By Myron Robert Pauli, Ph.D.
Every June is when the Supreme Court announces its decisions on the disputes on which it picks to rule. According to Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, “The Constitution is what the judges say it is.” Each year, they hand down very erudite but often nonsensical opinions citing previous erudite nonsensical opinions (known as “precedent”). If you trace back all the precedents, you might get a slight resemblance to the US Constitution, just as if you rotate 1 degrees each time for 180 times, you wind up pointing in the opposite direction.
From my view, the biggest nonsense of 2015 was Zivotofsky v. Kerry, a relatively inconsequential case over Congress instructing that passports for people born in Jerusalem list Israel as their birthplace. Now, the 4th clause of Article 1 Section 8 gives Congress authority over the rules of naturalization, which would seem to me, to cover citizenship status. Congress could declare Jerusalem births to be from Israel, Jerusalem, Palestine, Bolivia, or Mars. NO – said 6 Justices – that power is exclusively reserved for the president (Where is that stated in Article 2??).
Many were annoyed by the Obamacare decision – but there should be little surprise. In 1937, the Supreme Court had decided: (1) The 10th Amendment has no meaning. (2) Congress can hand out welfare, retirement, etc. “benefits” to individuals at will. (3) Congress can delegate legislative powers in the form of “regulations” which can be drafted by unelected bureaucrats and where citizens can be fined and imprisoned for violating. So, Gomer Pyle, where is the “surprise surprise surprise”? Congress surely didn’t read the 2900 page Affordable Care Act. I somewhat doubt that Obama read the 2900 pages and, in any case, has changed it at will every month. Why should a “wise Latina” like Sotomayor decipher 2900 pages of hieroglyphics? Besides, only one person in the galaxy understands what is in that glop and that is Professor Gruber. If hyperregulation is good on Mondays, why is it wrong on Tuesdays? Basically, the Supremes did not want to touch that greased pig of a bill.
The Court often rules for freedom of speech. This angers “conservatives” when the speech is smutty and angers “liberals” when it is plutocratic oligarchs funding 30 second political spots. Admittedly, the smut is on a higher intellectual and more honest than the 30 second ads. But is the Supreme Court responsible because more people watch smut than read the Bible? Is the Supreme Court responsible because people believe those silly spots where Hillary uses her billion buck fundraising booty from sucking up to the oligarchs and special interests to accuse Jeb of being a corrupt tool of the oligarchs and special interests and Jeb uses his billions to accuse Hillary of being the corrupt tool?
And, of course, we have gay marriage? Personally, I am not going to change because someone marries the same sex or a consenting bear or their toaster (but don’t fool around with the vacuum cleaner!). If millions are going to descend into Sodom because of a few people’s preferences, those millions cannot have very strong moral convictions. But again, did the Supreme Court cause “indecency” or are they just “following the election returns” (and popular trends)?
And the granddaddy of all brouhahas: abortion. Theoretically, the right to abortion follows the right of a person to “do what she wants with her body.” Hence, a person can chop off her leg, cook it in the over, and eat it. But America has not had 55 million cases of cannibalistic self-mutilation. America has had 55 million abortions since 1973. Is there not some responsibility for that among the tens of millions who decided to terminate the lives of those developing children?
When Stevens in Gonzales v. Raich said that a woman smoking dope in her basement interferes with interstate commerce, he also pointed out that if the law is idiotic, Congress and the president should repeal the law. Yes folk, don’t look at Ginsburg, Scalia, Roberts, and Rehnquist as the Blessed Mother and the Holy Trinity! If this nation is authoritarian, corrupt, bloated, idiotic, or immoral – time to gaze into the mirror. You will not receive Salvation from the Gang of Nine.
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.