Supremes spring surprises

I haven’t seen many progressives thank the U.S. Supreme Court for its back-of-hand ruling against Texas’ wild idea that it could overturn election returns from other states. This case was the “big one,” according to President Donald J. Trump.

He was right, in an unexpected way. When it got brushed aside, his chances of getting relief from the Supremes on other suits became roughly zero.

You may recall, waaaaaaay back in October, when Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the High Court, the Left was apoplectic that Trump’s three appointees — Barrett joining Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — would cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that would surely rubber stamp anything the President wanted to do.

That was a common belief. 

While I am not an authority on the Supreme Court, I am impartial and did not think that would happen, for several reasons.

First, once seated, Justices owe their loyalty to the Constitution, not to the President.

Second, the longer Justices serve, the more they move to the Left, if they are going to move at all. A friend suggests that John F. Kennedy appointee Byron White, thought to be liberal, often sided with the conservatives on the court. He may be the exception that proves the rule.

Otherwise, starting back with Chief Justice  Earl Warren and gliding up to Chief Justice John Roberts (who has been attacked by Trump for positions that strayed from the right wing), the movement generally is Left

While this is my observation, there is a chart from 538 that illustrates and explains the leftward drift.

Third, conservative Justices tend to believe that less interference from the court is better, they do not believe in writing new law from the bench, and generally give greater weight to states’ rights.

I can’t say this is true in every case, but it is true in most.

The notion that they would side with the President when he attacks the states is far fetched.

In the Texas case, Trump supporters are disappointed because  they thought the Court would automatically lean toward their man.

They were wrong.

Progressives were surprised because they thought the Court would automatically lean toward the president.

They were wrong, too.

Some of you are mystified why I don’t share your Chicken Little fears that Democracy is falling. That’s because of my belief in the guard rails of the courts. Court orders were accepted by Trump, even when he hated them and sputtered like crazy on Twitter. His mad words did not matter. The Rule of Law remained supreme.

I may disagree with Sonia Sotomayor, or Clarence Thomas, on specific rulings — and I have — but I give them, and the other seven, the benefit of the doubt that they have come to their conclusions honestly, guided by their philosophical and legal  beliefs, rather than by crass politics.

I may be wrong, but I have more trust in them than in the politicians who appointed them, oddly enough.

33 thoughts on “Supremes spring surprises”

  1. Just proves that all this partisan hatred to these Supreme Court Justice picks is strictly political. Thankfully
    the Justices vote according to their Constitutional views and not their political affiliations.

  2. They were cowards and don’t want their houses fire bombed by Antifa and woke 30 year olds women who have become the most violent of them all

  3. HAPPY MONDAY !!!
    Stu,
    It’s been said about you before. You are consistent. You write the facts while the truth guides you.
    Sorry to say, that all of these voters, AKA, Monday Morning Quarterbacks, would rather sit around in a pointless discussion, rather than do some serious reading. Everything that happens is in writing. Law is easy to follow. The Supreme Court decisions, as you stated, are right there at the end of your finger tip.
    I can understand why people don’t read, especially the constitution. It’s kinda sorta like coming home from a rough day at work. You don’t need any more stress, you have plenty. So, sit and watch something silly, rather than feed your mind. I have said many times. The constitution is very hard for a layman/woman to read. Other law, you probably need a dictionary. Constitution, an interpreter ! I have read it several times. It ain’t easy. Do I understand all of it ? Barely.
    This is why the Judges are seated at the court. Constitution law is probably most difficult of all. There are those that try to practice and as we found out, they are not good students. The constitution is very clear on election law. Sure, it doesn’t mention mail-in ballots, etc, but that’s for the states to decide. Congress should clean up the language and make all states fall in line with voter registration and cleaning out the “dead” files.
    Tony

  4. Has everyone forgotten that in the 1974 case United States vs. Richard Nixon, 4 Nixon appointees, Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun, Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist also voted against the President’s case of “executive privilege” in the Watergate tapes?

  5. The thing I love most about America is our craziness, our willingness, our passion, how we can go nuts over things we believe in. Its is our very craziness — salted with the seasoning of three branches of government — that makes our nation strong (and keeps us that way). The SCOTUS may make us crazy at times, but time seems to bring clarity to its reasoning. E.g., the Right went nuts when the SCOTUS outlawed prayer in school. But I remember standing in front of the class in Wynnewood Road School (now the Torah Academy) and reading a passage from the Bible (New Testament… or ‘The Sequel, as my Jewish pal Allan S. calls it), and then reciting the Lord’s Prayer. In hindsight I realize how offensive that may have been to non Christians. (Would I want my son or daughter be forced to sit through a reading from the Koran or the Torah or the Thoughts of Buddha?) The Right was wrong, then and now. How about ‘Separate but equal’ ? Earl Warren put an end to that ridiculous idea, thus beginning a move that continues to this day to TRY to bring us together as different races with similar wants and desires: good jobs, nice neighborhoods, good schools, etc. The SCOTUS may occasionally make me nuts, but almost invariably time proves the judges were correct. As a rabid Republican and Conservative, I am sorry that DT lost. But enough, already! The SCOTUS was right to slap down these lawsuits. There are still avid supporters of DT marching in the streets. Buts again, this is our strength. I can think of no other country that would allow such DEMOCRATIC actions. We piss and moan, we burn and riot, but in the long run we do the right thing. It is what makes us still the greatest nation on earth.

