Friday, May 09, 2008

Justice Through the Looking Glass

It's the world where black is white, up is down, left is right, and truth is fiction. So when Grampaw McCain issued his proclamation on the Judiciary the other day, it wasn't really surprising that he displayed an appalling lack of knowledge about the American system of Justice.

Grampaw complained, among other things, that the Supremes routinely issue opinions that "abuse" the system, by deciding questions that rightly belong in the democratic process.

Well, isn't that just special.

What McCain seemingly, apparently, fails to grasp is that the whole point of having lifetime-appointed Supreme Court justices to interpret the laws was to insulate them from the whims of the political winds, and therefore prevent a tyranny of the majority. Imagine if, say, landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainright, Miranda v. Arizona, et al., were put to a popular vote. Nothing would have changed, schools would still be segregated, the poor would not have attorneys, and the presumably guilty would have to cough up a confession, even under unrestrained police brutality.

Those are the cases that are usually trotted out as "poster children" for the "activist" Supreme Court, and that's mostly because those are "liberal" decisions that are guaranteed money-makers when it comes to plucking campaign cash out of the pockets of the Moron-American voting bloc. But the Supreme Court over the last couple of decades has been much more "activist" than the Warren Court ever thought of being in their rush to overturn established case law. These guys apparently have never heard of the concept of stare decisis. It's oddly ironic that the large majority of the "activist" judges have been the very ones who were appointed by Rethugs.

But that's okay, since the current mindset of the court has been shaped and nurtured by the heavy hand of closet Dominionist Antonin "Tony Quack-Quack" Scalia. The mantra of the Rethugs has always been "it's not fascism when we do it".

Maybe Grampaw needs to go back and take a Civics 101 class. I've ranted before on this topic, and I'm certain that this won't be the last time.

3 Comments:

pepsiholic said...

Hey Farns, maybe you're the one who needs to go back to Civics 101:

The Supreme Court has power (superseding that of all other courts) to examine federal and state statutes and executive actions to determine whether they conform to the U.S. Constitution. When the court rules against the constitutionality of a statute or an executive action, its decision can be overcome only if the Constitution is amended or if the court later overrules itself or modifies its previous opinion. The decisions are not confined to the specific cases, but rather are intended to guide legislatures and executive authority; thereby they mold the development of law.

I don't see anything in there about "to insulate them from the whims of the political winds, and therefore prevent a tyranny of the majority" ONLY is it constitutional or not.

You seem to think stare decisis should be rule of law but if that was the case, wouldn't have Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainright, Miranda v. Arizona never been passed?

Another Vietnam Vet said...

Dude, you are so completely out of touch that it isn't funny. I don't know where to begin.
You people are so fired up about the "intent of the founders", only to ignore them.
Why do you think that federal judges have a lifetime appointment?
Do a little reading and you'll see that both Jefferson and Madison, the brightest lights among the founders, agreed that the judges' lifetime appointments would insulate them against political whims.
But facts don't really matter to people like you, do they?
And once again, you completely misunderstand the concept of stare decisis. It doesn't mean that things are carved in stone. It means that clear and convincing evidence must be presented before a previously decided case law decision can be overturned.
Farnsworth is right and you're just an unthinking dittohead sock puppet from the far right and if you ever had an original thought it would die of loneliness.
Oh, and you ARE an idiot.

Pepsiholic said...

AVV, you're so funny and so clueless. The lifetime term of a Supreme Court justice guarantees that a justice will not be influenced by his or her appointing President throughout the life of the term that he or she serves.

Jefferson did not like the Supreme Court. Here's what he said about it (From Wikipedia):

Trained as a lawyer, Jefferson was a great writer but never a good speaker or advocate and never comfortable in court. He believed that judges should be technical specialists but should not set policy...He continued to oppose the doctrine of judicial review:

"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves."

Even Madison wasn't so hot on the Supreme Court:

In a government whose vital principle is responsibility, it never will be allowed that the Legislative and Executive Departments should be compleatly subjected to the Judiciary, in which that characteristic feature is so faintly seen.

So it appears both of them were worried that the Supreme Court would go above and beyond what the founding fathers intended. Sure sounds like they wore worried about judicial activism even way back then.