Though the rhetoric is winding down just a bit, there’s still barking going on from some within the Republican party over the “5 unelected lawyers” who ultimately ruled that bans on same-sex marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Funny, these same people seem perfectly happy when the very conservative members of the Court (Scalia/Thomas/Alito) almost always rule in favor of Republican ideology.
Ironically, looking at the two big cases that were ruled on in the same week (the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage) Chief Justice Roberts voted on different sides in each case, whereas Kennedy sided with liberals on same-sex marriage – and both were appointed by Republicans. So, to argue that the Supreme Court is somehow “liberalism run amok” is just ridiculous. In fact, there are five “conservative” justices vs. four “liberal” ones, so even the makeup of the Court isn’t considered “liberal.”
The indisputable fact is that the ACA and same-sex marriage don’t end up being ruled in favor of liberal ideology unless a justice appointed by a Republican president votes in favor of that ideology. Which is exactly what happened in both instances – and with the ACA, twice.
All that being said, it still hasn’t prevented hypocrites like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) from continuing to whine about the fact that conservatives once again found themselves on the wrong side of history. In fact, following the ruling on same-sex marriage, Cruz has essentially advocated that every eight years Supreme Court Justices should face elections. Because, you know, what better way to make the Court less political than by adding even more politics to it, right?
Well, during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the Texas senator was hammered over the Republican hypocrisy when it comes to the Supreme Court, with Matthews stating that they were fine in 2000 when the Supreme Court (voting along partisan lines) gave the presidency to George W. Bush.
After Cruz said he was tired of “unelected judges” deciding major issues, Matthews shot back, “They [the Supreme Court] seized the presidency in 2000, you did not complain… you loved it.”
And Matthews is absolutely right. Along those same lines, Republicans didn’t have any problem when the Court allowed Hobby Lobby to force its religious views on others or when it said that money equaled speech – though those are clearly rulings with which liberals highly disagreed.
The problem with the Court is that it was never meant to be partisan. We shouldn’t have “liberal” or “conservative” judges – because they should simply rule on law, not politics. All someone in a position of a judge or Supreme Court Justice is supposed to do is interpret the law. And in the case of our Supreme Court, whether or not certain laws that were passed violate the Constitution.
Of course, that’s not what we’re seeing. The Court is increasingly becoming more and more partisan, which isn’t a good thing for anyone. While liberals are celebrating now, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this very same Court will end up with an overwhelming majority of conservative justices in the near future (especially if Republicans win in 2016) and a lot of what we’ve been fighting for will be undone.
What both liberals and conservatives should want is a Supreme Court (and a judicial system as a whole) that rules according to law and our Constitution, not personal ideology or beliefs.
Watch the interview below via MSNBC: