'A smoke screen for their rulings': New analysis criticizes Justice Thomas and SCOTUS' use of the Constitution

'A smoke screen for their rulings': New analysis criticizes Justice Thomas and SCOTUS' use of the Constitution
The U.S. Supreme Court in April 2021, Wikimedia Commons

In wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's flurry of controversial rulings, a new analysis is highlighting some of the deeply flawed aspects of the U.S. Constitution. The piece, published by The Root, also raises the question of why a document co-written by oppressors is still considered a framework for a country deemed to be the "land of the free."

In her op-ed, The Root's Candace McDuffie began with a brief overview of the Supreme Court justices' erosion of multiple legal landmarks over the last several days.

"Last week, the Supreme Court eviscerated a woman’s right to abortion, undermined Miranda rights, expanded gun rights and allowed border patrol agents to operate with even further impunity," McDuffie wrote. "Today, it ruled that a former Washington state high school football coach can pray on the field immediately after games—regardless of the religious backgrounds of the students."

Offering historical highlights about the U.S. Constitution, McDuffie noted that the 235-year-old document was also co-authored by two oppressors who owned slaves as she emphasized that the document was not written for the purpose of inclusion for all people. "The primary authors consisted of: John Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. The last two men on that list owned slaves," she wrote. How can this set of laws still guide a nation when it was concocted by white men who looked at Black people as property and not as human?"

McDuffie also pointed out a number of flaws and contradictions in the Constitution as it relates to modern-day issues currently plaguing American citizens. "The Fifteenth Amendment gave Black people the right to vote," she noted. "However, last year nineteen states passed laws that restricted access to voting. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude, but America’s mass incarceration problem proves this as untrue."

She also noted the basis of the Constitution and the irony in Justice Clarence Thomas' stance as he has been a vocal advocate of the latest, controversial rulings.

"The fact that a Black man—Justice Clarence Thomas—is working to erode the rights of millions of people is more than ironic: it’s downright pathetic. In a concurring opinion Thomas wrote Friday, he claimed that the Supreme Court’s controversial June decisions aimed to weaken substantive due process which protects certain rights even if they’re not listed in the Constitution."

“As I have previously explained, ‘substantive due process’ is an oxymoron that ‘lack[s] any basis in the Constitution,’” Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion on Roe v. Wade.

According to McDuffie, Thomas also claimed that it’s “'legal fiction' that is 'particularly dangerous.' Even more ironically, how is it up to the states to decide a woman’s right to abortion yet not interfere with a person’s right to carry a concealed firearm?"

The writer also noted the deeply flawed issue with the justices' appointments. The majority of them on the bench was actually nominated by Republican presidents who only won elections by way of the Electoral College. In short, the majority of American voters did not vote for them so the Supreme Court's rulings are based predominantly on the beliefs of a smaller minority as opposed to being a reflection of the country, collectively.

She went on to raise a question that many have posed: whether or not the basis of the Electoral College needs to be revisited.

"Seven of the nine Supreme Court justices were put there by presidents from a party who haven’t won a popular vote more than once in three decades," she wrote. "Shouldn’t the Twelfth Amendment, which established the electoral college, be revisited?"

She concluded, "It’s clear that the right will continue to twist and contort anything they can to carry out their agenda—an agenda that has and will always harm this country’s most marginalized and vulnerable populations. And honestly, the Constitution will always be a hell of an excuse to oppress Black folks on behalf of white supremacy."

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