Wtch the current confirmation hearings in the Senate for Sotomayor as a new member to the US Supreme Court. I have watched many of these over the years and the process didn’t really vary much until the Bork hearings in the eighties. That is when things turned quite nasty and have remained more contentious ever since. The Supreme Court has had a controversial role in our government from the earliest days of our nation. Marbury v. Madison was quite the shock and that allowed the intrusion of the Court into the law making process for good or ill ever since. That case stood for the proposition that the Supreme Court was the ultimate arbitrator of disputes of a even a political nature since it reserved to the Court the power to declare acts of Congress unconsitutional and that there was no appeal from their rulings save and except an amendment to the Contsitution itself. Many of our Presidents have had their disagreements with the Court and sometimes Congress. Congress can respond by trying to pass new laws to wire around the troublesome rulings of the Court to thwart the effect of any ruling they find objectionable. That has occurred on numerous occasions and has accerlerated over the last few decades. That most recent example is the ruling regarding imminent domain and the new legislation to restrict the right and power of government to take private property after the Supreme Court ruled that power could be used for a private development to combat urban blight.
The Supreme Court has no power or authority other than that of persuasion. It is the universal respect for the rule of law that gives force to their rulings. They do not command an army or even a law enforcement agency. They can only issue orders that other branches of government are required to enforce. The only blatant example of a ruling of the Court being ignored was by Lincoln. He simply refused to enforce or recognize a ruling of the Court during the earliest days of the War Between the States. When the Maryland legislature was convening to meet he was concerned that southern sympathies were very strong there, which they were, and that there was a chance that the legislature could pass an act of secession. He arrested some members of that legislative body and put them in prison without bail or hearing. Just like we are doing now with “enemy combatants” t Gitmo. The case made its way to the Supreme Court and they ruled his actions illegal and that the detained legislators should be released. Lincoln just ignored the ruling of the Court. He never publicly commented on enforcing their order, he just did what he wanted and the order and the effect of it was melted away with the passage of time and the trauma of the War. No other President has been in contempt of an order of the Supreme Court. The battles that FDR had with the Court are notorious and his attempts to pack the Court by increasing its numbers with his hand picked nominees who favored his socialist agenda were ultimately too much for even his most loyal supporters.
The Court will from time to time embark on writing new law whether we like it or not. Their worst decisions and the ones that cause the most anguish are of that ilk. We they stick to interpreting a federal statute or the Constitution their rulings will offend some but generally folks will go along because of that inbred respect for the rule of law. As a democracy we expect our laws and the laws that emerge from new policies to come from Congress or the State legislatures as the case may be. They create untold grief when they make new law that is clearly not in the Constitution or Federal statutes. They have created new “rights” that even a 7th grader can see are not in the Bill of Rights or other amendments. Those rulings come from the background and biases of the individual judges. They are the product of their world view, their perception of an appropriate social agenda. Social engineering should never be their perogative. I am not sure it should even be the perogative of the legislatures or Congress. But at least through those processes the people feel as though they had a say in the outcome of events. The worst thing is to have a judge where you can predict the outcome of the trial from the inception of the suit simply based upon the nature of the case and the litigants before them and knowing the judges political and social views. School cases, public housing cases, voting cases and others of that stripe are often of this category. I don’t know about lots of the judges across the land but locally we had a couple of very liberal judges and I was never wrong in predicting the outcome of certain cases that went before them. That is terrible. They would allow “evidence” from experts they hand selected to be introduced that supported their pre conceived notions of society and then rule not on the law but on their desires for a particular outcome.
Sotomayor falls in that category. Despite her assertions to the contrary it is plain how she would rule in certain cases that reached the Supreme Court. The firefighters in the Ricci case lost not because of the law or facts but because she didn’t think they deserved to win. She wanted the City to be able to stiff those white firefighters and employ affirmative action methods to promote minorities. That is the fact of the matter and we can expect the same from her on the Supreme Court. We will get exactly her views of the world applied to all Americans and even probably to those that are here illegally. I don’t like her views. I would probably be fine with her legal rulings if she would stick to the law. That is the nub of the matter, she won’t stick to the law as it is now but will bend, corrupt and traduce the “law” to fit her social agenda. Her agenda is not mine. Agendas should be determined at the ballot box and never pronounced from the bench.
The ten year Treasury bills have dropped in recent days to 3.5%. Normally you would think that is good news. I worry about inflation and that was indicated by the recent run up in interest rates to about 4.0%. Unfortunately the drop is all about fear, not as a forecast on inflation. People have gotten so spooked again about the market that they are buying those bonds as a safety precaution, not an investment. Our economy needs investment, which the guys in the White House don’t seem to understand. wwwIt is .olcranky.wordpress.com