The Brethren

Now that the Supreme Court’s 06-07 term is over I figured I’d give a bullet-point summary of all the major decisions:

Racial preferences in public education – Rejected.
Use of race in public school admissions – Severely limited.
McCain-Feingold – Gutted; essentially rendered moot.
Strict construction of federal employment laws – Mandated.
Strict construction of federal labor regulations – Mandated.
Strict construction of federal criminal laws – Mandated.
Strict construction of federal securities laws – Mandated.
Strict construction of patent laws – Mandated.
Monopoly effect of patents – Limited.
Death penalty – Upheld several times over.
Procedural challenges for death row inmates claiming mental illness – Expanded.
Labor unions – Defeated several times over.
Abortion – Restricted.
Fourth Amendment protections – Expanded.
1st Amend. protections for high school students – Limited.
Police civil tort liability – Limited.
Class action lawsuits – Limited further still.
Federal antitrust laws – Limited two times.
Federal consumer credit laws – Limited.
Civil punitive damages – Limited further still.
Appellate review of federal criminal sentences – Limited.
Federal court subject matter jurisdiction – Limited two times.
Clean Air Act – Expanded.
Endangered Species Act – Limited.
Gov’t regulation of banks – Limited.

* * *

Not bad, huh?

It could have been better. Ironically enough it was Reagan-appointed Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who took what could have been a grade-A term and turned it into more of a B+ term. But that’s another rant for another time and place.

* * *

Our next president likely will choose somewhere between 2-3 Justices. It goes without saying, however, that several million conservatives are going to stay home next year and not vote. But if the non-voting right fails to elect ObamaHillary, then we’ll be looking at a scenario in which an absolute conservative High Court majority finally (mercifully) could be implemented.

Time will tell.

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  • It goes without saying, however, that several million conservatives are going to stay home next year and not vote.

    I don’t think so, Jayson. With the right candidate, they’ll vote. We just need to avoid another “uniter not a divider” like the “compassionate conservative” Bush who’s no conservative at all.

  • John F Not Kerry

    As much as I’ve supported Bush over the years, the next Republican nominee will not be running on Bush’s record. And as much as we can say that Bush is not a movement conservative, he is a good man with flaws and some bad ideas. We haven’t been attacked here (on a large scale) since 9/11, and he deserves credit for that, as well as getting tax cuts through a Democrat Senate after Jeffords jumped.

  • Semanticleo

    Individual rights; limited

    Business rights; expanded.

    It’s simpler that way.

  • Bush isn’t a conservative. When he ran the first time it was as a moderate and Republicans (at least at that time) picked the person they thought could take the center.

    He became the far right religious ultra-conservative in the minds of those who were having nervous breakdowns after Gore failed to successfully recount himself to victory.

    Like a lot of other things… it was never true.

  • jim

    That limitation of free speech rights for High School students is really a bunch of crap.

    And the decision against affirmative action really negates the essential idea of affirmative action in the first place. Which makes it particularly crazy to say it’s in the spirit of Brown v. Board of Ed; as Breyer notes, it’s clearly the exact opposite of it.

    But, at least they didn’t select another President again.

  • Knightbrigade

    Hey, not so fast. A couple of the lefty Justices may decide to call it quits BEFORE GW leaves.

    Maybe we can get lucky…..

  • Paul Hamilton

    Exactly, Semanticleo… The decision announced today which makes manufacturers the sole determiner of consumer prices rather than supply and demand is another perfect example where the loyalties of this plutocratic administration and court really lie.

  • MikeSC

    And the decision against affirmative action really negates the essential idea of affirmative action in the first place. Which makes it particularly crazy to say it’s in the spirit of Brown v. Board of Ed; as Breyer notes, it’s clearly the exact opposite of it.

    Racial discrimination is wrong. Period.
    -=Mike

  • Tom Gordon

    Jayson,

    My old friend from so long ago, it’s great to see you blogging again. Great summary and yes, Kennedy is a drag on the four brilliant minds of Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Roberts.

    Don’t worry about 2008. We’ll be there…if for nothing else, to vote against Hillary.

  • I think I’d be more motivated to vote against Obama.

    Hillary is a known evil and comforting in her self-interest. I also think that way deep down, past all the domestic political necessity of carrying the Dem base, she isn’t completely stupid about the realities of the world outside our borders.

    I mean… I’d get out there and vote against her but I’d probably badger at least two other people to go with me to vote against Obama. Or Richardson.

    Who else is there?

  • Chief Justice Roberts came up with a great line regarding the school race case:

    “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

  • That limitation of free speech rights for High School students is really a bunch of crap.

    Yes, because as Hollywood has shown, kids know more than everyone else.

  • John in CA

    And the decision against affirmative action really negates the essential idea of affirmative action in the first place.

