The Instigator
DATXDUDE
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Surrealism
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The US supreme court should not exist in the way it does now

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Post Voting Period
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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/4/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 828 times Debate No: 79379
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (20)
Votes (0)

 

DATXDUDE

Pro

First round is acceptance.
Debate Round No. 1
DATXDUDE

Pro

I forgot to say that me and my opponent have shared BoP.

If not abolished completely, the supreme court needs to be reformed.

Contention #1- The Supreme Court has too much power.

Its judges can literally declare certain laws as unconstitutional whenever they see fit, even when the laws it declares unconstitutional have nothing to do with the constitution. For example, the rulings on gay marriage and abortion.

Contention #2- The Supreme Court does not have enough judges.

The supreme court has nine judges. In many rulings such as the ruling on gay marriage, the outcome could have been changed by the vote of one person. If the supreme court should continue to exist, it will need to increase its staff to a number where this doesn't happen nearly as much. One person, no matter how qualified, cannot make decisions as major as the supreme court does in a functioning democracy.
Surrealism

Con

I will begin by rebutting my opponent's contentions.

Rebuttal of Contention One:

My opponent's main gripe is that the supreme court, having the amount of power it does, could arbitrarily declare a law unconstitutional for any reason. They then use the cases Roe v Wade and Obergell v Hodges as evidence. There are many problems with this.

Firstly, the Supreme Court does not have this ability. What they do have is the power of judicial review[1], wherein they can decide cases brought to the Supreme Court, and in effect, make interpretations on how the Constitution applies to these cases. Oftentimes, this is done to overturn previous decisions and support new ideas, as in Brown v Board. However, the Supreme Court does not have the power to arbitrarily make any decision on any law they want. They must wait for a case to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Secondly, any arbitrary declaration of constitutionality would certainly fall along partisan lines, which would make it impossible to simply declare something and be done with it. The division among party lines means that both sides of the argument will be represented in the decision, and further that if a precedent is overturned, that there will be a very good reason for it.

Thirdly, the cases that my opponent mentions as being evidence for being unrelated to the Constitution make it clear that my opponent has not actually read the rulings for these cases. Both of them have support from the Due Process clause of the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution.

Roe v Wade:

"In Roe, this Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects, under certain circumstances, a woman’s decision whether to carry a pregnancy to term." [2]

Obergell v Hodges:

"The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex...The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs." [3]

Claiming that these cases have nothing to do with the Consitution is absurd.

Rebuttal of Contention Two:

My opponent's problem here is that because the Supreme Court is divided among party lines, oftentimes the decision of one person can decide a case. While this is true, it is certainly not the norm. This idea that the Supreme Court is ideologically divided and that one person can tip the scales on their own whims may be true for a small minority of cases, but it is in general not true. As it turns out, most Supreme Court decisions tend to garner agreement between judges. [4] Even the highly controversial and partisan Obamacare was supported by the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision.

This is because the Supreme Court Justices are not party figureheads. They are appointed for their law experience, and in most cases make their decision not on their party affiliations, but on what seems to them based on their legal knowledge to be constitutional. While this can be party-influenced, it is certainly not party-driven.

Having rebutted my opponent's arguments, I will now present my own arguments in favor of the aspects my opponent argued against.

Judicial Review

Judicial Review is the most important power of the Supreme Court, as it allows the court to interpret the will of the Consitution and explain how it applies to specific cases. The Constitution is an ambiguous document sometimes, and so it is important to be able to draw a line to where certain aspects do apply and where they don't. For instance, in 1969 the case Tinker v Des Moines centered around the issue of whether or not the wearing of an armband was protected under the First Amendment as free speech. The Supreme Court ruled that it did, ironing out an otherwise ambiguous law. [5]

Judicial Review is also essential for the progression of equal rights. During the former half of the 20th century, the Supreme Court played an inclemental role in the breaking down of legal discrimination against blacks in the United States in several landmark cases including Loving v Virginia and Brown v Board of Education. Were the Supreme Court not able to play its role in establishing how the Constitution applies, equal rights among minorities and women would be set far back from where they are now. [6]

Size of the Supreme Court

This issue weighs in less because I've mentioned that the Supreme Court is not partisanly divided, but there are a few reasons to have a small Supreme Court.

One: Smaller groups avoid gridlock. The United States congress is infamous for being unable to decide on nearly anything at the moment due to its polarization. The larger a group is, the more it is paralyzed by partisanship. Keeping the Supreme Court small encourages decisions to be made.

