(Fred Weinberg/The Penny Press) – I’ve been listening to a lot of oral arguments in front of the United States Supreme Court and the Nevada Supreme Court recently because of a new radio station (KNNR 1400AM) we are launching in the Reno/Carson City market. And I’ve come to some conclusions about why people respect our judicial system at a level much higher than both the President and Congress.
In short, civility.
You may disagree with Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Elena Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor on a position, but you simply cannot listen to them in oral argument and disrespect their scholarship and craftsmanship. Of course, the same applies on the other side of the ideological fence. I think it impossible to not recognize native intelligence in Antonin Scalia or Samuel Alito. And Chief Justice John Roberts truly does call balls and strikes—just like he said in his confirmation hearing.
You just don’t get to that level by being a hack with an ideological bent. If you do see things through a liberal or conservative lens, then at least you are capable of making the best case for that position as can be made.
To be sure, as recently as 1994, the public’s approval of the Court was in the 80 per cent range. Today it is about 52 per cent.
But the approval rates for the President and Congress are such that even their mothers don’t like them.
Frankly, when you listen to those people at work, you understand why.
Listen to the Speaker of the House (both the current one and the previous one) sometime. Listen to what passes for the Senate’s leadership. And I mean BOTH Harry and Mitch.
Listen to our President and Vice President spin and then, spend an hour listening to the Supreme Court hear one of the highly politicized cases they have heard recently.
You will, I promise you, wonder how we sent this bunch of Congressmen and Senators to Washington and what rock our executive branch crawled out from under.
You won’t have that problem with the Supreme Court.
Spend a few hours listening to the debate and it will almost restore your faith in our Government. Almost.
The problem is that the courts were never designed to actually legislate or take executive action. They were designed to stop things from going horribly wrong. As a counterweight to politics, if you will.
To put is mildly, if the Supreme Court has to decide what to do with our nation’s health care system, something has gone horribly wrong. The Supreme Court is not final because it’s infallible—it’s infallible because it’s final.
That the Obamacare cases are sitting at the Court waiting to be decided means that Nevada Senator Harry Reid, San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama have done such a bad job they will undoubtedly be relegated to the scrap heap of history
Asked about the constitutionally of the individual mandate, Pelosi looked blankly at a reporter and said, “Seriously?”
Reid, the lawyer—at least he pretended to be one at the Nevada Gaming Commission—had no understanding that forcing a citizen of the United States to buy a private product—whether or not the Court says the Government can—is a non starter and would most assuredly be challenged. In this case by 26 states, including the one who sent him to Washington to buy a million dollar condo at the Ritz Carlton.
And Obama, the constitutional law instructor from the University of Chicago, should be ashamed of himself.
If the Court, through its professional dissection of the single issue—does the Commerce Clause of the Constitution permit the Government to force people to buy a private product—finds that indeed it does, he’s screwed. You see, the Court will not have said it is good public policy. The very fact that they had to even make such a decision suggests that the policy is inimical to the public good. And over half the states are against it. Nothing good will come of it except, perhaps, a political enema.
If the Court strikes the mandate—as we suspect it will—he’s also screwed. Even his patron saint FDR couldn’t run against the Supreme Court.
Bluntly, the Supremes will have had a much better season than the President.
This is, quite simply, a no win exercise for Obama, Reid and Pelosi. But, whatever happens, it’s not the fault of the Supreme Court.
They’re just there to sift through Obama’s, Reid’s and Pelosi’s garbage.