January 28, 2010

For Less Judicial Ideology, Shorten Government Reach

Justin Katz

Something about this line of thinking, in an AP essay about the Supreme Court by Mark Sherman, doesn't sit right:

As in dozens of earlier cases, Kennedy was in the majority each time. He was the author of the campaign finance decision.

The rulings demonstrate the extent to which ideology — not fidelity to precedent or a particular interpretation of the Constitution — is the driving force on the court.

The immediate peculiarity is the failure to comprehend that ideology affects methods of interpreting the Constitution, and vice versa. That isn't to say that judges will necessarily choose the interpretation that best suits whatever their ideology dictates on an issue-by-issue basis, but that beliefs about the role of government will lend themselves toward certain approaches to the law.

The larger point that ought to be made, however, is that the underlying problem is the reach of the government overall. If every aspect of American life, and all tiers of government, were not relevant to the Supreme Court, ideological factions wouldn't have the incentive to put so much emphasis on procuring "the right kind" of judges. Moreover, ideology would be less relevant.

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That's a very good (and very libertarian) point. It's also a good counter to the people who think that any issue can be solved with a legislative or referendum vote, electing the right candidates, or working within "the system." What if I don't want "the system" to have jurisdiction over aspects of my private life in the first place?

Posted by: Dan at January 28, 2010 2:13 PM

My own iderology aside, I think that in light of "multi-national corporations" the courts decision is not the best idea. I am sure that Toyota, Honda, Kia, Nissan, etc all have "American" corporations. I don't want to see them influencing our decisions.

Ideologically, corporations are tax paying "entities", if not citizens. I think they have a right to express their views, in effect, they are spending stockholder's money to address stockholder's desires.

I think that Congress can, and should, address issues concerning foreign ownership. That is not the Court's job until some piece of legislation is placed before them.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 28, 2010 2:38 PM

I don’t recall reading anything about making no law abridging freedom of speech or press, except for foreign corporations? There are certainly rights that extend only on the basis of citizenship but the First Amendment does not grant a right, it protects and preserves rights by limiting the authority of congress.

Posted by: Matt at January 28, 2010 3:35 PM

Anybody catch Sam Alito's reaction last night when Obama referenced the decision?
Face it, Sammy, you and four of your cohorts stuck a pointed boot up the keester of democracy last week. If you don't like being called on it, deal with it.
Because we Americans who love democracy are having to deal with it.

Posted by: rhody at January 28, 2010 4:06 PM

Rhody, the other justices looked insulted and did not stand up either. It was disrespectful toward the Supreme Court as a whole, not just five of the justices.

Posted by: Dan at January 28, 2010 4:43 PM

Rhody-Howard Zinn,it seems,isn't coming down for breakfast.Oh,boo-hoo.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 28, 2010 4:57 PM

If the Democrats are peaceniks, why are people like Rhody so aggressively combative and ad hominem? Tell me, Rhody, would you call Mr. Alito "Sammy" in person?

The Founders were unanimously clear (although Hamilton was a little weak) about the primacy of rights over democratic will, which they described as a tyranny of mob rule. That's why the Bill of Rights was required to get the states to ratify the Constitution.

That's what this country is based on, and if the Left doesn't like it, they just have to deal with it. There are plenty of other countries that support their "principle" that individual rights are subordinate to the changing needs of society. Perhaps you'd be happier living in one of them.

Posted by: BobN at January 28, 2010 5:49 PM

Posted by Dan at January 28, 2010 4:43: PM
" Rhody, the other justices looked insulted and did not stand up either. It was disrespectful toward the Supreme Court as a whole, not just five of the justices."

The Supreme Court never stands at a SOTU speech. There is no reason that they should, they are a co-equal branch of the government.

Do other legislators stand when one of their number walks into the room? What gets into the legislators at a SOTU, I have no idea.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 28, 2010 7:01 PM

No mention of the fact that Disaster Don Carcieri, quoted Abe Lincoln in his State of the State speech???
Of course the quote was a bald face lie.
Lincoln never said that

He could have quoted his imaginary Drill Sargent, from the boot-camp that he and fellow COWARDS Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney, never attended

Posted by: Jose at January 28, 2010 8:43 PM

Bob, I probably would call him Sammy if I ever met him.
If the man is willing to bash Joe Biden while giving a speech as a USSC member, I don't think he pays much mind to the so-called principle of public neutrality most high court members make an effort to uphold (I don't agree with Chief Justice Roberts' decisions very often, but he appears to make an effort to set an example).
Alito has every right to express his displeasure. And I (and anybody else)have the right to comment on it, too. Actually, if I call him Sammy, I'm trying to be polite.

Posted by: rhody at January 30, 2010 12:44 AM

This the same Joe Biden who referred to Obama as "clean and articulate"?Another Chris Matthews slipup.
Matthews managed to "forget" Obama was Black for an hour.How good of him.Why forget he's Black?Is it a handicap?It's an observation-period.But for liberal phonies,it's a value judgement.Many of them are racists and probably don't think they are-they just naturally assume that "minorities" need someone(like a liberal)to think for them.
I realize this is off-topic.
Sheldon Whitehouse's diatribes against the Supreme Court on Heller and Citizens United show him for the complete a**hole anyone who's been around him knows he is.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 30, 2010 10:10 AM

I'd call Alito a lot more than "Sammy" if I ever met him personally.

I could ask you what you'd call the President if you ever met him personally.

Rhody is a leveller and bravo to him. You kow-tow to authority. This is what makes you a bully - you kick the people below you and kiss up to those with power.

You know you do it, but introspection and honesty don't seem to play much of a role in your life.

Tell us about your Tea Party affiliation.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at January 31, 2010 10:31 PM

OTL:You kowtow to tired and disproven mantras of the left.
Rhody a leveller?I guess lying about people from the safety of an alias is levelling in your book?
I don't see you doing that.Although I think your point of view is almost completely misguided.
I think Alito is one of the better justices,although he is no Scalia,who is a brilliant and strightforward legal scholar with a grounding in reality.
I am disgusted by the selection of Jack McConnell,leftist moneybag for the Dems and predatory class action lawyer for a Federal judgeship.I guess 3/4 mil in contributions can buy a lot.
Just so you can't say I'm being totally partisan,I think Judge Thompson's appointment was a really good selection.
She didn't buy the job.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 1, 2010 10:40 AM
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