David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

that Sarah Palin meme

Folks are merrily spoofing Governor Palin blanking when she was asked about Supreme Court decisions -- but, in a typical example of how I'm struck by the oddest things, I realized that everybody on my cheerfully leftist flist is naming Supreme Court cases they agree with. Brown vs. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, Miranda, that kind of thing. Palin was asked about decisions she disagreed with; not to make excuses for her, but I think that the meme wound up going the opposite way is kind of interesting.

I'm kind of surprised Palin didn't just whip out the Dred Scott case, actually; not only is that pretty universally regarded as the ultimate example of a bad call (the famous "three generations of imbeciles is enough" is up there, too, but I couldn't remember the name of the case without Googling), but Dred Scott is often cited by anti-abortion activists, who use its agreed-upon status as an egregious violation of human rights in order to politically counteract the Warren-court-influenced liberal view of the Supreme Court as a crusading force for good. At the rate she and Biden have been going in the last couple of weeks (in *his* most remarkable moments, he contradicted Obama's policy on coal and announced that President Roosevelt went on television to calm people after the stock market crashed in 1929), the Vice-Presidential debate is going to be one hell of a gaffe-off.

So, what's a Supreme Court decision you guys disagree with?

For me: Kelo v. New London, no question. The liberal and swing justices carried that one the wrong way; they decreed that it's okay to use eminent domain to benefit a private concern, which launched an unfortunately unsuccessful attempt by property rights activists to confiscate Justice Souter's farm in order to build a hotel. I don't especially agree with US. vs. Miller, either, which upheld the 1934 Firearms Act. Miller was a rather disreputable type who was arrested by the Feds, who were staking him out for other stuff, because he had a sawed-off shotgun that wasn't registered. He claimed the act was unconstitutional, and won. Then the Supreme Court said "Nah." In all honesty, I think you'd have to raise an eyebrow at this one, even if you think the case was rightly decided: Miller wasn't represented at the Supreme Court hearing. He wasn't there. Neither was his lawyer. The government argued unopposed. I've always wondered what happened there. Some folks have suggested that Miller didn't have time or funds to get there, but I'd love to read a historian's authoritative account of what happened.
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