The Supreme Court Half Sucks

Whatever your politics, SCOTUS has partially let you down.

Is this what you would picture as the complexion of America’s highest moral authority? (Photo: Supreme Court Media)

Jun 25, 2012
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

The Supreme Court’s mixed message on Arizona’s flashpoint 2010 immigration law (the court upheld the state law’s “show me your papers” core, but struck down three equally heavy-handed enforcement provisions) is being spun hard as both a victory and a loss all across the ideologue spectrum.

Because that rinse-cycle of media coverage is focused on Arizona’s statute of xenophobia, not enough saliva-flecked indignation is being directed at three vital non-immigration decisions—or non-decisions—that were also handed down by the High Court Monday.

Let’s spit out those High Court findings, in order:

1) No life without parole for juveniles. Well, not exactly. When the Court’s Monday decisions were first released, Internet headlines and cable news crawls trumpeted alarmist sentiments along the lines of “Supreme Court Rules Juveniles Can’t Be Locked Up for Life Without Parole!”

According to the Court’s reasoning, cigarette manufacturers have the right to funnel millions upon millions of dollars to stifle anti-cancer initiatives because the First Amendment says they do.

Do not worry! America is still a country that has the freedom to lock up children until the day they die.

Only mandatory life-without-parole sentences have been ruled unconstitutional. The wisdom of the Court holds that judges must take a kid’s youth and the circumstances of the crime into consideration. After those preconditions are met, the judge is empowered to send the juvenile defendant behind bars with no hope of ever relocating to a residence where doors are locked from the inside.

2) The court refuses to revisit Citizens United. Everybody makes mistakes. Duh! What’s lesser known is that every good person among us has benefitted from discovering an error in behavior or attitude and correcting that failure of reason or action.

However, in order to discover where we have gone wrong, we must inspect and evaluate past decisions in light of actual ramifications and concerns related to those decisions.

Great masses of individuals who value the one-person one-vote principal of democracy, for instance, feel that the Supreme Court would do itself justice by looking again at its 2010 Citizens United ruling. Citizens United granted unlimited corporate spending in United States election campaigns. For instance, according to the Court’s reasoning, cigarette manufacturers have the right to funnel millions upon millions of dollars to stifle anti-cancer initiatives because the First Amendment says they do.

The Court refused Monday to reevaluate Citizens United, issuing a terse note opining that “there can be no serious doubt” about the applicability of its 2010 pretzel logic.

3) Affordable health care can wait. Challenges to the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act championed by President Barack Obama may well be politically motivated. In fact, Obama’s cheerleading of health care for all the people of the world’s richest country itself may be an elaborate ploy for reelection later this year.

The Court’s highly anticipated opinions on national health care are expected to vitalize both sides in the race for president, and will be hotly debated well beyond when votes are cast in November.

The court has put a three-day hold on releasing Affordable Health Care rulings, presumably because there’s no real hurry.

In related health news, a report released by Families USA estimates that 26,100 people die prematurely every year in the United States because these people lack medical insurance.

If the Supreme Court were empowered to deliver one decision to make the world a better place, what would that decision be? Leave your game-changers in COMMENTS.

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