Is the Supreme Court really becoming too political, or is it just our overly partisan reactions to their decisions and a do-nothing Congress that are the true problems?
The Supreme Court is back in session with many critical cases at hand. Accusations of the court being too political continue unabated, and presidential hopefuls continue to threaten a supreme make-over to ensure that decisions are made in line with the preferred outcomes desired by those candidates. Of course, there are differing judicial philosophies among the judges, but I do not see the court itself as being any more or less political than it has been in the past.
What I do see is that our reactions to their decisions have become as ridiculously partisan as everything else that the other two branches touch, with their hyper-partisan extremes leading the way. When we want a change in direction or a change in how things are done, it is up to Congress to produce and pass new legislation in concert with the Executive Branch. It should not be up to the Supreme Court to have to do the other two branches’ bidding.
Take some of the cases coming before the court this term. There are cases involving LGBTQ rights, particularly concerning whether the Civil Rights Act’s prohibitions on sex discrimination in the workplace also covers the LGBTQ community.
In arguments before the court concerning these cases, justices seem split on a literal interpretation of the Civil Rights Act which could be all-inclusive, based on the limited language, vs. looking at the intent at the time of the legislation, which may not have factored in gender identity or sexual orientation. Personally, it is clear to me that sexual orientation and gender identity should already be covered by the legislation, as discrimination in these cases is based on generalizations that have nothing to do with the ability to perform the job. However, I do understand the validity of the opposing philosophy. These are legitimate differences in judicial opinion, not necessarily the court becoming too political.
Why has Congress not acted to legislatively clarify the Civil Rights Act to specifically cover the LGBTQ community? They passed the act in the first place. The argument will be that any bill cannot be passed in the current environment, but that is a cop-out. Their job is to legislate, not to use their inability to legislate as a means to raise money for reelection.
Politicians would rather posture than to even try and work together, which is the largest single threat to our democracy, in my opinion. The Republic’s health rests on all three branches doing their part in the governing process, and, for far too long, Congress has been punting their duties to either the Executive Branch, for Presidents to sign executive orders that can easily be undone with a changing administration, or relying on the courts to legislate, since apparently, Congress is incapable of doing so.
It is time we hold Congress accountable for their dismal performance and demand that they at least try and do their jobs and pass legislation that helps the people they are supposed to serve.
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