The US Supreme Court's new term began last week, October 3. I wouldn't normally remark on that fact but these are not normal times, are they?
The conservative right have spent over half a century attempting to capture the Supreme Court, repeatedly appointing the most conservative justices they could find - and it's fair to say they have been successful in this decades-long effort, surpassing even their own wildest dreams.
I have lived in America roughly half as long as this capture-the-court campaign and I have experienced some of the life-changing social and political rulings that successfully capturing the court ensures.
It is very strange and dispiriting to watch your rights appear or vanish based on the decisions of nine or so justices, but since I have come to America, that has been my experience, decade after decade.
And not just mine. Half the people in this country had their reproductive freedom and the right to an abortion removed by the current conservative supreme court in their last lamentable term, a development that the senior Republicans who seated them assured us would never happen.
But it did happen, and not by accident, since a national ban on abortion rights was always the GOP's avowed goal. This means that young women are now growing up in an America where they will have fewer reproductive rights than their mothers and grandmothers. This isn't progress in any sense of the word, this is simply the judicial removal of a long-settled right.
Nor was it progress to let the nation's voting rights be eroded, making it harder for minorities to vote, or to permit egregious political gerrymandering to go unchallenged, undermining our democracy and the court's reputation for impartial decision-making, a reputation that Chief Justice John Roberts has done too little to defend.
It is not progress in any sense to let big corporations and billionaires have an outsized influence on our elections, allowing their unchecked millions to buy as much influence as they can, in the process turning the idea of one person one vote on its head.
But in the lamentable Citizens United vote for plutocracy, in which Roberts himself was the deciding vote, the court overturned our campaign finance system and handed immense power to the biggest donors, who can now throw their voices over the people's.
It is very clear who these last two rulings helped, the Republican party, and who they hindered, the Democratic party, but nevertheless, these blatantly racially-based gerrymanders are something that this court decided to bolster.
Every court must interpret the Constitution fairly and legitimately, it's their first charge. Unfortunately, most Americans now agree that this court is instead motivated by politics instead of law.
Instead of reflecting where the nation is, time and again it is taking us back to where we used to be, sparking all the social and political convulsions that arrogance entails. Herding us into their Constitutional time machine has not been the success they imagined and it never will be.
In his decades-long and anvil-brained pursuit of the nation's top court, Senator Mitch McConnell has never once asked himself if the country could endure its fully partisan capture. He simply set himself this ambitious goal, but he failed to reflect on its foreseeable consequences.
Just as he has remained silent after the recent death threat on himself and the racist attack on his wife by his own party leader, McConnell has been too silent about the grave political dangers an obviously unbalanced supreme court spells.
Trust in the court's impartiality is now at the lowest level in the court's history, of course. That means we are already in a crisis before the sure-to-be-contested midterms and the certain-to-be-contested 2024 presidential election.
As the Roberts court continues on its bluntly partisan path and hands victory after victory to the GOP, his claim that the majority who disagree are simply suffering from sour grapes looks absurd.
The blanket refusal to allow President Barack Obama to appoint a successor to Antonin Scalia turned decades of prior practice upside down, holding up the appointment until a Republican was in the White House and a justice in keeping with their own aims could be seated.
People noticed. Playing hardball with these appointments created the current 6-to-3 right-wing supermajority, but it has punctured the public's trust and faith in the court to be fair and non-partisan in the process.
It turns out that you can be too successful. It turns out the nation you want to make may not be the nation most Americans want to live in. Until we have more balance in the court and more measure in its rulings, we are very unlikely to have any more peace.