Has the Supreme Court Lost Its Way?

Although I must say I am more than a bit hypocritical and do engage in conflict, :joy:

I don’t think the solution is to withdraw, but to find where the ideal mix is with engagement and focusing on self. I don’t have that balance 100% correct yet by any means.

Excellent conversation. John W. writes:

“Thanks @robert.bunge and @Charles_Marxer I like your contributions. Finding fault is really easy; finding success and progress requires expended energies in that direction. Spewing critiques without offering some off-setting balance of proposed solutions seems unhelpful.”

Whether critiques without accompanying solution proposals is unhelpful is debatable, but John is right that solutions have to be discussed. Regarding the issue at hand, solutions are being widely discussed in the mainstream (and have been for some years). What are they? First, an enforceable code of ethics for SCOTUS, the only branch of government that doesn’t have one. Second, impeachment of the corrupt justices by a process mandated by the Constitution. For details, check out https://www.senate.gov/about/powers-procedures/impeachment.htm. Third, amend the Constitution to impose term limits on Supreme Court appointments. Will we ever see these remedies implemented? Not likely, but they exist as real possibilities.

In the meantime, radicals like me would like to see the President use his executive powers to publicly refuse to abide by the most egregious rulings by this rogue SCOTUS, the ones where the Court is usurping the functions of the other branches of government by making policy, e.g. the Dobbs ruling on abortion.

I think support has quite a bit of overlap with trust. A person who trusts after being cheated is a fool.
I think Americans inherently trust the Supreme Court - because for 200 years it has earned that trust.
However, when one or more of it’s members are caught red-handed violating that trust - then it would just be foolish to blindly trust (blindly support) them.

There should be a process to remove Supreme Court Justices and / or investigate them for crimes.

Joshu Sasaki, who led a sesshin in Vancouver which I attended, was one of the first wave of traditionalist Zen teachers who came to North America in the 1960’s and 70’s. He is a great example of the type of spiritual guru Ken Wilber discusses in his recent books: a man with a high centre of gravity in his spiritual stage and state development (probably 3rd tier, perhaps nondual) but a traditional amber worldview that sees patriarchy, narrow nationalism (my country, right or wrong), dominator hierarchies, anti-homosexuality, and male sexual privileges as acceptable values.

That kind of worldview separates the sphere of individual consciousness from cultural and political domains of life. Integral recommends instead a 4-quadrant model approach to living in the 21st century: attend to your own spiritual journey but also concern yourself with the affairs of your government. They are mutually interactive, so work for the well-being of the whole.

We can be informed and educated around the issues, form our own opinions and share them with others, write and discourse and engage in sense-making and apply our Integral understandings, as @Charles_Marxer has done.

Given we are not just thinking and doing beings, but also feeling and sensing beings, we can lament privately or with one another the situation while being grateful that light is being shined on it, and we can sense into possible future outcomes, both positive and negative, while acknowledging our not-knowing.

Given we have interior lives and not just an exterior focus, we can observe our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes–the lay of our consciousness–and self-correct where we judge necessary. We can confront illusions and the degree of any disillusionment, and thus bring ourselves into greater inner coherence and harmony, all of which is energy expended towards a positive outcome, to reference an interest of @robert.bunge and the preferred approach of @Sidra, I believe, We can pray, contemplate, meditate, etc.

Should we just adjust to the situation? Yes and no, as in “everything’s perfect, now let’s get busy changing it as fast as we can.” Change-effort that is contextualized in a degree of non-attachment to outcomes has the benefit of keeping us open to incoming and inner-arising insights, intuitions, and vision, and generally affords us greater clarity.

We are not separate from society; we are makers of society and live within it. Given the four quadrants are tetra-arising–individual consciousness (UL), behavior (UR), and cultural-societal/political phenomena and behavior (LL and LR)–the I, We, and It are all in this together, so as @raybennett says, withdrawal is not the answer.

We are not powerless. Some people may choose to exercise their American and societal citizenship, as @excecutive speaks to the value of, through local or larger-scale activism; others not. Hopefully, we all show up and vote.

As for me, my sense is of the “light” waxing, the “dark” waning, at least for another 6 weeks or so.

Thanks @LaWanna for such a comprehensive reply!

Generally following the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn (a master of matters in which I only dabble) we are each a meditator, an artist, and a warrior. Nhat Hahn could not simply be a meditator, because there came a time in which bombs were literally dropping in the neighborhood of his monastery. He saw many friends, students, and fellow citizens killed and jailed, and he faced long years of exile. Yet somehow, in spite of all this, he found pathways to joy in the moment. And he found ways to take impressive actions, saving the lives of many boat people, for example.

Where I differ from Nhat Hahn, apart from lacking his saintliness, is having a more systemically trained Western mind. I can’t help it, my thinking is organized whether that’s a good idea or not. Anyway, here is how I organize the discussion above: 1) we need to meditate to reconcile all the different voices in our heads. The most Integral part of Integral, in my view, is reconciling all the different stages, states, levels, etc. into a coherent worldview. 2) action flows from relationships. More and better relationships enable more effective actions. More personal development enables more and better relationships. 3) start where you are, work out from there.

According to that plan, today was the first day of kayak season. That’s how I do 1). 2) is what I am up to right now. As for 3), the Supreme Court is not right in my face just yet. But if the Supreme Court is in your face, and if you and I have a relationship, then we need to talk.

That’s a nice way you’ve organized the discussion for yourself, Robert. Kayaking is good…

When it comes to one SC decision (abortion), I don’t think most women are concerned about the SC being in their face, more like another body part :slightly_smiling_face:. I don’t need to talk about that, but couldn’t resist commenting about it, and appreciate that you are willing to talk about things that do not directly affect you but might affect people with whom you’re in relationship. That’s cool.

