Cases coming before the Supreme Court this upcoming term will deal with the issues of abortion and race. The fact that the Court will even be hearing cases on those topics has some on the Left screaming “told you so!” well in advance of any arguments being heard at all. From the Washington Post:
Abortion and race dominate the Supreme Court’s agenda for the term that begins tomorrow, with the Bush administration and its conservative allies urging the justices to put limits on abortion rights and affirmative action.
Conservatives want the court to uphold a 2003 federal law banning the procedure opponents call “partial-birth” abortion, and to strike down local integration policies that distribute students by race. They are asking the court not only to rule in their favor, but to limit — or, possibly, overrule — recent constitutional decisions that have drawn heavy fire from the right.
The conservative push on social issues is just what Democrats and liberals, concerned about the future of Roe v. Wade , the 1973 case that recognized a right to abortion, warned against during confirmation hearings for the two Bush appointees now on the court — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
If you’ve not become familiar with the legal term stare decisis by now, you should get familiar with it. You’re going to be hearing it a lot and I can nearly guarantee you’ll never hear it applied correctly.
: (stah-ree duh-sigh-sis) n. Latin for “to stand by a decision,” the doctrine that a trial court is bound by appellate court decisions (precedents) on a legal question which is raised in the lower court. Reliance on such precedents is required of trial courts until such time as an appellate court changes the rule, for the trial court cannot ignore the precedent (even when the trial judge believes it is “bad law”).
You will note that the term does not mean, “the Supreme Court cannot ever reverse a decision of a previous Supreme Court, never, never, never. (Unless the decision is supported by the Left. Then it’s OK.)” The term means that they won’t do so on whim. There has to be a compelling legal reason to change it or the initial decision has to have been so logically lacking that it can’t stand on its own. Unfortunately for proponents of Roe v. Wade, that decision was so rife with illogical thought that it’s highly unlikely to stand up on its own merits in front of a Court not already predisposed to support it. Unlike many American citizens’ stances, it’s not good enough to think that “it was just right” for a legal decision to be supported. You don’t pass down decisions from the Supreme Court on the basis of a feeling that can’t be supported logically.
The other bit the Court will address is the race issues of public school assignments. In other words, the concept of assigning students to one public school or another on the basis of their race and the desire to make a given microcosm “representative” of the larger population. My own stance on deciding school admission on the basis of race are is no secret: it’s a deplorable practice completely at odds with the concept of prohibiting racial discrimination. It is the paragon example of racial discrimination and it should have been a no-brainer to rule that it should not be allowed. Thank former Justice Sandra O’Connor for keeping our school systems bigotted and raising the concept of “diversity” (which is only skin deep, literally, by O’Connor’s own admission) over the concept of Constitutional Protection.
The Court is being urged by the plaintiffs and by the White House to overturn the public school efforts at racial balancing rather than tossing the entire race-based addmission practices, however, arguing that the situation in Grutter v. Bollinger isn’t the same as the public school’s practices. I don’t see the difference and I don’t think too highly of the Administration for trying to weasel out of the duty to confront what was obviously a bad decision.
Should be an interestng term. We’ll keep an eye on it here and comment when the decisions get handed down.
Srebrenica is rarely mentioned nowadays in Annan’s offices on the 38th floor of the UN secretariat building in New York. He steps down in December after a decade as secretary-general. His retirement will be marked by plaudits. But behind the honorifics and the accolades lies a darker story: of incompetence, mismanagement and worse. Annan was the head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) between March 1993 and December 1996. The Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 men and boys and the slaughter of 800,000 people in Rwanda happened on his watch. In Bosnia and Rwanda, UN officials directed peacekeepers to stand back from the killing, their concern apparently to guard the UN’s status as a neutral observer. This was a shock to those who believed the UN was there to help them.
Annan’s term has also been marked by scandal: from the sexual abuse of women and children in the Congo by UN peacekeepers to the greatest financial scam in history, the UN-administered oil-for-food programme. Arguably, a trial of the UN would be more apt than a leaving party.
I’ve written about Srebrenica before and I remain amazed and disgusted that the world shakes their angry fists at Bush and gives Annan a pass on his performance.
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action has an alert item up that announces the passage of the “Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006.” This Act prohibits government agencies from confiscating the legally-owned firearms of citizens who are not involved in a crime. The legislation was proposed as a result of the actions of officials in New Orleans during the Katrina clean-up where law-abiding citizens were sometimes forcibly removed from their own homes while searches were performed for their guns. New Orleans has stonewalled in getting those guns back to their owners, by the way, in spite of court orders to do so.
The Act was passed in both houses of Congress by large margins and with strong bipartisan support. The House passed it 322-99 while the Senate passed it 84-16. I will take a brief note that every person in the Senate who voted against this Act was a Democrat, including some rather high-profile types such as Hillary Clinston, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, and Diane Feinstein. Most of the Democratic Caucus’ highest ranks apparently think it’s perfectly fine for a Constitutionally-protected right to be suspended at the behest of a mayor who just thinks all those guns in his law-abiding constituents’ hands are just to much of a problem. If this is what they mean when they swear to uphold and defend the Constitution, can you trust them as to the rest of it?
I also note that the House showed 98 Democrats voting against – and 1 Republican. I don’t know who that Republican is (I’ll run the list and find out later, if I have time) but his or her constituents might want to examine this person’s stance on the rest of the Party’s take on things and make sure they’re getting the representation they think they are.