We Don’t Need No Stinking Ethics Rules!
We conservative Justices of the Supreme Court want the American public to know that we are not political hacks—any more than Richard Nixon was a crook. Ethics rules? The very idea is outrageous. Even though we got our lifetime jobs through sleazy politics and dark money, these have no bearing whatsoever on our decisions.
We are unbiased on every case that comes to our attention. On those that don’t come to our attention, because we refuse to hear them, we are even more unbiased.
Suppose, for example, the Justice Department or Congress wanted to subpoena President, er, former President, Trump after he was caught red-handed hiding top secret government documents in Ivanka’s underwear drawer (which were properly filed under “Secret”–Victoria’s Secret) or if the Trump company’s financial records showed he signed off personally on tax evasion, fraud and money laundering operations every day over a forty year period. Suppose he decided, for the good of the nation, it would be better not to appear. Why would we waste time and good taxpayer money to compel him to breach his lifetime executive privilege simply to plead the Fifth to hundreds of politically motivated accusations?
There are too many more pressing issues we need to address. Like making sure a website designer or a baker is allowed to exercise their free speech by refusing service to certain members of the public. Sure there are anti-discrimination laws, but there are higher laws from Higher Powers. Including us.
We have important things to do, like making sure everyone has enough guns and women can’t decide for themselves on, well, anything, or that state voting districts make their maps look like pieces of abstract expressionist art. And we urgently need to give state politicians the power to overturn elections when the guy from their party just happens to get fewer votes than the guy from the other party. (Oops, that’s a future case. Didn’t mean to let that leak out. Kindly strike that from the record.)
Some people claim any genuinely unbiased, highly qualified, august body such as ours should, by the rules of common sense, let alone of ethical behavior, be codifying the rights of all Americans to be treated equally–even if they aren’t heterosexual or White or of the One True Faith. These misguided souls are laboring under the misperception that when the Founders said “All men are created equal” they actually meant “all people.” Back in the days when men were men, if someone said “men” they really meant MEN. Specifically, White, Christian, wealthy men.
When we render an opinion, it’s never based on our personal opinions. Never. Every decision is guided by the two most authoritative texts in the world. The Bible and the Constitution. In that order. Oh, and also landmark legal decisions of the Middle Ages. We’re firmly grounded in timeless truths. Not the ridiculous precedents misguided past Courts established.
Why? Because we are charged with upholding the Constitution. The genuine original one, that is. The one that was written by White Christian slave owners before those later amendments mucked it up. Before Blacks and women were human beings. When “gay” meant “lighthearted. When “they” was plural and “trans” was just the first syllable in “transubstantiation.”
Gun control? We strongly believe in controlling your guns, so be sure to hold your Uzi with both hands. The meaning of the Second Amendment is not up for debate. If those wise and prescient Founders thought only Americans serving in the military should bear arms, why did they put that comma in the amendment?
Since you ask, here’s why:
They started writing the Second Amendment just before breaking for dinner at Philadelphia’s famous “Pat’s Steaks.” Following the meal, they retired to the tavern next door. Over the next few hours, as was the custom of the day, quantities of punch, dry sack, Madeira, syllabub, strong ale and claret were consumed between hearty renditions of drinking songs such as “When I Drain the Rosy Bowl” and “Preach Me Not your Musty Rules.” (Hmm, “Musty Rules”…now there’s one we could sing to those would-be ethics police.)
When Ben Franklin launched into “Let Soldiers Fight For Pay and Praise,” they suddenly realized they had a problem. Since there wasn’t any income tax, they couldn’t pay soldiers, so they couldn’t afford an army that fought for any reward but praise.
When they staggered back into Independence Hall and continued their work, the ink on the unfinished second amendment was dry. Ben reminded them of the adage he’d published in Poor Richard’s Almanac, “waste not, want not,” so, not wanting to waste good parchment by starting all over again, they came up with the brilliant idea of putting a comma after it and adding the “not be infringed” clause. They were certain their intent to limit arms (excepting flint lock, single shot, front loaded hunting rifles) to militias would be crystal clear even to the most boneheaded future Justice. Being men to whom honor was sacred, they never imagined a Senate that would take cheap politics into account when they appointed us.
