Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Supreme Court acting decently, but it could be opposite a year from now

For those people of a progressive mindset, the Supreme Court of the United States acted Monday in a responsible manner; although one should keep in mind that the nation’s high court ultimately is unpredictable and could wind up issuing rulings that offend the sensibilities of decent people.
Likely to offend somebody, no matter how they rule

For this is also the day that the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case out of Illinois that could go a long way toward undermining the influence of organized labor within government.

HECK, GOV. BRUCE Rauner himself made a point of being in Washington, D.C., for the morning court call. The man who got himself elected governor so he could single-handedly undermine labor unions in Illinois government wanted to be on hand to see, and hear, for himself what the high court thinks. Which Democratic gubernatorial challenger Daniel Biss said Monday is sufficient reason not to re-elect Rauner.

A ruling in that case will come up later this year, as likely will be any action the high court takes with regards to federal immigration policy – specifically the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald J. Trump wants to have eradicated from out government.

That program is the one enacted during the Barack Obama presidency and is meant to treat young people who were brought as children to this country by their parents without valid visas.
DACA to live on, at least a little while longer

In the wildest of fantasies of all those individuals who voted for Trump, making America “great” again means deporting every single one of the roughly 700,000 young adults who fall into this category.

TRUMP LAST YEAR used his executive order powers to eliminate the program, but federal district courts in San Francisco and New York have issued orders that keep the program in place for the time being.

The president had asked the high court to immediately take up the case, instead of requiring both of the cases to go to federal appeals courts first. The Supreme Court on Monday refused, saying Trump hasn’t given sufficient reason why the usual legal process should be cut short.

Of course, the “reason” is that Trump is a political and governmental amateur who probably really thinks he ought to be able to bark out orders and have government minions do what they’re told. Privately, he probably thinks the Supreme Court is being insolent and disrespectful of his presidential authority.
Will the court ultimately undermine the union?

But it means the rule of law is prevailing, thus far. Although it always is likely that the appeals courts will rule, and the Supreme Court will wind up taking on the issue some time next year – and could wind up issuing a ruling that will be Trump-pleasing at that time.

I SAY SO because in the case of Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 (which represents Illinois government workers), court watchers suspect the nine-member court had a 4-4 split, with the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, the unknown who’d likely decide the case.

Gorsuch, of course, is the justice who got appointed by Trump himself, and Trump has made it clear he sides with Mark Janus (the state worker who objects on ideological grounds to being part of a labor union and doesn’t like that union dues are withheld from his pay).

Not that Gorsuch gave any hint of where he stands – during Monday’s hour-long hearing, he said nothing and asked no questions from any of the attorneys involved.

But it has certain people convinced that the end result will be a 5-4 ruling against organized labor interests and in favor of those people who’d actually be inclined to vote for Rauner’s re-election come Nov. 6.

WHICH IS ALWAYS possible, except that my own observations of appeals courts throughout the years is that nothing is absolute. Those of us of a progressive leaning can only hope the knee-jerk reaction doesn’t prevail.
TRUMP: How angry will he be a year from now?

Which also is what I’m telling myself with regards to the fate of DACA, since I suspect Gorsuch got his life-time appointment to the high court because Trump feels (at least) he can be counted on to do what The Donald expects of him.

Could we be getting another ruling on this immigration issue that will wind up offending the people who were pleased on Monday that any threat of deportation for hundreds of thousands of young people would be postponed for the time being?

Or will the high court wind up surprising us by issuing responsible rulings in both cases – thereby reaffirming our faith in our government, while most likely turning the presidential complexion from his current sickly orange to a bright red bursting with anger?


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