November 8, 2016— the day our nation took a drastic and unprecedented turn. Millions of people of all genders, races, nationalities, sexual orientations, religions, mourned all across the globe. Those who celebrated were more likely than not wealthy straight white men, the top of the systematic food chain of privilege. As the marginalized “other” grieves the potential loss of freedoms, it is vital to reflect upon what one might witness in the next four years, starting with the remodeling of the Supreme Court. The power of the president-elect remains, in this regard, more sickeningly evident than any other; with the power to skew the highest law of the land toward a viewpoint that will continue restricting the lives of countless American individuals.
Donald Trump has the responsibility to fill a seat in the United States Supreme Court. This we know. Donald Trump will likely elect someone with the intent and track record of disenfranchising countless freedoms we already see the potential of being maimed (in more ways than one) throughout a Trump presidency. This we can anticipate.
First, we must analyze exactly what the Supreme Court can do that will align with Trump’s plans for policy. The Supreme Court technically has the power to deem any law constitutional or unconstitutional; therefore, harboring the power to repeal laws such as those making abortion and same sex marriage legal. However, according to the legal principle of stare decisis, the likelihood of the Supreme Court revisiting such decisions are slim to none— even with the most conservative Justices in opposition to said laws. Once the Supreme Court has already interpreted the constitutionality of a law, the goal is to ensure that the decision stands.
Yet, the possibility, however slim, of such freedoms being ripped away from the American populous on behalf of ignorant and bigoted beliefs results in the outrage and fear of countless individuals.
Court cases such as Roe v. Wade are protected in the short term, but face a long term attack; considering Trump’s intention of appointing as many conservative pro-life Justice Officials as possible. This fight has been fought for 40 years, and to think that the argument of who decides what becomes of a woman’s body is still causing political unrest is as disheartening as it is appalling; almost as appalling as the idea of same sex couples having the right to marry whomever they please revoked after less than a decade.
This fear of systematic injustice to the highest degree does not only affect past laws, but the decisions of the future as well. Cases such as whether or not transgender students should have the freedom to use the bathroom of their choice at public schools, regulations or lack thereof regarding gun control, plans determining the accessibility of contraceptive measures to women, decisions regarding the restrictions of certain debilitating actions spurring carbon emissions that will have a direct impact on climate change, are all examples of the countless detrimental laws that will lay in the hands of the remodeled Supreme Court— which lays in the hands of Trump.
Next, we must analyze who is already being considered for the replacement of Scalia, a bonafide strict constitutionalist Republican. Likely, another bonafide strict constitutionalist Republican. The list of possible replacements includes only four women and only three people of color; all of which being extremely conservative and a vast majority having served in the Bush administration.
William Pryor of Alabama has gone on to describe Roe v. Wade as “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” Diane Sykes of Wisconsin favors the ability of business owners and closely held corporations to enforce a religious objection to the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. Sid Miller even tweeted Hillary Clinton and called her a four letter obscenity beginning with the letter “C”. Not only will one spot inevitably be granted by Trump, other judges have also either spoken of retirement or have been rumored to not last until the end of a Trump presidency. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83, Stephen G. Breyer is 78, Anthony Kennedy is 80, and Clarence Thomas is 68 but has spoken of retirement.
Therefore, stakes are high for the Supreme Court, considering Trump has the potential to dramatically influence the system. One can only hope that justice will continue to be served for the benefit of the people.