Two: The Supreme Court is not imposing laws. In a democracy, the will of the people is used in the decision of what laws to make. However, the the Supreme Court is not making laws. The Supreme Court is using their legal expertise to decide what those laws mean. As confusing as law can be, any legal statement has a logical conclusion, so on most issues, the court agrees (as I've mentioned before).

My opponent's objections are ill-informed and insubstantial.

[1]http://tinyurl.com...
[2]http://tinyurl.com...
[3]http://tinyurl.com...;
[4]http://tinyurl.com...
[5]http://tinyurl.com...
[6]http://tinyurl.com...;
Debate Round No. 2
DATXDUDE

Pro

Sorry, my counter rebuttals are out of order.

Contention 2 Counter Rebuttal:
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"Firstly, the Supreme Court does not have this ability. What they do have is the power of judicial review[1], wherein they can decide cases brought to the Supreme Court, and in effect, make interpretations on how the Constitution applies to these cases. Oftentimes, this is done to overturn previous decisions and support new ideas, as in Brown v Board. However, the Supreme Court does not have the power to arbitrarily make any decision on any law they want. They must wait for a case to be appealed to the Supreme Court."
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If an issue is a hot-button topic for long enough, it WILL eventually be put in front of the supreme court. This is an inevitability. We see that, in the last two hundred years of American history, almost every major political debate that ended was ended by the supreme court. (abortion, gay marriage, segregation, inter-racial marriage, etc.)


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"Secondly, any arbitrary declaration of constitutionality would certainly fall along partisan lines, which would make it impossible to simply declare something and be done with it. The division among party lines means that both sides of the argument will be represented in the decision, and further that if a precedent is overturned, that there will be a very good reason for it."
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American legislation can be ambiguous. However, the solution to this problem is not to put nine people in charge of interpreting it, but rather to make additional amendments to clarify it. The so called "problem", Con states that there would be if the legislative branch of government were put in charge of clarifying laws would not change. However, it would increase the power US citizens have over their government. Now, let's prove Con's first misled argument wrong:

Contention 1 Counter Rebuttal:
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"any arbitrary declaration of constitutionality would certainly fall along partisan lines"
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The same is true for the Supreme Court. For those of you who don't know, the US Supreme Court's body isn't elected by U.S. citizens. They are chosen by the Executive Branch of government, or rather, the President. I seriously doubt that Con would have the naivety to claim that the President isn't of a certain party.* However, if the US legislative branch were in charge of changing laws, as they should be, US citizens would at least be deciding who would be in charge of doing this.

Contention 3 Counter Rebuttal:

In Con's misguided rebuttal of my third contention, he states that "smaller groups avoid gridlock". However, there is an easy solution that would solve is problem in the legislative branch. In decisions that cannot be reached because of gridlock, the veto power of the President could be lowered from 66% to 60% of congress.

He/she also knows that US legislation can be confusing. This is a problem. We can easily get rid of this problem by granting the Legislative branch of government to clarify confusing laws, and add an amendment to the constitution that mandates that the Legislative branch of government make specific laws that apply only to certain situations (like an amendment giving gay people the right to marry).

In conclusion, Con Should seriously rethink his/her arguments, or actually just concede entirely (joke).

*I know what Con is going to say to this. I know that saying this is risky on my part, but I advise Con not to make that argument.
Surrealism

Con

Before I begin, I would like to point out that what my opponent labelled as their Contention Two Counterrebuttal was in response to my rebuttal of his first contention, not his second. Also, he cannot have a Contention Three Counterrebuttal because he only made two contentions in the first place.

In addition, my opponent completely dropped my rebuttal to their second contention. This is essentially a concession of that contention to me.

With that out of the way, my opponent's entire case hinges on their first contention only.

Here is a breakdown of their counterrebuttal.

"If an issue is a hot-button topic for long enough, it WILL eventually be put in front of the supreme court."

If a case is brought to the Supreme Court, that means that there are people who wish to see the issue resolved. Ergo, the power on which issues will be decided is in the hands of the people who appeal, NOT the Supreme Court.

"American legislation can be ambiguous. However, the solution to this problem is not to put nine people in charge of interpreting it, but rather to make additional amendments to clarify it. The so called "problem", Con states that there would be if the legislative branch of government were put in charge of clarifying laws would not change."

This is ludicrous.

First of all, this would essentially give Congress both Legislative and Judicial powers, destroying the separation of powers. As I said before, having which issues decisions are to be made on be decided by people who appeal is far more representative of the will of the masses than a congressional decision, when many congressmen have their own agendas or are chosen as the result of gerrymandering.

