U.S. Supreme Court legitimacy tempered in the fire

The U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings last week involving abortion and gun rights were firm reminders of the important role the Court plays in the balance of government by defending our constitutional rights — especially the rights of the individual and the minority at any given time.

Many on the left have called into question the Court’s “legitimacy” because, they claim, these rulings were not supported by the majority. Of course, this is an emotional response from the left, and one that won’t age well. A measured and unemotional review of the Court’s decisions makes it clear that the Court’s legitimacy has never been stronger.

In 1943, in the middle of World War II, the Court ruled in favor of an individual student’s right not to salute the flag in class. While not a popular decision, it was the right decision, as it defended individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In that decision, Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote this succinct defense of our inalienable rights: “One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” 

The U.S. Supreme Court is the supreme guarantor of the rights of the individual/minority, and our protection against mob rule. Against a backdrop of hyperbolic opposition, the Court strengthened its role this past week. This role is one we must support, preserve, and protect above all else — whether we stand with the majority or the minority.  The unemotional understand we will all stand with both over time.