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Best and Worst Supreme Court Decisions

Just a quick discussion-starter:

What are the BEST and WORST Supreme Court decisions made during your lifetime?



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Comments (23)

Best - Bush v. GoreW... (Below threshold)

Best - Bush v. Gore
Worst - tie between Kelo and Roe v. Wade

why? - you can't abort a cr... (Below threshold)

why? - you can't abort a crazed sex poodle.

Worst: KeloBest: H... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate:

Worst: Kelo

Best: Heller

Heller is the best. <... (Below threshold)
Brett Buck:

Heller is the best.

Morally, Roe V. Wade is the most egregious decision in my lifetime. It's a massive human tragedy. But Kelo seems the most wrong from a legal/constitutional standpoint.

The Best so far is McDonald... (Below threshold)

The Best so far is McDonald. McDonald affirmed the Second Amendment of the right of the people to own firearms nation wide.

The worst one ever was the Dred Scott Decision handed down by Chief Justice Taney. Dred Scott was the principle cause of the Civil War. While there was no shooting after this decision was handed down, the subsequent events were very devastating.

Dred Scott is certainly the... (Below threshold)
Brett Buck:

Dred Scott is certainly the most sickening in court history - but the question specified "in your lifetime".

In my life-time?Be... (Below threshold)

In my life-time?

Brown v Board of Education: Separate is not equal.

Roe v Wade: This case had no national significance and should have been left up to the individual states.

WORST - Roe v. Wade - Talki... (Below threshold)

WORST - Roe v. Wade - Talking about emanations and penumbras to find an absolute right to abortion hidden in the shadows of the Constitution - give me a break!

BEST - Bush v. Gore. The thought of 4 years of Algore in the WH makes me want to puke. (He may now get 4 years in the Big House - see Breaking Story from Portland.)

MEDIOCRE: Brown v. Board of... (Below threshold)

MEDIOCRE: Brown v. Board of Ed. of Topeka - The right result based on the mushiest social scientific "logic" ever. Had the Supremes adopted the dissent from Plessy v. Ferguson (the Constitution is color blind - it doesn't allow discrimination based on race or skin color), we would have had desegregation based on a sound legal footing. Regardless of the reasoning, it took far too long to end the practice of official race separation in schools which Brown outlawed.

I agree that Brown, et al v... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

I agree that Brown, et al v Board of Education of Topeka was the best outcome from a SCOTUS decision in my lifetime, but I'm with Bob in that the legal logic could have been much clearer.

Roe is the worst, bar none, especially in concert with the several cases which have substantially affirmed it since. There is NO right to kill a baby in the Constitution - not in the text, not in the intent, not in the Amendments, not in the "penumbras" or corners or even in some secret passageway that only opens for liberal justices on hallucinogenic drugs. Millions have died unlawfully and unnecessarily due to this monstrosity.

The best legal decision? Tough - probably Bush v Gore since it stopped a coup attempt.

Worst; Roe v Wade. For so ... (Below threshold)

Worst; Roe v Wade. For so many reasons. It redefined human life as "property". It was a big step toward our national suicide.

Best; DC v Heller. The right to bear arms is the last line of defense of one's individual liberties.

This is very, very difficul... (Below threshold)
James H:

This is very, very difficult for me to choose. My impulse is to compulsively review the last 35 years of jurisprudence, cases both alrge and small, and look not just ast policy results, but at legal reasoning.

But I don't have that luxury. And even then, it's difficult for me to choose "best" or "worst" cases. How about a smattering of cases in both directions?

In the "better" category:

1) Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.. This one I just remembered today. It established that courts would defer to administrative procedures set out by the legislature and the executive, when courts would defer to such things, and why. It also established that when an agency's reading of a statute is reasonable, then courts will defer to it.

2) Kyllo v. United Stats established that the use of infrared snooping and other potentially intrusive technologies constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment and thus requires a warrant.

3) Hamdan v. Rumsfeld reminded the federal government of its obligations under the Geneva conventions and under the laws of war.