Second of all, and even worse, you are honestly suggesting that when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, the congressmen who passed it should have had the foresight to include clauses on abortion and gay marriage, neither of which even existed as issues at the time. Congress does not have time to ponder every single possible case that might fall under the jurisdiction of an amendment at some point in the next 200 years. We do not know what issues will be appealed to the Supreme Court in 2135, and it would absurd to attempt to pass amendments speculating on that. In addition, congress is already gridlocked and has enough trouble passing laws as it is. Do you really want to clog up the system further?

"American legislation can be ambiguous. However, the solution to this problem is not to put nine people in charge of interpreting it, but rather to make additional amendments to clarify it. The so called "problem", Con states that there would be if the legislative branch of government were put in charge of clarifying laws would not change."

Yes, but Justices serve life terms and so avoid the influence of the sitting president. It's not as though Obama was able to choose all nine justices in 2008. In addition, while the Justices are not democratically chosen, the President is. If the country leans more toward the Democratic party, then isn't the sitting president appointing a Democratic judge an extension of that?

Now let's see how my opponent responds to my own contentions in favor of the Supreme Court's current state.

"In Con's misguided rebuttal of my third contention, he states that "smaller groups avoid gridlock". However, there is an easy solution that would solve is problem in the legislative branch. In decisions that cannot be reached because of gridlock, the veto power of the President could be lowered from 66% to 60% of congress."

Oh, so now the Legislative branch needs to seep power away from the Executive branch too? Are you trying to set up an oligarchy? Because that's how you set up an oligarchy.

And then you completely ignored my contention on Judicial Review, which just so happened to be possibly the most important one I made.

Voters, my opponent has entirely dropped my two most important contentions regarding the Supreme Court's power of judicial review. Judicial review is the most important power of the Supreme Court in the first place, and it was the grounds of my opponent's entire argument. And then they ignored my explanation for why it ought to be there. If that by itself isn't grounds for winning, then it's at the very least grounds for losing conduct points.
Debate Round No. 3
DATXDUDE

Pro

First of all, I request that the voters of this debate give ME conduct points, and not Con. In his last argument, she did not speak appropriately in the context of a debate.

"Oh, so now the Legislative branch needs to seep power away from the Executive branch too? Are you trying to set up an oligarchy? Because that's how you set up an oligarchy."

She also called my arguments "ludicrous". This is NOT formal language, and should not be used in the context of a debate.

Also, Con didn't respond to many of my arguments.

Now, I didn't ignore Con's argument of Judicial review.

"If an issue is a hot-button topic for long enough, it WILL eventually be put in front of the supreme court."

The argument of judicial review is irrelivant because of this


"Second of all, and even worse, you are honestly suggesting that when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, the congressmen who passed it should have had the foresight to include clauses on abortion and gay marriage, neither of which even existed as issues at the time. Congress does not have time to ponder every single possible case that might fall under the jurisdiction of an amendment at some point in the next 200 years. We do not know what issues will be appealed to the Supreme Court in 2135, and it would absurd to attempt to pass amendments speculating on that. In addition, congress is already gridlocked and has enough trouble passing laws as it is. Do you really want to clog up the system further?"

I was not suggesting this. I was suggesting that we should make additional amendments that clarify laws, and that we shouldn't just have nine people guess what the laws mean.


"Yes, but Justices serve life terms and so avoid the influence of the sitting president. It's not as though Obama was able to choose all nine justices in 2008. In addition, while the Justices are not democratically chosen, the President is. If the country leans more toward the Democratic party, then isn't the sitting president appointing a Democratic judge an extension of that?"

The fact that justices serve life terms is a problem BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY TO REMOVE THEM.

Also, regarding my opponents rude and misguided comment about me wanting an oligarchy, here is the definition of "oligarchy".

a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people.

IF THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT IS CONTROLLED BY THE PEOPLE, THEN THE GOVERNMENT IS A DEMOCRACY.

If I'm not mistaken, I win this debate.

Source:

http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Surrealism

Con

I would like to address a few points about my own conduct. I would freely admit that were I to insult my opponent, I ought to lose conduct points. However, I did not. I called my opponent's arguments ludicrous. I have not commited an ad hominem attack. I even explained why that particular argument was ludicrous.

My opponent also states that I did not respond to all of their arguments. I freely invite them to tell me which.

They then respond to me contention of Judicial Review with this:

"'If an issue is a hot-button topic for long enough, it WILL eventually be put in front of the supreme court.'

The argument of judicial review is irrelivant because of this"

How so? I do not see how the Supreme Court having to respond to issues raised by the people is in anyway indicative of Judicial Review being bad.

