The Supreme Court was busy yesterday morning. They made one good decision and two horrible ones. Let’s start with the good …
On the upside, the Court struck down Louisiana’s restrictive anti-abortion law. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the Court’s liberal justices … not because he was against the law or pro women’s rights, but simply because four years ago, the Court struck down a similar law in Texas, thereby setting the precedent. I will never understand why men think they know anything about this topic, or why they think they have a right to tell us what we can or must do with our own bodies. Watch them scream and yell if you suggest that women should decide whether men can have a vasectomy, or those little blue pills they’re so fond of.
Anti-abortion groups went ballistic, saying it will give them more motivation than ever to turn out at the polls in November. Once again, folks, we have people in this country who are so narrow-minded that they will return a madman to the Oval Office for another four years, simply to deny women the same rights that men have to make our own decisions regarding our own bodies. And here I thought we were living in the 21st century.
At any rate, thumbs up to the five on the Court who voted right on this one.
In another ruling, the Court gave the federal government the right to carry out executions. Funny, isn’t it, that people like Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito and Thomas are so horrified at the thought of a woman having the right to control her own body, but they are ready, willing and perfectly happy to say it’s okay to murder federal prisoners … people who are actually already people.
Now, the biggest problem I have with the death penalty is that more than a few times, a prisoner on death row has been found to be innocent of the crime for which he is serving time. The state releases him, pays him a bit of restitution, and while his life has been shattered, he still has a chance to put it back together. If he had been executed … what??? Does the government say, “Oops … sorry ‘bout that!”? Executing a person is pretty darn final.
The second problem I have with the death penalty is that it is inhumane. Think of how many executions were botched a few years ago and people died after sometimes hours of intense pain. Hell, the guillotine was kinder! Proponents of the death penalty say execution by lethal injection is painless and humane, but we’ve seen that it isn’t. And by the way … the people who seem most gung-ho for executing criminals are Christians … what happened to that tenet that says it’s not up to humans to decide life and death?
And I’ve saved the best (worst) for last. The justices ruled that the president has unfettered discretion to fire the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). This should raise your hackles, if you remember the reason the CFPB was created back in 2010. It was in response to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 caused by reckless speculation, loose credit, and too much debt in asset markets, namely, the housing market. The purpose of the CFPB was to provide a single point of accountability for enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. It was to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services and ensure that the financial crisis of 2007-2008 would not be repeated.
Until today’s Supreme Court ruling, the CFPB was an independent agency, not answerable to the president. In order to ensure the CFPB’s independence, the law creating the agency called for it to be headed by a single director, confirmed by the Senate, who would serve a five-year term and who could only be fired for malfeasance, inefficiency or neglect of duty. Today, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the conservative wing of the Court, saying that “the structure of the CFPB violates the separation of powers.”
The structure was so determined in order to ensure the independence and integrity of the agency. Think about all the people Donald Trump has fired since the Senate refused to convict him of the crimes he had committed back in February. He has fired most everyone who was tasked with overseeing his office, with ensuring that he acted properly and in the interest of the nation and its people. Now, he’s been given another he can fire … the Director of a very important regulatory agency. It is only a matter of time before Kathy Kraninger, the current Director, is given her walking papers, and someone totally unqualified for the agency position will be put in place to undermine the good work that has been done for the past ten years.
Way to go, John Roberts. Is there anything else you’d like to give Trump? Perhaps the authority to rewrite Article II of the U.S. Constitution to say that he can do anything he likes, as he told a group of young people he could do? Or, perhaps you’d like to simply declare that there will be no more elections in the U.S.?
Independence and integrity in our Supreme Court? I think not. The only good decision, in my book, was the abortion decision and it wasn’t done for the right reason, not because John Roberts believes that women have rights, but simply to maintain a precedent. Apart from that decision, the Court handed Trump presents wrapped in gift paper with pretty bows. Bah Humbug.