18 May 2009

Chief Justice Roberts

I said it from the beginning.  And the New Yorker has a great article on why he is such an unbelievable douche.
In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.
There's a lot of hidden insight in this article; it has been noted that SCOTUS has taken many fewer broad-ranging cases than they used to take in times past. Instead, they have tended to take cases with a much more narrow scope. And with the new generally-conservative majority they have cut out a lot of progress from past years.
“An originalist on abortion would say that at the time of the Constitution, or of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, abortion was prohibited, and that’s it,” Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School, said. “A conservative like Roberts, on the other hand, wouldn’t look immediately at the question of whether all abortions should be outlawed, but examine the specific restriction on abortion rights at issue in the case and probably uphold it. He’d avoid the culture-war rhetoric and gradually begin cutting back on abortion rights without making lots of noise about getting rid of it altogether.”
His tenure on the court has already brought about and astonishing number of decisions that are overturning massive precedents or very recent decisions - both practices frowned upon. And this with a one-person conservative majority!
In Roberts’s first term, when Alito also joined the Court, there were fewer controversial cases than usual, as well as an apparent effort by the Justices to reach more unanimous decisions. But the Seattle case came down on June 28, 2007, which was the last day of Roberts’s second full term as Chief Justice and a year of routs for liberals on the Court. That same day, the Justices overturned a ninety-six-year-old precedent in antitrust law and thus made it harder to prove collusion by corporations. Also that year they upheld the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, in Kennedy’s opinion, even though the Court had rejected a nearly identical law just seven years earlier. The case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear, brought by a sympathetic grandmother who had been paid far less than men doing the same work at the tire company, became a political flashpoint because the conservative majority, in an opinion by Alito, imposed seemingly insurmountable new burdens on plaintiffs in employment-discrimination lawsuits. (Ginsburg, in an unusual move, read her dissent from the bench.) In all these cases, Roberts and Alito joined with Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Kennedy to make the majority. On this final day, Breyer offered an unusually public rebuke to his new colleagues. “It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much,” Breyer said.
Read the article and be disgusted.

No comments:

Post a Comment