Thursday, January 21, 2016

Is SCOTUS Preparing A Third Strike Against The Executive?

Arguably, Citizens United was the first strike, using the First Amendment free-speech clause to remove virtually all limits on political campaign contributions by corporations. It seems a strange ruling to me, in that it grants free-speech rights to virtual persons that can live forever and often have and can spend more money than any living human individual.

The second strike was Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, another odd bird that effectively grants First Amendment freedom of religion to corporations, allowing them to impose the corporate owner's religious constraints on medical insurance benefits offered to employees, e.g., refusing to cover the cost of abortion.

And now the apparent third strike: the Court appears to be taking direct aim at the constitutionally listed powers of the Executive branch. As Tierney Sneed at TPM states the matter:
It was not unexpected that the Supreme Court took up a case Tuesday challenging the Obama administration's executive actions on immigration. But it was somewhat of a surprise that in doing so, the court asked to be briefed on whether the memo outlining the administration's policy “violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution” -- a question which was not addressed directly in lower court decisions and not among those the U.S. government included in its petition.


The surprise is not that the Supreme Court is a political entity; that was true of the very first Supreme Court seated. If there is a surprise, it is that today's Court (possibly influenced by Chief Justice John Roberts) is requesting from trial courts (or other lower courts whose cases SCOTUS ultimately hears on appeal) information on issues not introduced by either side at trial or on appeal, issues to allow archconservative Roberts & Co. to set particular precedents they desire on issues never raised in trial or earlier appeals.

Our nation's founders framed the Judiciary as the weakest branch among the three. The Judiciary, starting immediately with John Marshall, set about rectifying that disparity. Today the Roberts Court, by applying all kinds of powers assumed over the centuries, as well as a few tricks the founders never imagined, can be, when it wishes, vastly more powerful than the Congress or the President. I am quite certain that if a Republican takes the presidency this year, the Roberts Court will find and hear some case that allows them to remove the hobbles they have been placing and continue to place on Executive branch power while Obama is president.

Do these rulings serve the cause of justice? C'mon, gimme a break...


  1. Charles G. Koch (born 1935-....
    David H. Koch (born 1940-....
    Mustafa Vehbi Koç: His last breath, after acute heart attack, left yesterday at the age of 55! (Born 1960, Istanbul - Died January 21, 2016, Istanbul)

    1. Enfant, are America's infamous Koch brothers in fact related to, or descended from, that über‑wealthy Turkish family?



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