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The Politicization of the Supreme Court

Subutai
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10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death. This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further. Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution. In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form. However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct. This raises a question - given that the Supreme Court acts like a second Congress instead of the impartial, purely judicial body they should be, should the Supreme Court even exist? Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy? At the very least, significant revisions need to be made to make the Supreme Court a reasonable institution.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Vox_Veritas
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10/31/2016 9:44:36 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that all state laws which protected the unborn from being slaughtered were unconstitutional. After 43 years they have not reversed their decision.
Our Supreme Court is a joke; beyond a joke, it's downright dangerous, as their actions have led to the deaths of millions.
I laud the GOP for keeping the Supreme Court in a state of deadlock. Now if only they could go a step further and abolish it.
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Subutai
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10/31/2016 9:52:59 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 9:44:36 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that all state laws which protected the unborn from being slaughtered were unconstitutional. After 43 years they have not reversed their decision.
Our Supreme Court is a joke; beyond a joke, it's downright dangerous, as their actions have led to the deaths of millions.
I laud the GOP for keeping the Supreme Court in a state of deadlock. Now if only they could go a step further and abolish it.

But that Republican party's intentions aren't noble. You know that the Senate would not hesitate to appoint a conservative justice. What the GOP is doing now is disingenuous and deceptive. We need to make a concerted, bipartisan effort to kill the Supreme Court instead.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Vox_Veritas
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10/31/2016 10:02:32 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 9:52:59 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:44:36 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that all state laws which protected the unborn from being slaughtered were unconstitutional. After 43 years they have not reversed their decision.
Our Supreme Court is a joke; beyond a joke, it's downright dangerous, as their actions have led to the deaths of millions.
I laud the GOP for keeping the Supreme Court in a state of deadlock. Now if only they could go a step further and abolish it.

But that Republican party's intentions aren't noble. You know that the Senate would not hesitate to appoint a conservative justice. What the GOP is doing now is disingenuous and deceptive. We need to make a concerted, bipartisan effort to kill the Supreme Court instead.

Of course not. They're simply engaging in partisan politics to suit their own purposes, just like the Dems would do were they in the GOP's current situation. But regardless of the GOP's motives, the Supreme Court has still been rendered less able to make decisions, if I'm not mistaken. Statistically, the larger a group of people is, the lower likelihood there is of a tie. The smaller a group of people is, the higher likelihood there is of a tie. There's right people on the Court now, meaning that ties are possible.
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YYW
Posts: 36,242
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10/31/2016 11:58:22 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death. This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further. Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution. In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form. However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct. This raises a question - given that the Supreme Court acts like a second Congress instead of the impartial, purely judicial body they should be, should the Supreme Court even exist? Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy? At the very least, significant revisions need to be made to make the Supreme Court a reasonable institution.

I would be very interested in doing talk about this in the hangouts at some point.
Bennett91
Posts: 4,194
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11/1/2016 12:16:53 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 11:58:22 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death. This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further. Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution. In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form. However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct. This raises a question - given that the Supreme Court acts like a second Congress instead of the impartial, purely judicial body they should be, should the Supreme Court even exist? Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy? At the very least, significant revisions need to be made to make the Supreme Court a reasonable institution.

I would be very interested in doing talk about this in the hangouts at some point.

I imagine it would be a very short talk.
YYW
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11/1/2016 12:17:43 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 12:16:53 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 10/31/2016 11:58:22 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death. This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further. Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution. In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form. However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct. This raises a question - given that the Supreme Court acts like a second Congress instead of the impartial, purely judicial body they should be, should the Supreme Court even exist? Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy? At the very least, significant revisions need to be made to make the Supreme Court a reasonable institution.

I would be very interested in doing talk about this in the hangouts at some point.

I imagine it would be a very short talk.

Not likely. It's a complex subject. Could go on for at least two hours, just with me talking. But of course I won't be dominating the conversation.
Bennett91
Posts: 4,194
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11/1/2016 12:28:54 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 12:17:43 AM, YYW wrote:
At 11/1/2016 12:16:53 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 10/31/2016 11:58:22 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death. This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further. Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution. In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form. However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct. This raises a question - given that the Supreme Court acts like a second Congress instead of the impartial, purely judicial body they should be, should the Supreme Court even exist? Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy? At the very least, significant revisions need to be made to make the Supreme Court a reasonable institution.

I would be very interested in doing talk about this in the hangouts at some point.

I imagine it would be a very short talk.

Not likely. It's a complex subject. Could go on for at least two hours, just with me talking. But of course I won't be dominating the conversation.

Oh I know you're not one for brevity. But it shouldn't take that long to explain the purpose of Judicial Review and why it's a necessary aspect of SCOTUS. Everyone who's against it always has the same gripes, the SCOTUS is passing legislation, that they're unelected, and my personal favorite gripe is when they're mad at a specific case that didn't go their way (Vox Veritas). They never seem to understand the alternative, nor how SCOTUS has shaped law for the better.

Subutais's 'analysis' if it can be called such is a perfect example of how ill-informed people are about the nature and history of the SCOTUS.
YYW
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11/1/2016 12:30:44 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 12:28:54 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 11/1/2016 12:17:43 AM, YYW wrote:
At 11/1/2016 12:16:53 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 10/31/2016 11:58:22 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death. This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further. Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution. In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form. However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct. This raises a question - given that the Supreme Court acts like a second Congress instead of the impartial, purely judicial body they should be, should the Supreme Court even exist? Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy? At the very least, significant revisions need to be made to make the Supreme Court a reasonable institution.

