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?
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 below....you gotta love Google)
The first case....in 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.
(can you name which supreme is on the court steps??)
John Roberts ~ 53 years old from Maryland
appointed by GW Bush ~ seated in 2005
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