We would like to think of the Supreme Court as apart from the more corruptive elements of politics. But if you still think that way, you are indeed naïve.
Conservative supporters spent more than $10M to influence Congressional approval of President Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch. The idea that millions of dollars are “investments” to buy a brand of justice doesn’t square with the "justice for all" pitch that is found in American history books.
What augurs even more for right-wing decisions by SCOTUS is the rumored early retirement of Justice Kennedy, which would give Trump another nominee to stuff the court with.
It would be a new investment of millions of dollars for one more purchase of conservative decisions and reversals of older cases in areas such as abortion, marriage equality and voting rights.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) noted during the Gorsuch hearings that conservative entities spent more than $7 million to sink Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland and $10 million to promote Gorsuch.
“I’m trying to figure out what they see in you that makes that $17 million worth their spending,” said the Senator.
“You’d have to ask them,” Gorsuch slyly responded.
To which Whitehouse replied, “I can’t because I don’t know who they are,” and continued: “It’s just a front group.”
The bottom line of course is that, no matter what lower courts decide, well-financed appellants can keep at it right up to creation of the more sympathetic Supreme Court now under “construction” by Trump and Company.
The Supreme Court should be more than a tawdry contest to see what side can raise the most money to either support or disgrace a nominee.
But if money continues to flow in the nomination process, the spenders should be clearly identified.
Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org