It’s a shame that little comma, and the fact that the sentence really isn’t even a sentence, causes so much confusion for some people. It doesn’t confuse Originalist experts like us at all. So what that there hasn’t been such a thing as a citizen militia (except for right wing domestic terrorists) in over two hundred years? Those Founders clearly believed everyone deserved the right to own machine guns. Never mind they wouldn’t be invented until Hiram Maxim built his a hundred years after the Constitutional Convention.
But let’s get down to the bottom line, so to speak. Do you realize how much a code of ethics would cut into our incomes? Oh Lordy, Lordy. We already aren’t allowed to earn more than $30,000 a year above our measly $270,000 salaries. Of course, that doesn’t include gifts, fancy meals, first class travel and book royalties. Amy made a half million on her last book, a non-fiction autobiographical version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” (and has us all lined up to rule in her favor when Margaret Atwood sues for plagiarism.) Clarence gets so many gifts he’s looking for someone to give him a second house to store them in. One of us received a pair of $700 cowboy boots last year. Hey, a guy needs shoes doesn’t he? We won’t mention his name, but he’s the one who walks bowlegged.
We work hard, get a paltry four months vacation per year and we’re limited to just four law clerks, not nearly enough to do our jobs for us while we’re off on our junkets. Don’t we deserve a few little perks and a decent standard of living?
Here’s another thing. Why should people get all worked up about the oodles of cash spouses rake in by trading on our names? Take the thousands Ginny gets paid for one speech to some patriotic organization like the Heritage Society. Ginny doesn’t have a clue about their politics. In fact, she doesn’t have a political bone in her body. Just likes to talk to people. She’s so sweet, she’ll give a speech to anyone. Just look at her. Ginny’s so “plain folks,” why, if she hadn’t become the wife of a Justice, it’s easy to imagine her slinging hash at a diner in Hoboken.
That’s beside the point, because Clarence never sees one penny of her loot. (She’s the one who keeps track of the bank statements on their joint accounts.) The Thomases also never, ever, discuss politics or cases that come or might come before the Court. If you don’t believe us, just ask them. People say he should recuse himself from cases about the Jan. 6 peaceful political discourse. Why? Just because his wife’s emails give the false impression she was involved in a conspiracy to overturn the government? Get serious.
And Clarence. Such a man of principle. Even though he’s married to a White gal, he’s still going to stand up against all kinds of “unconventional” marriages as well as birth control and those unmentionable kinky things people feel like it’s perfectly OK to do in the privacy of their bedrooms.
How much more ethical can the man be? Before you call him a hypocrite, you should know that according to a reliable twitter feed, his and Ginny’s marriage isn’t racially mixed. That’s right. The tweeter assures us Clarence is actually a White guy in blackface. Now it all makes sense. Really, would a real Black guy, besides Ye or Hershel Walker, vote the way Clarence does? Quite the shrewd fellow, the tweet goes on, he gamed affirmative action to get into the Court and has been voting against it ever since.
Lest any of you get the impression we’re greedy remember this. The meagre material benefits we receive in the normal course of our sacred duties mean nothing, nothing, to us compared with the blessings of our relationships with the many fine evangelical Christian people who, somehow by chance, have found their way into our hearts and lives over the past twenty years. They’ve welcomed us into their social circle and have been unflinchingly supportive and encouraging. They’re always there to lend an ear and to whisper brilliant suggestions in ours as they hand us gifts, no strings attached, solely out of the kindness of their pure Christian hearts.
From all this, it should be obvious that we are so completely ethical we certainly do not need any ethics rules, but if Congress has the nerve to try to impose any on us, we’ll simply follow their example.
They at least have the good sense to ignore all the rules that supposedly govern them,