Politicians create low moments for high court | AspenTimes.com
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Politicians create low moments for high court

The court is one of the last institutions, along with the military, to enjoy a broadly favorable opinion of the public. It is, therefore, not productive to our society to “politicize” it, in the sense of blatant, rank partisanship.

How justices vote on cases is a function of their legal philosophy, not party registration. Conservative ones tend to vote according to their reading of the law as written and passed. Liberal ones tend to infer meaning not specifically written, but implied. Both approaches allow ample room for interpretation.

The Supreme Court debates the issues before it internally, and justices change their minds. They also consult with each other on the laws and the history impacting cases, so as to be best informed. Speculating as to how justices will vote based on political assumptions is nonsense. It depends on the specifics of the case in question and the specific language of the law(s) in question. The question is then approached by each of them as outlined above.

An example of judicial behavior is the late Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was a conservative Republican, appointed by a conservative Republican. Indeed, he even argued for the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans as attorney general of California. Yet he led the most liberal court in our nation’s history.

More recently, Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative, voted for, and wrote the decision in favor of, Native Americans against the state of Oklahoma.

There are numerous other cases of judicial behavior that contradict assumed outcomes. Many recent examples involve current and conservative Chief Justice John Roberts.

Both parties should be ashamed of making political sludge basins of Supreme Court appointment nominations. Candidates should be evaluated on their judicial records and their fundamental character — not speculation on how they will vote on a theoretical case in the future.

We can all expect to be surprised, yet again, on how currently appointed new justices perform once they are on the bench and removed from all the partisan flack from both sides.

And lastly, if our weak-kneed Congresses would do their jobs and write clear laws, there would be no need of “legislation” on the part of the court.

James DeFrancia

Aspen


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