Tag Archives: U.S. SUPREME COURT

Doug Smith: Cautionary Tale from a Curmudgeon

2 Jul

DOUG SMITH

Doug Smith: Author, Historian and regular contributor to Free State Patriot

“The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number.

The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

Robert Heinlein

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Some of our idealists and are enthusiastically celebrating SCOTUS’ ruling on Obamacare. So, for them: a Cautionary Tale.

Our vaunted Brethren (and Sisterns? ) reversed their own positions and found, because they wanted it to be so, that the words of a law did not say what they said, but rather what the Brethren thought they ought to have said, if the Congress intended what the Brethren thought the Congress ought to have intended.

The court, in very nearly the same breath, has said Government may NOT control your decisions, yet Government May control your decisions, depending 9 people’s whim of the moment. The Court, has, then, gathered to itself the role of Grand Arbiter, final word on all decisions of law or politics regarding what Government may do TO you.

How’s that again?

Our Constitution was enacted to protect citizens from what Government could do to its citizens, by people who had been subjects of a Government which could, and did, exercise arbitrary power at the whim of King or Noble. People who live under a monarch thought to rule by divine Right, unquestionable, are the Subjects of his will, and the whim of his lesser nobles. Or 9 Robed Arbiters.

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Citizens are protected by laws and rights that may not be infringed under those laws. Altering those laws, under the Constitution is, by design, possible, but difficult. We ought not to alter our laws on the whims of a few or a passing fashion, but by a dawning and sustained consensus that a change ought to take place, and carries popular support. Because what is so easily gained, “just like that”, can just as easily be taken away.

As part of this cautionary tale, consider that we fought a war to get the 13th Amendment, and how enduring it is. Whereas the 18th Amendment, which, like Obamacare, involved a Progressive Government controlling businesses and personal financial choices, lasted barely 10 years.

Prohibition, like Obamacare, was touted as “the law of the land”. But it quickly became unpopular, and was repealed. Why? Because it didn’t work, and was a financial disaster. Obamacare has been, and remains, hugely unpopular. Why? Because it doesn’t work, and is a financial disaster.

Our cautionary tale, then, suggests the Idealists might want to temper their celebrations. Or, perhaps, elect politicians who will vote and work to make it workable. To make it survivable, it would be necessary to change it to earn support.

Idealists don’t want to do that. They prefer that you accept their will since acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number.

But their neighbors are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. And we are comfortable with that.

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Mark Caserta: Supreme Court has become too political

25 Jun

Do these nine individuals deserve our trust for a lifetime?

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

Jun. 25, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

As the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of the United States has the responsibility of interpreting the law as it applies to all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution. Unfortunately, through the years, the court has succumbed to being government’s ultimate political apparatus.

Article III, Section I of the U.S. Constitution states that “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” As the guardian and interpreter of the Constitution, the court is charged with ensuring “equal justice under the law” for all Americans.

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A Supreme Court ruling is final and cannot be overturned by any single entity, including the president of the United States. Rulings may be nullified only if a decision is based on a law that Congress has passed, and Congress decides to change the law. Or if the decision is based on the Constitution, and the Constitution is amended. And of course, a later court may overturn a ruling if they deem it unconstitutional.

So what makes these nine Supreme Court justices so wise that we grant them vast power and control over our lives? In this writer’s opinion, not much.

While both the executive and the legislative branch have a say in the court’s composition, little consideration is given to the “constitutional caliber” of this ruling entity.

As a matter of fact, the entire process of vetting individuals nominated for court vacancies has become shallow and conspiring to the point of absurdity. The Constitution doesn’t specify qualifications for justices such as age, education, profession or native-born citizenship. A justice doesn’t even have to be a lawyer or a law school graduate! Sadly, it seems more consideration is given to the ideological balance of the court than to the justices’ qualifications.

Frankly, the polarization that’s enveloped the nomination and confirmation of a justice of the Supreme Court has rendered it dangerously political. Remember, an appointment to the Supreme Court is a lifetime commission! The potential ramifications of an ineffective, perhaps partisan court could impact generations!

Currently, the Supreme Court is about as balanced as it’s ever been. It’s popularly accepted that Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito (appointed by Republican presidents) comprise the court’s conservative wing. Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan (appointed by Democrat presidents) make up the court’s liberal wing, with Anthony Kennedy (appointed by a Republican president) as the court’s moderate and often “swing vote” justice.

Over the years, Supreme Court rulings have literally changed the way we live our lives. Controversial decisions have, at times, been rulings with life or death consequences. Should we really place so much trust in so few individuals?

I’m concerned the Supreme Court has surrendered its noble calling to becoming the pinnacle of political activism. With its escalating impact on Americans, it’s time we protect our nation’s interest by imposing term limits and clearly defined standards qualifying someone to be a justice on our nation’s highest court.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Progressives need liberal Supreme Court

24 Jul

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Jul. 24, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the nation. Its decisions set precedents which all other courts must follow and can never be superseded. Not even Congress or the president can change, reject or ignore a Supreme Court decision.

In the third of my series of columns exposing the progressive movement in the United States, we’ll examine how I believe liberals will be intensifying their efforts to change the political face of the Supreme Court, determined to preserve and expand their ideology for future generations.

Understand, under the Constitution, justices on the Supreme Court receive lifetime appointments. While the process of appointing justices has undergone changes over the years, the sharing of power between the president and the Senate remains unchanged.

To receive appointment to the court, a candidate must first be nominated by the president and then confirmed by the Senate. Presidents have the power to make “recess appointments” when the Senate isn’t in session, but such appointments expire at the end of the Senate’s next session.

The framers of the Constitution designed the U.S. government with a system of “checks and balances” to ensure no one branch would have absolute authority. But make no mistake about it, the Supreme Court has formidable power and has become a prized asset in our nation’s political theater. While the court’s sole purpose is to interpret the Constitution, rulings increasingly tend to reflect a justice’s political persuasion.

Currently, the Supreme Court leans slightly conservative. Justices John Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are considered mostly conservative. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor are seen as liberal, while Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Anthony Kennedy are considered moderate to moderate conservative, respectively. With four of these Justices over the age of 70, court openings are a real possibility over the next few years.

In June, the Obama administration was levied with two major Supreme Court decisions adversely impacting progressive advancement.

Unable to get several controversial nominees confirmed to the National Labor Relations Board, the Supreme Court unanimously held that President Obama violated the Constitution by appointing officials during a Senate three-day break. I submit the president strategically “tested” the recess appointment law just as he’s testing his executive authority in the face of congressional resistance, but failed.

In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc. the Court ruled 5-4 that for-profit corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs are not required to provide a full range of free contraceptives to employees pursuant to Obamacare. Once again, this progressive challenge to our religious freedoms failed.

Don’t expect progressives to acquiesce in the face of these failures. They plan to do everything possible to elect a liberal president and retain the Senate in the upcoming elections.

If liberals are successful at “tilting” the balance of the Supreme Court to the left, our children and grandchildren will likely see an intensification of progressivism in their lives.

A misplaced vote could have impact beyond the term of any candidate. It could have impact for years to come.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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