Isaiah Webster

Tag: U.S. Supreme Court

Americans truly are clueless

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering whether Neil Gorsuch should become the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a new C-SPAN/PSB Poll found that just 43% of Americans could name even one Supreme Court justice. Sadly for Justice Stephen Breyer, not a single person surveyed offered his name when prompted to name one of the eight current justices.

America suffers not from maliciousness, but from ignorance. Our politicians, our institutions, our media — all greatly benefit from a clueless citizenry. It’s so sad.

George Carlin

Conservative justices aim to level electoral playing field

ROBERTSThe conservative wing of the U.S. Supreme Court today continued its efforts to keep the Republican Party competitive in national elections. By removing funding caps by individuals, the conservative justices are trying as best they can be help Republican candidates. The bottom line: Rich individuals will be able to give as much money as they please to federal candidates. The richer you are, the more influence and sway you will command.

In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the court voted 5-4 to eliminate caps on individual contributions. The majority said that such caps are a violation of  the First Amendment. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, speaking from the bench for the minority, called bullshit on that.

“If the court in Citizens United opened a door,” he said, “today’s decision may well open a floodgate.”

It’s amazing how conservatives bemoan “activist judges” until they discover a way to use activist judges to their own advantage. As the demographics of the electorate continue to shift, Republicans are faced with the prospect of being a constant minority. After all, the electorate is becoming younger, less white and less affluent — all the things that Republicans traditionally haven’t been. But if the conservatives on the Supreme Court can infuse more Republican money into politics, they know they will have a fighting chance even with demographic shifts.

For example, because of this ruling, Donald Trump can give as much as he chooses to the next Republican presidential nominee. Under previous law, Trump’s contributions to a Republican nominee would have been capped at $2,600 in primary and general election scenarios. For someone with a net worth in the millions, Trump could now play a significant role in a presidential election; and in U.S. Senate races, he could be a kingmaker if he so chooses. Naturally, the conservative Supreme Court already knows this; and it explains exactly why this decision was handed down today.

Surely, our friends at Fox News will spend the day screaming about judicial activism, right?


The end of the war is near

GinsburgWhen it comes to gay rights and the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy is usually the one to watch. He is the critical swing vote, and he has authored every major gay rights decision. But as we head towards the inevitable decision regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg might be the one to watch.

From The L.A. Times:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights and a liberal stalwart, joined the ruling in that case. She has long argued the court made a mistake in its Roe vs. Wade decision that struck down all state abortion restrictions. A step-by-step approach in the courts would have had a less polarizing effect on the country, she has said.  There is no longer a debate of whether marriage equality will happen; the only remaining suspense is when it will happen. Convention wisdom now holds that 2015 may be the year. Justice Ginsburg might just hold the key.