I would be very interested in doing talk about this in the hangouts at some point.

I imagine it would be a very short talk.

Not likely. It's a complex subject. Could go on for at least two hours, just with me talking. But of course I won't be dominating the conversation.

Oh I know you're not one for brevity. But it shouldn't take that long to explain the purpose of Judicial Review and why it's a necessary aspect of SCOTUS. Everyone who's against it always has the same gripes, the SCOTUS is passing legislation, that they're unelected, and my personal favorite gripe is when they're mad at a specific case that didn't go their way (Vox Veritas). They never seem to understand the alternative, nor how SCOTUS has shaped law for the better.

Subutais's 'analysis' if it can be called such is a perfect example of how ill-informed people are about the nature and history of the SCOTUS.

There's more going on in the post than just that. Also, his opinion is a commonly held one. Unpacking it is why i'd be interested in a hangout, rather than just something here.
Bennett91
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11/1/2016 12:39:07 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 12:30:44 AM, YYW wrote:
At 11/1/2016 12:28:54 AM, Bennett91 wrote:

Oh I know you're not one for brevity. But it shouldn't take that long to explain the purpose of Judicial Review and why it's a necessary aspect of SCOTUS. Everyone who's against it always has the same gripes, the SCOTUS is passing legislation, that they're unelected, and my personal favorite gripe is when they're mad at a specific case that didn't go their way (Vox Veritas). They never seem to understand the alternative, nor how SCOTUS has shaped law for the better.

Subutais's 'analysis' if it can be called such is a perfect example of how ill-informed people are about the nature and history of the SCOTUS.

There's more going on in the post than just that. Also, his opinion is a commonly held one. Unpacking it is why i'd be interested in a hangout, rather than just something here.

When were you planning on doing the video chat and what site?
Genius_Intellect
Posts: 339
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11/1/2016 12:47:23 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy?

Look at Commonwealth countries. They have a Governor-General, appointed by the Queen, who has to sign off on all legislation produced by Parliament. If Parliament passed a law to gas the Jews, the GG would probably reject it and dissolve Parliament.

The problem isn't that the US Supreme Court is unelected, but that its members are appointed by the people it's expected to regulate. By comparison, the Queen has no personal stake in the outcome of an election, which reduces her bias.
lannan13
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11/1/2016 1:04:09 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
tbh, despite being on the left, I think the Supreme Court Justice that replaces Scalia is equally, if not, more conservative.
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xus00HAY
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11/1/2016 2:18:36 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
Well you would think that, but in reality, when you are appointed to the supreme court you could become liberal if that is what you feel like doing. You leave the world of the common man, and enter into an elite class of American nobles, who decide what their own morality will be.
imabench
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11/1/2016 2:49:45 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct.

There have been a good number of times in modern history alone where the Supreme Court upheld the Constitution regardless of political leanings among the judges. People believe that the Supreme Court is ideologically divided, yet are surprised to find out that 2013 marked the highest amount of 9-0 rulings, meaning unanimous rulings, from the Supreme Court in almost 20 years

http://www.slate.com...

While cases that pit ideological questions do cause splits among justices, a majority of cases that the Supreme Court addresses dont have an ideological barrier to weigh in the first place, which is why a lot of them result in 9-0 decisions that uphold constitutionality regardless of the political leanings of the judges in the court.

I do think it is always better to appoint centrists and moderates like Garland to the Supreme Court rather then radicals like Scalia to better allow for constitutionality to usurp ideological leanings....... But I dont go so far as to question why the Supreme Court needs to exist though. To believe that it shouldnt exist is Weekly Stupid material.
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Vox_Veritas
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11/1/2016 4:24:19 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
As the OP has suggested, the Supreme Court has far too much power. If we're going to keep the Court on board, it needs to simply be another check in the system, not the all-powerful arbiter of what laws are and aren't okay.
Their ability to strike down any law they please, as well as the fact that there's no way to remove them from office until they die/step down, means they constitute the most government body in the country, and their actions have cost millions of lives. At this point, we would literally be better off without a Supreme Court if the only alternative was to keep the existing system.
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YYW
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11/1/2016 4:31:29 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death.

Nor will there be, as long as Republicans hold the Senate. I don't expect that to continue for long, though.

This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further.

It's not to check Liberalism in the court; it's to ensure that they have a zealot like Scalia to replace Scalia. Idiots herald Scalia as a bastion of originalism, but in reality he was among the most ideologically charged justices *ever* to serve on the bench. He was single handedly worse than all of the Four Hoursemen (Butler, McReyonlds, Van De Vanter, and Sutherland) combined, and was easily the most politically "influenced" justice in the same instance. I mean, the man literally took corporate hand outs as a matter of course.

But Scalia did what Republicans wanted him to do on three topics: abortion, gun control, and gay marriage... and opposed them all in every instance. That's what the GOP wants. It has nothing to do with the rule of law, an originalist interpretation of the constitution (which Scalia was surely not, despite his delusions to the contrary), or anything other than visceral rage directed at social progression.

Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

They're going to try, to be sure. They will fail, lose the senate, and break their party. What the Republican party is talking about now is digging their own graves.

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution.

Court's don't "feel," and courts are reticent to rule on constitutional issues. They certainly have ideas about what the constitution means, but generally have tremendous reluctance to wade into areas like substantive due process, equal protection, and the like. The reason they are reluctant to do that is obvious: it has huge political implications when, for example, the Supreme Court strikes down laws passed, usually by the states, even if those laws flagrantly violate the constitution's guarantee of, for example, equal protection under the law.

When liberals make threats to go after states like Indiana, for laws that are plainly and obviously discriminatory (even if not facially so), there's real legal force behind those threats; but the political fallout is usually bigger than courts want to undertake. What happens is that powerful civil rights lawyers wage very successful PR campaigns that essentially back judges into corners, or make the kinds of arguments that get judges reversed on appeal.

But, it's not like the judges just "want" to do it, or that judges just strike laws down based on free-floating notions of what the constitution does or does not say. Ironically, the only people who base their opinions on free floating ideas of constitutional interpretation tend to be originalists, who wage all kinds of creative semantic arguments (sometimes even referring to obscure dictionaries from the 18th century, which Scalia was known to do) to find the support they want to justify the result they're gunning for. This is, literally, legal realism masked in positivism... and everyone knows it's trash, except of course the guys who are making and pouring the Kool Aide (i.e. Justice Alito, Scalia, etc.).

In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form.

We live in that world; the problem is that a lot of people have different ideas about what the "best interpretation" is. For Scalia, it was whatever anecdotal thing he could find that supported what he wanted. For Anthony Kennedy, it's a combination of flowery language measured against his own ideological values (e.g. "human dignity" ...really, look for that phrase in his opinions and writings on and off the bench), and his own esoteric understanding of where the politics are in the day (which is why he is so unpredictable). For Kagan, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor, it's the law as the law has developed over time grounded strictly in precedent. For Roberts, it's halfway between what Scalia was, and what Ginsburg does.

The thing to pay attention to, though, is that the Supreme Court only takes like 90 cases per year. They decide on maybe two or three big issue (politically charged) cases per term, for a reason. The politically charged cases are the ones that get press; the ones that aren't politically charged (which are often more important) don't.

However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

This is just outrightly false. 80% of what Scalia said, he got right even despite his politics because the overwhelming majority of the law is just the application of rules to facts. It's only in those 2-3 cases per term (read: the ones that get all the press) of the 90 total cases that get ceri, which turn into 5/4 decisions divided on ideological lines. In a lot of respects, that's why most of the reporting on the courts is so bad... it creates a false impression of ideological bias where none exists.

Sam Alito is the exception. Alito is easily the most incredibly stupid and at once the most ideologically charged judges who doesn't even bother to mask his stupidity. Scalia at least made an effort (which is also why people respected Scalia more than they ever will respect Alito... Alito is stupid, and Scalia was not). For an example of this, see Alito's dissents in Jardines v. Florida, or Whole Women's Health.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct.

A lot of people have that impression, but it's wrong because most people (basically everyone other than some of the most sophisticated lawyers) aren't in a position to know what they're NOT seeing, and form incorrect assessments based on incomplete information. What people miss are the 87-88 cases per term or so that are apolitical, but really matter; they matter because they were given ceri. because there was an extant circuit split, and the appellate courts were divided on an issue. It's only those rare (usually social issue) cases that really get decided on political grounds... and those cases often pertain to three things: gay rights, abortion, and gun control... basically the GOP's pet legal issues.
Bennett91
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11/1/2016 10:47:41 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 4:31:29 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death.

Nor will there be, as long as Republicans hold the Senate. I don't expect that to continue for long, though.

This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further.

It's not to check Liberalism in the court; it's to ensure that they have a zealot like Scalia to replace Scalia. Idiots herald Scalia as a bastion of originalism, but in reality he was among the most ideologically charged justices *ever* to serve on the bench. He was single handedly worse than all of the Four Hoursemen (Butler, McReyonlds, Van De Vanter, and Sutherland) combined, and was easily the most politically "influenced" justice in the same instance. I mean, the man literally took corporate hand outs as a matter of course.

But Scalia did what Republicans wanted him to do on three topics: abortion, gun control, and gay marriage... and opposed them all in every instance. That's what the GOP wants. It has nothing to do with the rule of law, an originalist interpretation of the constitution (which Scalia was surely not, despite his delusions to the contrary), or anything other than visceral rage directed at social progression.

Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

They're going to try, to be sure. They will fail, lose the senate, and break their party. What the Republican party is talking about now is digging their own graves.

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution.

Court's don't "feel," and courts are reticent to rule on constitutional issues. They certainly have ideas about what the constitution means, but generally have tremendous reluctance to wade into areas like substantive due process, equal protection, and the like. The reason they are reluctant to do that is obvious: it has huge political implications when, for example, the Supreme Court strikes down laws passed, usually by the states, even if those laws flagrantly violate the constitution's guarantee of, for example, equal protection under the law.

When liberals make threats to go after states like Indiana, for laws that are plainly and obviously discriminatory (even if not facially so), there's real legal force behind those threats; but the political fallout is usually bigger than courts want to undertake. What happens is that powerful civil rights lawyers wage very successful PR campaigns that essentially back judges into corners, or make the kinds of arguments that get judges reversed on appeal.

