Monday, October 1, 2007

Spotlight on Justice

For the last 24 hours, I've not been able to turn on the television or pick up a newspaper without hearing about Clarence Thomas. I can't put my finger on the exact reason why, but I find it unbecoming of a Supreme Court justice to publish a memoir to coincide with the new term of the Court. I will concede, it's difficult to offer an intellectual argument to support my distaste, it's based on my emotional reaction rather than any wrongdoing on his part. I have a great appreciation for the Supreme Court. Their job is to operate in a non-partisan manner to interpret the constitution and maintain the system of checks and balances with our elected officials in the other two branches. A justice may serve for life, and their decisions often have significant effect for years thereafter. I appreciate the reclusive nature of many justices who have always avoided the media spotlight. Since I can't really base my feelings on anything other than personal respect for the sanctity of the court, I decided to keep my unsavory view of justice Thomas' media blitz to myself. Until now. I reached my saturation point when I turned on the radio this afternoon and heard justice Thomas being interviewed by Rush Limbaugh. It was not just a quick plug either, he gave a 90 minute interview.

At first, I was saddened, pleading with the oblivious voice on the radio: Please! Please just maintain the facade that the Court operates in a nonpartisan manner. I know it's unrealistic, but please, radio voice of Clarence Thomas- let me live in my fantasy world where the Court is somehow above all of the entangled politics of Washington.

My pleadings went unanswered as Limbaugh and Thomas bantered like old friends, and at that point I realized a couple of things. First, that the sanctity of the court is a myth and second, I seriously need to get a life. How long could I truly revere the Supreme Court? They are the folks who brought us "separate but equal."

So, if Long Dong Silver wants to be in the media spotlight this time, who am I to judge? I should welcome it- in fact, let's bring cameras into the Court so that they can all get their mug on television and in the spotlight. Mattel can make action figures so kids can collect all 9 and add to their collection with each new confirmation. I know I would shell out a pretty penny for a Limited Edition William Howard Taft figurine! Little girls can dress up Ruth Bader Ginsburg in miniskirts and brush her hair. It would be a great way to raise awareness for the highest Court in the United States.

And while we're at it, let's really bring the Supreme Court into the spotlight. Instead of watching CourtTV, Americans can watch the suspension of Habeas Corpus in real time. In case you hadn't heard mention in any of the numerous interviews in the last few days, a new term began today. If Clarence Thomas wants to be in the spotlight, I'd much rather hear his decisions regarding voting rights than details of his childhood or Anita Hill.

The decisions of the Supreme Court are crucial, and they shape our society by establishing precedent for all legal matters thereafter. Unfortunately, the reclusive nature of the court has kept it largely below the radar of the American public. The majority of Supreme Court coverage revolves around confirmation hearings and the dirty laundry that they bring with them. Beyond this, other than brief media coverage of some landmark cases, it's easy to forget that the Supreme Court is in session at all. Maybe justice Thomas has the right idea, maybe it's time to bring the Supreme Court and its justices into the spotlight after all. Until that happens, maybe I really should get a life.

No comments: