There are always consequences to the lunacy of radical policies, including the loss of simple joys that many people don’t even think much about.
“I go to Mass before I go to work, and the reason for that is not just habit,” once said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. “It gives [me], a sinner … a way of doing this secular job, the right way for the right reasons.”
What most people don’t know is that Justice Thomas has been known to walk to and from church each morning before his day at the Supreme Court. Justice Alito has been known to do the same thing. Walking from a worship service to work may not be all that unusual for some, but the thought of our nation’s most illustrious judges doing so is remarkably refreshing.
Justice Thomas and his wife Ginni have also famously traveled the country in their 40-foot Prevost motorhome. Since 1999, they’ve vacationed in 27 states, and were known to “camp” overnight in unexpected places.
“We’ve been in dozens of Walmart parking lots across the country, reflected Mrs. Thomas, in an interview with Motorhome Magazine. “Actually, it’s one of our favorite things to do if we’re not having to plug in and we’ve got enough electricity … but you can get a little shopping in, see a part of real America. It’s fun.”
Justice Gorsuch, a ski, fishing and hunting enthusiast during his days in Colorado, has been known to go on long early morning bike rides in the Washington area. He’s even been known to ride to and from the court.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett is the first Supreme Court justice with school age children. The Barretts have seven – five of whom are between the ages of 10 and 18. Any mother knows the joys of attending or participating in science fairs, concerts, recitals and sporting events.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose life was threatened by a would-be assassin last week, has enjoyed coaching youth basketball for his daughters.
Once upon a time, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist would be seen taking a daily stroll around the Supreme Court. The fresh air and sunshine were therapeutic for him – but it was also a practical, job-related outing. He took his role as the “chief” seriously and would use the time to inspect the marbled building, flowers and trees.
Supreme Court justices are all remarkably intelligent, brilliant and exceptional men and women – but we sometimes forget they’re also husbands and wives – and mothers and fathers.
Death threats and around-the-clock security inevitably and invariably take their toll on them. But it’s also the loss of the little things that hurt and hollow out some of the joys of the job. We should grieve that terrible turn.
Will justices ever again feel comfortable walking to and from church and court – or coaching a CYO team? What about going to a child’s high school graduation or taking a bike ride just to enjoy the sunrise? The privilege of being a Supreme Court judge has always come with a price – but it’s a sad commentary on a country when its public servants have more security guards than sunflowers and gardenias in front of their homes.
We must continue to pray for all nine of the justices. The nation remains on edge, and some almost seem to be giving license or a blind eye to the aggrieved, only encouraging these unstable individuals and groups to violently act out.
“He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success,” we read in Job (5:12).
May it be so for those who plan evil and violence in 2022.