Everyone has their daily ritual they have to complete, and for me, that means checking Cracked’s daily articles. Today’s article on how the political machine is rigged brought up some concerns. notably what or who they answer to.
The Supreme Court of The United States is considered the highest power in all the land; every lower court in the country has to answer to at least one higher power, with SCOTUS being the top of this particular pyramid of power. However, the supreme court doesn’t seem to have anyone they have to answer to, not even the president. In theory, this should mean that they have one more safeguard to prevent a corrupt administration from making them a puppet to their policies; in practice, however, we see the same issues we see in any self-regulating organization. The human with the greatest legal mind in the country is still human after all, and humans are so prone to corruption, roughly half of our classic literature deals with this reality (The Tempest, The Ring of Gyges, The Lord of the Rings, and Who mourns for Adonis, to name a few) and yet, we somehow think of our elected officials as being incorruptible.
SCOTUS, and judges in general, are supposed to recuse themselves from any suit that presents a conflict of interest to them for whatever reason. While there are checks and balances abound for lower court judges, it’s essentially up to each justice to decide whether a case provides a conflict of interest, which works about as well as you’d expect. Examples of this self-regulating system failing are: Clarence Thomas presiding over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act while his wife actively campaigns for its repeal, the king of bloated trolls Antonin Scalia going duck hunting with Dick Cheney before presiding over a case involving his energy task force, and just general clownfuckery.
With the possibility of corruption so high, and the instances of such possible corruption coming to light, this brings some troubling issues to light. While everyone has their eye in a microscope trained on the president, and quite a few of us want to view our senators only through a rifle scope, no one really seems to keep an eye on the supreme court these days. As my opener asks, when there’s no higher power to answer to, who watches the watchmen?