Congress Slaps the Supremes Back to Their Roots
A Parody Because Court Packing Completely Ignores Congress’ Real Power
Dear Chief Justice Roberts,
We applaud your court’s stance on originalism and preserving the original intent of our founding fathers. After reviewing your current circumstances, Congress concluded that we had not offered you the support your current position warrants. Therefore, we have reinstated the relevant portions of the Compensation Act of 1789 and substantially revised your budget request. After all, the Constitution grants Congress the power of the purse and the Executive branch control over the military. The founding fathers intentionally left the Judiciary as our weakest branch. Therefore, you rely on the authority provided by your good reputation. Hypocrisy, particularly from the Judiciary’s highest court, may inflict great harm on the people’s trust in your fine institution. We seek to avoid that at all costs.
Our Constitution was a product of its time. It is inconceivable for you to contemplate our great Constitution’s original public meaning, effective March 4, 1789, without being influenced by modern life. We recognize and empathize with this plight. After all, it no longer takes two (2) weeks for a letter to travel the 109 miles from New York to Philadelphia. We now fly to Washington D.C. in hours rather than spend weeks traveling by sailing ship or horseback. Most strikingly, 17.8% of our population is not enslaved.
We are now remedying the inherent conflicts between your public life and an original understanding of our Constitution.
First, we must beg that you pretend that Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are all white men. The same applies to any other person of color or woman, including Amy Barret, who may be confirmed. Due to the color of their skin or certain body parts, these individuals are not whom the founding fathers originally intended to sit on our highest court. We fully understand this.
Item 1: Salaries
We have reviewed your current salaries of $270,700 (Chief Justice) and $258,900 (Associate Justices). To be blunt, they are obscene. We know this because the founding fathers clearly laid out the salary for individuals in your esteemed position in the Compensation Act of 1789, which we are reinstating in part.
Per our founding fathers, effective immediately, the Chief Justice salary is $4,000 per year to be paid quarterly and $3,500 for associate justices. See Act of Sept. 23, 1789, ch. 18, 1 Stat. 72 for further information. Please note there is not a cost of living adjustment.
During our initial discussion, an economist with the Congressional Budget Office kindly informed us that our understanding of inflation is a relatively modern concept.
Before the free banking era (the mid-1830s to the Civil War), inflation was a temporary condition that affected individual currencies, not prices. As neither the general public in 1789 nor the founding fathers believed that inflation increases the price of bread over the years, our modern cost of living adjustment might distract you from interpreting the Constitution as if you were a common free man in 1789.
Now, some argue that your new salaries are below the poverty level. However, earlier justices more than made ends meet on this incredibly generous salary. Indeed, we feel that John Jay, SCOTUS’s first chief justice, best exemplified this when he became an envoy to Great Britain while also serving as Chief Justice. This new position increased his annual salary by $9,000. He later resigned from the court to become governor of New York. We assume this paid even better.
In keeping with Chief Justice Jay’s example, you may seek additional employment within the U.S. government. Naturally, you must fulfill all duties and responsibilities for both positions.
Item 2: Addressing Modern Distractions and Their Impacts
Modern society and culture differ significantly from that of our founding fathers. Much of this change was (and still is) driven by technological advances. As everyday life may diminish your ability to comprehend our founders’ original intent in the correct historical context, we must minimize these distractions as much as possible.
2.1: Rent and Utilities Budget Changes
During our revisions, we made substantial budget cuts to your rent and utilities. This is not an error.
The founding fathers did not have running water or electricity. We realize this is a shock. On your behalf, we have reached out to the reenactors at Mount Vernon. They will arrive next Monday at 9 AM to teach you everything you need to know about writing with quills, reading by candlelight, and how to squat over a chamber pot without accidentally “going” on your robes. We strongly recommend asking them about how to dress appropriately for a D.C. winter without central heating.
Before you ask, the Architect of the Capitol fully supports our efforts to cater to your 1789 sensibilities. Exit signs and fire suppression will remain in working order. Otherwise, we are shutting off all electricity and water so that you and your visitors may better appreciate the historical context of our Constitution.
