The confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court begin today and according to recent precedent it doesn’t matter what she says about how she will judge when she is on the bench, and how she will actually act. What she says will be what she and her handlers think needs to be said to get her confirmed. If she actually says how she feels the Republican Senators end the infotainment sources will be busy making it into a major story, a giant conflict with the very constitution and it’s history.
Chief Justice Roberts made a big deal (during his hearings) about him just being an umpire and not one of those nasty activist (read liberal) judges. And the overturning of the sacred precedent of earlier rulings would be approached with the utmost of caution. In his best “judgy” voice……..”to have the humility to recognize that [judges] operate within a system of precedent”…… Mr. Roberts hardly had gotten his powdered wig back form the hair dressers before he laughed at (spat upon) the Senators, precedent, being only the 17th chief justice and we-the governed.
I don’t know what the exact count is on overturning previously decided laws, but I have seen counts of between 9-15 major cases, during the Roberts tenure, ranging from corporate /FEC (Citizens United) ,to gender (Ledbetter), to Age, civil rights, environmental laws (due a search on Slate Lake, AK.) and just today, the 2nd amendment. The precedent on some of these goes back to nearly a hundred years. How did corporate price fixing laws change from law of 96 years ago, that and corporate citizenship?
Then we have Associate Justice Alito and his complete respect for prior rulings. His testimony and his allegiance to precedence lasted about as long asan ice cream cone on a summer day. He, like Roberts couldn’t care less about prior rulings. I often wonder who writes their opinions
Does the Federalist Society write them or do they just give them an outline to follow. Was his testimony, during his hearings, dishonest? Or did he, like Roberts, come to some revelation that old decisions are bad decisions? Did that “just a social gathering of like minded lawyers” (Federalist Society) have any influence?
And then we have Justice Scalia, channeling the framers. Yes, those framers that were all so familiar with grenade launchers, bank wire transfers, mountain top mining, civil rights and environmental laws. I fully accept that Mr. Scalia has a vert good legal mind. But where in the constitution does it say anything about HOW the constitution and statuary law should be decided? Original Intent or a living, changing document? In his decision to decide by original intent, does that make him an activist?
Sorry, Mr. Scalia, I don’t follow your decisions and original intent at all. I think you use that as shorthand for corporatism. Where in the original writings did the framers give presonhood to corporations? Did not the framers have their bad experiences withe the Crown and their favored corporations and price fixing? But now you think that they were just all hunky-dory with them in their original intent? His interpretation of the framers is no different than any other justices interpretation. He just thinks his rulings are somehow superior.
Now I have no problem with elected people changing their position if the circumstances change, and I have no problem with the Supreme Court looking at previous decisions. Lord knows that in the areas of civil rights they were and are desperately needed, as unwelcome some of them were and are at the time. But do we need to change governing law via the supreme court on statutorily created entities giving them equal weight with living things? How does corporate price fixing now differ from price fixing now? Does the harm to a company now equal the harm to you?
Having watched parts of a few SCOTUS confirmation hearings, I don’t expect to see much more than a political point making , reelection exercise as it has become to be (only worse this time). There will be very few, if any, consequential questions or answers. Just sound bites and some “breaking news” stories of some producer/editor created story of one the gravest conflicts in Senate history (for a 24 cycle at least).
I suppose what we will see are the differences of what the Democrats feel need to be protected versus the wishes of the Republicans.
In the end, will the Rs filibuster ( as threatened) and what will the vote be on the Senate floor?
What Rs will vote for her? Snowe , Collins, Brown (Brown is one of her co-sponsors, she being from Mass ? ) I would like to see Voinavich (R-OH) vote for her. Or will she even be appointed? How about the corporate loving Nelson of Nebraska? Remember, she will not change the ideological make up of the court or is she even as liberal as Justice Souter or does the court slowly become more conservative with each appointment? Will Justice Ginsberg be the next to retire? How about a justice from a non Ivy League school from the Mid-West or Pacific North-West? How about a real liberal/progressive?
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