The Instigator
000ike
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
thett3
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

The U.S would be better off without the Supreme Court

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,936 times Debate No: 21548
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (5)

 

000ike

Pro

Both Pro and Con have shared burden of proof. Pro will demonstrate that the supreme court is a net harm to the United States. Con will attempt to negate that the Supreme Court is either of no harm, OR is a net benefit to the United States.

Round 1 is for acceptance.
thett3

Con

Thank's to 000ike for a fantastic topic. I accept the debate and the given rules.
Debate Round No. 1
000ike

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting the debate.

Introduction

Article VI:

…any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. . . . [A]ll executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.” [1]

Early in the evolution of American government it was established, starting with Marbury v. Madison, that the Supreme Court held a special obligation to review the Constitutionality of laws,…deriving justification of this burden implicitly from the Supremacy Clause of Article VI. Since then, the role of the Judicial Branch and the federal courts have received definite form and character as the guardians of Constitutional law wherever it may be threatened.

It also follows that the Court was established to be the highest of the judicial hierarchy. Functioning as a national arbiter, it exists to be virtually “the final word.”

Hence, in order to fulfill my burden of proof I will demonstrate that the Supreme Court was firstly a net harm through is execution (ie. its consistent inability to objectively defend the Constitution), and secondly in its very design and existence as a political and national tyrant.

Failure of Duty

The following are examples of overt and unjustified disregard of Constitutional liberties by the Supreme Court:

Korematsu v. US (1941)

The Court ruled that restriction on the rights of people of Japanese descent was legal and Constitutional because they posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. Furthermore, this case made it legal to order Japanese Americans that had neither committed crime nor treason, into internment camps during WWII solely on the basis of race.

The opinion, written by Supreme Court justice Hugo Black, held that the need to protect against espionage outweighed Fred Korematsu's individual rights, and the rights of Americans of Japanese descent” [2]

It is self-evident that this case destroyed the freedom of thousands of Americans under an unsubstantiated whim of suspicion and racism.


The Slaughter-House Cases (1873)

The Louisiana legislature passed an act granting the city of New Orleans the power to construct a Slaughter-House Corporation to “centralize all slaughterhouse operations in the city.” Then it proceeded to establish a government-enforced monopoly on this industry. When the Butcher’s Benevolent Association appealed to the Court that this was a violation of the equal protection, due process, and privileges and immunities clauses of the 14th Amendment, the Court found the state-initiated monopolization Constitutional on an insidious technicality. [3]

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe writes that “the Slaughter-House Cases incorrectly gutted the Privileges or Immunities Clause.” Similarly, Yale law professor Akhil Amar has written “Virtually no serious modern scholar—left, right, and center—thinks that Slaughter-House is a plausible reading of the Fourteenth Amendment.” [3]

There are multiple grounds on which one would find it unconstitutional for the government to institute and enforce a monopoly, but the 14th amendment and the establishment of equal protection is among the most apparent. What is the point of a Constitution if it may be interpreted so liberally that its laws can be misconstrued by a bloated Court to mean the opposite of what was stated and intended?

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

They ruled that State-enforced Segregation was legal insofar as accommodations were kept “separate but equal,” hence refusing to challenge or annul Jim Crow laws. The most indisputable aspect of this case was the fact that Jim Crow was separate and deliberately unequal. This serves as another disregard of the 14th Amendment by the same court, evidently rooted in the pervasive racist sentiment of the time. [4]

While in theory these laws required black facilities to be equal to white facilities, they very rarely were, resulting in blacks often being forced to use inferior facilities or not being offered facilities at all. [5]

Essentially, the Court supported a set of laws that placed Black Americans in a position of inferiority, …while hiding behind the tenuous justification of “separate yet equal,” fully aware that the laws were anything but.


Turner Broadcast System v. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (1994)

However, under the rule of Red Lion the High Court held that a federal agency could regulate broadcast stations (TV and Radio) with far greater discretion. In order for federal agency regulation of broadcast media to pass constitutional muster, it need only serve an important state interest and need not narrowly tailor its regulation to the least restrictive means.” [6]

Again the Supreme Court widens the regulatory power of the FCC in direct violation of the 1st Amendment.


Employment Division v. Smith (1990)

It was decided that the government could revoke unemployment benefits from users of Peyote, even if the drug is used as part of a religious ritual. It is essentially a penalty on a victimless religious practice and both a disrespect to freedom of religion, and again that frequently ignored equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. [7]


Buck v. Bell (1927)

The court ruled that compulsory sterilization (the governmental mandate forcing the mentally ill and diseased to undergo surgery for sterilization – as to prevent the passage of undesirable traits) was legal and constitutional.

