A Prayer for the Supreme Court

A Prayer for the Supreme Court

2018 Roberts Court

The Roberts Court, November 30, 2018. Seated, from left to right: Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel A. Alito. Standing, from left to right: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Supreme Court Curator’s Office.

With critical oral arguments on the status of Dreamers approaching at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, I was going to write this as “an open letter to the Supreme Court” but that didn’t seem quite right, since the justices are unlikely to consider any individual citizen’s words outside of the confines of a case before them.  And I’ve written so much on the topic of justice for undocumented persons and our Trinity Dreamer Scholars that one more blog along those lines seems redundant.  So, how to express the urgency and concern that I feel, shared by so many in the Trinity community, about the oral arguments that the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday, November 12, in a consolidated group of three cases concerning DACA, the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” that gives undocumented young persons some limited legal status in this country?

This seems to be a moment in which prayer for enlightenment for the justices of the Supreme Court is the best hope we have for the right result.  Here’s my prayer:

May the justices of the Supreme Court understand that this case is about the fate of millions of lives, not just technical legal arguments about presidential power and political choices.

May the justices open their hearts to the devastating oppression that caused parents to seek new lives for their infants and young children in the United States, fleeing to this country by any means available to protect their children, which is the ultimate expression of parental love and responsibility;

May the justices be stewards of America’s promise to welcome these innocent young lives, to allow them to flourish free of fear and hatred;

May the justices realize that America is the only home these young people have ever known, that they have constructed lives of great meaning and potential for this nation, their families and communities;

May the justices reject the cruel and corrupt manipulation of these young people as pawns for political ends;

May the members of the Supreme Court be so enlightened as to craft an opinion that will take its place alongside the greatest civil rights opinions of the Court, spelling out the terms of justice for those who currently hold DACA permits, and directing the Congress and President to act with more than deliberate speed to create permanent solutions for all undocumented immigrants in the United States today;

And, finally, may the Supreme Court find a way to become the beacon of hope for those still in the shadows, and the ballast to recenter this society whose wild gyre has lost its once-steadfast bearings of compassion, charity and simple justice for all people who call America their home.