  6. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    You are quite right. We do have good reason to believe in the courts. Justice Roberts, and all the others know well that giving in to any political pressures (from Mr. Trump or elsewhere) would undermine the authority of the Supreme Court. I never thought for a moment that the case from Texas would go anywhere with the Supreme Court.

    We also have some good reason to believe in the states. They generally know how to run elections, and they have also helped maintain American democracy –under its current stresses. As Mr. Trump on occasion became more ridiculous, the perceived power of the federal Executive declined and the powers of the states (not “states rights” !) correspondingly increased. Federalism helps keep us from all making the same mistakes at the same time.
    Recall the role of the PA Supreme Court in recently getting rid of the gerrymandering of PA congressional districts.

    H.G. Callaway

  7. I remember hearing about ‘The Geenhouse Effect’ and cocktail parties, Stu. Thanks for the link.

    It is, in part, a not so scholarly electorate (no put down), a faithful multitude who hangs in with Trump and will peacefully accept the outcome, because he’s the “hope” and counter “change” to Obama. He’s exactly what we wanted  A new Republican Party is in place which will be remembered and known as the Republican Party of Donald Trump. History making times.

    Still, my biggest concern is how far left can or will America go before it is unrecognizable? I believe the America I grew up in and my parents and grandparents, is in danger.   We complain over and over about the BS of PC (others celebrate), the constraints it imposes on us, the liberties it takes from us. We laugh at it, show outrage, shock and concern, at least for a while (that’s why it works). We write books about the craziness of it, but we never have a solution.  So it’s okay if SCOTUS keeps drifting that way?  

    Why the rioting in our cities?  Certainly not George Floyd. Whatever it was it’s not conservatism. What is BLM or antifa for that is American?  How about Krasner or any leftist DA, Mayor, or Governor? Or Soros? (all little emperors ). And who’s for open borders? The same Governors who call for lockdowns. Where do we find common ground?  We don’t.   If the system continues their way with them in control what good are laws or judges? Or “fair” elections? ‘Liberalism sucks’ is someone’s ID on this blog. That’s right. And the only way to defeat it is future “fair” elections, unlike this one. That is what Trump is contesting. 

    Soft tyranny is working. We know we are being spoon fed.  We were almost there… fighting back with Donald upfront.  They were detemined, no matter whatq to defeat him, no matter how. They will have failed until January 20, 2021. Still, we hang in until.

    1. The America of my youth is no more. The very definition of what it means to be American is changing. It’s not ALL bad, but much is, so I keep writing and you should keep fighting.

  8. The SCOTUS didn’t dispute the case, only how it was presented.😉 They basically said, reformulate it, then bring it back.

    1. Me,
      “I think that they just want to get rid of Trump.” Paraphrasing, ….”all of Washington, …..not that that is right…a perfect time now to do it.” Just said by Rush Limbaugh. I kinda agree.
      Tom

      1. Philadelphia, PA

        Dear Wetten,

        Apparently, it was a good time to get rid of Mr. Trump. In my impression, the media and the globalizing establishment were more interested in getting rid of Mr. Trump than in attending to the problems to which his supporters (and those of Sanders) have been pointing. For better or worse, he has been treated as a scapegoat. Its not as though we don’t see how he invite it. His most persistent expression (other than firing people?) has been simple defiance. That won’t do.

        We are suffering long-term effects of the exclusion of thinking conservatives from the universities on grounds of “suspicion of political incorrectness”–in which process the managerial take-over of the universities has been a major acquiescent factor. Typically, the Republicans have simply turned a blind eye, thinking, perhaps, that they hold the (state) legislative control of university finance? The left has long understood that such control now rests with the agencies of the federal government. Those agencies have been used to enlist the universities as supportive constituencies of the left of the Democratic party.

        Still, we did run an honest election.

        People are starting to understand the sources of current problems and discontents. Look to the new administration’s stand on foreign military interventions. (We’re over-extended.) Look for administration policy on the universities and freedom of speech on campus. Will Biden insist on removing Pelosi and/or ending the excesses of partisanship –and the long-winded, ideological refusal to compromise?

        H.G. Callaway

    1. Tom, the World Net Daily (WND) is ultra-conservative, shows extreme right-wing bias, promotes conspiracy theories and has failed fact checks. Yet, you expect people to believe the shit they are shoveling.

  9. In thirty-four days from today (Dec 17, 2020) Trump will need to vacate the White House. I hope he does not do it. With all of the BS he has put us through I would love to see his sorry rear forcibly dragged out kicking and screaming. He needs to be put in a padded cell and spend the rest of his miserable life there.

  10. To the PA politicians who worked so tirelessly to dismiss the will of the voters, including myself I say the following:

    I, as well as any others I have been in contact with, will long remember your names. We will be digging up your rear-ends to uncover as much shit on you as we can. We will then let people know, on a continuous basis, what we found. We will also continue to let people know how you tried to dismiss our votes. Hopefully you will not find a rock you can hide under.

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