The Supreme Court Needs to Be Less Central to American Public Life
Here’s what evangelicals should expect—and not expect—from the highest court in the land.
Every summer I get reacquainted with the sound of bullhorns. That’s because every June I find myself on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States, waiting with crowds of other people for a high-stakes decision. The crowds there are mostly peaceable, but there are always the fringes on both sides screaming into microphones at one another. While waiting for the Obergefell decision on marriage, I witnessed Westboro Baptist Church types screaming that they would delight in the others going to hell, while men dressed in drag as nuns shouted obscenities right back.
Regardless of the year, every June brings the certainty of large and contentious crowds. And that’s because, even for people who give no thought to legal philosophy, the Supreme Court is at the center of virtually all our national fissures.
Now with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we are on the precipice of another fiery dispute between the competing halves of the country about the future of the Court, maybe even fierier than the debate over Justice Kavanaugh two very long years ago.
As evangelical Christians, what should we hope is the end result of these transitions? Ultimately, we should hope for a future where the Supreme Court plays a less central (and less divisive) role in our public life. But the more immediate answer depends on our having a realistic view of what can change and what will not change under the current circumstances.
What will not change—barring some unimaginable circumstance—is the question of whether a justice will be confirmed. As with the death of Justice Scalia, this vacancy comes in a presidential election year, this time even closer to the election. Americans debate whether President Trump should …
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October 27, 2020