The Supreme Court of the United States, aka SCOTUS. It's been in the news quite a bit lately with a flurry of activity and rulings before their summer recess.
But with the exception of a few special-interest groups who are most affected by their rulings, not many people are paying much attention. In fact I'll bet if you were to pick 10 people at random, one at most would be able to name all 9 justices. In fact there are probably only a handful of people who even knows there are 9 much less their names or that 6 of the 9 are men.
The fact of the matter is, however, that they are absolutely the most important group of people in the country.
Think about it. They get to decide if the laws our state and federal governments pass are constitutional. And to top it off, unlike in lower courts, there is no appeal. Their word is final...period. End of story.
Two of their recent decisions for example have far-reaching consequences.
First, there's the ruling regarding the Voting Rights Act. It effectively allows states to redraw their congressional districts as they see fit. The upshot is that a state like Texas for example can now make it almost impossible for a democrat to get elected. Nice, huh?
They left the door open by suggesting Congress revisit the act and modernize it. Good luck with that.
The second big ruling is in regard to gay marriages. Basically, they said the state of California can not deny to gay couples the same rights afforded straight couples. It's a huge victory for gay rights.
In my humble opinion the courts screwed up in one case but got it right in another. I'll leave it to you to figure out which side I'm on but if you're a regular follower of this blogspot, it won't be hard to do.
So the next time you hear of a SCOTUS Justice retiring, pay attention. The next person to get on could shift the balance of the court and make a huge impact for many years to come.
OK, ready?? Who's the Chief Justice of SCOTUS?