As the 2014 session of the United States Supreme Court is about to come to a close, three things seem abundantly clear:
- The decision in the most important, far reaching case of the year, Burwell v Hobby Lobby, will not be released until the final day of the session, as will the decision in another extremely important case, Harris v Quinn;
- The Court has let its decisions be dominated by politics and religion as never before, to the detriment of the US Constitution and the good of the country and of its’ people; and
- The intelligence level of the current makeup of the court is likely at an all-time low.
Taking these issues in the reverse order:
Time was, that the US Supreme Court included the likes of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis and William Brennan, great intellects who stepped up to write some of the most important and oft-cited decisions in the history of the Court. TIme was, that the US Supreme Court included the likes of John Marshall, Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall, and William O. Douglas, who were unafraid
Scalia has the totally undeserved reputation of being an intellect, a reputation based purely on his ultra conservative and religious based beliefs and the desire for the people he plays to, to have a certifiable hero who is not a dimwit. The best description ever written about Scalia comes from msopine, writing in DailyKos.com two and a half years ago:
“When I look at Justice Scalia, I see a man who appears to be intellectually incurious, congenitally close-minded and far more driven by his religious beliefs and conservative precepts than faithful adherence to the tenets of the Constitution he is supposed to be interpreting…
“I’ve seen articles about Justice Scalia where the authors describe him as complex and defying simple characterizations. He wishes! He may be bombastic, colorful, and cranky but there is nothing complex or hard to define about a man whose every vote you can predict with the precise accuracy of a Swiss timepiece. The only complicated thoughts that I see in Justice Scalia’s decisions can be found in the way he manages to twist logic and the law to fit his preconceived opinions and ideas.”
Of course, the Supreme Court has no problem maintaining its own “buffer zone”, considerably larger than a mere 35 feet, in which no protestors may interrupt the solemnity or peace of a passing justice.
The case of Harris v Quinn presents another issue where the intellectually-challenged and politically-controlled Court will most likely issue a life-changing ruling that will say that unions cannot require non-members to pay a stipend to the union for the benefits they receive by virtue of union actions, such as collective bargaining negotiations and agreements that result in higher wages and increased benefits for all employees.
In the Burwell v Hobby Lobby the result is, however, not that clear. As the Court readies its opinion, and as workers hurry to complete construction of the new monstrosity that will soon be the West Covina, CA hobby lobby store, a political and religion-based decision will have far-reaching ramifications, forever changing the nature of corporations, businesses, and religion in the United States, along with the rights of patients to receive counseling and care from their private physicians.The ruling in the Burwell v Hobby Lobby case will extend far beyond the issue of hobby lobby employees having access to contraception paid for by an Affordable Care Act mandated employee health insurance policy. Should the Court decide in hobby lobby’s favor, it will establish the absolute right of a legal fiction such as a corporation or other business entity to have its own religion and the further right of it to require its employees to follow the tenants of that religion when it comes to their personal medical care. But it also extends to employers the right to monitor private, personal, privileged conversations between patients and doctors, as no such conversation can include a discussion of contraception under the rules hobby lobby is seeking. And, the control that employers will have to tell employees what medical care they can and cannot have would be unlimited – businesses that subscribe to the beliefs of Christian Scientists, Seventh Day Adventists, and other such ultra-orthodox beliefs can say no health coverage for blood transfusions, insulin, surgery of any type or kind, and other modern medical procedures that do not fall into their accepted belief systems.
Will the most conservative Supreme Court in the history of our nation be so brazen to make such a ruling? We should know on Monday.