Archive for July, 2014

supreme court

As The Supreme Court has been handing down decisions over the last couple of weeks, it is interesting to try to follow their logic:

  • Constitutionality can be determined with a tape measure, but proper distance varies –  The court said that Massachusetts law that created a 35 foot protest buffer zone around the entrance of abortion clinics was unconstitutional.  This despite the fact that the Supreme Court enjoys its own protest buffer zone (which happens to be greater than 35 feet…by a good bit).  And while the decision was technically 9-0, some of the justices suggested that a lesser distance would be ok.  Not sure how distances worked its way into the Constitution.  Ten feet is free speech, but thirty-five feet is not?  But then one hundred and fifty feet is free speech again around the Supreme Court?  (How great the distance 35 feet is would be a matter of perspective.)
Supreme Court Justice, "But we are very important people."

Supreme Court Justice, “But we are very important people.”

  • Corporations are people my friend – Mitt Romney was pretty much right as far as the law sees.  Corporations can exercise its freedom of religion, though it is hard to see how legal entities could have any views on religion or anything else for that matter.  (It is also hard to see how Hobby Lobby was particularly burdened by its health care plan providing coverage for contraceptives when prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, their health care coverage DID cover contraceptives and the owners of Hobby Lobby didn’t even notice.)
  • The court can change its mind within 24 hours – One of the things that the Hobby Lobby ruling noted was that those with a religious objection could fill out a form asking for an exemption.  As such, the government could easily accommodate the religious views of organizations.  But then the next day, it ruled that Wheaton College could even opt out of filling out the form asking for an exemption because apparently even filling out a form is an overwhelming burden against its religious beliefs.   Guess the court forgot what it had said the day before.
  • The Senate can totally fake it – President Barack Obama tried to make appointments to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was off.  However the Senate (with the exact purpose of preventing such a thing) held what was called pro forma sessions, which basically means somebody comes in a slams the gavel down twice and it counts as “being in session”, not in recess.  The Supreme Court said that was good enough for them.  (In fairness, it was Democrats that created this tactic, so they shouldn’t have been surprised to see it used against them.  In fairness to we the people though, such shenanigans shouldn’t be allowed by either party in my view.)