Partisan politics and the Supreme Court

from The Gray Area:
NPR attempted this week to give a fair review of the Supreme Court ethics debate under the headline: Partisan divide drives Senate hearing on Supreme Court ethics. Bitter partisan debates between Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary panel fueled a hearing on Supreme Court ethics Tuesday. Democrats argued in favor of ethical guidelines that the Supreme Court must follow while Republicans countered that the current push to enforce ethics is because liberals aren't pleased with the recent decisions of a conservative leaning Supreme Court. That is a clear and true statement. Some congressional control over the Supreme Court exists as outlined in the Constitution. The Constitution’s Framers structured the Constitution to promote the separation of powers and, in particular, to protect the federal courts from undue influence by the political branches—Congress and the executive branch.1 In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton advocated for constitutional provisions designed to promote “the complete separation of the judicial from the legislative power.”2 In reality, the Constitution does not impose complete separation between the judiciary and the political branches. Instead, it establishes a federal judicial branch that is separate from the legislative and executive branches and benefits from certain important protections3 but also grants the political branches, and especially Congress, substantial power to regulate and otherwise influence the federal courts.4 The political branches’ influence over the federal courts may take several forms. The President and the Senate control the appointment and confirmation of federal judges, including Supreme Court Justices.5 In addition, Articles I and II of the Constitution give Congress the power to impeach and remove federal officers, including judges and Justices, for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”6 Beyond the authority to confirm and impeach individual judges, Congress also has authority to structure the federal judiciary and set judicial procedure It is within these bounds that Democrats want to take an advantage. As NPR reports, the left is targeting the Supreme Court and particularly Justice Clarence Thomas because they cannot stand to have a conservative majority on the Court. The simple fact that a conservative majority exists is a judicial travesty to the left. When they maintained a progressive majority, that was viewed as clear judicial balance. The right says this ethics investigation is just a part of a larger attempt to discredit the Court and individual members in hopes of inhibiting the Court's decisions and/or impeaching one conservative member and having Biden replace them. Thus, a 6-3 majority would become 5-4 majority with Roberts a dependable swing vote, giving progressives a better chance in the court. With the filibuster in the Senate and the House in Republican hands, there is little likelihood that any ... proposals will pass.   Chief Justice John Roberts last week declined the committee's invitation to testify, citing "separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving Judicial independence." Rather, he released a short letter to that effect, accompanied by a joint statement from all nine current justices reaffirming, apparently for the first time publicly, their voluntary adherence to the code of conduct that applies to lower federal court judges. It was sending the message that it “unanimously rejects legislation proposed by Democrats seeking to impose on the justices the same ethics obligations applied to all other federal judges,” according to the AP. NPR does reflect that historically, the party divide and its political strategies did not compete with what was right for the country or would bring stability. Until the 1980s. With Ronald Reagan, an overwhelmingly popular President, whom the left despised, Democrats decided to become more militant with the Supreme Court. They broke the system of approval of nominations with headline grabbing accusations and character attacks, that derailed Judge Bork and later smeared Justice Thomas. Justice Thomas said at the time: "if you are a free-thinking, African American, you will be lynched, destroyed and caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate.” Maybe they would like Justice Thomas now if he stated that he could not define what a 'man' is? Since that time Democrats have attacked every Republican nominee. And, the Republicans, in a defensive move, have gotten into that tactic, though not nearly as viciously or as successfully, given the lack of media support. The Democrat strategy is to throw the kitchen sink of accusations at the Court in hopes that something will stick. This, of course, will be happily exaggerated by the propaganda media. For example: As NPR notes, nothing disclosed ... is illegal or improper under the code of conduct...  Ted Cruz (R-Tx) pointed out that both liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer took more trips in less time on the Court than Clarence Thomas, yet none of this is mentioned by the propaganda media. Certainly ethical behavior is important, though laughable when spearheaded by the Democrats. Certainly political strategy is necessary by both political parties, and the Supreme Court is no exception, but this is a destructive strategy. Holding an impeachment hearing is just political theatre and they know it. Trust in the court will erode simply because left wing partisans will follow their political leader's narratives, and moderates on both sides will follow the media hype. That is greater than 50% would will be persuaded by political narratives. The left consistently seems to want to burn down the country through loss of trust in our institutions. Which, in their disordered minds, will somehow save it.  

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