By Lafe Tolliver, Esq
Dear Reader, by the time you have read this column, I will have activated a series of strategic maneuvers that have allowed to me to seek journalistic protective sanctuary in a remote village in Canada.
The reason for this sudden departure (although I knew it would come to this) was that I was privy to be the source (some would call it a “leak”) of obtaining sensitive documents that have originated from the US Supreme Court.
As some of you may know, in my legal career, I have had the privilege and honor of serving as legal counsel for the Capitol Police in Washington, D.C. I met some brilliant and fascinating people during that tenure; and I was able to develop some trusted relationships with some of the law clerks who worked for the highest court in the land.
During our comradery, I learned the ins and outs of how the judicial process works amongst the Supreme Court jurists and was able to discern that the methods by which they issue opinions and how those opinions are safeguarded until their final release.
Well, you can imagine my shock and concern when my contact at the Supreme Court called me on an encrypted line and told me that he needed to fly to Toledo on urgent business and he could not trust this conversation over the phone or through fax machines.
Nor would he tell me the nature of the visit, but he stressed the fact that such a meeting was imperative, and that the welfare of the country was hanging in the balance. I agreed to meet at the downtown main library, in the genealogy department of the building where exchanging documents would not cause any undue attention or alarm.
We met, warmly shook hands and fondly spoke of our past days of trying to create a society in which all people were accorded fairness and in which the ruling rich class would not have undue influence in the ways and means by which Congress conducts its business.
There was a long pause while he fumbled to open his battered blue valise. Once he retrieved a stack of papers, he looked at me as if the world in which we lived in these United States was on the verge of collapse.
I sensed his uneasiness and the drama of what was to be presented to me. He wanted repeated assurances that what he was about to disclose would be kept safe and that I would not name him as the primary source of what appeared to be purloined papers.
Intense curiosity got the best of me, and I assured him that our conversation was sacred and my lips were sealed unto the grave.
What he revealed to me caused such a sharp exhale of air from me that some of the surrounding library patrons turned and looked at the source of that apparent discomfort. I quickly gathered myself and braced for a most startling disclosure.
Without further elaboration, he indicated that what I was about to receive was a final draft opinion of the United States Supreme Court overruling the ground shaking precedent of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education which declared that separate but equal was in fact illegal.
Yes, THE landmark decision that outlawed school segregation and which also was the harbinger legal decision that tore down other racial restrictive codes against Black and Brown people. The famed Thurgood Marshall argued that case before the Supreme Court on behalf of the NAACP.
When my heart stopped racing, I looked up at him and he too was frozen in thought, with both of us knowing that if such a decision were to be published at the end of the summer term, that America would be forever roiled in rebellion and protest marches would explode across the country and around the world.
I sat there for the next half hour reading the opinion written by Amy Coney Barrett and signed by the other four conservative judges, making it a narrow 5-4 decision.
Even Uncle Tom Clarence Thomas signed on in a separate concurring opinion but made his remarks tailored to the thoughts of Booker T. Washington who believed America could be as one but legally separate in matters of social interactions between the races.
The main rationale given for this cataclysmic decision was that people are permitted to voluntarily separate from others under a freedom of assembly argument (First Amendment); and were not legally or morally bound to accept others in their social circles that they could choose to exclude. Justice Barrett indicated that in the Constitution there is no requirement for integration nor is there any language mentioning it as a legal mandate under the interpretation of “due process.”
Needless to state, the national implications were stunning and far reaching because in America, those who hold political and economic power could then choose those whom they favor over those they disagree with based solely upon their ethnic background or country of origin and, if so, the grand American experiment in a multi-racial democracy was for all purposes dead.
My friend, by this time, was silently weeping because he also knew such a toxic decision would eviscerate the fragile racial fabric of this society in which we boast about being a nation of immigrants and a beacon of freedom for all, but now he knew otherwise.
My colleague provided me with the fax numbers of about 20 news outlets and journalists who would run this story and once it hit the wires, all bedlam would break out!
I was not sure how strong the glue that makes up America’s resilience would hold in the breach,or would people and institutions now be emboldened to make decisions that were antithetical to principles that I thought were firmly grounded as unmovable pillars of this society.
Would America start to encircle the wagons and initiate a path of “tolerant” separation from those deemed, the “others” whom they felt were destroying “their” Western civilization and diluting their way of life?
As the Supreme Court recently caused societal havoc in overturning Roe v. Wade, would this decision of Carpell v. Davenport forever change the political landscape whereby “good” people did not protest such a draconian decision and thus that silence would cause America to return to the prior caustic era of legalized and permissible separation?
My friend gave me the documents and fax numbers and told me to send them out as soon as possible. He also gave me an envelope to a remote location in Canada that I would need to hide out for a while until the fever of this devastating decision cooled down.
We hugged for the last time. I took the hefty envelope (including cash for my holdout stay) and started to leave when I noticed about 20 school kids, black and white, laughing and holding hands with each other as their teachers took them on a tour of the children’s library.
I remarked that such a trouble-free picture would soon be in the past as America could careen towards a dismal and dystopian future because of this dastardly legal ruling.
As I casually walked towards the front door of the library, I saw my friend stopped by men who had FB I lettered on their outer jackets. He was already being tagged as the leaker!
As I passed nearby, he grimly smiled at me and was hauled off in one of the waiting cars.
For me, I rented a car under an assumed name and quickly fled to Canada after I completed my part of the bargain.
Contact Lafe Tolliver at email@example.com