4) United States v. Lopez was crucial. We had seen (and continue to see despite this case!) creeping assertions of power by the federal government springing from Wickard v. Fillburn. Lopez attemtped to put at least some brakes on that expansion by limiting the application of the commerce clause.

5) Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union was crucial for establishing freedom of speech on the Internet.

In the "worse" category:

1) Bush v. Gore, I think, was not a good case for the Supreme Court to take on. The case, I thought, represented an undue itnerference in politics by the judicial branch. In fact, I believe that the 2000 election should have been decided by Congress under the procedures set out in the Constitution.

This case was also risky in that the Supreme Court, like all other government institutions, has limited political capital. People abide by its decisions only so long as they trust it. And SCOTUS placed that trust at risk.

2) Although I'm more or less comfortable with the result upholding affirmative action, Grutter v. Bollinger, in retrospect, is a poor decision to my eye. It set a rather arbitrary limit (20 years) on the use of racial preferences in education. IIRC, the dissent pointed out that if such racial preferences would be unconstitutional in 20 years, they would also be unconstitutional at present.

Roe v. Wade was be... (Below threshold)
James H:

Roe v. Wade was before my lifetime, but I wanted to add a little bit to speculation here. I dislke that case as well, but not for the same reason as others who have spoken here. I concur with the general premise that people should be able to seek abortions before a fetus is viable.

However, the case itself was clearly a bit of results-based judging. And on top of that, as Justice Ginsburg lamented before she was Justice Ginsburg, effectively ended a nascent political conensus on the issue.

I find that last bit especially troubling. I really do think that without Roe, we woudl have come to some kind of consensus on abortion law by now. probably not something that either liberal or conservative partisans would like, but something that would at least be the product of a democratic consensus ... a consensus, IMO, that should have been reached on a state-by-state basis.

By ruling as it did, the high court more or less froze abortion politics in amber -- either you're for Roe or against it -- rather tahn allowing the democratic process to work the issue out.

And for the record, just as it's difficult to discern in the Constitution a right to an abortion, it's also difficult to discern in the Constitution a prohibition of abortion.

Not a Supreme Court case, b... (Below threshold)
James H:

Not a Supreme Court case, but I like Toy Biz v. United States. In that case, a judge ruled the X-Men are not human. It makes sense in context. Really.

Max, it's not just crazy ri... (Below threshold)
James H:

Max, it's not just crazy right-wingers (hi, Jay Tea!!) who dislike Roe. Poke into the Wikipedia article on the case, and you'll find a group of liberal legal commentators who also find the case wanting.

Paw through criticisms of the case, and you'll find strong arguments that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds and should have deferred to state legislatures and state supreme courts.

Examine the writings of liberal legal scholars -- not rank and file political activists -- and you'll find some discomfort indeed.

Max seems to think that KIL... (Below threshold)

Max seems to think that KILLING BABIES is OK. What an idiot. Perhaps your poor Mother should have thought about it.

I agree with Roy. Roe v Wad... (Below threshold)

I agree with Roy. Roe v Wade is not only bad law but science has since proven how off base they were. Now we all bare the knowledge of knowing we approve of killing innocent life.

BushvGore is my favorite mostly because it drove the liberals nuts. Secondly because I wouldn't have to listen to the "sex poodle" for four years. ww

He never hade sex with that... (Below threshold)

He never hade sex with that Woman.

Never had it either.... (Below threshold)

Never had it either.

Maxie:You clearly ... (Below threshold)
James H:


You clearly implied it.

'Best and Worst Supreme Cou... (Below threshold)

'Best and Worst Supreme Court Decisions"

Involve Barry's right to choose!!

Maxie:Are you tryi... (Below threshold)
James H:


Are you trying to pick a fight? Start a flame war? That's so precocious of you!!!

Awww, Max, you're gettin' r... (Below threshold)
James H:

Awww, Max, you're gettin' red in the face!!






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