santa cruz wharf

03 July 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ~ the Supremes

Most of us Americans can name the President (no offense to ILTV and david) ...some of you can name your Congressmen...and maybe even your Representative.  But how many of us can name the Justices of the Supreme Court who sit in these seats?

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We tend to pay more attention to the executive and legislative branches of our government...probably because we vote for them....however the judicial branch has much greater responsibility and power.

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on several high profile cases. One of their decisions I accepted with raised eyebrows and a nod of agreement. Another one caused me to look up and exclaim..."are they OUT of their e-phn minds?"

BOTH decisions surprised me. 
If I had bets placed...I would have lost big time.
In both cases I think the Supremes should allow the States to define their individual laws.


the Supremes for the most part rule on some other court's previous decision.  They almost never hear a case of their own. 

I am an emphatic proponent of States' rights.

And I can not beLIEVE I can only name five of the nine justices off the top of my head.  That is embarrassing....
(see gotta love Google)

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The first a 5-4 decision...determined the handgun ban in Washington DC was unconstitutional.

(this is the one I agree with...while not a direct descendant of Charleton Heston...I do want the right to have a gun...and in this case...when put up against the second amendment, the DC handgun ban did indeed strike me as unconstitutional.)

This decision is the FIRST TIME the second amendment has been legally defined since it was written by our founding fathers some 217 years ago.  Whoa.

Washington DC has had this handgun banning law in place for over 30 years...who knew?  I wonder how many other states have this sort of law?  Not California.

I always get a little confused by the status of DC...they are for the most part like a state...but they don't get a star on the flag...cause the Capitol belongs to all of us?  Is that how it works?  So...then...what is the deal with Puerto Rico?

The second decision was also 5-4...and one I completely disagree with on a personal level.  The Supremes ruled that states can mandate the death penalty for crimes such as "treason, espionage, terrorism, and drug kingpin activity, which are offenses against the state," and as you all know, states have the option of the death penalty for murder....however "As it relates to crimes against individuals, the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim's life was not taken."

Which in this case means... a convicted child rapist can not be given the death penalty unless they actually kill their victim. Personally I think all child molesters should be taken out into the street and suffer a long, slow, tortuous death. For a child rapist there is no such thing as too much pain and suffering.

While it was Louisiana's law that was struck down by the higher court...other states had similar laws ( Montana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas). You may remember in 1977 the Supremes ruled that the death penalty could not be used as punishment against an adult woman.

While these two cases are significant in their own right...what these decisions really mean to me is much more far reaching. The Supreme Court will uphold the states' option to choose the death penalty for the taking of a life. And the rights of the individual as defined by the constitution are paramount.

supreme c

(can you name which supreme is on the court steps??)

Chief Justice
John Roberts ~ 53 years old  from Maryland
appointed by GW Bush ~ seated in 2005

Associate Justices
John Stevens ~ 88 years old from Illinois
appointed by Ford  ~ seated in 1975

Antonin Scalia  ~ 72 years old from Virginia
appointed by Reagan ~ seated in 1986

Anthony Kennedy ~ 71 years old from California
appointed by Reagan ~ seated in 1988

David Souter ~ 68 years old from New Hampshire
appointed by GHW Bush ~ seated in 1990

Clarence Thomas ~ 60 years old from Georgia
appointed by GHW Bush ~ seated in 1991

Ruth Bader Ginsburg ~ 75 years old from New York
appointed by Clinton ~ seated in 1993

Steven Breyer ~ 69 years old from Massachusetts
appointed by Clinton ~ seated in 1994

Samuel Anthony Alito ~ 58 years old from New Jersey
appointed by  GW Bush ~ seated in 2006


Bond said...

Going backward..

A "supreme" Teamster?

I agree that they screwed up with the death penalty ruling...So, a drug kingpin can be executed, but NOT a child rapist...WTF????
An offense against the state is more heinous than an offense against a helpless child...WTF????

As far as the other ruling, I can accept this BUT...I want the manufacturing of automatic weapons stopped. You do not need an automatic weapon to hunt. NEVER.

The military and law enforcement should be the only institutions able to have them manufactured.

