It was with some amazement that I read the following quote attributed to you in a story carried by the Reuters News Service March 29, 2001:
"Ultimately, the power, the prestige, the respect of the court depends on trust," Kennedy said. "My colleagues and I want to be the most trusted people in America." "How do you build that trust?" Kennedy said. "Over time. You build up a deposit, reservoir, a storehouse of trust."
Mr. Kennedy, the deposit has been withdrawn, the reservoir drained, the
storehouse burned to the ground. It has obviously not dawned on any of you, in spite of Justice Stevens' prophetic closing remarks identifying the clear loser being the Nation's confidence in the judge as the guardian of the rule of law, just how much damage was done by you and your cohorts on December 12th. Even your own Robert Bork, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute February 13, 2001 has said, "The per curiam opinion joined by five Justices does have major problems".
I will say it has worse than that. It took law, justice and reason and tortured them to serve an agenda unable to bear the light of day. It would even be possible to respect you if the decision were consistent with your previously published principles of states rights, federalism and judicial restraint but it has become obvious that those were only worn as a cloak of convenience to be cast off at the first conflict with those who arranged to put you in office.
Your ruling took what might reasonably be considered first principles such as the right to vote and the right to have votes counted equitably and treated those principles frivolously. Complementarily it took peripheral principles such as the preservation of a December 12th date foreclosing reasonable challenge and elevated it to a status of central causality. As if that wasn't enough you all saw fit to hand down two diametrically opposed decisions which stated that the lower court ruling was invalidated, first, by not setting standards of ballot evaluation other than "clear intent of the voter" which is the text of Florida law and then, contradictorily, that any attempt to set stricter standards would be vacated as having trespassed in the realm reserved to the legislative branch. This scam is not impenetrable. In schoolyard terms it's "Heads I win, tails you lose". What fools you must think us. It is inconceivable in what contempt you must hold the American people to present this as any kind of model of judicial reasoning.
It is nearly impossible for me to communicate with what utter disgust I am forced to view your decision and the low purposes that you appear to have harnessed the majesty and sacred mission of the Court.
The Court I was raised to love and respect was meant to be a final and impartial arbiter; to continually re-establish the equipoise where the individual and the wider community could reach for a proper relationship and live in mutual respect each for the other. It seems more than a slight perversion to intervene to prevent "irreparable harm" when that "irreparable harm" would be to show that the person who was claiming victory on the basis of an incomplete vote count had, in fact, actually lost the election. The illegitimacy you claimed you sought to prevent was thus magnified and assured and, in the process, you have dragged our sacred Court into a mire that will take a generation and all of your departures to even begin to amend.
You have left us with a picture of five slavish partisans in harness and lockstep to the dictates of powerful forces who grasp the resources and revenue of this great country with a sense of arrogant entitlement: The public and principles be damned.
As a coda to this detestable series of decisions, Mr. Scalia, with the forthrightness of a tyrant secure in his calumny, has informed us we have no constitutional right to vote for President. In the letter of the law he is correct. In the matter of the spirit and soul of this country and what it stood for up until this election and your despicable part in it, he is as wrong as a man could possibly be. Please try to imagine for a minute how you or any of the minions you have unleashed on the body politic could rally us to sacrifice our lives, fortunes and sacred honor in your behalf. The vision of America that the outlines of your decisions convey would much more likely engage my enthusiasm for its swift destruction.
It embarrasses me to address you as Mr. Kennedy but the high esteem in which I have held the court will not allow me to put the word Justice anywhere near your name. Short sighted, politically motivated decisions disingenuously presented and defended with transparently self serving sophistry have a way of debasing everything and everyone they touch. Your actions have made you the very antipathy of the power, prestige and respect to which you referred. For you now, at this point, after what you and your colleagues have done to the very concept of the rule of law, to request that we read your opinion and view you as one of the most trusted men in the country is rather like a rapist leering down at his battered and bloodied victim and asking for a little kiss.
I, my fellow citizens and our children will all have to live with the consequences of your actions for the rest of our lives. Please do not look to us for gratitude or approval and certainly do not ever expect us to trust you.
Geoffrey D. (full name and contact information were provided)
CC: The Honorable Justice John Paul Stevens et al.