Battles between rightwing Supreme Court Judges

There was a little-seen warm moment between Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas last November 1, just before the Supreme Court heard arguments on Texas’ abortion ban.

Roberts announced that 30 years ago on that exact date, a ceremonial investiture for Thomas had been held. Thomas, sitting to Roberts’ right, beamed and slung his arm over the chief’s shoulder.

That collegiality in the courtroom, filled with only a few dozen spectators because of Covid-19 protocols, has vanished. The two justices are now engaged in an epic struggle over a new abortion case that could mean the end of Roe v. Wade nationwide and unsettle the public image of the court.

And I don’t care for either of these two pricks. That has nothing to do with this post, however. There are cracks in the ideology often welding these fascist-minded judges together. Worthwhile read for that reason.

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul law requiring that most Americans get insurance by 2014 or pay a financial penalty, a historic ruling that gave the White House a big win ahead of Obama’s re-election bid in November.

“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court’s majority.

Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” he concluded. The conservative Roberts joined the four most liberal justices to uphold the law’s key provision…

The upholding of the insurance purchase requirement, known as the “individual mandate,” was a victory for Obama on the law that aims to extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans…

The court’s ruling could figure prominently in the run-up to the November 6 election. Obama is being challenged by Republican Mitt Romney, who had called for scrapping the law and replacing it with other measures even though he championed a similar approach at the state level as Massachusetts governor…

Overdue is putting it mildly. Harry Truman ran for election with Universal Healthcare as an important plank in his platform – if for no other reason than to co-opt 3rd Party candidates. No matter. After he took office he never even introduced a bill.

Since the 1940’s, the issue would come up from time to time. Even some Republicans – back before the Kool Aid Party discovered there were RINO’s, Republicans In Name Only – introduced bills supporting expansion of medical care for Americans when they were certain nothing would come of it.

Though I would prefer – and will continue fight for – a single payer system that extends the functions of the Medicare system to all and includes fiscal soundness and equal opportunity, hey, we’ve made a start. Republicans can blather all they want between now and election time. One of their biggest weapons against improving healthcare in the United States has just turned into smoke.

Approval rating for Supreme Court hits 44% on the way down

Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and three-quarters say the justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News.

Those findings are a fresh indication that the court’s standing with the public has slipped significantly in the past quarter-century, according to surveys conducted by several polling organizations. Approval was as high as 66 percent in the late 1980s, and by 2000 approached 50 percent.

The decline in the court’s standing may stem in part from Americans’ growing distrust in recent years of major institutions in general and the government in particular. But it also could reflect a sense that the court is more political, after the ideologically divided 5-to-4 decisions in Bush v. Gore, which determined the 2000 presidential election, and Citizens United, the 2010 decision allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions…

Many Americans do not seem to expect the court to decide the case [involving healthcare] solely along constitutional lines. Just one in eight Americans said the justices decided cases based only on legal analysis…

The public is skeptical about life tenure for the justices, with 60 percent agreeing with the statement that “appointing Supreme Court justices for life is a bad thing because it gives them too much power.” One-third agreed with a contrary statement, that life tenure for justices “is a good thing because it helps keep them independent from political pressures.”

Thirty-six percent of Americans said they disapproved of how the Supreme Court was handling its job, while 20 percent expressed no opinion. Though the court’s approval rating has always been above that of Congress — which is at 15 percent in the latest poll — it has occasionally dipped below that of the president.

The Republican-controlled Supreme Court should be expected to continue to drop in approval — just like the Republican-controlled Congress. The article points out approval of Congress is at 15%. That’s the whole Congress. Approval of Congressional Republicans is around 9%. They shouldn’t even be allowed in the building with ratings like that.

Concurrently, I would imagine approval of specific conservative judges would probably be down around 27%. Especially when you evaluate long term public response to crap decisions like the Citizens United humbug making corporations “people”.

Keeping Jesus in government avoided by the Supremes

The U.S. Supreme Court last week passed up the chance to decide whether opening up a public meeting with a sectarian prayer, usually invoking the name of Jesus — a practice carried out in broad swaths of Red State America — is constitutional.

Every business day, thousands of government bodies at all levels begin sessions with prayers. Those prayers are supposed to be “non-sectarian” — they are supposed to appeal to a Supreme Being without reference to religion. But what if a prayer delivered at the start of a government meeting makes a specific reference to a particular religion, for example, using the name of Jesus?

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative U.S. appeals courts in the country, has ruled such specific references are unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week left that ruling in place, but whether the appeals court ruling will have an effect on the government meetings across the country opened with Christian prayers remains to be seen.

The high court could always take on the dispute in some future case. But for the moment the appeals court ruling is the law in the Fourth Circuit: North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia…

The Supreme Court denied the request for review last Tuesday without comment.

And local bible-thumpers will continue to violate the law same as it ever was. You expected different?

As I am wont to say within this context, Separation of church and state – in the United States – is only observed when it comes to paying taxes.