Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Supreme Court and Overturning of Precedent (it's Tuesday, I can say this)

For the Supreme Court, “Precedent” refers to the court’s previous decisions. It also refers to the idea that Supreme Court Justices defer to decisions a precious Supreme Court has made in the past. 

During nominations all Justices claim to respect Precedents. These 3 decisions (4 cases) show that these new Conservatives simply lied about their deferral to Precedence. They all said that these Precedents were “settled law”. 

But no. As seen below, the new conservative Justices are rolling back pretty much any precedents for things they do not like. This is a massive change for the actions of the Supreme Court. Previously they, at the most, chipped away at the edges of Precedent.

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Abortion

Roe v Wade was the Supreme Court decision made 50 years ago that a right to privacy extended to women and the right to an abortion. The original decision also made reference to the 14th Amendment which talks about equality.

That decision had been modified a couple of decades ago so that states were allowed to regulate abortion, but only up until viability of the fetus – about 20 weeks. 

The case in which they overturned Precedent was about Alabama’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks. Before the case was argued on appeal, Alabama’s defendants requested to expanded the case to include the right to regulate any abortions. This occurred only after Trump made his 3rd pick and had a conservative supermajority. 

So now the right to force a woman to bring a pregnancy to term is up to the various states. And will be in place for 13 states now and about 13 more states in the next few months. Many of these states do NOT allow for an exception in the case of rape or incest.

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Gun Safety

The 2nd Amendment guarantees the “Right to Bear Arms” in this manner:

Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Up until 2008, there was not an individual’s right to bear arms. Weapons only HAD to be allowed by people militias (army, national guard, etc.). All states allowed guns – mainly for hunting. The District of Columbia outlawed handguns for safety and in 2008 that was overturned. It was overturned about MUCH discussion of the "commas" in the Amendment. Did the commas define this as a sub clause explaining Militia, or the sub clause that referred only to Militias. (A rather esoteric discussion that allowed for over 100,000 million more guns, past hunting.)

Up until last week, states and cities could impose reasonable limitations on gun ownership. In New York City, you needed a valid reason to be given a concealed carry permit. The idea was to keep guns off the fucking subway and freely floating around in a city of 10 million people.

This court told New York (as California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and others who have similar laws) to fuck off. From the Supreme Courts view, neither states nor cities are allowed to impose a “reason” to obtain a concealed (gun) carry permit. 

This goes along with the rollback of gun safety In Trump’s first year. The Republicans in office overturned rules that disallowed:

  • Psychiatric patients from owning a gun (“Maybe they were wrongly diagnosed”)
  • Violent gun crime felons couldn’t get guns (“They paid their time”) 
  • People on the terrorist watch list couldn’t get guns (“Maybe they shouldn’t be on the watch list”).

The limitations on gun possession and where they can openly be displayed also overturned Precedent.

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Religion in Public

Two decisions made in the past 2 weeks have reversed decades of Precedence in the State Support of Religion. The Constitution has this to say about religion in First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ...

Precedent based on the First Amendment has always been (until last week) that the state (i.e. the USA or individual states) cannot give money to support religion. And public institutions, particularly schools, cannot host religious displays or require religious participation.

This precedent lead to many things the Conservatives hate: Banning of prayer in school, banning funding of religions, banning religious displays on public land and requiring that access to one religion must then allow access to another religion.*

But last week the Supreme Court overturned previous rules about funding religious schools. The idea is that in rural Maine, the states pays for children’s private school where there is no public schools. But, in keeping with Constitutional Precedent, the state would not pay for private schools. A conservative majority (one with 5 Catholics) overturned Precedent here and said not only could Maine pay for these schools, Maine was REQUIRED to pay these religious schools.

This week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a coach that held prayers after a football game and he invited players to join. In previous cases, ones that followed Precedent, the Supreme Court has disallowed this as Prayer in School. This court ruled that Precedent calling this a display of Freedom of Religion because the coach did not require any one of his players to join. 

But think for a moment, a coach of players prayed with his team. How much playing time would you get if you didn’t pray? And remember, this exact action were ruled unconstitutional previously. It was considered coercion for prayer. This court (again with 5 Catholic Conservatives) said, nah – prayer from an authority figure PAID by the state government is just aokay.


* This one can from an interesting case. One of the southern states (Alabama? Mississippi? – anyway one of those that hates blacks and fags) allowed Christian preachers to be with the condemned at an execution, but did not allow the religious official to be Hindu, Muslim or Jewish.)

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