Two recent supreme court cases

by Neil Rickert

I’m perhaps a bit late here.  I have been discussing these case in other forums, so  I thought I would summarize my view here.

I’ll start by reminding the reader that I am not a lawyer.  But I am a citizen of the USA, and that should be enough to entitle me to express an opinion.

Obamacare (King v. Burwell)

While this was an important case, it is difficult to understand why there was a case at all.  This was the case where some people took a very literalist view of the ACA legislation, and claimed that it excluded subsidies to people in states with federally run exchanges.

In my opinion, this was a completely bogus issue from the start.  It was clear enough what was intended by those who drew up the legislation.

The Supreme Court had little choice in taking up the issue, because a lower court had ruled in favor of that bogus reading of the law.  And, thankfully, the supreme court reached the sensible decision.

What is troubling, is that it was a 6-3 decision.  It should have been unanimous.  It makes one wonder about the three justices who opposed the decision.

Single Sex Marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges)

This was at least a more sensible case for the court to be arguing.

I support the conclusion, which makes marriage a right available to LGBT folk.  I had expected this result, though I had hoped that perhaps Roberts would join in the majority decision.  But he did not.

Those opposed to the decision argue that the court found, in the constitution, a right that was not actually there.  While I don’t agree, I do think that’s a reasonable argument to make and one over which people can legitimately disagree.

A similar argument had been made against the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.  I actually thought that was a bad decision, though it was a decision that I agreed with.  The problem with Roe v. Wade, was that the court was too far ahead of the people.  That decision needed more time to be argued between people and in state legislators.

By contrast, in the recent SSM case, the court was playing catch up with the people.  It was already clear that a majority of the population had already accepted the idea, and had already accepted that this was a constitutionally guaranteed right.

So no, in my opinion, the court did not find a non-existent right in the constitution.  That right was already there, and this was recognized by the people of the USA.  The court’s role was simply to acknowledge that fact.

What I thought was particularly noticeable, was the weakness of the arguments against SSM.  It is obvious that some folk don’t like the idea, mostly for religious reasons.  But they seemed unable to find a convincing argument that they would be harmed by such a decision.

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