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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 03/29/2012

Courting disaster

One thing that’s different in DC is that people like to discuss Supreme Court arguments in great detail. None of that I’m-for-the-law-so-it’s-constitutional or I’m-against-it-so-it’s-not simple-mindedness for the folks around here. Here you get spirited in-depth analysis of case law and court precedent and long, thoughtful evaluation and discourse. It, however, adds up to the same thing.

I guess we need to maintain the illusion that there are just “balls and strikes” involved in court rulings, but the latitude justices have in selecting and defining the questions involved, (is this baseball today, or cricket, or bowling?) gives them all the maneuvering room they need to make it come out however they want. Otherwise most decisions would be unanimous, or close to it. No, it’s a clever game we play, all sides, and reverence for the original text, or intent, or precedent flows back and forth over time like sandbars, and the judges and legal scholars erect their fresh clam shacks wherever space allows.

The court, like all political institutions, is in fact a political institution(!), and will function like one. It can strengthen or weaken its standing by how it behaves, but good luck to any institution in a sharply and bitterly divided nation, which is what we have now. That’s where wisdom comes in, or would, but the strict constructionists can’t find any mention of that in the text.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 03/29/2012

 
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