The Supreme Court has now decided to close its front doors to the public, citing security reasons. The decision reflects the unfortunate stranglehold that the national security bureaucracy has on the country, a stranglehold that protects no one and nothing beyond the billions of dollars it costs the taxpayers to endure its demands. Remember, for instance, the flight to Detroit last December with a putative underwear-bomber aboard. He was thwarted not by any of the so-called security measures that are supposed to protect us in mid-air, but by the passengers. So, too, for the attempted bombing near Times Square. The heroes here were some alert vendors who altered a police officer to smoke coming from a parked van. Even then, the incompetence of those who are supposed to enforce our unwieldy no-fly system almost let the perpetrator get away.
In fact, all the Court is doing is to protect itself against distasteful protests by pretending to ward off “terrorists” at its gates. Real terrorists, if they want, can find another way in. Citizens upset with the court, however, will be denied their audience. The Washington Post’s Philip Kennicott wrote an excellent essay denouncing the court’s closing of the doors as “a grand affront—architecturally, symbolically and politically.” The beautiful entrance, with its promise of “Equal Justice Under Law,” is now closed, the promise visible only for visitors who can look back on leaving the building. By this act, as Kennicott observed, “[t]he justices have called into question their own ability to rule impartially on cases that balance national security concerns with constitutionally guaranteed liberties.”
Kennicott wants the Court to reverse itself and restore the promise. That would be a mistake. This Court does not stand for equal justice. Its closing of the doors will be an important reminder of that fact.