But, it's not like the judges just "want" to do it, or that judges just strike laws down based on free-floating notions of what the constitution does or does not say. Ironically, the only people who base their opinions on free floating ideas of constitutional interpretation tend to be originalists, who wage all kinds of creative semantic arguments (sometimes even referring to obscure dictionaries from the 18th century, which Scalia was known to do) to find the support they want to justify the result they're gunning for. This is, literally, legal realism masked in positivism... and everyone knows it's trash, except of course the guys who are making and pouring the Kool Aide (i.e. Justice Alito, Scalia, etc.).

In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form.

We live in that world; the problem is that a lot of people have different ideas about what the "best interpretation" is. For Scalia, it was whatever anecdotal thing he could find that supported what he wanted. For Anthony Kennedy, it's a combination of flowery language measured against his own ideological values (e.g. "human dignity" ...really, look for that phrase in his opinions and writings on and off the bench), and his own esoteric understanding of where the politics are in the day (which is why he is so unpredictable). For Kagan, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor, it's the law as the law has developed over time grounded strictly in precedent. For Roberts, it's halfway between what Scalia was, and what Ginsburg does.

The thing to pay attention to, though, is that the Supreme Court only takes like 90 cases per year. They decide on maybe two or three big issue (politically charged) cases per term, for a reason. The politically charged cases are the ones that get press; the ones that aren't politically charged (which are often more important) don't.

However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

This is just outrightly false. 80% of what Scalia said, he got right even despite his politics because the overwhelming majority of the law is just the application of rules to facts. It's only in those 2-3 cases per term (read: the ones that get all the press) of the 90 total cases that get ceri, which turn into 5/4 decisions divided on ideological lines. In a lot of respects, that's why most of the reporting on the courts is so bad... it creates a false impression of ideological bias where none exists.

Sam Alito is the exception. Alito is easily the most incredibly stupid and at once the most ideologically charged judges who doesn't even bother to mask his stupidity. Scalia at least made an effort (which is also why people respected Scalia more than they ever will respect Alito... Alito is stupid, and Scalia was not). For an example of this, see Alito's dissents in Jardines v. Florida, or Whole Women's Health.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct.

A lot of people have that impression, but it's wrong because most people (basically everyone other than some of the most sophisticated lawyers) aren't in a position to know what they're NOT seeing, and form incorrect assessments based on incomplete information. What people miss are the 87-88 cases per term or so that are apolitical, but really matter; they matter because they were given ceri. because there was an extant circuit split, and the appellate courts were divided on an issue. It's only those rare (usually social issue) cases that really get decided on political grounds... and those cases often pertain to three things: gay rights, abortion, and gun control... basically the GOP's pet legal issues.

+1

Too bad those against the SCOTUS in this thread won't be able to see past their own ideological bend and blatant ignorance and will continue to demand it be dissolved.
Subutai
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11/1/2016 4:40:03 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/31/2016 10:02:32 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:52:59 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:44:36 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that all state laws which protected the unborn from being slaughtered were unconstitutional. After 43 years they have not reversed their decision.
Our Supreme Court is a joke; beyond a joke, it's downright dangerous, as their actions have led to the deaths of millions.
I laud the GOP for keeping the Supreme Court in a state of deadlock. Now if only they could go a step further and abolish it.

But that Republican party's intentions aren't noble. You know that the Senate would not hesitate to appoint a conservative justice. What the GOP is doing now is disingenuous and deceptive. We need to make a concerted, bipartisan effort to kill the Supreme Court instead.

Of course not. They're simply engaging in partisan politics to suit their own purposes, just like the Dems would do were they in the GOP's current situation. But regardless of the GOP's motives, the Supreme Court has still been rendered less able to make decisions, if I'm not mistaken. Statistically, the larger a group of people is, the lower likelihood there is of a tie. The smaller a group of people is, the higher likelihood there is of a tie. There's right people on the Court now, meaning that ties are possible.

True. I just think that this shouldn't be a disjointed move, but rather a unified one.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Subutai
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11/1/2016 4:41:26 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 12:28:54 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 11/1/2016 12:17:43 AM, YYW wrote:
At 11/1/2016 12:16:53 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 10/31/2016 11:58:22 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death. This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further. Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution. In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form. However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct. This raises a question - given that the Supreme Court acts like a second Congress instead of the impartial, purely judicial body they should be, should the Supreme Court even exist? Why should an unelected body that can strike down any legislation, regardless of the political composition of Congress, exist in a democracy? At the very least, significant revisions need to be made to make the Supreme Court a reasonable institution.

I would be very interested in doing talk about this in the hangouts at some point.

I imagine it would be a very short talk.

Not likely. It's a complex subject. Could go on for at least two hours, just with me talking. But of course I won't be dominating the conversation.

Oh I know you're not one for brevity. But it shouldn't take that long to explain the purpose of Judicial Review and why it's a necessary aspect of SCOTUS. Everyone who's against it always has the same gripes, the SCOTUS is passing legislation, that they're unelected, and my personal favorite gripe is when they're mad at a specific case that didn't go their way (Vox Veritas). They never seem to understand the alternative, nor how SCOTUS has shaped law for the better.

Subutais's 'analysis' if it can be called such is a perfect example of how ill-informed people are about the nature and history of the SCOTUS.

