The Supreme Court is chock full of conservative bias, resulting in all non-rich Americans being thrown to the wolves. At least that’s ‘Puter’s takeaway from this morning’s poorly reasoned and factually challenged editorial.
‘Puter took note that liberals have recently taken to attacking the Supreme Court’s independence for purely political reasons, and with attacks devoid of logic. For example, E.J. Dionne’s screed ‘Puter tore apart yesterday.
‘Puter’s betting the establishment lefties didn’t like the Court’s decisions this past term and are laying down a marker with the Court’s conservative wing. Essentially, “if you keep this up, we in the press will pull out all the stops in our effort to discredit and destroy you.”
Now that we have the background, let’s delve in to what passes for logic in the editorial.
1. “The ethical judgments of the Supreme Court justices became an important issue in the just completed term. The court cannot maintain its legitimacy as guardian of the rule of law when justices behave like politicians.”
Oddly enough, ‘Puter agrees with this statement. However, the NYT editorial board does not. For if the board did, it would side with the conservative wing of the Court over the liberals on most every issue, including the ones the NYT cites in support of its critique(examined below).
In ‘Puter’s mind, “behaving like a politician” equates to legislating from the bench. And it’s not the conservatives who are known for doing so. Bench legislating is almost the exclusive domain of the left wing. All the left’s pet projects, from abortion to environmentalism to all forms of welfare dependency have been directly legislated and advanced from the bench by left leaning judges. Again, the left is projecting its failures onto its opponents.
2. “Among the court’s 82 rulings this term, 16 were 5-to-4 decisions. Of those, 10 were split along ideological lines, with Justice Anthony Kennedy supplying the fifth conservative vote. These rulings reveal the court’s fundamental inclination to the right, with the conservative majority further expanding the ability of the wealthy to prevail in electoral politics and the prerogatives of businesses against the interests of consumers and workers.”
So the NYT has a problem with 10 rulings which, according to them, were decided on a purely partisan basis, without regard for the law. The NYT’s perceived problem is with 12% of the Court’s decisions this term. Twelve percent. This horribly divided, arbitrary and partisan Court managed to find common ground among its conservative and liberal justices in 88% of the cases, including, most recently, in upholding First Amendment protections for video game makers. And yet conservative jurisprudence is a cancer gnawing away at the Court’s credibility.
The NYT’s claim that the conservatives are Hell-bent on “further expanding the ability of the wealthy to prevail in electoral politics and the prerogatives of business against the interest of consumers and workers” is (1) wrong and (2) insulting. The conservatives have done nothing more than apply existing jurisprudence and Constitutional language to the facts before them, without considering the parties before them.
The NYT would have the Court consider only the parties before them, determine who is most worthy (using the NYT’s preferred methodology of course), ignore the law, and reward the “worthier” party. Sure, that’s modern leftist jurisprudence, but it’s no way to run a judiciary.
Here we go with examples of the Court’s conservative overstepping the bounds of decency, snatching food from babies’ mouths, forcing grandma into work camps and oiling the machinery with the blood of the proletariat.
3. “It struck down public matching funds in Arizona’s campaign finance system, showing again a contempt for laws that provide some balance to the unlimited amounts of money flooding the political system.”
It is more correct to say the Court’s majority’s reasoning was consonant with existing First Amendment jurisprudence. Using government funds to offset an individual’s (including corporations) free speech infringes on that free speech. If lefties have issues, get Soros (the only currency manipulator and aggressive capitalist the left seems to like) to fund another few astroturf organizations to fight Whitey T. Mann’s power.
Unfortunately for the left, their preferred methodology of gaming elections runs afoul of the First Amendment. Kwitcherbitchin’ and try again, whiners.
‘Puter finds it intriguing that the NYT apparently reads the First Amendment as follows: “Congress … shall make no law … abridging the freedom of … the press … .” Intriguing, but not surprising.
The case is Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, Docket No. 10-238, decided June 27, 2011. Read the case, and decide for yourself.
4. “It made it much harder for private lawsuits to succeed against mutual fund malefactors, even when they have admitted to lying and cheating.”
See, in American jurisprudence, there’s this pesky think called the corporate form. That is, if a corporation exists, it is presumed to have its own distinct juridical personhood, separate and apart from its owners and shareholders. A corporation is responsible for its own actions, and the acts of others will not be imputed to the corporation unless the others were acting in a corporate capacity. This limitation of liability is one of the pillars of our economic system. Here, the plaintiffs were attempting to impute a mututal fund’s wrongdoing to separate corporate entities that knew of it. The court, logically, said without proof of participation in the wrongdoing of the first entity, the other entities cannot also be held liable. The NYT finds this shocking.
Imagine the following. A NYT reporter gets all cracked up, hacks into DoD’s servers, steals a bunch of sensitive information, and while speeding away from Starbucks with its free wifi, plows into a school bus full of kids. The kids’ parents sue the NYT’s paper supplier. Unless the parents can show the newspaper supplier knew of and assisted the NYT reporter in its acts, it shouldn’t be on the hook.
But the rules are apparently different if the NYT deems it necessary to support its favored position. The ends justify the means.
The case is Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders, Docket No. 09-525, decided June 13, 2011. Read the case, and decide for yourself.
