kind rather than like honored justices, because they cannot be voted out of office, an outcome to which other political hacks are subject.   

The decision the court just made to review complete Presidential immunity, even for criminal actions, is farcical. Justice delayed is justice denied. The ultimate obvious outcome has to be that Presidents do NOT have unlimited immunity. If the Court came back and said that, in fact, Trump could order Seal Team Six to assassinate political rivals, then Biden could preempt Trump and take out his rivals right before the election.

 The court has intentionally, painfully, and blatantly ignored the health of our democracy on two levels with this decision.  First, they took the case at all after the compelling, well-written decision by the DC Court of Appeals, and then they hit us in the face again by slow walking their decision-making process.  The Bush v. Goredecision happened in days because an election hung in the balance.  Clearly, once again, an election hangs in the balance, and they are actively putting their thumbs – big heavy thumbs – on the scale of justice by moving so slowly!

As well-known and highly respected conservative jurist, Michael Luttig, stated, “There was no reason in the world for the Supreme Court to take this case.”  End of story – but the beginning of the next travesty for this farcical excuse of a Supreme Court.

After spinning in his grave, my great-grandfather has taken to silent screams at the court’s constant and unjust abuse of its judicial power. 

By Tom P. Taft, February 29, 2024