George Graham

The U.S. Supreme Court is a Hotbed of Politics

I was not surprised to hear Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (photo above, left) compare the individual mandate in the health care reform law to forcing Americans to buy broccoli. Disgusted yes, but surprised no. And I was not shocked to find out he did not know the so-called Cornhusker Kickback was no longer included in the law he was ruling on. I know Scalia is an ignoramus.

A lazy ignoramus. Consider this pronouncement on the case:

Mr. Kneedler, what happened to the Eighth Amendment? You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?

(Laughter.)

And do you really expect the Court to do that? Or do you expect us to — to give this function to our law clerks?

Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?

(The 8th amendment is the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. )

It is illuminating to see Scalia described in Wikipedia as “the intellectual anchor of the Court’s conservative wing.”

How could this man be called “intellectual”?

The fact that Ronald Reagan appointed him to the nation’s highest court is not just an indictment of the American political system, it is an indictment of American education. Scalia is a product of Georgetown University, which is widely regarded as an illustrious institution. But he is a devout Roman Catholic and apparently judges every issue through that prism.

To me, this man is brainwashed, not educated. Education is supposed to produce an open mind.

The court is also home to the infamous Clarence Thomas (photo above, right), who will go down in history for alleged remarks about finding pubic hair on his can of Coke.  Does anyone care that his wife is a lobbyist who opposes the health care reform law? I guess not. Nobody seems to care about the myriad other conflicts of interest that dishonor his tenure.

You might think the members of the nation’s highest court should be above reproach. But you know they are not.

You know how this court will vote before a single word is uttered. The decision will be based on politics – not the law.

Of course, the politics is complicated this time. The court might hesitate to show its partisan teeth in an election year. There might be a backlash at the polls. And there’s the justices’ “credibility” to consider. If the conservatives vote to trash the law and the liberals vote to retain it, even the most credulous observer might smell a rat. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be a triumph for conservatives if “Obamacare” were ruled unconstitutional!  

I predict that these are the “issues” the justices will take into consideration, not constitutional law or precedent. I expect that their arguments will just be rationalizations of a political point of view.

It might be impossible to predict the outcome. But the process was never in doubt.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com