By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
John Bressler - The Supreme Court without a Protestant
bressler color
John Bressler

          When I first began writing for the Herald, I promised myself to never get involved with political issues simply because I am not a trained politician, don't want to be and not popular enough to be elected president. With that said, I am going to fall into the abyss of semi-academic rhetoric. That means, I am going to say what's on my mind and in my heart concerning the Supreme Court, colorfully called by the acronym SCOTUS, Supreme Court of the United States.
       Most of you may already know that if nominee Elena Kagan is confirmed by the Senate through "advice and consent," there will be no Protestant on the court. I am very familiar with Article VI of the Constitution, which clearly states, "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification of any office or public trust under the United States." I also checked out the Washington Post article by Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, and I agree with and understand his position surrounding the interpretation of Article VI. Our Constitutional framers were so strongly opposed to England's form of government and religious affiliation that they wanted in unquestionable legal terms the certainty that this would not happen in America.
       I am not in any way suggesting that the future court — if the current nominee is confirmed — cannot act with courage, commitment and integrity. I am strongly suggesting that the Supreme Court will be made up of fallible human beings who, like it or not, can and will be motivated by the totality of what has made them who they are.
       My Dad, when I asked him where I came from — and I was not asking about the birds and the bees, but was it true that gypsies left me on the doorstep — always laughed and said I was a Duke's mixture. Historically, I am German Scotch, Dutch, Irish, Cherokee, Italian and Jewish. I am also a Gemini, which means I am handsome, intelligent, witty, great legs … you know the story. Anyway, while I like to believe I can be very objective, I know that I cannot separate what I have been taught by my kinfolk when, "Something just ain't right!"
       There is something very powerful, wonderful and correct about history, which began around 1250 BC, 325 AD or 1517 AD — another way of referring to Moses, Constantine and Luther — and how those dates impacted the thinking of Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism over the years and will continue to influence Jews, Catholics and Protestants for a long time yet to come.
       Now for me or anyone to say that the Supreme Court, sans Protestants, will not be brilliant or incapable of making sound decisions, would be a pretty dumb position. But for me or anyone to believe that making certain that by enforcing Article VI will ensure absolute objectivity is pretty dumb too.
       Let me make a leap of theological thought: I support Romans 13, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities." However, let me make a leap of faith and say that in our form of government, which I believe is biblically sound, we have the right and obligation to elect those who function in our government. When we elect remarkably inept individuals, we have the right and obligation to show them the revolving door and replace them with capable and able men and women.
       To give up and say democracy has finally dawned, is to also believe that legalism is more important than tradition, which is more important than declaration.
       All I am asking is that the Supreme Court be truly representative.
       Is that too much to ask? By the way, let's not get into the system of checks and balances. My head is beginning to hurt.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter