T Nation

Partisan Politics, Supreme Court

The last 10-15 years, the american Supreme Court has changed. From being a somewhat politicized but still stable and judicial oriented court, it has become an arena for partisan politics. The verdict on Gore/Bush in Florida, the latest partial-birth ruling and several other rulings show that personal agendas combined with partisan politics now play a far more important role in the most important court in the world.

What is the view of you americans on this? I’m an outsider on this topic, being a norwegian student. Do you think that this kind of partisan politics in a non-elected arena is of the good? Do you still trust the Supreme Court?

[quote]Adamsson wrote:
The last 10-15 years, the american Supreme Court has changed. From being a somewhat politicized but still stable and judicial oriented court, it has become an arena for partisan politics. The verdict on Gore/Bush in Florida, the latest partial-birth ruling and several other rulings show that personal agendas combined with partisan politics now play a far more important role in the most important court in the world.

What is the view of you americans on this? I’m an outsider on this topic, being a norwegian student. Do you think that this kind of partisan politics in a non-elected arena is of the good? Do you still trust the Supreme Court? [/quote]

It is awful, and it is bad for the entire idea of democracy.

Everything is a “right” now, needed to be litigated so a court can, by decree, hand down policy decisions.

There is this weird fear of the democratic process - well, I say weird, but it’s not. It is because democratic process is hard, slow, and tough. In order to get a policy you want, you have to convince other people of your version of Progress, and other people, damn them, often have their own ideas. Running for office to try and get your version of Progress enacted is hard because, damn them, other people run against you with different ideas.

This “tough sledding” of democratic process gets in the way of those who have a clear version of Progress. So every potential new policy has to be converted to an “old right” that a court must protect. See gay marriage.

Despite the cheering over the value of “democracy!”, few people actually want to practice democracy.

And, strangely, of all the branches of government one would worry about taking away our self-governance and consolidating power (remember the Fuhrer Bush and all the champions of “democracy!” worrying about him taking it away), the Supreme Court - unelected, with no term limits, and constrained mostly by institutional sense of duty (oh, and the pesky Constitution, but it doesn’t mean what it says anyway) - is the one place we wouldn’t want political overreach, yet the so-called Progressives are in love with the idea of a court who rules like an oligarchy.

It is bad news. I think the USSC made the correct rulings on the examples you listed but the votes were clearly along partisan lines.

It is a political body. They are political appointees. I suppose it is naive to believe they would regularly behave otherwise.

That is why checks and balances are important and I oppose judicial activism.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
It is bad news. I think the USSC made the correct rulings on the examples you listed but the votes were clearly along partisan lines.

It is a political body. They are political appointees. I suppose it is naive to believe they would regularly behave otherwise.

That is why checks and balances are important and I oppose judicial activism. [/quote]

I have not done a interpretation and serious read trough on the abortion case, but in the Florida case, the law behind the decision is… faulty, and I believe that the outcome would be different if the parties had been in the opposite position, which is the very definition of partisan politics, and that again is the very problem that arises.

One can agree or disagree with the desicions the court make, but they should and they have to based on legal principles, not on political lines.

I don’t think things are going to change in this regard in the future primarily because the legislature prefers the luxury of being able to pass laws with no regard to their constitutionality because once they achieve their publicity on the bill they no longer care. Until the politicians show some willingness to clean up sloppy legislation, extensive judicial review will remain integral to the system.

[quote]Adamsson wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
It is bad news. I think the USSC made the correct rulings on the examples you listed but the votes were clearly along partisan lines.

It is a political body. They are political appointees. I suppose it is naive to believe they would regularly behave otherwise.

That is why checks and balances are important and I oppose judicial activism.

I have not done a interpretation and serious read trough on the abortion case, but in the Florida case, the law behind the decision is… faulty, and I believe that the outcome would be different if the parties had been in the opposite position, which is the very definition of partisan politics, and that again is the very problem that arises.

One can agree or disagree with the desicions the court make, but they should and they have to based on legal principles, not on political lines.
[/quote]

The decision was correct in the Florida recount. Recount them all or don’t do it.

The Dems tried to throw out the absentee ballots which were heavily favored for Bush, freeze ballots in other counties and only do the recounts in strong Democrat area.

I fail to see how a single justice could possibly vote for the Dems plan unless they were partisan.

[quote]Adamsson wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
It is bad news. I think the USSC made the correct rulings on the examples you listed but the votes were clearly along partisan lines.

It is a political body. They are political appointees. I suppose it is naive to believe they would regularly behave otherwise.

That is why checks and balances are important and I oppose judicial activism.

I have not done a interpretation and serious read trough on the abortion case, but in the Florida case, the law behind the decision is… faulty, and I believe that the outcome would be different if the parties had been in the opposite position, which is the very definition of partisan politics, and that again is the very problem that arises.

One can agree or disagree with the desicions the court make, but they should and they have to based on legal principles, not on political lines.
[/quote]

First off, yes, I agree that the USSC is getting far too political, and I strongly dislike how the Constitution is getting twisted to mean whatever the hell anyone want it to mean nowadays. It is NOT a ‘living document’. It means exactly what it says, not what you want it to mean.

Forgive me for my mini rant there, but I bolded your quote for a reason. Correct if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Gore v. Bush case follow something like this:

Election was held, Gore loses

Gore: RECOUNT!

Votes recounted, Gore loses again

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

Votes recounted, Gore loses a third time

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

Bush: Hey, wait a minute…

Votes recounted, Gore loses a fourth time

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

Bush: How many times are we going to recount?

Votes recounted, Gore loses a fifth time

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

USSC: STFU!!

Bush wins

Now, it does not seem to me that Bush “stole” any election by way of the USSC. It seems more to me like Gore was going to keep counting until he came out on top, and make a mockery of the voting process. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

I saw nothing wrong with what the USSC did in 2001.

[quote]tGunslinger wrote:
Adamsson wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
It is bad news. I think the USSC made the correct rulings on the examples you listed but the votes were clearly along partisan lines.

It is a political body. They are political appointees. I suppose it is naive to believe they would regularly behave otherwise.

That is why checks and balances are important and I oppose judicial activism.

I have not done a interpretation and serious read trough on the abortion case, but in the Florida case, the law behind the decision is… faulty, and I believe that the outcome would be different if the parties had been in the opposite position, which is the very definition of partisan politics, and that again is the very problem that arises.

One can agree or disagree with the desicions the court make, but they should and they have to based on legal principles, not on political lines.

First off, yes, I agree that the USSC is getting far too political, and I strongly dislike how the Constitution is getting twisted to mean whatever the hell anyone want it to mean nowadays. It is NOT a ‘living document’. It means exactly what it says, not what you want it to mean.

Forgive me for my mini rant there, but I bolded your quote for a reason. Correct if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Gore v. Bush case follow something like this:

Election was held, Gore loses

Gore: RECOUNT!

Votes recounted, Gore loses again

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

Votes recounted, Gore loses a third time

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

Bush: Hey, wait a minute…

Votes recounted, Gore loses a fourth time

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

Bush: How many times are we going to recount?

Votes recounted, Gore loses a fifth time

Gore: RECOUNT AGAIN!

USSC: STFU!!

Bush wins

Now, it does not seem to me that Bush “stole” any election by way of the USSC. It seems more to me like Gore was going to keep counting until he came out on top, and make a mockery of the voting process. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

I saw nothing wrong with what the USSC did in 2001.[/quote]

Read the book “supreme injustice” it sheds light on why the judgement is wrong legally far better than I can.