Since we cannot build an outhouse on First Street NE, we have requested that the architect contract with a porta potty provider. The founding fathers would certainly appreciate this convenience! We have also authorized funds for in-office chamber pots.
Now, toilet paper was first marketed in the U.S. in 1857. We do not wish for these shining white rolls to distract you from your core duty — contemplating the Constitution’s original public meaning as written in 1789. Therefore, we removed it. On your behalf, our staff has collected donated corncobs from farmers throughout Virginia and Maryland. You will find them in the porta-potty in a period-appropriate container.
If you do not wish to use the provided corn cobs, please consult with the National Botanical Gardens before wiping your ass with the local greenery. In keeping with your 1789 mindset, we also canceled your health insurance because it did not exist in that hallowed time. Unexplained rashes are no longer covered.
2.2: The Supreme Court Building
The founding fathers did not originally intend for you to have a building. We know this because we were roomies for most of the first 146 years of our shared existence. Our 1929 vote to fund your current building was a polite eviction notice from us to you. We are not reversing that decision.
While we could stuff you back in the old Senate Chamber, we will not because our constituents, aka the Constitution’s “We, the People,” prefer that we remain in the 21st century and not, as you favor, the 18th.
2.3: Telecommunications and I.T. Budget Issues
While puzzling over the telecommunications and I.T. expenditures in your proposed budget, we asked ourselves this question. Would Alexander Hamilton recognize this phone, fax, email, laptop, etcetera? We picked Alexander Hamilton as our standard because he is also the primary author of The Federalist Papers, penning 51 of the 85 essays.
Over the years, our extensive interviews with originalist judges have revealed an intriguing mindset. To borrow an analogy, if the Constitution is God, The Federalist Papers are Jesus.
As politicians, we confess that we do not fully understand the high regard in which your justices hold these papers. To us, they are highly effective propaganda disguised as marketing. They published them in newspapers for a reason.
Ultimately, we feel that we must respect your court’s ideological position. Therefore, we zeroed out all budget items concerning technologies Hamilton would not recognize.
Then, we consulted with the president. He also respects your position and has directed all agencies involved in leasing or purchasing these unrecognizable technologies on your behalf to cease new acquisitions. He promises that all such items currently in use will be collected immediately, decommissioned, and sold at auction. For your convenience, we have enclosed a copy of the relevant executive order.
They will also collect all ballpoint pens, fountain pens, staplers, and sticky notes at that time.
Please note the additional budget allocated for postage and quills.
2.4: Court and Office Furnishings
The president has kindly lent us a National Park Service historian, who specializes in late 18th-century furnishings. During your class with the Mount Vernon reenactors, this individual will remove all non-period office furnishings, including rolling executive chairs, and replace them with the GSA-approved furnishings that most closely resemble those available in 1789. As these will likely be wood cafe chairs, we recommend bringing your own horse-hair or cotton stuffed cushion.
Item 3: Pending Issues
We have submitted a request for information to several local purveyors of horse-drawn carriage rides on your behalf. We will notify you once we receive this information. For the time being, we request that you use modern transportation methods.
3.2: Returning to the Original Court Composition and Its Majority Vote Ratio
Unless three (3) of your current members resign, we will not reduce the size of the court to its 1789 standard of five (5) associate justices and one (1) chief justice with a 4:2 majority vote.
At present, we are debating whether to alter the required majority from 5:4 to 6:3, which returns the court to its original majority ratio. Indeed, several of our members feel that a 7:2 or even an 8:1 majority would better preserve your branch’s legitimacy. We will notify you if and when we take action on this matter.
We trust that these measures will help you better achieve and understand the average 1789 free man’s mindset, particularly regarding his understanding of our Constitution. Please notify us in writing should these measures prove insufficient. We are perfectly willing to hold another emergency session on your behalf.
Please let us know when you wish to join us in the 21st century.