"I was not suggesting this. I was suggesting that we should make additional amendments that clarify laws, and that we shouldn't just have nine people guess what the laws mean."

This could either mean having congress set laws for all possible contingencies at the moment they ratify a law, or just deciding the contingencies as they come in. Since you've expressed that you do not desire the former (which is absurd), that means you want the latter.

The Supreme Court already reviews 130 petitions a week, and even then they only have enough time to hear about 80 of these cases over a period of NINE MONTHS. And on each of the active days in those nine months, they spend five hours a day listening to cases. [7] If you are honestly suggesting that we ought to dump that Herculean task onto Congress on top of the mammoth amount of work that Congress already does, then I think that calling this idea ludicrous is not an overstatement.

In addition, "guessing"? Each Justice has years of legal experience, and spends most of their time reviewing precedents of cases as well as the cases presented by the people who appealed. This can take weeks.[7] That's hardly "guessing".

In addition, if the judges were just guessing, then they would agree far less than they do. As I've already pointed out, in most cases the Justices have a strong consensus.

"The fact that justices serve life terms is a problem BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY TO REMOVE THEM."

Actually there is. Congress can impeach Justices if they feel that they are irresponsible or unknowledgeable, and this has happened before in 1805.[8]

"IF THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT IS CONTROLLED BY THE PEOPLE, THEN THE GOVERNMENT IS A DEMOCRACY."

If we are to believe this, then we are to believe that popular support for issues would match congressional support. Is this the case?

While 60% of Americans support gay marriage, only 45% of congress does. [9][10]

While 61% of Americans support marijuana legalization, barely 3% of congress does. [11][12]

Congress is not a magic source of the will of the people. Many congressmen are elected from gerrymandering, and many have their own agendas that do not match the will of those who elected them.

Now, just for a moment here, I'm going to examine the case I made in round 2. Here's a breakdown of it:

CONTENTION ONE REBUTTAL

Subpoint A: Supreme Court does not have the power of arbitrary declarations of constitutionality.

Subpoint B: Arbitrary declarations are impossible pass over partisan divisions.

Subpoint C: Cases cited as evidence are not evidence.

CONTENTION TWO REBUTTAL

Subpoint D: Judges tend to agree on issues.

JUDICIAL REVIEW:

Subpoint E: Necessity of Judicial Review.

Subpoint F: JR has advanced equal rights progress.

SIZE OF THE SUPREME COURT:

Subpoint G: Avoids gridlock.

Subpoint H: Court is not imposing laws.

Of these, my opponent has completely dropped Subpoints C, D, F, and H.

[7]http://tinyurl.com...
[8]http://tinyurl.com...
[9]http://tinyurl.com...
[10]http://tinyurl.com...
[11]http://tinyurl.com...
[12]http://tinyurl.com...;
Debate Round No. 4
DATXDUDE

Pro

Con didn't speak formally enough in her last round, and was very sarcastic. That was the problem.


"While 60% of Americans support gay marriage, only 45% of congress does. [9][10]"

"While 61% of Americans support marijuana legalization, barely 3% of congress does. [11][12]"

If American citizens do not like a certain representative because they disagree with them, they can choose another. That's a democracy: Citizens choosing government.

"The Supreme Court already reviews 130 petitions a week, and even then they only have enough time to hear about 80 of these cases over a period of NINE MONTHS. And on each of the active days in those nine months, they spend five hours a day listening to cases. [7] If you are honestly suggesting that we ought to dump that Herculean task onto Congress on top of the mammoth amount of work that Congress already does, then I think that calling this idea ludicrous is not an overstatement."

The resolution was not that we need to get rid of the supreme court, but rather reform it.

"In addition, "guessing"? Each Justice has years of legal experience, and spends most of their time reviewing precedents of cases as well as the cases presented by the people who appealed. This can take weeks.[7] That's hardly "guessing"."

This was hyperbole. The Supreme Court still doesn't know for sure what laws mean. The 14th Amendment as not created for gay marriage. We should have created a new amendment to legalize it.

As for Con's sub points, sub point C never existed, subpoint D has little proof, I adressed subpoint G (lower president's veto power), and sub point H I also adressed (they will be able to decide on any decision that is in the public eye for long enough).

Vote Pro or be a bozo.
Surrealism

Con

"Con didn't speak formally enough in her last round, and was very sarcastic. That was the problem."

Speaking formally has no effect on conduct points. Sarcasm can be illustrative, and that's how I used it.

Also...his last round.

