It was some decades ago, that we read the chilling, 1973, Sinclair Lewis novel, “It Can’t Happen Here.” The author’s prescient admonition was as explicit as it was disturbingly, conceivable. In its essence, the novel describes the rise of dictatorship in America, led by a stereotypical, Adolph Hitler.

Our recollection of Lewis’ implicit warning, was evoked, by the plethora of recent telling events, in our American society, the likes of which, have historically, posed existential threats to democracy and led to neo-fascistic autocracy. These disturbing events are exemplified, by Trump’s” Big Lie,” in undermining of the credibility of democratic elections, the recent, widespread, denigration of truthful facts, when deemed convenient or dogmatically necessary, legislative attacks on voters’ rights, particularly, those of our black and brown communities, official deprecation of homosexuality, in all of its facets, the reprise of populist antisemitism, the growth of populist discontent, the paranoiac need to carry deadly weapons, perverse censorship, banning and burning of books, denigration of learning and enlightenment, the xenophobic opposition to refugee immigration, perpetuation of the death penalty, control over personal liberties, notably, encompassing, the women’s natural right of abortion, the downplaying of modern science, when in contradiction to dogma, and, terrifyingly, the active encouragement of violence and insurrection.

We had previously, been reliably assured, that the Justices, comprising SCOTUS, the highest Court in the Nation, constituted a needed guardrail against tyranny. Such vitally, important protective status had been based upon their professional dedication, and practiced juridical wisdom, as guides to pass upon, and interpret, issues, consistent with the language and spirit of our Constitution and Statutory law, thereby, affirmatively, protecting our democratic form of government against tyranny as a reliable, firm and protective guardrail.

Tragically, it appears, that such traditionally, foundational principles, or “guardrail”, underpinning our political and sociological confidence, may, sadly, no longer exist. For the past quarter-century, the High Court seems to have been infected with the chronically, debilitating virus of political partisanship, in bright contrast to its former, (Statutorily mandated) immunity from that pathology.        

 Recently, the highest Court in the Nation (SCOTUS), now vested, with three conservative, Justices, appointed by the popularly conceded, worst President, in U.S. history, has, inappropriately, chosen to revisit its previously settled determination, recognizing and assuring women of the legality of the natural liberty of American women, to elect abortion. Said natural right, expressly, confirmed, by upwards of one-half century of consistent legal precedent, was cruelly erased, to the delight, and in accordance with, the pernicious and atavistic, un- American agenda of the bigoted, “White Christian America.” It would now appear that the right to exercise said liberty has, judicially, been determined, to be reserved to the States; which, presumably, have the requisite capability to determine recondite issues of birth control, but, apparently, not those concerning guns.

Such unusual admission and reconsidered determination, of the matter, testing the long-established, right of abortion, no doubt, occurred, as responsive to the continuous demands of right-wing- religiously partisan, interests, which, motivational basis, transformed the subject issue, originally, founded upon the substantive issues of civil liberty and privacy, to a contemporary, political issue.

In recent years, it appears that SCOTUS has, contrary, to its, established and well-founded history of procedural constraint, regarding political or partisan matters has apparently deemed such matters, selectively, acceptable. This, “off the rails” policy of arbitrary, acceptance, of partisan issues, in our view, is a most dramatic, harmful and irresponsible, change of direction. We are obliged to presume that the bizarre, choice to accept and rule (again) on the established, precedential, abortion issue, was in tacit compliance with the Nation’s partisan, religious interests. This unfortunate decline in legal and juridical principle in addition, and most significantly, an unauthorized transgression of the Constitutional “Establishment Clause,” prohibiting governmental involvement in religious matters.

 [N.B. As an irresistible, additional comment, admittedly, somewhat unrelated to the present theme, the tactical mantra of such, professed, religious believers, in “Life,” is empirically, refuted, by their opposition to needed assistance to the protected fetus, after the moment of its birth, by their unwavering opposition to gun regulation, their support of  capital punishment, and strident opposition to lifesaving, fugitive immigration. In fact, the only Biblical admonitions, (remaining unchanged) for the period of 2000 years, since the apocryphal birth of Jesus, relate to religious observance and power. In this respect, the, often high-jacked and ubiquitously, quoted, Bible  is referenced, as the authoritative source, despite the fact that, to our knowledge, the Bible does not contain any admonition against abortion but, does contain many  recommendations concerning empathy and peaceful relations.] 

Additionally, SCOTUS has demonstrated its current infirmity, by its erroneous, unsympathetic and irresponsible, treatment of the gun control issue. It “politically” acceded to the conservative right-wing, in its ruling that the Second Amendment grants all American citizens the right to own weapons. It takes but ten minutes of cursory reading of American Constitutional History, to correctly understand, that the “People’s right to bear arms,” (muskets) referred solely to the State Militias, and was part of a compromise, between the “Federalists” and The States Rights People; the latter, finally, agreeing to a Central government, provided that the separate States, (“The People”) had the right, within the Federal System, to be created, to raise a Militia.

Such errant analysis regarding, gun ownership, in face of the countless acts of mass homicide, often committed by distraught or mentally unfit citizens employing advanced, rapid-fire military armaments, is an additional, demonstration that SCOTUS has, irrefutably, gone off the rails, with this seal of approval,  now, apparently, awarded to the errant, populist- influenced and irresponsible, mob.

Even further, and as well, outside the responsible and compassionate guardrails, SCOTUS has just ruled, to the delight of the profiteering- sociopathic, inclinations of the industrial lobby, that that the EPA is significantly, limited in its authority to delimit, unhealthy and planet endangering, greenhouse gases, by enforcing prudent and safe, natural, (“alternate”) sources of power (i.e., wind, solar, hydroelectrical).

Weighing the many precipitous degrees of empirical vulnerability, existentially, inherent in the vital matter, of the survival of our democratic republic, the recent removal of the Nation’s, designated, and relied upon, guardrail, may prove to be the most worrisome and ultimately, the most devastating.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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