Is staging a coup to overthrow the government considered a violation of the Constitution?
One of the most important roles the Supreme Court has is to protect civil rights and liberties by striking down laws or rulings that violate the Constitution. For the most part, American citizens believe the higher court rulings are based on the Constitution and not their political beliefs. However, it has become more evident in the past few decades that our highest court in the land can rule by politics or leanings of their party's preference. Even though they are the essential part of the three stages of government.
Is staging a coup to overthrow the government considered a violation of the Constitution? The average person would answer yes. However, we are not living in average times. The divide between the two political parties has allowed the Constitution to be violated. Many Americans have lost trust in our government and with the current news about Virginia “Ginni” Thomas’ role in January 6, 2021, insurrection, has the Supreme Court under fire once again.
Many legal scholars believe Justice Clarence Thomas should step down or if not recuse himself from all cases associated with the insurrection. Unfortunately, there is no law or rule regarding the actions of family members of Supreme Court Justices. There is an ongoing controversy about a spouse of a Supreme Court Justice stepping down or not participating in legal issues presented to the Supreme Court. Or that the Justice should recuse them self from ruling on such cases. Neither has ever been practiced in earnest, probably because our forefathers never imagined both spouses in the same career. Let alone a wife of a Justice practicing politics, unlike their forefathers.
The questionable actions of the women and men married to Supreme Court Justices are not a new thing. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson appointed the first Jewish justice, Louis Brandeis. Alice Goldmark Brandeis shared her husband’s liberal political views and during his tenure as Justice, she staged salons and discussed the politics of the day. She went as far as supporting a presidential candidate Sen. Robert La Follette, La Follette, offered the position of vice president to Brandeis, but he declined.
Do the actions of Alice Brandies compare to the actions of Ginni Thomas? Yes, the times are different. In addition, the media, and access to personal information are a lot different than in 1916. The text between the president’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and a Justice’s wife has evidence that both had a key role in the attempt to change the Constitution to suit their political views. What Alice did was typical in the standards of changing the situation by replacing the candidate in the upcoming election. What Ginni was trying to do was replace the president-elect with the incumbent with force if possible. We can all agree Ginni’s text to Mark Meadows to “Release the Kraken” was a phrase meant to harm now not in the next election cycle.
What can and should be done to prevent this from happening again? The January 6th Commission has spent the past year trying to find the rule of law and how to enforce it. Seems that a rule has not been established and the people involved in the insurrection are thwarting any possible liability for their actions. Fear of this happening again is a real fear.
As the song goes, “The times they are a-changing,” and two hundred plus years later we are still trying to figure out how this young country can be so full of patriotism and hatred for their fellow man. The war between the haves and have-nots, the red and blue, and the religions will not be resolved any time soon. But if we keep the constitution alive and make it a living and breathing document as a guide, we might just overcome this and be a better nation for our children’s children.