Indeed. We live in a blue, blue state, so there is little danger of state government taking an overly intimate interest in - anatomy. Were my wife, daughter or other women in my immediate orbit subject to that sort of thing, it would qualify under the “in my face” definition. (My “face”, other people’s - you get it …)

So then the question comes up, do blue state citizens have obligations to women elsewhere in the nation on these matters, beyond just voting? My thinking is trending in that direction. Although the current Supreme Court is giving many people cause for concern, remember it has been much, much worse. Dred Scott decision, for example. Also remember, bad law has been met with civil disobedience in this country before. Sometimes the “how a bill becomes a law process” does not quite capture the actual mechanisms of social change.

Yes it’s been bad in the past and it’s bad now, and definitely some kind of reform around ethics and mechanisms to enforce a code of ethics would be helpful, I think. And maybe staggered term limits should be on the agenda too.

While some people say that protests and civil disobedience don’t really matter, don’t contribute to social change, I don’t believe that.

I think we’re already seeing some blue states respond to the strict laws in some red states around abortion. It looks in some ways like we are becoming the Un-united States, and yet, I’m fairly optimistic about the future of the country. Not naive, I know we’re in for some continuing chaos and strife, some bad law and disorder, but overall, I feel like things are looking up.

I’m pretty much a stone cold realist when it comes to politics. If you want to talk change over centuries, idealism makes sense to me. In the short-term, you play the hand you are dealt. What I’m feeling right now is that I have had a belly full of the “culture wars” and I’m very much interested in putting an end to it. That will not involve just being nice and spitting differences.

On women’s issues, the operative term is “freedom”. The “Don’t Tread on Me” variety. The Boston Tea Party kind. I have no interest in maximizing the number of abortions in the US. I have strong interest in maximizing freedom. Petty tyrants at the state or local levels need to get their comeuppance.

The issue that is even just that much closer to my “face” is education. There are certain state and local tyrants who want to erase black history, among other things. I’m starting to imagine … what would an underground railroad for education look like in the age of the Internet? What would a digital civil disobedience campaign look like on social media? The on-the-ground kind is good too, but I also see the potential for a sort of air mobile support for those who are on the ground. In the age of the internet, in a battle for hearts and minds, digital wins.

There are many aspects of this. On aspect is the inability of the average person - or perhaps as much as 80-90% of the population - to connect the cause / effect down a chain of events and circumstances. This becomes even more complicated when data and facts are simply ignored.

For example, one false data point is that Democratic policies cause an increase in crime, despite actual facts that show crime rates dropping drastically since the 1970’s. There is a narrative that America is getting worse and crime increasing since the time America was Great, which is why they want to make it “Great Again”.
Tying that into Abortion and the Supreme Court and Roe vs Wade, there is a theory that there was a two decade delay between the legalization of abortion and the correlating exponential drop in crime in the 1990’s - also coincidentally when America started to trend more Liberal.
A related issue is homelessness, the majority of whom have some kind of mental or emotional disability.
The issue of homelessness, crime and abortion all connect in one space - the United States does not want to deal with it’s problems and instead either ignores the problems and shifts blame. If any action is taken, it is to punish those who had the least say in their circumstances and who are just following the cause - effect of the circumstances they are in.

My prediction is outlawing abortion will result in skyrocketing adolescent crime in the 2030’s and more serious adult crime in the 2040’s as the unwanted children, who are predominantly emotionally and intellectually disabled are trained in juvenile detention centers and foster homes how to survive by doing more serious crimes or just give up and sleep on the street and perform sex acts wherever they can find a dark space for their next drug dose.

While the issue being forced by law into breeder status is a very important issue, also important is the social and economic repercussions of decisions far down the line. Forcing breeder status onto women is highly emotional and also it has very logical reasons why it is a bad idea as well.

The logical argument (not to take away from the emotionally terrible one, but to add to it) is that there is a price tag associated with it.

The underlying problem is the Supreme Court is doing what Conservatives used to call “legislating from the bench”, but rather than making rulings that fix problems, they are instead making rulings that create problems down the line that will be difficult for the legislative branch to legislate ourselves out of.

In prior decades the United States relied on it’s Supreme Court Justices using restraint of their on cognizance, which worked because the American people up until the year 1980 placed high standards upon the office of the President. The President prior to 1980 was expected to be highly intelligent and qualified in addition to being somewhat charismatic, or perhaps training as a military officer - which itself has high bars for entry and high standards for progression. The days the United States decided that below average people such as a so-so actor, a C student and a con man with a string of bankruptcies behind him - the days the American public decided these men were sufficient for the Highest and most powerful elected office in the world is the day the Supreme Court was doomed to be filled slowly and steadily with grifters and the poorly qualified.

The Supreme Court is only a reflection of the choices Americans made for Presidents and the Senate.

Trying to boil all these controversies down to the core …

Various potential distopias are brewing. How to navigate? My recommendation to all is to center on your most essential self, identity, being. Then reach out to others from there. Were I teaching in one of those states in which government is trying to cancel or suppress minority voices, my practice in relation to students would be a literal pedagogy of the oppressed, Paulo Freire style. In some ways, it would be postmodern redux, but the centering practice at the core of it (integral “waking up”) points to a beyond-postmodern sensibility.

In my current local practice, state government is quite minority-friendly, so pedagogy of the oppressed seems a bit off target. Pedagogy of the disconnected seems like a more accurate description. The challenge of identity validation has largely been met. Now lie ahead the challenges of communication, collaboration, community, and the collective imaginal.

I think my general advice to students is to stay grounded in self and in immediate relationships. Don’t let national storm clouds get you down! The base will ultimately remake the superstructure. So get solid on your base.