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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ms Ginsburg vs The People

For John, BLUFMaybe it just depends upon whose ox is being gored.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The diocesan newspaper for Boston, The Pilot, has an editorial section called "Echoes".

On 17 July, under the category of Culture, Mr John Garvey, President of Catholic University, talked about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but also about the Court as a whole.  Here is the sub-headline:

If her husband were alive, she continued, he might have said, "It's time for us to move to New Zealand."
Not the kind of leadership declaration one would expect from an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.  Even one looking forward to retiring from that high bench.

Here is how Mr Garvey starts off:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg caused quite a stir this month by saying what was on her mind about Donald Trump to the New York Times.  "I can't imagine what the country would be -- with Donald Trump as our president," she said.
There are a lot of people who feel like Justice Ginsburg, but they are ordinary citizens, people with an opportunity to vote on who they want in the White House come November.  Some are my friends.  Recently I have come to think that some of them may unfriend me on Facebook before we get down to the end of the campaign.  I hope not.  I enjoy a diversity of opinions.

But, I thought that it was unseemly that Ms Ginsburg, who as a member of the US Supreme Court, with a slight but real possibility of having to rule on a Presidential Election, should comment in the way she did.  Say it to your friends and colleagues, but don't say it to Reporters or Editors at some newspaper, especially one as well known as The Old Gray Lady.

But, the deeper problem is the one Mr Garvey brings up, that the Court has become just another political organ, rather than a more neutral body trying to fit our legal dealings into a frame.  In our case, the US Constitution.  Sure, the Constitution is over 200 years old, but it has internal rules for changing it.  Rules that require the development of a consensus.  Amending the US Constitution by judicial fiat is outside the lines of the game.

Here is how the piece ends:

Since the decision in Roe v. Wade, though, a majority of the court has claimed the authority to make things up.  This has had the natural effect of leading us to see its work as politics by another name.

It's not just Democrats who take this approach.  Republicans in the Senate have held up the nomination of Merrick Garland because, they say, this is an issue the people should have an opportunity to weigh in on.  Donald Trump has floated a list of candidates he would consider in lieu of Garland.  We're voting for the Supreme Court.

This is a bad turn of events, and to my mind, the court has itself to blame.  Its assertion of authority to make law has taken power from the elected branches and undermined the very reasons we have for trusting the court itself.

So, no sympathy for those Democrats who wail that not bringing Mr Garland to the floor for a vote is a violation of the Constitution.  It is how the game is now played.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Actually, a little earlier than that in Lowell, where we are going to introduce early voting for the General Election, but NOT the Primary in September.
  Then there is how the Massachusetts General Court changes the rules for replacing US Senators when the need arises, depending upon who is in the Corner Office.

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