It was largely seen as an endorsement of negative eugenics—the attempt to improve the human race by eliminating "defectives" from the gene pool.”[8]

Since when did the government have the Constitutional authority to force surgery?

Bush v. Gore (2000)

This ruled that the Florida Supreme Court’s method of recounting the ballots was somehow a violation of the 14th Amendment. They then proceeded to use this nonsensical assertion to overtake a case that was below their jurisdiction! They refused to recount the votes claiming that Florida law did not allow them sufficient time, and narrowly granted George Bush the presidency in a majority of 5-4.

As demonstrated by these seven cases, the Supreme Court is a failure. It has failed to protect civil liberties where it was most necessary, and violated the limits of governmental power where it was most explicit.

Centralization of Justice

The Supreme Court is among the most powerful institutions in American government, yet it is also one of the most exclusive and radical in its distortions of Constitutional text. I contend that 9 highly partisan unelected individuals should not have the power to coerce an entire country.

No entity has the authority under American law to overturn a Supreme Court decision, except the Supreme Court itself. So, the word of the Court is the final word on the matter.

As a result, it has used this absolutist advantage to force policies of the nation that the public may not have agreed with. NINE people forced racial integration on a country perhaps unprepared for it (though segregation was wrong, one should not approve of this method). NINE people asserted power unto themselves in Marbury v. Madison! Nine people may alter the political and social atmosphere of the nation in a matter of 1 case. This power is the essence of despotism, and hence must be removed.

Sources

1. http://archives.gov...

2. http://en.wikipedia.org...

3. http://en.wikipedia.org...

4. http://www.oyez.org...

5. http://articles.usa-people-search.com...

6. http://en.wikipedia.org...

7. http://en.wikipedia.org...

8. http://en.wikipedia.org...

thett3

Con

Thanks 000ike. As per the agreed rules, this round will consist of presenting my case.

Framework

Observation 1: Attacks made on the Supreme Court (Referred to as SCOTUS from now on for brevity) must address the Supreme Court in principle. That is, the only fair burden is an analysis of SCOTUS and its methodology, power, and purpose among other factors; expecting my opponent or myself to defend every "good" or "bad" SCOTUS decision is quite absurd and will lead only to meaningless squabble about the meaning of the Constitution from two people who truly know very little about it. Thus, the round must be judged using an initial framework regarding what SCOTUS is supposed to be, and how it fulfills that duty.

Observation 2: Non-unique advantages should be ignored, because by definition they can be achieved by less dangerous or drastic means. If my Opponent attacks SCOTUS based off of something that can be fixed in a way less drastic than not having a Supreme Judicial authority, his advocacy disappears.

Case

Contention one: Supreme Judicial Authority

Let us for a moment imagine a United States with no Supreme Court, and what that would be like. To be sure, inter-State disputes would increase; for example consider the following scenario: A gay couple marrys in New York, and moves to Texas where they demand that their marriage be recognized as valid in the state. They appeal to the Texas Supreme Court which, being the only Supreme court that is elected, rejects their claim out of hand. New York hears of this, and their court considers the case and declares that the couples Marriage, since it was performed in a Jurisdiction recognizing SSM, must be recognized by Texas. If such a scenario arrose in the status quo, it would likely be taken to SCOTUS and decided there; without SCOTUS the case is forever in a legal limbo.

The major impact behind this is that without SCOTUS, there is no way to settle inter-state legal disputes, because there is no authority with jurisiction over the State courts to settle the matter. Pro is obligated to explain how this could be dealt with, otherwise the resolution is negated by default because affirmation leads to complex and unsolvable legal situations.

Further, without a Supreme authority on the matter, interpretation of the Constitution would rely on certain subjective beliefs, that is if the Supreme Court of Texas decided that the 2nd amendment meant that every citizen had to pay them $100 dollars, there is no Supreme Judicial Authority to correct them.

Almost 1000 State Laws have been declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS over its lifetime[1]. Without the Supreme Court, many of these unconstitutional laws would still be in effect, and certainly for a longer time. For example, Loving v Virginia declared that all bans on miscegenation were unconstitutional, yet Alabama kept its law on the books for 33 years longer until 2000, and an amazing 41% of its citizens voted to keep it[2]. That’s at a bare minimum 20 or 30 more years of inter racial couples being discriminated against, and a large barrier to social progress.

