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« Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 848 -- Transportation. | WILLisms.com | Obama's Texas Visit. »

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 849 -- Supreme Court Polarization.

Supreme Court Partisanship-

Traditionally, the Supreme Court was truly removed from politics, and decisions were rarely close:


We have become accustomed to “minimum winning coalitions” in recent decades. But throughout the 19th century, a one-vote majority decided only 1 percent of cases on average. Between 1900 and 1950, that average rose to 4 percent. Since 1951, the average rate is 17 percent.

One-vote majority rulings carry the same legal weight as all majority opinions. Yet they lack the symbolic power of decisions by a more united court. Experts consider these 5-to-4 decisions to be more expressly political than others, representing a threat to the court’s moral authority.

My theory on this is that the scope of action from our legislative and executive branches is advancing rapidly, and therefore the judicial branch is required to weigh in on more gray-area partisan issues rather than the traditionally clear-cut "is it Constitutional?" arguments they once weighed. Any student of Constitutional law will tell you that early Supreme Court rulings generally interpreted the Constitution far more narrowly and overruled Congressional or Presidential action on just about everything remotely questionable.

Moreover, beginning with FDR and escalating throughout the mid-to-late 20th Century, the Supreme Court has expanded its own scope, legislating from the bench, and wading into questions that necessitate weighing further into similar questions when they arise.

Early Congresses would have never dreamed of passing socialized health care bills, even if they wanted to, because they knew early Supreme Courts would unanimously rule such action unconstitutional. These days, not so much.

The antidote for these polarized rulings is to dramatically reduce the size and scope of governmental interference in our lives. If government is limited, what is and what is not Constitutional becomes far more obvious.

Reducing the size and scope of big government interference, unfortunately, will require decades of conservative Congresses, with conservative Presidents, who appoint the kinds of Justices who are willing to return to the Founding Constitutional principles that made America great and unique in the first place.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Transportation.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 August 2010 10:57 AM


This is brilliant.

Posted by: Boss at August 8, 2010 01:38 AM