Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court's split personality

So, yesterday the Supreme Court overturned on a vote of 5-4 the heart of the Voting Rights Act, in spite of the fact that the Act had been reauthorized by an overwhelming vote of Congress - the Senate passed it unanimously and the House passed it 390 to 33 - in 2006, and subsequently signed by President Bush who professed to be extremely happy to do so. 

This near-unanimous support in the Legislative and Executive branches of government was completely overlooked and held to be worthless by the Supreme Court in its decision. The majority - the usual suspects: Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and, in this case, Kennedy - essentially found that racism no longer is a barrier to voting in the United States. 


And I look around the state of Texas and most of the states of the old Confederacy, as well as Arizona, and I have to wonder: Exactly what country are these guys looking at?  


So, today, the Supreme Court strikes down on a 5-4 vote - this time Kennedy joined the other side - the Defense of Marriage Act, joining in the tide of history that is rolling in most civilized countries of the world. 


Scalia in his furious dissent - and no one can be more furious than Scalia - wrote the following eye-popping statement:  

"We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation"
 ---
"It is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s Representatives in Congress and the Executive. It envisions a Supreme Court standing (or rather enthroned) at the apex of government, empowered to decide all constitutional questions, always and everywhere “primary” in its role." 
He went on to write that the decision represents an "exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society." You see, since DOMA was passed by Congress democratically, the Supreme Court should not touch it!
Let's examine this: When it comes to the Voting Rights Act, renewed by the democratically elected Congress and President in 2006, the Supreme Court has every right to invalidate it, say Scalia and his cohorts. But when it comes to DOMA, passed by a much smaller majority in 1996, the Court has "no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation."
Do we see an inconsistency here?
It seems that, as a blogger on Daily Kos opined today, the only consistency of Scalia and his ilk is in the service of bigotry. Split personality indeed. They don't serve the law. They twist their interpretation of law to serve their personal prejudices. In doing so, they bring shame to the institution in which they serve.


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