Saturday, June 27, 2020

Should the Supreme Court Research It's Ties to the Confederacy?

While reviewing my LinkedIn feed earlier today, the following letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, shared on a post by one of my primary contacts, caught my eye. She describes herself as being part of the Director's Action Group, Naval History and Heritage Command. I do not know her personally.

In her post and personal letter, she asks the Chief Justice "that he research how many justices owned slaves and fought for the Confederacy."

"I sent the letter to the Chief Justice because I don’t think the current justices know about the court’s connection to the Confederacy. Compiling the information will educate them. The information can also be used as a case study. Former Confederates were biased and folks should examine how this bias impacted Supreme Court decisions."

She further requests that any information be made public so the nation may make further progress on race relations. She also goes into some detail about her own family's history with the confederacy.

Perhaps I'm in the bubble of my own "white privilege," "southern heritage," or I'm just a clueless, deplorable, racist oppressor. But I am prompted to ask, "so what?"

I fail to see how engaging in this inquisition into the history of our Supreme Court "make progress on race relations." If anything, it is more likely to further undermine trust and confidence in our institutions and decisions that were made under different circumstances at different times. It is a
malign strategy of Presentism - to apply today's "standards" to the histories and actions of our forebearers. As my lawyer friends well know, there are plenty of bad Supreme Court decisions - Dred Scott, anyone? - that have long been reversed and corrected. We can all name others, including Korematsu.

I'm glad she finds her own connections to confederates of interest. Kudos to her for doing her own research. Interestingly, she doesn't apologize for it. But she seems to want the court to draw and quarter itself. To what end?

At a minimum, this does not strike me as a good use of the Court's time. I frankly hope he politely tells her to pound sand.

There is plenty of history concerning the Supreme Court, it's justices, and its decisions readily available. She can do her own work.

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