We are all trained and conditioned to see judges, clad in their dark and foreboding robes, as people who are superior to normal, average men and women.
The robes lend an air of solemnity, wisdom and certitude, similar to the vestments of priests, nuns or monks.
But in truth, they are not just like us -they are us, in every way that makes us human. They are angry, ambitious, biased and as base as are we all. But they, like us, are trained and conditioned to act above the fray.
When Roger Brooks Taney wrote, in the infamous Dred Scot case, that ‘negroes have no rights that a white man is bound to respect’, he was wearing a black robe.
When Buck v. Bell was decided, holding that it was legal to sterilize women who were described as ‘idiots’, all of the judges making the ruling wore black robes.
When the Korematsu case was decided, approving the interment of Japanese-Americans, simply because they were Japanese, all who approved the ruling wore black robes.
Robes, no matter their color, are just robes, and much injustice was justified by men wearing the uniform of a judge.
Which brings us to the present.
We will see much that is new in the Supreme Court’s newest dispensation.
But never doubt that it is still political.
Indeed, all law is political – for ‘law is simply politics by other means’.
If you watched the recent judicial senate hearings, you saw the mask slip, and saw rage, fury, anger and political contempt.
You think a robe covers that?