In last week’s paper a letter was critical of the United States Supreme Court claiming a majority of the court are partisan right wing individuals. I think the writer is ill-informed and misguided.
She claims the court “gutted the voting rights act” but fails to state specifically what decision did so and how it was done. That claim has been made with respect to the State of Georgia, but the record numbers of minority voters in the last two elections in Georgia has belied the claim.
The second claim is that court opened the flood gates to unlimited corporate money in elections. She refers, I believe, to Citizens United v FEC which was a 2010 decision written by the moderate judge, Anthony Kennedy which held the FEC prohibitions against unions, corporations and profitable organizations spending money on political ads 60 days prior to an elections violates the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Anthony Kennedy was hardly a partisan right winger but instead a middle of the road swing vote on the court.
On the other hand Mark Zuckerberg gave over $400 million dollars to assist getting out the vote in majority Democratic districts. I wonder if that offends the writer’s sense of fairness.
Without specificity it is hard to discuss her claim that the court struck down gun safety laws. It is so easy to paint with a broad brush but details are important, and without them the claim by the writer is meaningless.
She also asserts the court limited the governments ability to protect our air and water. Again, no specific case is mentioned but the court did rule this year that the EPA’s ability to regulate wetlands is limited to areas with a continuous surface connection to other waters. Previously, if water during a wet season, would accumulate on your land but then dry up, the EPA could regulate how you used your land despite the ponding having no connection to any other body of water.
The Dobbs decision is bemoaned by the writer as effectively banning abortions in 14 states. The Dobbs decision allowed democracy to work as it should. The voters of each state get to decide the rule in their state by means of their respective legislatures. If citizens don’t like the rule, elect new legislators. But it appears that representative government is not desirable when the outcome the writer prefers is unsuccessful.
The overturning of Biden’s attempt to eliminate student debt was a perfect example of the separation of powers. The president, cannot by a stroke of the pen, undo a law passed by Congress. That is what Biden attempted to do. I wonder how the writer would feel if a law passed by Congress stated there would be no repayment of student debt and a president, with the stroke of his pen, imposed a duty to pay the debt in full?
For far too long the Supreme Court has been one that interpreted the law to fit the prevailing political winds. Now the court is made up of a majority of strict constructionists that apply the law as written and not as how anyone wishes it had been written. A lesson in civics is needed: The Congress writes the law, the President enforces the law and the Supreme Court interprets the law in accordance with the Constitution.
Because the outcome of cases that the court decides does not match one’s preferred outcome should not cause a loss of faith. It should cause one to pause and studiously reflect on the correctness of their own views.
— John L. Lengemann