AND...Do we really need handguns (other than law enforcement and the military?

I have no problem with rifles...if we can stop the manufacturing of handguns and automatic weapons for the public we can stop this senseless violence...

Go on take your 'shots' (pun intended) at me folks.

Mo said...

I could only name 3 chief justices...
When I first moved to Michigan, there was a cover story on The Weekly World News about how Cheney was a robot.
I laughed, and when my co-workers wanted to know why, I said it was funny to think of Cheney as a robot.
Only one other (out of ten) people knew that Dick Cheney was our Vice President.

Mags said...

I'm with you on both of these rulings-I agree with the handgun ruling but the dp one is off.

I also agree with Bond-that automatic weapons should not be made in the "public" arena. BUT while I do not (nor do I ever plan on) owning a handgun, I do recognize that there are situations in which people would want them...and therefore, should be allowed to have them.

The Teamster said...

it's interesting to know how irrelevant the supreme court use to be. now they control the interprete law.....

i agree with you on the need to protect states rights...

i agree with you that child rapists have no business living (the penal system needs to make them a helpless victim like the chld was)...

charleton heston was moses wasn't he?

and that looks like a teamster on the steps of the supreme court...

Marilyn said...

I listen to a lot of npr so I'd at least hear of all the justices except Souter, for some reason.

I'm against the death penalty on principle because the courts get it wrong sometimes and you can't give a person's life back. You can at least give them freedom if you didn't kill them. Also, look at how expensive it is to execute somebody. As a victim of child molestation I have to say that it is insidious and it does affect me still almost daily but I never would have wished the death penalty on my grandfather. Life in prison? Yes. Rape is much worse, I agree, but I still think the death penalty is the wrong way to go about it.

I'm pro gun ownership, though I don't own any. Andy does and he's an expert marksman. I feel safe with him in the house even though his guns are always under lock and key. I never had to make it an issue. When we became a family he bought a safe.

Linda said...

I'm going to have to stand in your corner on this one. You shouldn't have to have killed your victim to get the death penalty as there are some truly heinous crimes that are committed against innocent people that, while barely stopping short of ending their lives physically, kills it on many other levels.

Jeff B said...

I absolutely hate the thought of a gun in my house, but I don't think that gives me the right to say they should be outlawed for everyone. If someone enters your home with the intent of causing you or your loved ones harm, you should have the right to weild a gun and put a bullet in their sorry ass.

Mel said...


And I screwed up a first name or two, too.

<--going to the corner

Anonymous said...

My only problem with the handgun thing is that it is the NRA that wants handguns in DC, not the people of DC. If we are for states rights, that means we have to accept the things other states want that might be against our own opinions.

And, I don't even want to get started about the completely gratuitous gift the Supremes gave to Exxon Mobil. C:(

Mimi Lenox said...

This did put me to shame. I learned a LOT! Thank you!

Matt-Man said...

I am pro second ammendment of sorts, so the gun thing isn't a big deal to me.

I am however, ardently anti-death penalty. Infinite, terminal justice rendered to a criminal belongs in God's hands, not man's.

Anyway, when incarcerated there are two things an inmate doesn't want to be...

A cop or a child sex offender. Cheers!!

Donnnnn said...

I can remember Souter..super freak Thomas..Scalia who is just right of Attila and Ginsburg because she reminds me of Ruth Buzzy from Laugh In...but I'm Canadian eh so whatever.

Merkins & Guns!
The Catch 22 of having or not having a gun to take out the Home Invader who WILL have a gun is the quintessential All American political Chicken and Egg scenario.
There is NO way that your country will ever be free from Guns EVER so everybody might as well be packin heat.

We have the dumbass handgun laws up here..criminals don't obey ANY laws so why have handgun Laws? it a precaution in case the vast majority of citizens decide to go to the dark side?

All child rapists should be sent to prison and NOT placed in protective custody...instant karma..and since they have a 99% rate of recidivism they should be dropped into a vat of radioactive gerbils on crack..AAIIYYIEEE!
No that's too good for them.

Hammer said...

Looks like some of the Bush one and Reagan folks have turned their back on the constitution.

I say we put Ron Paul and John Bolton on the court.