    Affirmative action has needed to be affirmatively abolished for years.

  • jp

    anyone else think that Roberts is up there being brilliant and persuading Kennedy to his side more times than not?

  • Jim:

    And the decision against affirmative action really negates the essential idea of affirmative action in the first place.

    And this is a bad thing?

    Heaven forbid someone actually get something based on merit as opposed to being handed to them.

  • I doubt anyone has anything *handed* to them… including white men.

    On the other hand, the suspicion that someone really didn’t make it on his or her merits is a soul sucking sort of thing. More would be done for equality if there was no doubt that someone made it on his or her merits alone.

  • WildWillie

    Tom Gordon, I completely agree with you. Clinton will be the democratic candidate. I have no doubt about that. She will also be the biggest booster to get the conservative base to the polls. I have said it many times here, she is the best gift to the conservative movement the democrats could give. ww

  • _Mike_

    Paul Hamilton:

    The decision announced today which makes manufacturers the sole determiner of consumer prices rather than supply and demand

    Did I miss something where the government is now forcing people to buy certain goods against their will ?

  • Paul Hamilton, what planet are you on?

    You’re all atwitter because a court case from 1911 was overturned? A case that imposed a rigid “per se” rule according to economic conditions that existed then?

    Man, if that knee keeps jerking like that, you’ll have to see an orthopod.

  • jim

    Racial discrimination is wrong. Period.

    No duh, Mike.

    And the only way to eliminate the racial discrimination of segregation, was integration. Right or wrong?

    Now integration involves discrimination, because you are selecting students based on race, in order to try to right a proportion of students in a class. The thinking is, it’s better for society overall, for our students to grow up in an integrated environment. That way our children can grow up together, and have a better chance of seeing each other as equals and as real human beings.

    But you know all this.

  • jim

    I totally get how you guys are psyched, because you think affirmative action is evil.

    Nevertheless, I think you have to agree that this decision is the exact opposite of Brown v. Board of Ed.

  • mixti

    Ok, I agree with almost nothing on the list, but I would expect the majority of wizbangers to be happy over these as they refelct many core conservative beleifs.

    However, I do have a question on conservative thought on a couple items on the list and want to see if anyone can clear it up for me?

    > Civil punitive damages – Limited further still.
    > Class action lawsuits – Limited further still.

    my question involves a hypothetical, if a toy company has a product that say has a high risk of maiming a child Conservatives (on average) would be against regulation as they feel it harms the economy. So insuring the company met safety standards would not be something most on the right would want.

    However you also seem to be against litigation becoming expensive for the company and want to limit damages.

    So here is the question,

    if the consumer (under theis kind of thinking) can’t expect regulation to insure a product is safe and if the consumer is unable to seek any real damages that might in anyway harm a company if it defected. What option to you have, if any, to protect the consumer?

  • SCSIwuzzy

    Mixti,
    Your hypothetical is limited in scope and makes rather broad assumptions, making it an excelent straw man.

    Just as the consumer should expect protection from shoddy products (and there are plenty of laws on the books doing so), should a company and esp a small business owner, not expect protection from bogus lawsuits or extreme (far in excess of damages) judgements?
    The pendulum can swing both ways. In the early 20th and the 19th century, the consumer was getting the short end and society was impacted. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way, and society is again effected. Friv. lawsuits, high insurance costs, extreme compliance costs and tons of other hidden costs hit us all in the long run.
    These can put a company out of business, slow down growth or deter someone from entering a new market. All of this will slow or even shrink an economy. And encourage others from the outside without exteme costs to move into the market instead.

  • mixti, speaking as one conservative here, I think your hypo is, honestly, really quite stupid.

    I personally don’t have any problem with the CPSC having the authority to order a recall of a demonstrably dangerous item (toy or not). I also don’t think that conservatives generally have any problem with bona fide victims being able to access the justice system to obtain damages for demonstrable harm caused by those at fault.

    What I do have a problem with is litigation farms bringing class action suits against alleged harm where none exists, for the primary purpose of enriching the lawyers. Examples are innumerable, but you might check out this Overlawyered page for a sample.

    I suggest that you really have no understanding of how the justice system operates, if you truly believe that the generalizations you make above are accurate.

  • Bat One

    Any discussion of the Supremes should include the fact that the two oldest, and most frail/infirm of the justices are Ginsburg (81) and Stevens (87). Of the four conservatives on the court, Antonin Scalia is the oldest (71) and perhaps the most vigorous of all, while Roberts, Alito, and Thomas are all under 60.

    If a Democrat is elected in ’08, chances are the only changes on the Court would be the replacement of one or two liberal justices with one or two liberal justices.

    On the other hand, if a Republican wins the White House next year…

    Judicial selection may be second only to national defense in importance in the upcoming presidential election.