"If American citizens do not like a certain representative because they disagree with them, they can choose another. That's a democracy: Citizens choosing government."

You completely missed the point. Your proposed reformation of the Supreme Court only made sense if you assumed that Congress accurately represents the will of the people, and those statistics clearly show that Congress fails to do so. I even gave you reasons why that is.

"The resolution was not that we need to get rid of the supreme court, but rather reform it."

And your proposed reformation would be disastrous. The entire job of the Suprme Court in hearing cases is in deciding how Constitutional laws apply to the specific cases involved in the hearings. You propose that Congress ought to do that. I am telling you that not only would that destroy separation of powers, but it is also logistically impossible.

Even beyond that, you don't seem to realize that this reformation would actually get rid of the Supreme Court. Literally the entire job of the Court is to decide how the Constitution applies to specific cases that are appealled to the Court. I'm not sure how you think giving the entire job of the Supreme Court to another branch of government will somehow not get rid of the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court still doesn't know for sure what laws mean. The 14th Amendment as not created for gay marriage. We should have created a new amendment to legalize it."

And the First Amendment wasn't created for picket protests, but it's fairly clear that it applies there. Whether or not the original creators of the amendment knew exactly how it would be applied is irrelevant. What is relevant is the logical and legal implications of a law. Laws are not riddles. Those with a proper legal background know these implications, and the Supreme Court Justices are the best of the best at this.

"sub point C never existed"

Yes it did. I can even quote myself on this from round two:

"Thirdly, the cases that my opponent mentions as being evidence for being unrelated to the Constitution make it clear that my opponent has not actually read the rulings for these cases. Both of them have support from the Due Process clause of the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution.

Roe v Wade:

"In Roe, this Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects, under certain circumstances, a woman’s decision whether to carry a pregnancy to term." [2]

Obergell v Hodges:

"The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex...The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs." [3]

Claiming that these cases have nothing to do with the Consitution is absurd."

I am a bit insulted that you claim this never existed. It implies you did not read it.

"subpoint D has little proof"

I have a citation as support for this. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, my citation is the only guiding light we have. You never provided a single source for anything throughout the debate.

Here is that citation again:

[4]http://tinyurl.com...

"I adressed subpoint G"

First of all, I never said you didn't respond to that one. Secondly, your proposal would not really have much of an impact. Congress is so polarized at the moment that even getting sixty percent support for an issue is hard.[13] Thirdly, sapping power from the Executive branch when you're already proposing giving Legislative and Judicial powers to one branch is a recipe for oligarchy.

"sub point H I also adressed (they will be able to decide on any decision that is in the public eye for long enough)."

That does not address the point at all. Even if most issues get raised at some point, the judges still aren't imposing any laws. They're simply stating how the Constitution applies to this particular case.

Looking back at my debate, it is quite obvious that my opponent failed to do basic research. Many times they made statements which were blatantly false to begin with. Here are some of them:

"the laws it declares unconstitutional have nothing to do with the constitution. For example, the rulings on gay marriage and abortion."

This is wrong because those rulings were based on the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.

"The fact that justices serve life terms is a problem BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY TO REMOVE THEM."

This is wrong because judges can be impeached.

"We see that, in the last two hundred years of American history, almost every major political debate that ended was ended by the supreme court."

This is wrong because all foreign policay and economics issues have nothing to do with the Supreme Court, and in addition the end of the debates on slavery, franchisment, and women's suffrage were handled by Congress and not the Supreme Court.

Further, my opponent failed to provide a single source for anything they said.

In summary, my opponent's critique of the Supreme Court is ill-informed, impractical, and unsubstantial. Vote Con.

[13]http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 5
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Surrealism 2 years ago
Surrealism
Dammit Hayd.
Posted by DATXDUDE 2 years ago
DATXDUDE
For your mother?
Posted by Surrealism 2 years ago
Surrealism
Streisand is a surname.
Posted by DATXDUDE 2 years ago
DATXDUDE
Dude chill bro, with all that fancy vocab and shiz, u gotta pay it cool, like me. A professional cool dude.
Posted by Surrealism 2 years ago
Surrealism
Streisand effect.
Posted by DATXDUDE 2 years ago
DATXDUDE
please don't.
Posted by Hayd 2 years ago
Hayd
Gonna vote on this today or tomorrow...
Posted by DATXDUDE 2 years ago
DATXDUDE
lol dude im just messing with you. Yeah you won that debate.
Posted by Surrealism 2 years ago
Surrealism
Um...no. An argument is a set of premises used to prove or support or conclusion.
No votes have been placed for this debate.