The Supreme Court and I
Time for some reflection on the Supreme Court… I know, I know, everyone who is paying more attention to politics than they are to Kim Kardashian’s baby is talking about this, but it needs to happen. It’s been a turbulent week where the political left has gotten itself all bent out of shape over the Court declaring that laws need to address the issues of 2013 rather than 1965 (Voting Rights Act) and then praised the worth of the Conservative-led court striking down a law created and signed by Democrats (DOMA) and punting on an issue where “State Sovereignty” was asserted… while simultaneously allowing a lower court to strike down a voter-approved amendment to a State Constitution.
Now, clearly, the mental gymnastics involved in such a radical turn of opinion by an entire political party — to go from unnecessary hatred to unrequited love — is pretty impressive. Credit where it is due, to be able to endure such intense and opposite emotions at one time and not simply rip apart at the seams is admirable. However, I’m not entirely sure where I ultimate fall in terms of opinion on this decision.
My inner-federalist loves the fact that the Supreme Court seems to be in favor of States’ rights in terms of the marriage debate. Knowing that the majority of states are still rightward-leaning means that a large majority of the country will still favor a traditional view of marriage. However, as I have said in a previous post, I’m not that caught up in the whole gay-marriage discussion anyway. If anything, that entire topic is ancilliary to what I would rather see happening in the Government. Support of a gay-marriage bill (as a conservative) should be a rather powerful bargaining chip to get other, somewhat bigger stuff done — ie, “I’ll vote for your bill supporting gay marriage if you add an amendment that abolishes the IRS.” If the Democrats really, REALLY want to see secular gay marriage happen, make them earn it by giving up something huge. It isn’t nice, it isn’t amiable, it’s called politics. After all, a good compromise leaves everybody mad.
These decisions give me some amount of hope that the Federal Government can actually be contained by the Supreme Court (which, arguably, is its primary job description). If the SCOTUS insists that the Gay Marriage debate be kicked back to the States, it is possible that they will feel largely the same way about other social-structure topics — for example, abortion. However, there is difficulty that exists there.
In refusing to deal with the questions created by California’s Proposition 8, the Supreme Court has basically told the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that it can do whatever the hell it bloody well feels like, with no accountability, repercussions or, ironically, fear of appeal. Consider the situation presented before us — California’s voters created, voted on, passed, and signed an Amendment to their State Constitution with more than a simple majority vote. The 9th Circuit gets asked to hear a case involving two couples who do not like Proposition 8… that’s four people. The 9th Circuit decides it does not like Proposition 8 and rules it “unconstitutional” (which is higher courtspeak for “we don’t like this”), thus ignoring the will of the majority of voters in California — because four people complained. In essence, the Supreme Court has, in the name of State’s Rights, locked California into subservience of the 9th Circuit Court. So yes, the Supreme Court has given lip-service to the idea of State Sovereignty and rights… but in so doing has completely destroyed California’s ability to enforce the law that they created for themselves.
If the Supreme Court has, in fact, taken the initiative of the states and subjected it to the unelected whims of the appellate courts, then the Supreme Court has gone a very long way in destroying what few vestiges of the Republic remain. If that is the case, then it would behoove the majority of the Prop 8 decision to engage in some serious self-examination and resign… for their dereliction of duty has reached Olympian heights. The great problem for most who view political news is that the decisions and laws passed down are never about those decisions and laws — it is always about what those decisions mean or enable the government to do. However, most people take those decisions at face value and react in an emotional state because they either got what they wanted or they didn’t. Part of being more than a normal low-information voter is to consider the consequences of the actions of the government; something I think most of us would do well to consider more often.