Do my opinions matter nothing to you? I mean, you can disagree with them, but to demean my reasonable analysis is ridiculous. You haven't made any argument here, just suggested that my opinion is worthless.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Subutai
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11/1/2016 4:49:16 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 2:49:45 AM, imabench wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:

It's clear, especially in modern times, that the Supreme Court doesn't really care about whichever interpretation of the Constitution is correct.

There have been a good number of times in modern history alone where the Supreme Court upheld the Constitution regardless of political leanings among the judges. People believe that the Supreme Court is ideologically divided, yet are surprised to find out that 2013 marked the highest amount of 9-0 rulings, meaning unanimous rulings, from the Supreme Court in almost 20 years

http://www.slate.com...

While cases that pit ideological questions do cause splits among justices, a majority of cases that the Supreme Court addresses dont have an ideological barrier to weigh in the first place, which is why a lot of them result in 9-0 decisions that uphold constitutionality regardless of the political leanings of the judges in the court.

I do think it is always better to appoint centrists and moderates like Garland to the Supreme Court rather then radicals like Scalia to better allow for constitutionality to usurp ideological leanings....... But I dont go so far as to question why the Supreme Court needs to exist though. To believe that it shouldnt exist is Weekly Stupid material.

I'm not suggesting that idea of a Supreme Court be completely eliminated. I just think that it should be significantly reformed. For a start, as Genius_Intellect suggested, we need a better method for appointing justices than having them nominated by the President and confirmed by Congress. Having the process of appointing new Supreme Court justices should never be a political thing. There should never be any debate over "conservative" justices or "liberal" justices.

And I'm aware that most Supreme Court cases don't have an ideological bend, and result in unanimous rulings. That's not the current problem with it. The problem is the ideological cases. It seems ridiculous that highly political legislation should basically be decided upon based on the political composition of the Court. We need to find a way to make the Supreme Court as least political as possible. Of course, appointing centrists is the best way to do it, but given the current appointment method and the current political climate, that's not going to happen.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Subutai
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11/1/2016 5:12:22 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 4:31:29 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
Nor will there be, as long as Republicans hold the Senate. I don't expect that to continue for long, though.


I don't except it either, as I'd be political suicide for the Republicans to do so. But it's still concerning that they'd consider doing something like that.
Court's don't "feel," and courts are reticent to rule on constitutional issues.

I realize that justices don't always "feel". I'm aware that there are plenty of non-political decisions that the Supreme Court makes that are often unanimous. But it's hard to look at certain rulings, especially the highly political ones, often seeing that same justices voting according to the same political affiliation, and not wonder if the justice's personal politics doesn't affect their rulings in any non-significant way. And that's concerning to me.
We live in that world; the problem is that a lot of people have different ideas about what the "best interpretation" is.

The "best interpretation" should mean one thing and one thing only - an interpretation, preferably from a centrist, based as little on personal politics as possible, which takes into account their own personal interpretation of the Constitution, and strikes down any law, regardless of its political leanings, if it disagrees with that interpretation. I realize that this is often realized, but, sometimes, it isn't. And it can often be very damaging when it does.
This is just outrightly false. 80% of what Scalia said, he got right even despite his politics because the overwhelming majority of the law is just the application of rules to facts.

Of course, some decisions aren't based on politics because some cases aren't, by their nature political. I should have specified that in my OP. But it's obvious that Scalia's decision, when the case was political, was virtually always on the hardline conservative side. Plenty of other justices, both liberal and conservative, have done the same thing.
A lot of people have that impression, but it's wrong because most people (basically everyone other than some of the most sophisticated lawyers) aren't in a position to know what they're NOT seeing, and form incorrect assessments based on incomplete information. What people miss are the 87-88 cases per term or so that are apolitical, but really matter; they matter because they were given ceri. because there was an extant circuit split, and the appellate courts were divided on an issue. It's only those rare (usually social issue) cases that really get decided on political grounds... and those cases often pertain to three things: gay rights, abortion, and gun control... basically the GOP's pet legal issues.

Again, as I should have mentioned, the Supreme Court does do good, especially in apolitical cases. But it's the political cases that are concerning. We need to do something to combat the ideological swings that justices often take on political cases.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Vox_Veritas
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11/1/2016 5:14:05 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 4:40:03 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 10/31/2016 10:02:32 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:52:59 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:44:36 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that all state laws which protected the unborn from being slaughtered were unconstitutional. After 43 years they have not reversed their decision.
Our Supreme Court is a joke; beyond a joke, it's downright dangerous, as their actions have led to the deaths of millions.
I laud the GOP for keeping the Supreme Court in a state of deadlock. Now if only they could go a step further and abolish it.

But that Republican party's intentions aren't noble. You know that the Senate would not hesitate to appoint a conservative justice. What the GOP is doing now is disingenuous and deceptive. We need to make a concerted, bipartisan effort to kill the Supreme Court instead.

Of course not. They're simply engaging in partisan politics to suit their own purposes, just like the Dems would do were they in the GOP's current situation. But regardless of the GOP's motives, the Supreme Court has still been rendered less able to make decisions, if I'm not mistaken. Statistically, the larger a group of people is, the lower likelihood there is of a tie. The smaller a group of people is, the higher likelihood there is of a tie. There's right people on the Court now, meaning that ties are possible.

