According to Wikipedia the Supreme Court of the United State “has ultimate (and largely discretionary) appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of constitutional or statutory law.” As “the supreme law of the land” the Constitution–carefully reasoned, written, and explicit–assures grievances and issues are decided in a fair, impartial, if you will “cut-and-dried,” fashion. What does the Constitution or statute say? That’s it. Case closed. No-brainer. Right?
If Court decisions falls back on the Constitution, the law, why do Liberal and Conservative administrations spend every last ounce of energy, every available resource, every dollar getting their gal or guy onto the Highest Bench while the loyal opposition expends equal efforts blocking them?
It’s said, figures don’t lie but liars can figure. The law’s the law, but Justices, judges, and lawyers–who never of course lie–receive exorbitant retainers to figure. “Ay, there’s the rub.”
Legal eagles read the law through lens of personal experience, belief, and political philosophy. So, to get what you want load the Court with your gals and guys.
And they damn well better do the job! That’s why we busted our ass putting them there.
Today’s Supreme Court has four Liberals: two Jewish females, one Latina female, and a son of Italian immigrants. The Conservatives include four white and one black male. With civil rights, gun rights, voter rights, immigrant rights, women’s rights, gender issues, abortion, public education, racial equality, or separation of church and state on the docket, care to guess which way the Majority will vote?
Parenthetically, regarding Justice Thomas, seen from my Liberal bias a Conservative Administration nominating a black for the High Court appeared out of character somehow. In my view, with impeccable character and credentials assumed, Justice Thomas’s nomination reflected political expediency: replace a black (Liberal), Justice Thurgood Marshall, with a black (Conservative); the coattails of Civil Rights; and most intriguing, “moral licensing,” a realization emerging from Social Psychology. In his podcast, “Revisionist History,” Malcom Gladwell describes moral licensing as “the ‘token’–the outsider whose success serves not to alleviate discrimination but perpetrate it.” With Justice Thomas in place, Conservatives say, “See, we put a black on the Court. We’re not prejudiced. Case closed,” and continue to nominate and appoint the barest minimum number of females and non-Caucasians, business as usual.
So why waste time arguing? As things are now, hand the briefs to Chief Justice Roberts, have Justice Thomas or Justice Gorsuch write the majority opinion. The same would be so with a Liberal majority.
Of course Justices don’t always walk the Party line, but as in a casino, load the dice, stack the deck, and hire the dealers. The house, the Majority Party, rarely loses.