Where Do We Find Justice When Judges are Corrupt

Rev. Madison Shockley
June 14, 2023

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) objected because he recognized that, with Judge Bork on the court, the Fourteenth Amendment, which allowed the federal government to enforce the Bill of Rights on behalf of each resident of every state, was at risk. 

At the time, he stated, “Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, school children could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy ... ”

While Kennedy and the others who objected were successful in denying Bork a seat on the Supreme Court, it appears, at this moment, that the dream of those who yearned for a pre-Civil Rights America, have finally won the day. After the failed nomination of Bork, conservative forces took a lesson from the experience and embarked on a decades-long campaign to reshape American culture in exactly the ways that Kennedy feared. The key to their strategy was simple, each nominee would lie about their true beliefs and political commitments in order to gain a seat on the bench. And when the conservatives had a clear majority, they would proceed to wipe away the social gains of the last 50 years. 

In a recent article, essayist Michael Tomasky describes Justice Clarence Thomas as “one of the most unprincipled people in American public life. He embodies the moral rot of today’s American right more fully than the others, but that’s not to say he’s without competition.” (Michael Tomasky, The Soapbox)

The cynicism of the Thomas appointment is without parallel. President George H.W. Bush replaced Thurgood Marshall (the man who argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court) with Clarence Thomas (the man who would lead the charge against affirmative action on the court).

The rank bribery of the conservatives on the court has now been exposed. But luxury trips are not what is killing American democracy and liberty. It is the corruption of the truth, the lies they told under oath to gain their seats on the court that have had the most devastating impact. Their defense against the bribery is that they would have gladly made these rulings for free! 

They have announced their agenda, and we are defenseless to stop them.  It is unprecedented for the court to decide a hypothetical case, based on fake facts (the alleged gay customer is a straight married man who never contacted the web designer) in order to legalize discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, as they did in the in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. They will stop at nothing in order to impose their cultural transformation. We must ask, “Where do we find justice when the judges are corrupt?”

The warning from the First Book of Samuel 8 is that dictatorship (in the form of a king) followed the corruption of the judicial system in ancient Israel. If we do not fight with all our might, the Supreme Court of the United States may deliver us to the dictatorship of the minority (all their decisions are opposed by a majority of Americans) for the foreseeable future.