True. I just think that this shouldn't be a disjointed move, but rather a unified one.

Sure, that'd be great.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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dylancatlow
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11/1/2016 7:04:48 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At the very least, changes to the Supreme Court should be made to ensure that its ideological composition is not determined by which presidents happen to be in office when a justice dies or retires. That shouldn't have any relevance in a democracy, or really any system. How would you do this? Have it so that every fourth year the most senior justice rotates out, and the current president nominates someone to fill their place. That way, every president nominates one and only one justice. In the event that additional justices die or retire after the rotation has already taken place, then if those justices belonged to the same party as the current president, then that president can just replace them with someone else but their expiration dates will not reset, and if they belonged to a different party, then leave it to the majority/minority leader in the House of Representatives to nominate. That way, the ideological orientation of the Supreme Court can be directly tied to the most recent 36 years of public opinion. Given how predictably justices vote along party lines, we might as well make the best of their ideological bias rather than pretending it doesn't exist, by giving the public more control over which justices are on the Supreme Court, as opposed to leaving it up to "whether a given justice happens to die or not".

But the problem with the Supreme Court runs even deeper than that. It is inarguable that at least half of the justices are completely biased. Any deviation from complete agreement ought to be treated as a failure, as there is, after all, only one constitution. If the constitution can be interpreted in multiple ways, then it's virtually pointless. The constitution should be made so clear and explicit that any attempt to interpret it in a way which is politically useful but incorrect, ought not to be able to pass the laughing test even to those without legal training.
YYW
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11/1/2016 8:50:41 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 5:12:22 PM, Subutai wrote:
I realize that justices don't always "feel". I'm aware that there are plenty of non-political decisions that the Supreme Court makes that are often unanimous. But it's hard to look at certain rulings, especially the highly political ones, often seeing that same justices voting according to the same political affiliation, and not wonder if the justice's personal politics doesn't affect their rulings in any non-significant way. And that's concerning to me.

I think it would be pretty naive to just say outrightly that politics play no role in how justices see the cases that cross their bench. I also think that how we understand that issue is one that is improperly cast as a problem, more in a vain effort for perfect impartiality than anything else.

What I say here applies only to, for lack of better terminology, those "on the line" cases that fragment on political faults, is that in many respects the court's evolution on things like gender equality, racial equality under the law, equal protection on the basis of sexual identity, and the like, is reflective of the country's progress itself on those same issues in light of the context in which those cases were decided.

The ultimate question, at the end of the day, is whether it is appropriate for disparaged groups to seek their remedy in the judiciary rather than by other means (e.g. the legislature). I would say that it is, because of the political realities of legislatures (in that they are often staffed by the most acrimonious, recalcitrant partisans who have no interest in doing anything that serves the public good other than what their donors want them to do).

But, that's a real source of contention for people (Republicans, and social conservatives in particular) who resent social progression in any sense. They, therefore, argue that the ONLY means by which oppressed groups should be able to seek ANY remedy is in the legislature... knowing full well that the legislature is functionally incapable of providing that remedy. Thus, their solution is illusory.

Knowing that the solution is illusory (read: not a solution; it's a gesture and nothing more), their entire purpose and intent is to relegate those who would desire the constitution's protections be extended to them as well as anyone else to be "stuck," caught between institutional powers and structural barriers. Judges (namely, beginning with Thurgood Marshall) and lawyers realized, starting in the 1930s, that the only way to circumvent those institutional barriers is in the judiciary... where minorities' rights will at once find reprieve and protection from more volatile and majoritarian impulses which would be hostile to their rights both in the present and future.

The "best interpretation" should mean one thing and one thing only - an interpretation, preferably from a centrist, based as little on personal politics as possible, which takes into account their own personal interpretation of the Constitution, and strikes down any law, regardless of its political leanings, if it disagrees with that interpretation. I realize that this is often realized, but, sometimes, it isn't. And it can often be very damaging when it does.

The curious thing about centrism is that in order to be a "center" of anything, there have to be two edges that define the scope of permissible discourse. Ever since the 1980s, the "right" edge of that window has been drifting, increasingly more and more aggressively, to the right... further and further and further.

That's why we have had two democratic nominees *now* whose policies (especially tax and economic policies) who are more like George H. W. Bush, than, for example, Roosevelt or Johnson. So, what counts for "centrist' has changed in the past, continues to change now, and will change in the future because in many respects the Left simply has not kept up in getting more and more polarized. Rather, the Democratic party has just been led by the nose in the direction of the Republican party's more partisan impulses.

It's also the case that republicans KNOW that this shift is happening, and they're drifting further and further to the right for the express purpose of redefining the grounds on which a centrist compromise could be reached. This creates problems for those of us who are concerned with things like gay rights.

Religious liberty is the new front for litigating that issue, too. For example, the Hobby Lobby decision was one in which the "centrist" decision totally redefined what rights individuals in corporations have with respect to the invasion of their employee's health care, which very much has laid the framework for future courts to "carve out" religious liberty exceptions as would have the disgusting effect of giving those with "sincerely held religious beliefs" a judicially sanctioned right to discriminate against others (and violate their constitutional rights, too).

So, in that sense, it's a good thing that we have justices, and in particular, justices who cannot be removed on political impulse, who are at once conscious of the evolving moral standards of everyday Americans, and who are sensitive to the political realities that minorities who have no effective representation in the legislature, can right wrongs that would otherwise go unrectified.