Contention two: Checks and Balances

I’ve promised not to attack my opponents case right now, but I can assure you that this point of contention will be an extremely significant one. Without SCOTUS, the power of the legislature goes unchecked and they can, quite literally, pass whatever laws they wish. Immediately it will be objected that the legislature will follow the Constitution anyway, but this is an objection made in the light of overwhelming empirical and theoretical evidence to the Contrary; in the period of 1789-2002, SCOTUS declared an astounding 158 acts of Congress unconstitutional according to the Government Printing Office[3]. Further, expecting governments to follow constitutions willingly is nothing but a Fantasy. Hoppe writes[4] (contrasting the early US to today):

"Two-hundred years later, matters have changed dramatically. Now, year in and year out the American government expropriates more than 40% of the incomes of private producers, making even the burden on slaves and serfs seem moderate in comparison. Gold and Silver have been replaced by government manufactured paper...the meaning of private property, once seemingly clear and fixed, has become obscure, flexible, and fluid...every detail of private life, property, trade, and contract is regulated and reregulated by ever higher mountains of paper laws...the commitment to free trade and non-interventionism has given way to a policy of protectionism, militarism, and imperialism."

In the course of US history, the federal government has grown virtually nonstop, and SCOTUS is the only power that has resisted this. You can XA the GPO evidence to support this, and I’ll provide historical evidence as well, during the progressive era SCOTUS was the only branch of government to resist the unconstitutional meddling that occurred then[5]. The Federal Government needs a power to essentially “keep it in line” or else it is granted virtually limitless power, and the Constitution becomes little more than a historic and obsolete piece of paper.

Contention three: Fractionalization

Even today, the Constitution is the basic framework for all laws in the United States; and rightfully so because we’ve already seen that SCOTUS routinely strikes down unconstitutional laws. Similar to Contention One, if every State/Jurisdiction is given the power to interpret the Constitution on its own, than the United States is no longer United. As long as we want to live by the Constitution or any social contract for that matter, there must be only a single official interpretation of it, lest we lose whatever common bond we did have. Allowing for fractionalization leads to people in different regions living in practically different Countries; while in the Status Quo States have different laws, what their legislatures are and are not allowed to do is commonly understood—they cannot violate the Constitution! Conversely, with no SCOTUS, each State can have its own interpretation and the common law is gone. Texas courts had repeatedly ruled Texas’s anti-sodomy law as constitutional, where as other states ruled theirs as unconstitutional and the issue was only settled once and for all once SCOTUS weighed in[6]. When you allow every state to view the constitution as it wishes, than you no longer have a united country, and history tells us that when the US was disunited, civil war followed.

My Opponent must prove:

  1. A. There is an alternate way to assess the constitutionality of laws other than SCOTUS
  2. B. There would be another check on the legislature without SCOTUS and
  3. C. Every disadvantage he’s presented is unique to SCOTUS.

Sources:

  1. 1. http://www.gpoaccess.gov...
  2. 2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  3. 3. http://www.gpoaccess.gov...
  4. 4. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2001. USA. 278-279. Print.
  5. 5. http://www4.bluevalleyk12.org...(post).pdf
  6. 6. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
000ike

Pro

I have to forfeit the remainder of the debate. Sorry for any inconvenience. Vote Con
thett3

Con

Oh well then. Another time I guess.
Debate Round No. 3
000ike

Pro

speeding it up
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Well, my observation one was more than a little abusive. But yeah I would tend to agree with you
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
This resolution is terrible. I didn't initially realize exactly everything that was demanded by it,...a simple criticism of the Supreme Court isn't near enough. The problem is that Pro either has to come up with a new judicial system - or find an alternative model from another country,...and virtually no country has no Supreme Court. Then,...if you just left the circuit courts and only got rid of the supreme, you'd quickly find that there is little to no difference in the structure of the circuits and SCOTUS, so getting rid of it wouldn't solve anything.

This resolution is a massive trap for Pro. Only someone with a lot of debate experience would be able to handle it.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Anyone who wants to debate me on this, send me a challenge. Or if you want a rematch ike
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Yeah, default at 3 days isnt a good idea
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
lol I did forget to extend the voting period to a month. This would have been bad
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
Please try to post it before 4 if that's possible - I want to write my rebuttal before school starts on monday
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
Please try to post it before 4 if that's possible - I want to write my rebuttal before school starts on monday
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Dont worry, my round 2 is almost complete. no forfeit :)
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
no I don't mind
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Also, I have no idea ho long my case will be so this may not be an issue, but do you mind if I make a seperate debate for sources to save characters? Like this: http://www.debate.org...
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Xerge 5 years ago
Xerge
000ikethett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession...
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
000ikethett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
PartamRuhem
000ikethett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
000ikethett3Tied
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Vote Placed by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
000ikethett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: concession. D: