Can’t We All Just Get Along?

January 26, 2009 on 10:47 am | In Politics of Government Contracting | Comments Off

It is a matter of some interests that the Supreme Court today issued five opinions that are essentially all unanimous decisions. The variety of cases (criminal law, trade, ERISA, and retaliation under sexual harassment laws) usually sees a split among the “conservative” and the “liberal” sides of the bench. Not so today. Does this harbinger a new-found discipline by Chief Justice Roberts? Perhaps the SCOTUS has decided to also adopt the concept of “change” in their decisions. Or more likely – it’s just one of those days when the “easy” cases with which they all agree are easier to get reviewed and published. Hard to say from this perspective.

Each of the cases proceeded in the usual manner through the lower courts and the decisions were not decided the same way by each court that reviewed them. So there was clearly an opportunity for a divergence of opinion on the issues. Police were given additional powers during a traffic stop, dumping was determined to exist despite the attempt to separate “goods” and “service” contracts, and prosecutorial immunity for certain acts was upheld.

Much has been written lately about the new administration and what the concept of “change” really means. Some pundits say that it is socialism in sheep’s clothing; some say it is a needed divergence from the “illegal” actions of the Bush administration. It is interesting that when a bad liberal president leaves office, (i.e. Carter), he does so with the respect of the opposing party, yet when a perceived “bad” conservative president leaves, he is booed and jeered at the inauguration. So much of “reaching across the aisle” as the incoming president chose to not criticize the unruly, disrespectful crowd. Some say that our republic is in danger of failing. Some say the current president is not constitutionally qualified; some say he is not experientially qualified. Whatever.

The fact is that we have three branches of government. The Legislative side continues to show its utter dysfunctionality regardless of which party is in power and continues to have the lowest public perception ever recorded. The votes for president are, on a rough order of magnitude, evenly divided. So the only independent voice of reason left is that of the courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court. It is good, although of minimal comfort in the grand scheme of things, to see that at least these nine people of different backgrounds and ideologies can reach unanimous decisions on such a broad array of issues. There is hope for out republic. Despite change.

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