5. “It tore down the ability of citizens to hold prosecutors’ offices accountable for failing to train their lawyers, even when prosecutors hide exculpatory evidence and send innocent people to prison.”
Again, there’s this pesky thing called the law. Plaintiff sued the prosecutor’s office claiming that the office failed to adequately train its prosecutors in their obligation to turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defendant. Plaintiff claimed the office’s failure to train was a civil rights violation.
The court held that a single instance is insufficient to establish a claim under civil rights legislation. Plaintiff needed to show a pattern, and did not. Further, the court noted lawyers are presumed to have the individual education necessary to do their jobs, without need for extra training on basic concepts. Also, an employer should be able to assume that an employee will follow his ethical obligations.
In short, the Court’s conservatives didn’t say that prosecutors’ offices can never be liable for employees’ indiscretions. The Court simply stated that is this case, on these facts, a plaintiff must show a pattern in order to state a valid claim.
The case is Connick v. Thompson, Docket No. 09-571, decided March 29, 2011. Read it for yourself and make up your own mind.
6. “It issued a devastating blow to consumer rights by upholding the arbitration clause in AT&T’s customer agreement, which required the signer to waive the right to take part in a class action.”
It is not a devastating blow to consumer rights to enforce a contract as written. In this case, the appellee, along with a host of other Californians, signed a cell phone contract that waived their right to litigate and required arbitration. California’s Supreme Court had held that individual arbitration is disfavored as opposed class actions or class arbitration, and therefore insistence of individual arbitration is unconscionable.
The conservative majority held simply that the contract is enforceable as written, there is a strong federal policy in favor of arbitration as evidenced in the Federal Arbitration Act, and requiring individuals to adhere to their bargain is not unconscionable. To allow the state decision to stand would be to vitiate the federal law. Federal law trumps state ruling. Further, arbitration under the AT&T agreement was acknowledged by a lower court to likely lead to a superior result for the consumer.
The liberal dissenters think it’s not fair that people should be held to their bargains. In reality, the liberals think that state law should trump federal law here, which flies in the face of hundreds of years of jurisprudence. But so long as we get the correct result, the ends justify the means, right?
Now ‘Puter’s getting a sense of why the NYT editors like the liberal justices so much. They make things up to fit their preconceived notion of how the world should work, just like the NYT!
The case is AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, Docket No. 09-893, decided April 27, 2011. Read the case, and decide for yourself.
7. “Finally, in the complex Wal-Mart case, the conservative majority, going beyond the particular issues in that case, made it substantially more difficult for class-action suits in all manner of cases to move forward.”
What the NYT conveniently fails to note is that the court unanimously decided the case as presented was insufficient as a class-action, as it asked for monetary relief not incidental to injunctive relief. In other words, the plaintiffs couldn’t make their case.
The liberal minority dissented from the conservative majority’s opinion that the plaintiffs could not meet class action requirements because they had not shown common class questions predominate over individual questions. Essentially, the liberal bloc thought the claims of 1.5 million female employees scattered throughout the United States, in different stores, with different managers, with different policies had sufficient commonality to be considered in one litigation.
Even assuming, arguendo, that each one of the 1.5 million women were actually discriminated against by her individual supervisor, in her individual store, in her individual state, there is no way each was discriminated against in exactly the same manner. To so hold is madness. Wal-Mart, love it or hate it, is entitled to defend itself against each claim based on each claim’s merits. Here, there can be no claim that each of the cases of discrimination resulted from the same facts and circumstances. Here, the only commonality among class members is (1) they have vaginas and (2) they work(ed) for Wal-Mart.
Class actions are intended for things such as product flaws, such as Ford Pintos spontaneously erupting into flames, as their gas tanks were actually giant sponges that doubled as the rear seating. Or arguably tobacco litigation. Each person injured by the product would have been injured in the same manner as a result of the same defect(s), though in differing amounts. Class actions in those cases make sense.
What the NYT also fails to mention is that class-action certification in most cases leads to an immediately settlement, as they are too costly to litigate. A business decision is normally made that it is cheaper in the long run to pay now, even if you are correct, because of lost opportunity and business uncertainty. And, by the way, in most cases the lead law firm pockets anywhere between 25% and 40% of the recovery. Great deal for the little guy, huh?
If ‘Puter were a cynic, he would questions whether the NYT loves the underdog, or the underdog’s rich, well-connected attorneys.
The case is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, Docket No. 10-277, decided June 20, 2011. Read the case, and decide for yourself.
It’s noteworthy that the Congress can change lower federal courts’ jurisdiction any time it wishes, or abolish lower courts altogether. The only court required by the Constitution, and whose jurisdiction is dictated by the Constitution, is the Supreme Court.
Finally, if the NYT were serious about its claim that the Supreme Court’s conservatives are destroying the little guy to enrich their corporate masters, there’s an easy solution: get a Democrat majority back in the House and change the laws. The NYT’s editors won’t advocate this, though, because leftist priorities poll exceedingly poorly among the electorate. Who’s for higher taxes and a lower of standard of living for everyone? *crickets* As a result, the left and its house organ the NYT must rely on the courts to exceed their judicial mandate and legislate from the bench. It’s this hidden agenda the NYT seeks to advance and the Court’s conservatives currently hinder.
And that, ‘Puter’s friends, is what’s got the NYT’s editors’ Underoos in a wad today.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.