WASHINGTON — Following last week’s massive outpouring of support and attention surrounding cases involving marriage equality, the U.S. Supreme Court has felt it necessary to remind the public at large that it does not base its decisions on outpourings of support and attention – or the lack thereof. In a joint statement signed by all nine justices, the highest court in the land explained in no uncertain terms that petitions or placards either opposing or supporting gay marriage – or indeed any other issue before the bench – are about as useful as bumper-stickers on a snail.
“Grassroots campaigns, passionate marches, social media forums – these are all entirely useless in the eyes of the Court,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the unanimous majority. “[We] base [our] decisions exclusively on the testimony and arguments of those before us, as well as legal precedents and a careful reading of the U.S. Constitution. Even amicus briefs, to a large extent, are pissing in the wind. You all have wasted a lot of time, and you should be embarrassed.”
Designed specifically by the Founding Fathers to keep its members and their deliberations above the whims and sympathies of the rabble, the Supreme Court faces neither reward nor reckoning based on its rulings, which should, moreover, deal with defending and interpreting constitutional rights which are immune to votes, elections or those who have camped out longest to get a seat inside. Trying to influence such a body with crowd size, legal experts say, insults the very integrity of those rights.
“Imagine if your senator or your governor never again had to face reelection or care about what you think,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her concurring opinion. “OK, that’s me. Now, would you try to get all your friends to change their Facebook profile picture to somehow influence that senator, to convince her that the majority sides with you and you’re on the right side of history? No. And yet I’m still getting emails from groups I never heard of. Knock it off. I don’t read them, and you should get back to work.”
Sotomayor’s was one of seven agreeing statements sent out, along with Roberts’s. The only justice to remain silent was Clarence Thomas, who apparently did not want to damage his public reputation.