That sense is EXACTLY what the constitutions's provisions were intended to facilitate (see generally "living originalism"), but what we get now--only from the right--is a species of judicial interpretation that is specifically tailored to thwart social progression in any form, and often "restore" the status quo to a pre-Warren Court era.
Bennett91
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11/1/2016 9:10:12 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 4:41:26 PM, Subutai wrote:

Do my opinions matter nothing to you? I mean, you can disagree with them, but to demean my reasonable analysis is ridiculous. You haven't made any argument here, just suggested that my opinion is worthless.

Tell me, is an uninformed "analysis" based more on opinion than fact worth anything?

Disagreement would require a roughly equal understanding of the issue then disputing the value of the facts and interpretation. Take Vox's posts. What is there to talk about? He thinks the SCOTUS ought to be dissolved because he disagrees with Roe v. Wade. How do I even approach telling him how off base he is when his opinion is so narrow?

I understand, you spent a lot of time writing down your thoughts and how you feel and I'm just casually dismissing them. But you have to understand that all that effort isn't based on the law, or history of SCOTUS, it's based on your opinion - one I imagine parroted from other conservatives you've heard and respected. But they too are like Vox. YYW pretty much summed up what's wrong with your post.
dylancatlow
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11/1/2016 9:53:51 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 4:31:29 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/31/2016 9:21:32 PM, Subutai wrote:
It's fairly common knowledge that no one has been appointed to the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Scalia's death.

Nor will there be, as long as Republicans hold the Senate. I don't expect that to continue for long, though.

This has been due to an unrelenting drive from Senate Republicans to block any nominee Obama puts forth. However, it appears that these Republicans' resolve to prevent the Supreme court from having a liberal bend is strengthening further.

It's not to check Liberalism in the court; it's to ensure that they have a zealot like Scalia to replace Scalia. Idiots herald Scalia as a bastion of originalism, but in reality he was among the most ideologically charged justices *ever* to serve on the bench. He was single handedly worse than all of the Four Hoursemen (Butler, McReyonlds, Van De Vanter, and Sutherland) combined, and was easily the most politically "influenced" justice in the same instance. I mean, the man literally took corporate hand outs as a matter of course.

But Scalia did what Republicans wanted him to do on three topics: abortion, gun control, and gay marriage... and opposed them all in every instance. That's what the GOP wants. It has nothing to do with the rule of law, an originalist interpretation of the constitution (which Scalia was surely not, despite his delusions to the contrary), or anything other than visceral rage directed at social progression.

Many Republicans, even outside the Senate, are now hinting that they would support blocking Clinton, if she were elected, from appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. (See here: http://www.newyorker.com...)

They're going to try, to be sure. They will fail, lose the senate, and break their party. What the Republican party is talking about now is digging their own graves.

This raises important points as to the purpose of the Supreme Court. Ever since Marbury vs. Madison, they have been granted the power to strike down any legislation that they feel violates the Constitution.

Court's don't "feel," and courts are reticent to rule on constitutional issues. They certainly have ideas about what the constitution means, but generally have tremendous reluctance to wade into areas like substantive due process, equal protection, and the like. The reason they are reluctant to do that is obvious: it has huge political implications when, for example, the Supreme Court strikes down laws passed, usually by the states, even if those laws flagrantly violate the constitution's guarantee of, for example, equal protection under the law.

When liberals make threats to go after states like Indiana, for laws that are plainly and obviously discriminatory (even if not facially so), there's real legal force behind those threats; but the political fallout is usually bigger than courts want to undertake. What happens is that powerful civil rights lawyers wage very successful PR campaigns that essentially back judges into corners, or make the kinds of arguments that get judges reversed on appeal.

But, it's not like the judges just "want" to do it, or that judges just strike laws down based on free-floating notions of what the constitution does or does not say. Ironically, the only people who base their opinions on free floating ideas of constitutional interpretation tend to be originalists, who wage all kinds of creative semantic arguments (sometimes even referring to obscure dictionaries from the 18th century, which Scalia was known to do) to find the support they want to justify the result they're gunning for. This is, literally, legal realism masked in positivism... and everyone knows it's trash, except of course the guys who are making and pouring the Kool Aide (i.e. Justice Alito, Scalia, etc.).

In an ideal world, justice's judgments would be based on the best interpretation of the Constitution that could form.

We live in that world; the problem is that a lot of people have different ideas about what the "best interpretation" is. For Scalia, it was whatever anecdotal thing he could find that supported what he wanted. For Anthony Kennedy, it's a combination of flowery language measured against his own ideological values (e.g. "human dignity" ...really, look for that phrase in his opinions and writings on and off the bench), and his own esoteric understanding of where the politics are in the day (which is why he is so unpredictable). For Kagan, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor, it's the law as the law has developed over time grounded strictly in precedent. For Roberts, it's halfway between what Scalia was, and what Ginsburg does.

The thing to pay attention to, though, is that the Supreme Court only takes like 90 cases per year. They decide on maybe two or three big issue (politically charged) cases per term, for a reason. The politically charged cases are the ones that get press; the ones that aren't politically charged (which are often more important) don't.

However, from the very beginning, justices generally voted according to their political opinions. Probably most famously, the Supreme Court struck down much of FDR's New Deal policies even after they were ratified by Congress.

