Can We Depolarize the Supreme Court?

The Fourth in a Series on Depolarizing Politics

Meister Käßner
9 min readOct 5, 2020


The March for Life 2017. James McNellis from Washington, DC, United States / CC BY (

Writing about depolarizing politics in the middle of the 2020 presidential election feels like bailing out the Titanic with a teaspoon. Or worse, I have become Don Quixote tilting at windmills in a war zone. That was before the Supreme Court announced that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had lost her fight to cancer.

Without allowing time to grieve or reflect, Republicans have vowed to gain maximum partisan advantage from the death of the liberal icon. After years of scolding liberals not to politicize school shootings, they have proven their hypocrisy again. Apparently only Democrats are supposed to follow rules and precedents. Damn fairness, the health of Democracy, hypocrisy etc. When your opponent is grieving or hurting, go for the kill.

We are in a full-fledged culture war for the soul of America. Conservatives attempt to terrify moderates with images of rioting in the streets. They repeat the mantra that “only Trump can stop the American carnage.” They forget that he feeds on chaos and never seeks to heal or unify.

Republicans no longer even resemble conservatives. They relish the roll of anarchist reactionaries prepared to obliterate the Constitution and the country to maximize White patriarchal privilege. Reagan was content to roll back the Great Society. Now Trump, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson want to repeal the Twentieth Century.

Even Chuck Grassley is proposing abolishing the Seventeenth Amendment requirement of the direct election of senators to further dilute the power of popular majorities. If they had their way, they might go after the 19th, 14th, and 1st amendments. No equality for women, no citizenship for Blacks and the children of immigrants. Who needs the freedom of the press, speech, the right to assemble or petition the government for a redress of grievances, not when your guy is in power? How strange that Democrats and Never Trump Republicans are now the true heirs of the Party of Lincoln.

The path to our current crisis has been laid since the 1960s. In a 2013 article in Christian Century the prophetic writer and farmer Wendell Berry argued,

“The liberal individual desires freedom from restraints upon personal…



Meister Käßner

I have been reflecting and writing about the stories, people, and places Northwest of Boston for thirty-five years. I also teach history and manage forest land.