Eddyville, KY

Opinion

Congress counting on your distraction

Monday, October 17, 2016 - Updated: 1:12 PM

This page has mostly tried to stay away from endorsing political candidates or parties, while not shying too far away from pointing out absurdity. Lately — especially with the current presidential election — there's no shortage there.

But one that is becoming surprising is the current narrative in defense of one of the two presidential candidates. It goes something along the lines of 'who cares what the POTUS does for the next four year's when he will shape the Supreme Court for the next decade?' It's usually followed up with 'don't you want to end Roe v Wade?'

The first comment is silly for a much shorter reason than the second, so we'll address it first.

Shaping the Supreme Court relies on a few things. The first is for current justices to step down. It's doubtful whoever is in the White House will encourage that as the lifetime appointments are the pinnacle of their craft. Thousands of men and women around the country expect at least a half dozen judges at the highest court in the nation to suddenly step down because replacing them would be best for the institution they've advanced.

These are most likely the same people who believe the New England Patriots will stop at halftime and let the other team catch up because it makes for a better game. Likewise, they think theaters will refund that $10 tub of popcorn if the movie really stinks because it's the right thing to do.

That doesn't make any sense. Neither does expecting the justices to retire to legitimize ideologies.

As Brett Favre taught us, very few people retire at the top of their game or for the betterment of their team. Normally, they hang around as long as their status or circumstance will allow. In other words, if you think several judges are planning to retire next January, you might want to get a second opinion on all your financial investments.

The second part of this equally lacking substance, but for a more definitive reason: history.

Really? Yes.

Two of the biggest pro-choice decisions — Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey — were handed down by courts with a conservative majority. Roe v Wade was decided 7-2. Three of those justices were appointed by Richard Nixon, two by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Of the two opposing, it fell equally along political appointments (one by John F. Kennedy and one by Nixon).

In the Planned Parenthood case, eight Republican appointed justices ruled in their favor over one Democrat, Byron White, who had also been in the minority in Roe v Wade.

On top of that, Republicans have had control of the White House and both chambers multiple times in the last five decades, which resulted in nothing for the right to life movement. No changes, no legislation pushed forward. Even during other occasions where abortion cases made their way before the SCOTUS, the rulings have often supported Roe v Wade, or simply sent it back to the state.

If history is any indicator of the future — and it often is — having a Republican appointed Supreme Court favors big businesses, but that's about it. Of course, you wouldn't know that by listening to Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress. According to them, the only way to secure the future of the country is to elect one of those two parties.

Which begs the question: what are they so scared of?

The majority of Congress falls along two party lines. Each advocates for their respective party. And each passes laws in step with their contemporaries. And — according to those congressmen — the laws they pass hinge on having a Supreme Court slanted in their favor.

If that's the case, how bad are these laws? If the laws they want to pass are in such opposition to the Constitution, and if public opinion of them would be so bad they would result in some perceived fallout, do we really need them?

Maybe, instead of worrying about who is in the White House, we should be worrying about what they're trying to pass through while everyone's watching the circus.

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