Friday, May 9, 2014

Supreme Court Swayed By Emotions and Politics?

The nation's highest court should also be held to the highest standards when it comes to handing out judicial decisions. A judicial group that usually has the last word on precedent. There have been recent studies, surveys and supported speculation that members of the court have allowed personal and political affiliations cloud their judgment.

To be sure, politics have always been a part of the Supreme Court. Presidents from Roosevelt to Obama have always aimed to harness the court to achieve their political concerns through their respective appointees. Obama appointee Sonia Sotomayor's liberal ideologies were viewed as possible truce annihilators among her conservative robe-wearing counterparts. Sotomayor came under fire for making a comment about white males in a Berkeley law that went something along the lines of "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Conservatives and Republicans were quick to charge Sotomayor as being racists for making the statement. Sotomayor later walked back the remark by saying that while life experience shapes who one is, "ultimately and completely" a judge follows the law regardless of personal background.

"A judge follows the law regardless of personal background."

The American public seems to be in a bit of limbo about the above statement by Sotomayor.

Data from Democracy Corps, a Democratic affiliated polling consortium reveals that the public thinks the court is influenced by politics and personal affirmations. Sixty percent of those surveyed on the in a pole by Democracy Corps believe the justices are swayed by political and personal motivations. Thirty-six percent believed that decisions were made based on the facts and nothing but the facts. If in fact this is what is going on with the justices then justice certainly is not blind

Then there are the Gallup polls that reveal a decline in the trust of the high court by American citizens. The attitudes of these Americans are not without merit or support.

The Supreme Court law clerks in the '70s and '80s were rarely appointed on a partisan basis. Over the past decade, the clerks increasingly appear to embrace the ideology of the presidents that appointed their respective justices.

Then there are some landmark decisions whose judgment criteria appear questionable. Bush v. Gore, the Affordable Care Act decision, the Citizens United decision, Shelby County v. Holder and many others, justices were questioned for guiding American politics based on personal ideologies rather than law stipulations.

If law and fairness has taken a back seat to personal emotions and political interest it's time to evaluate the appointment process. If this is in fact an ongoing modus operandi, Americans need to view the big picture. The picture that shows the trickle-down effect of judicial precedents prejudiced by emotions and loyalties void of any law or constitutional content.

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