We can thank the Supreme Court for unambiguously pointing out the direction it plans to take the nation – no reproductive rights; no gun control (no matter the frequency of mass shootings); no capacity of the EPA (an arm of an overreaching “administrative state”) to curtail power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions (no matter the horrors wrought already by the climate crisis); a rollback of Miranda rights (giving police an even freer hand in dealing with suspects); a requirement that public monies flow to private religious schools; and the right of public school personnel to pray publicly.
To oversimply – though not by much – it seems evident that this handful of unelected and lifetime judges, with a bulletproof rightwing majority, plans to roll back hard-won civil rights gains of the last six decades, and probably any parts of the public sector that do not serve the material or ideological interests of the ruling elite. It’s been the dream of the political right since the mid-twentieth century to undo the New Deal and its efforts to curtail and partially correct the harsher social, political, economic and environmental consequences of an untrammeled capitalist order. It looks like the elite at last has a court that will turn its dream into reality.
This is very bad news for social work. Not only does the livelihood of most social workers depend, directly or indirectly, on government social welfare programs, already under severe pressure and sure to become even more so in the future. Further, the dominant social work model for defending good social welfare policy and effecting progressive policy change presumes a rational process wherein all branches of government work more or less in concert to advance the common good. Today, it is rightist ideology (and seemingly a Christianized authoritarian ideology), not thoughtful and compassionate concern for the common good, that prevails.