Read Chapter 13 and make two separate responses to the two posts. First Post; As
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Read Chapter 13 and make two separate responses to the two posts.
As discussed in our text, when it comes to the Supreme Court’s decision-making process there are two entities that influence their thought process, which are the legal and political factors (Bianco and Canon, pg. 410). These various political ideologies, attitudes, and preferences amongst the justices of our Supreme Court are what make up “why” behind their thought process and can be linked to how they interpret the Constitution through a strict constructionist or a living Constitution. Their attitudes in terms of public issues of the past like same-sex marriage, equality regardless of race, and many other issues can be seen to reflect the public opinion around these issues. For example, as Michael Klarman explains in a NY Times Op-ed, “Obergefell was rendered possible only by enormous shifts in attitudes and practices” and “in 1990, fewer than one American in four supported gay marriage; in 2015, 60 percent of them do so” (NY Times). On another note, this Op-ed on NY Times is a great piece exploring the concept of whether the Supreme Court has done more harm or good as it takes different perspectives. To what Klarman explains, we see that this decision-making process is reflected on political ideologies from the public that the justices account for.
From the revised judicial oath that these justices of the Supreme Court take before they take their position, it is evident in the oath that they are supposed to be unbiased, as it mentions things such as, “administer justice without respect to persons….I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me” (Supreme Court of the United States). As much as we want to think these judges are administering “blind justice” they are not because as we see today there are liberal and conservative judges. Is this a major issue that these political factors are present in our Supreme Court? I see both sides to the argument, but sway towards the side of supporting them having these influences. There have been times in which the Court made the right decisions, like Brown v. Board by standing against segregation, but at the same time before that case, in Plessy v. Fergusson that upheld segregation underneath the pretense of “separate but equal”. Not only can you relate these decisions around public opinion, like I explained before at the time of their cases, but that these justices cannot just be people interpreting a Constitution for what it is. They need to have their own input in their decision-making process because of all things, times change where we recognize our shortcomings in our democracy that need amends. Second Post:
As the textbook stated I am not comfortable with thinking of the court as a politically motivated group. I would prefer if it was closer to the concept of blind justice, but am aware that this is unrealistic. The other branches certainly do have influence over the court as the president selects new justices and congress has the ability to affect how a court decision is implemented. Moreover, we can see that the court usually does reflect public opinion which shows that they are in some ways politically motivated. One of the best instances of this was the Brown v Board of Education (1954) case mentioned towards the end of the chapter. For this case the court decided to wait until after the presidential election to release their ruling because they didn’t believe the public was ready for it yet. To me this is indicative that they don’t follow the blind justice approach because if they did then they would want to issue these rulings as quickly as possible. Similar to this the court must be strategic when it checks the other branches because they may strike back if they are too active. I would prefer if the court practiced more judicial activism, but based on the balance of powers this would likely backfire. Perhaps one way to combat this would be to modify how the balance of powers works. If the court didn’t have to worry about congress’s ability to bypass their rulings or strip them of power then maybe they would be able to be more impartial. The justices wouldn’t have to worry about appeasing them if they knew they had more exemption from congress’s backlash. These changes are unlikely to happen, but I’m curious to see if anyone else had thoughts about ways to make the court more impartial.