Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What will the chief justice do? Will ‘gay marriage’ issue set his legacy?

I’m starting to wonder about those justices of the Supreme Court of the United States who get appointed by presidents named “Bush.”

ROBERTS: Unpredictable?
Because they have the potential to be so unpredictable.

THERE WAS THE elder George Bush who gave the high court Justice David Souter (now retired). Bush was among a series of Republican presidents who were determined to load the court with conservative ideologues to ensure that certain policies were kept in place – even if the American people made the “mistake” of voting them out of office.

Souter’s interpretation of the law became one that wound up infuriating those same ideologues – who were more than willing to place blame on Bush, even if other appointments he made to the high court (Clarence Thomas, anyone?!?) were, are and always will be in line with their beliefs.

Now let’s move to the present, where we have Chief Justice John Roberts – who got his post from now-former President George Bush the younger.

Yet Roberts wound up being the justice who swung away from a predicted ideological leaning to give us the ruling that kept Barack Obama’s health care reform as federal law – and ensured that all the efforts by Congress to abolish it will be perceived as the leanings of ideological crackpots.

AND ON TUESDAY, Roberts took some actions that are being interpreted by some as ruining the desire of ideologues to have the high court knock down all this gay marriage “nonsense” – at least that’s how they perceive it.

Tuesday was the first of two days that the Supreme Court heard arguments concerning a California measure known as Proposition 8 – an attempt to cut off efforts to make marriage for gay couples legal by specifying that is most definitely illegal.

SOUTER: Predictability predecessor?
There were some attorneys arguing on behalf of those ideologues. Yet Roberts publicly questioned what legitimacy those people had in this legal proceeding. As though perhaps he thought they ought to just “pipe down” and let the real attorneys handle the legitimate issues involved in this case.

Admittedly, this is just one moment in this particular legal battle. It may not turn out to be a key point in this argument.

OR, IT MIGHT be over-interpretation on the part of some people to try to put a specific viewpoint into Roberts’ mind – and into creating a potential 5-4 vote of justices to strike down Proposition 8.

Instead of a 5-4 vote (Roberts, along with justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor) that upholds it. Although I suspect a real majority of the court wishes this issue were not before them, and they'd like to figure out a way to do as little as legally possible without appearing to be completely cowardly.

I’m not about to predict what the Supreme Court will do in ruling on this particular case – a ruling expected sometime in June. Legal issues at this level are just too unpredictable.

Although I’m pretty sure that if Roberts winds up being part of a Vote of 5 majority that enables marriage for gay couples, he will be well on his way toward demonization by the ideological right. Of course, those same ideologues will find someone else to rant about. That’s what they’re good at!

HE’LL PROBABLY BECOME more despised than Souter ever was. I wonder if he’d become despised as much as Earl Warren – the justice whose court in the 1960s that upheld much of the Civil Rights reforms wound up being the target of all those billboards throughout the South.

Will we get 21st Century take on these billboards?
“Impeach John Roberts!!!” Most likely from the very same people who absolutely want to believe that Obama wasn’t born in Honolulu back in 1961.

Some people are just determined to complain. And a part of me suspects that the reason they oppose gay marriage is because it gives legitimacy to another group of people they would prefer to rant about – thereby showing all the more how ridiculous their rants are.


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