This is just outrightly false. 80% of what Scalia said, he got right even despite his politics because the overwhelming majority of the law is just the application of rules to facts. It's only in those 2-3 cases per term (read: the ones that get all the press) of the 90 total cases that get ceri, which turn into 5/4 decisions divided on ideological lines. In a lot of respects, that's why most of the reporting on the courts is so bad... it creates a false impression of ideological bias where none exists.

Sam Alito is the exception. Alito is easily the most incredibly stupid and at once the most ideologically charged judges who doesn't even bother to mask his stupidity. Scalia at least made an effort (which is also why people respected Scalia more than they ever will respect Alito... Alito is stupid, and Scalia was not). For an example of this, see Alito's dissents in Jardines v. Florida, or Whole Women's Health.

I don't think their political bias disappears when they turn to less controversial, trivial day-to-day cases. It's just that there only so many issues that define what it means to be a liberal, a conservative, etc, and it's only in these cases that their ideological bias is relevant and therefore clearly shows itself. On issues that mean the most to people the justices are generally partisan. I frankly don't care how they decide to rule on trivial cases which don't set any important legal precedent, which is most of the cases they take.
Subutai
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11/1/2016 9:54:38 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 8:50:41 PM, YYW wrote:
At 11/1/2016 5:12:22 PM, Subutai wrote:
What I say here applies only to, for lack of better terminology, those "on the line" cases that fragment on political faults, is that in many respects the court's evolution on things like gender equality, racial equality under the law, equal protection on the basis of sexual identity, and the like, is reflective of the country's progress itself on those same issues in light of the context in which those cases were decided.

I disagree that the courts should be the main avenue of social progress. Unlike Congressmen, who have to be elected every two or six years, justices can stay for over 30 years. Thus, the composition of the Supreme Court is based on the political leanings of America over the last 30 years or so. If there is any sudden or short term change, the Supreme Court wouldn't be able to respond to it because they'd still be stuck in the past. In Congress, however, it's much easier for change to take place because the entirety of Congress can be replaced in six years.

Of course, like you said, politics can get in the way of congressmen's voting, but, in general, if a majority of the populace desires significant social change, Congress should be able to reflect that to at least a comparable degree to the Supreme Court.
The curious thing about centrism is that in order to be a "center" of anything, there have to be two edges that define the scope of permissible discourse. Ever since the 1980s, the "right" edge of that window has been drifting, increasingly more and more aggressively, to the right... further and further and further.

You actually make two good points here. I realize that centrism is ambiguous and dependent on the current partisan impulses in the major parties. It's particularly bad now considering the Republican party is currently going through a 4-way ideological split (although it appears the libertarian part is dying out) and the Democratic party is heading toward a 2-way ideological split (I imagine this will be a huge issue for them in 2020, especially if Clinton gets elected). But we should still be able to come up with a conception of centrism that is abstracted from the current, changing political landscape. I don't know what that would look like, but I think that centrism in justices is important enough that we should make an effort to create one.

The other good point you make, in complete opposition to what I thought you were saying earlier, is that that the Supreme Court should be more rigid with respect to political changes over time. This coupled with a moral understanding of fundamental rights, would serve as a nice check to the legislature. But the more conservative justices (e.g. Scalia) didn't care to much about representation for minorities, so the Supreme Court still has a problem with this, which goes back to my desire for centrism.

I'm still undecided on this whole thing. The Supreme Court obviously shouldn't be abolished, or even significantly weakened in power obviously, but I do think revisions do need to be made, both in how new justices are appointed, and in how impartial decisions should be.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Subutai
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11/1/2016 10:00:05 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/1/2016 9:10:12 PM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 11/1/2016 4:41:26 PM, Subutai wrote:

Do my opinions matter nothing to you? I mean, you can disagree with them, but to demean my reasonable analysis is ridiculous. You haven't made any argument here, just suggested that my opinion is worthless.

Tell me, is an uninformed "analysis" based more on opinion than fact worth anything?

Disagreement would require a roughly equal understanding of the issue then disputing the value of the facts and interpretation. Take Vox's posts. What is there to talk about? He thinks the SCOTUS ought to be dissolved because he disagrees with Roe v. Wade. How do I even approach telling him how off base he is when his opinion is so narrow?

I understand, you spent a lot of time writing down your thoughts and how you feel and I'm just casually dismissing them. But you have to understand that all that effort isn't based on the law, or history of SCOTUS, it's based on your opinion - one I imagine parroted from other conservatives you've heard and respected. But they too are like Vox. YYW pretty much summed up what's wrong with your post.

I'm not a conservative. In fact, my analysis was fundamentally anti-partisan. My main problem with the Supreme Court is that its most political decisions tend to be made based on the political composition of the Court at the time. I don't care if the Supreme Court has a liberal or conservative bend - I find both equally abhorrent. I wasn't suggesting that the Supreme Court be abolished because it made decisions I disagree with.

At the same time, the Supreme Court still has problems (namely the one I mentioned), problems that are rather severe, especially in the current, volatile political climate. These problems can be remedied through a few policy revisions. I realize that my original post sort of implied that I supported the dissolution of the Supreme Court, but that wasn't my intention. I was simply interested in the community's thoughts on the question. But I don't support the idea myself.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.