- - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The status of the Supreme Court has been a deciding factor for many Americans in the past few presidential elections, but it should remain a necessary non-political part of American government. Progressives on both sides of the aisle, however, try to make the Supreme Court an extension of the legislature rather than an independent entity whose sole purpose is interpreting the law. 

Conservatives have accused liberals of making the Supreme Court a partisan branch through the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, as well as Obergefell v. Hodges, which respectively legalized abortion and gay marriage in all fifty states. Rather than passing legislation, liberals turned to the Supreme Court to make broad-ranging decisions that affect states on a national level rather than allowing local governments to pass their own laws. 

While conservatives have not fully committed to using the Supreme Court to advance specific policies, they should be wary of the temptation to use it to bypass the political process if they lose the majority in the Senate and the White House. This could lead to the courts making even more decisions on how cities and communities should be structured rather than leaving it up to those individual governments to decide. 

Although it might seem politically beneficial, making the courts political will undermine the public’s trust in the process as a whole. 

The judicial system can play an important role in restoring Americans’ trust of the government. In 2016, The American Bar Association created a task force to determine what role the bar associations might play in doing this. It was formed in response to “increasing racial tensions, retaliatory violence against police officers, and a growing sense of public distrust in our nation’s justice system.”

Current events have once again made this relevant. The recent decision by the grand jury on the case of Breonna Taylor’s death was a spark amidst the growing public sentiment that the judicial system is unjust. Despite the grand jury’s decision concerning the full investigation, protests broke out across the country. Progressives on the left have used this unrest and dissatisfaction to build momentum towards transforming the courts in order to advance their agenda. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden has faced pressure from progressive groups to commit to adding Justices to the Supreme Court if elected, even though he has said he is “not a fan” of court-packing. Nina Turner, a progressive leader and former top adviser to Bernie Sanders, commented on the controversial topic, saying, “Biden should make it clear that he will fight back by expanding the court if he wins.” This idea of “fighting back” stems from a counterattack narrative that one side must retaliate against another’s constitutional actions, leading to a feeling of chaos. 

Heading into election week, the country needs the promise of a neutral branch of government. With the bias in the media and Washington, D.C. on constant display, the public needs an entity that is above the political fray.

The judicial system is one that is expected to be fair and orderly. Using the courts as a political prop will ensure that they are subject to the same increasing resentment that the political process faces. When the courts are seen to be political, the public has nowhere to turn for justice. 

The courts play a vital role in our government, but it should be up to the citizens of the United States to decide the laws they want for their communities. America is a country that evolves over time, but it is important that its people — on both sides of the aisle — agree on its founding structure. Liberals and conservatives should do the country a favor and leave the courts alone. 

• Charlotte Pence Bond is the author of “Where You Go: Life Lessons from My Father,” and the daughter of Vice President Mike Pence. She regularly speaks on the topic of abortion in the culture, and currently attends Harvard Divinity School, where she is a candidate for a masters in Theological Studies.

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