Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Decisions

OK, here's a little quiz for you:
Who are the two people Bush appointed to the Supreme court?
Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
Name as many members of the Supreme Court as you can?

Stumped? Don't worry about it. Not many people can answer those questions. (Answer to first two: Alito & Roberts; Roberts) Yet, there are in my humble opinion two really important things a president does: send our nation to war and appoint Supreme Court Justices.
We already know how Junior and McCain feel about the war thing and we already know how Junior handled the Supreme Court thing. But what about McCain and Obama. Given they're position on issues, one can make educated guesses but when you appoint Justices, it's basically a crap shoot. Once they get on the bench, they can do absolutely whatever they want and no one, but no one, can do a thing about it. Still a president does have a lot of influence in who he appoints (conservative, liberal, etc).
The reason I bring this up is because the court is now in the process of ruling on a number of key issues. Three such decisions have already stirred a lot of controversy: 1) Detainees at Guantanamo Bay are entitled to due process; 2) A child rapist can not be executed; 3) The Exxon Valdez oil spill award has been reduced from $2.5 billion to $500 million. Today they're ruling on an important gun control case.
Where ever you may stand on these issues isn't the point because your opinion counts for nothing. Ever since the Supreme Court gave itself the authority of 'judicial review' way back when, no person, company,organization or branch of government has much to say. this an important consideration in the upcoming election? You decide but if you're thinking 'Who cares? Decisions by the SC rarely affect me', I would invite you to consider a ruling passed down by the court last year: a municipality has the right to seize private property for the purpose of commercial development. Can't happen to you? Ask a bunch of people in New London, CT.

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