Below is my column from USA Today on the unusually united and non-ideological line of cases handed down by the Supreme Court. As Democratic leaders need to package the Court to create a liberal majority, the Court itself seems to be talking through those cases.
Here’s the pillar:
The Supreme Court has finally handed down two of the five”blockbuster” remarks of the phrase with rulings about the Affordable Care Act and religious rights. The most striking feature of the choices was the lack of ideological divisions. Indeed, the case on religious rights is yet another unanimous decision from a Court which President Joe Biden has declared”out of whack” and Democratic leaders have declared hopelessly divided along ideological lines.
This week reflected the final collapse of this false narrative that has been endlessly repeated as a headline in Congress and the press.
During the circus-like verification hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, Democratic senators surrounded the room with giant pictures of people who’d lose their healthcare as a result of her nomination. Many senators and legal analysts insisted Barrett was clearly chosen to kill the ACA.Democratic senators pummeled Barrett with stories of people who might die as a result of her nomination and portrayed her as a craven, heartless ideologue selected to take away health care for millions.
It was not a matter of whether but when according to members like Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D., HI) who announced she’d vote against Barrett since”she’ll vote to fall down the Affordable Care Act.”
At the moment, I objected that the storyline was wildly off-base and there was small chance that the majority of the justices would utilize the case to strike down the act. On the opposite, the act was likely to be decided on technical grounds on either status or severability. Additionally, I mentioned that, if anything, I’d expect Barrett to rule contrary to striking the act in this case.She did so and combined in the 7-2 decision.
This was never a plausible narrative but it didn’t matter to the Democratic members. They wanted that Barrett assure them that she’d vote for the ACA from case — a dangerous and raw demand for a warranty on a pending case for a condition for confirmation. Despite treating her as a virtual judicial serial killer, none will likely apologize or even comprehend the unfair treatment in the confirmation hearing. It was after all just politics in an age of anger.
Arguablythe most important of the”large ticket” instances was Fulton v. Philadelphia about whether a Catholic adoption agency might be forced to help LGBT couples when these adoptions countermand religious beliefs. The Court delivered a 9-0 decision in favour of the Catholic charity and held that Philadelphia had been breaking up the free exercise clause of this Constitution in requiring adherence to the town’s non-discrimination policy.
Spiritual liberty maintained in court
Writing for the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts held”The refusal of Philadelphia to Deal with CSS for the provision of foster care providers unless it succeeds to certify same-sex partners as foster parents…violates the First Amendment.”
It is a significant win for religious rights and the Court spoke as you in reversing the lower courts having a strong majority opinion and concurring opinions. It also adds strength to other pending cases, such as yet another instance between the Masterpiece Cakeshop from Colorado to create biscuits celebrating LGBT occasions.
After winning a narrow choice before the Supreme Court in 2018, Jack Phillips was chased by critics to earn additional cakes and create the foundation for one more challenge. They could regret that choice when Phillips builds on the earlier narrow ruling to procure another significant judgment not only on religious freedom but free speech grounds.
The Court continues to frustrate critics who insist it is dysfunctional, split and has to be radically shifted from packing the Court with a liberal majority to actually creating a brand new court for constitutional rulings like the Fulton instance.
For instance, Professor Kent Greenfield contended that”the Supreme Court has become overly partisan and unbalanced to trust it by choosing the main issues of our day.”
The Court itself nevertheless is not working with this inconvenient line of unanimous decisions.The reality is that a large part of the remarks of this Court aren’t ideologically divided. Really, Justice Stephen Breyer lately listened to people calling the Court”conservative” compared to those demanding the Congress package the Court to achieve a direct liberal majority.
Liberal groups and media figures are pushing Breyer to retire,” such as an insulting billboard campaign by a group called”Demand Justice.”
The Court itself does not engage in these public attempts. It speaks through its remarks and the message could not clearer. For a divided ideological Court, it appears to be saying a good deal in one voice not just about the law but on its institution. In the long run, it is not likely to matter. The utter collapse of this narrative means nothing if it is not recognized from the media. The justices don’t operate billboards from the streets of Washington like Demand Justice. They will continue to be denounced as completely”out of whack” since politics demands it.
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