Tag Archives: SCOTUS

Average Joe SCOTUS – Bucklew v. Presythe

This asshole named Bucklew murdered someone and was sentenced to death.

Bucklew found some medical info, likely bullshit, that said because he has some weird medical condition, he might choke to death vs just dying from the lethal injection peacefully—thus deeming his execution cruel and unusual, because you know, he’s f***ing special or something.

Bucklew also thought the people giving the injection were probably buffoons, and he was afraid they’d f*** it up.

SCOTUS poetically said, “F*** you, Bucklew! You’ll die how we say you’ll die, and you’ll like it”

SCOTUS also said, “Who the f*** you think you are, bitch? I’m sure they hired competent peeps to end you. Deal with it.”

And by SCOTUS, I mean the five conservative justices. The other four fought valiantly, but lost anyway.

Read about the case and hear oral arguments here.

How The Constitution Could Have Been Better At Limiting Government

In America, our legislation process is laid out in the Constitution and for the most part, is fairly simple on the face of it.

I’m not going to go into the procedural issues. I know that legislation has passed the House of Representatives, only to sit on the Senate majority leader’s desk without a vote, and vice versa. I don’t think anyone outside of congress understands all that underlying and overcomplicated nonsense. There’s a good chance most of them prefer that lack of transparency—a problem in its own right.

But once a law does get to a vote, a simple majority of congress people and senators vote, and the majority wins. The exceptions of course being articles of impeachment, amending the Constitution, overriding a veto, suspending congressional rules, or ending a filibuster, which require a supermajority.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

On occasion, after a law is passed, it gets constitutionally challenged and ends up in the Supreme Court. Again, a simple majority of the justices determine if the Constitution was violated, then either uphold or strike it accordingly.

While this process seems to make sense at first; being a person who loves thought exercises as I do, I think our Constitution could be better.

We all should understand that the Constitution was intended as a guarantor of our rights, so with the intention of keeping government limited, I feel the founding fathers could have done it better.

My blue sky thinking premise is pretty simple.

Instead of allowing a simple majority to draft laws which grow government, I would require that a two-thirds majority be needed for passage of all laws where a restriction on the people is proposed. Tax increases, regulations on commerce, but a few examples. Only laws which are restrictions on government, such as in the Bill Of Rights, or efforts to strike laws already on the register could be passed with a simple majority.

My reason for this is to make expansion of government incredibly difficult for legislators, by ensuring that the laws they do pass will likely transcend political agendas and are legislation most rational people on the left and the right would agree on. Yet at the same time, it would make it easy for any legislator wearing a their libertarian hat that day to reduce the size and scope of government by simple majority.

But we can take this a step further by foisting this principle on the Supreme Court as well. If SCOTUS agrees to hear a case, before arguments even start, they would have to establish whether the law is a restriction on government or the people. Any law deemed a restriction on the people would be struck down unless a 2/3 majority choose to uphold it. I don’t know that a restriction-on-government law has ever been challenged, but only a simple majority would be needed for such a law to stand.

The Supreme Court Of The United States
The Supreme Court Of The United States

While I know I write about the Constitution often and hold it in incredibly high regard, I think it’s quite important to understand it was a document written by imperfect men, and more importantly, had little historical evidence to go off of for guidance. As such, our founders had to write it to the best of their abilities, and hope the amendments process would fix any misgivings they may have omitted.

The fact that the 18th amendment was allowed to pass (Alcohol prohibition) is clear proof that a little trial and error was always in play. So while I understand some might think me politically sacrilegious for suggesting a modification to our beloved Constitution, I am not painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa here.

There is a great divide between libertarians like me who propose constitutional amendments from others who would either dismiss the Constitution altogether, or who want to add more restrictions like the reprehensible Defense of Marriage Act, which has no place in a document designed to protect rights. I’m looking to add more teeth to the document, whereas, many Democrats and some Republicans are looking to defang it so that it’s bite no longer restricts their social engineering agenda. cropped-cropped-conssign1.jpg

It’s been untouched since 1992, but thanks to a Congress, Senate, and sadly a Supreme Court, who don’t seem too concerned about liberty this days, our Constitution could use a little dose of adrenaline. Our rights are supremely important, and while we would never stand for an elimination of them altogether, the constant erosion of them has been in place for centuries. “We the people” have the power, not government. Let’s help those in Washington who were elected to serve us help them remember that.

Why Do We Only Complain About 2/3 Of Government

We libertarian-minded people often complain that presidents are ruining our nation or that congress are passing unconstitutional laws infringing on our rights. But oddly, you rarely hear complaints about the Supreme Court.

They work just as much as congress does, and with Obama’s golf game in high gear, it seems like they likely work more than him. So why is it that people complain ad nauseam about congress  and the president, yet give SCOTUS a pass?

Golfer-In-Chief: President Obama
Golfer-In-Chief: President Obama

We all know about National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, where Chief Justice John Roberts famously provided the majority decision to treat the Affordable Care Act’s penalty as a tax, therefore accepting the legislation as constitutional, despite the fact that Sebelius’ side specifically argued it was to be a penalty and not a tax.

The administrations reason for calling it a penalty was largely political so that Obama would not be deemed as a willing participant in raising taxes on all Americans, including the poor.

So why would SCOTUS rule in such a way as to effectively rewrite law?

Supreme Court of the United States Chief Justice John Roberts
Supreme Court of the United States Chief Justice John Roberts

Sadly they shouldn’t have—the Constitution is quite clear. I accept that the idea of questioning SCOTUS from my layman’s Constitutional perspective seems mighty ambitious, but the Constitution enumerates quite clearly that the Supreme Court’s duty is to adjudicate laws on the basis of their constitutionality, in so doing, setting precedent for lower courts to follow.

Writing law is strictly the job of Congress, and therefore Roberts and the majority. were out of line. They should have just rejected it as it was, and let congress rewrite and repass it in a more Constitution-friendly form.

A million other op-ed writers have elaborated on this case well enough that I feel any opinion I would write would be redundant, so I am instead going to focus on the idea that much of our ire at government in general should be directed at SCOTUS.

First things first, let’s look at their oaths of office. (Yes, there are two.)

The Constitutional Oath

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.”

The Judicial Oath

“I, _________, do solemnly swear or affirm that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the constitution and laws of the United States.  So help me God.”

If we break this down, it is clear that their personal opinions shall be suppressed, and rulings should be given solely based on what is contained in the Constitution and U.S. law.

Chief Justice Roberts Being Sworn In
Chief Justice Roberts Being Sworn In

There are two potential views on this. There are absolutists who feel the Constitution must be adjudicated as written. That rulings should be based solely on the verbiage of the Constitution, not what SCOTUS justices believed the legislature meant when writing it.

Others believe that the Constitution is a living document where justices are free to rule with the Constitution as their guide, but have license to issue judgments based on what they feel the framers of our Constitution may have meant. But this interpretation essentially allows for SCOTUS justices to rule however they want, so long as they can fabricate some story, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, to align their opinion with the framers’ intentions.

But clearly this makes the Constitution virtually irrelevant if we think this way, as it essentially means that SCOTUS is only limited by individual justice’s imaginations.

For example, in McGowan v Maryland, Sunday closing laws (blue laws, as they’re known) were challenged as a violation of the 1st amendment; the argument being that they were clearly a law establishing religion.alcohol1[1]

However, the courts ruled that the law was secular in nature and these communities were simply enforcing a day of rest. They ignored that the chosen day was Sunday, which aligns with Christian dogma, and contradicts Jewish dogma, infringing on the Jewish people’s own rights to work on Sunday.

If the justices had been absolutists, the law would have unquestionably been struck down with its clear religious underpinnings. But those who held this decision instead opted to find a way to allow it, despite the Constitution’s concise forbidding of laws establishing religion, because at the time, Christian opposition to overturning such longs would have been quite great. All people want to be loved, including Supreme Court justices I guess, their oath-of-office be damned.

Since the Constitution doesn’t address absolutism versus interpretationism specifically, sadly SCOTUS justices may take either tact at any time.

I find this notion troubling as it seems clear to me that the Constitution’s framers did not intend for this by virtue of the way the Supreme Court is set up.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

Firstly, the Justices are appointed, not elected. Then once appointed, they are never reelected or reappointed; they’re a Supreme Court Justice until they retire, do something criminal, or death does them part.

The purpose of this is to ensure that they never make a decision based on popular opinion, nor make a decision based on what the legislature or the president who may have appointed them might want.

If Justice Sotomayor for instance, were to rule against Obama in every constitutional challenge he were to be involved in, despite the fact he appointed her, there is no recourse he has. Once she’s confirmed, her decision shall not affect her job status whatsoever. It’s the only true way that she makes her decisions, no matter how unpopular that decision may be, with sole regard to the constitutionality of it—assuming they adhere to their oaths.

This is the very point of the Constitution in general. Many forget we are not a democracy, but a republic. We have our Constitution, and thus SCOTUS, to protect the rights of the minority from the majority. By definition, there is no point in SCOTUS’ nor the Constitution’s existence, if government is simply to side with popular opinion.

The Supreme Court Of The United States
The Supreme Court Of The United States

So the very act of considering congress’ or the people’s opinions when ruling on the constitutionality of something is a violation of the Constitution’s core principles. So in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, it was not the majority opinion’s right to essentially work with congress and the people to find away to allow an unconstitutional law.

While this was a landmark case, the fact is, this reasoning should apply to a majority of laws in the United States. The Tenth Amendment alone should be grounds for striking much of federal legislation. It states as follows:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This essentially states that unless the law in question is of a subject matter that the Constitution defines as a federal issue, or forbids the states from legislating on, the law must be a state issue, or a matter between the people.

NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and the DOE (Department of Education) are all effectively precluded via the Tenth Amendment. Where does the Constitution mention traffic, the environment, or education? (Hint: It doesn’t).

So while we lambaste congress and the president for violating our rights, let’s not forget that SCOTUS has the ability, and more importantly, the duty under the Constitution, to be the last line of defense of our rights—something they don’t seem to take too seriously these days. If anyone should know better, it’s them. Their forbidding of cameras in the courtroom, and rare amount of interviews given have kept them out of the limelight, likely by design. But I say let’s make sure we’re pissed at them too.