Friday, June 26, 2015

Conservatives Can't Even Win While They Run the Supreme Court

      Just think how good things will be once Hillary wins and she gets to appoint a justice that will tip the balance in liberals favor after 30 years in the wilderness.

      Ok, The conservatives have won plenty of victories as well-Citizen's United, eroding the Voting Rights Act, against pay equity for women at Wallmart.

      Still, I can imagine that they must be pretty aggravated right about now.


     Think about it. In successive days Oabmacare is again in even stronger terms found to be what it is-the law of the land.

     If they weren't such genuinely unlikable people I'd almost feel sorry for them. For just one example of what I say they're unlikable check out Rush Limbaugh's Facebook page where he and his dittoheads have a great laugh because he compares Hillary to Miss Piggy.

     When you think about it, it's frustrating in principle to be a conservative. I mean it's an ontologically frustrating thing to be. Take healthcare. Despite all their victories of liberal attempts at healthcare reform going all the way back to Woodrow Wilson, all it takes is one loss-to Obama-and all their glittering victories-they were on like an 11 game win streak till Obamacare are for naught.

    Being a conservative means you can beat back liberal progress 20 times in a row but if the 21st try is successful it's up in smoke. It's as if no matter how many times reactionaries get to smugly gloat, they still face sudden death overtime with the next challenge.

    Meanwhile the always fascinating Cass Sunstein-the 9/11 Truthers are obsessed with him; it's really all very interesting- has some interesting comments on the way the Supreme Court works

   Ok the reason they are obsessed with him is for what he wrote in this book here about conspiracy theories.

   Here is the 9/11 Truther answer to this.

   I'd greatly recommend both books if you have the time and inclination.

   Here he is on the working of the Supreme Court,

   "In his powerful dissenting opinion from Friday's same-sex marriage decision, Chief Justice John Roberts asks an excellent question: “Just who do we think we are?” That question deserves an answer."

   "If we look at the arc of the court’s history, we might be able to offer one. Contrary to appearances, the court usually pays attention to an actual or emerging moral consensus, certainly with respect to fundamental rights. It follows public opinion; it does not lead it. When Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the Constitution protects “the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning,” he didn't mean the justices consult philosophical texts or make things up. He meant to refer instead to an emphatically social process, in which the justices learn from their fellow citizens."

    "A survey of the court's major decisions, at least since World War II, attests to this conclusion. In establishing basic rights, the justices have reflected widespread moral convictions. The gay-marriage decision is no outlier. It stands in a long line of prior decisions, all of which were highly controversial at the time, but most of which are now widely celebrated, even taken as iconic."

    "The court didn't strike down school segregation until 1954, when a strong majority of Americans was committed to integration (and not incidentally, six years after President Harry Truman had desegregated the armed forces). It didn't take a firm stand against sex discrimination until the 1970s, in direct response to the movement for sex equality and to rapidly changing social norms."

    "When the court invalidated Connecticut’s ban on the use of contraception in 1965, it was well aware that Connecticut was an outlier, and that the overwhelming majority of states took a different path. Roe v. Wade in 1973 is often seen to exemplify the court’s willingness to defy democratic will, but it took place in a nation in which many states had been rapidly moving to liberalize their abortion laws."

      I think Sunstein is dead right here. Contrary to the castigations of conservatives, the Court is small-c conservative. It doesn't try to lead but simply reflect public opinion. What Roberts missed though in his claim that gay rights advocates were winning and would have been better off letting full gay marriage across the country coming 'through the democratic process' is that country has clearly shown already that it is coming around quickly to the view that there is a right to gay marriage.

     The trouble of conservatives is they are by definition always behind public opinion. As to the question Who do we think we are? I think the key is that the answer to this is not static-yes, this fact jibes with the liberal judicial philosophy that the Constitution is a living document.

    P.S. By the way, I'm not unsympathetic to the 9/11 Truthers-far from it. I still think they make a good case. However, I'm also not unsympathetic to Sustein which might seem a contradiction. 





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