Mark Caserta: Progressives need liberal Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the nation. Its decisions set precedents which all other courts must follow and can never be superseded. Not even Congress or the president can change, reject or ignore a Supreme Court decision.
In the third of my series of columns exposing the progressive movement in the United States, we'll examine how I believe liberals will be intensifying their efforts to change the political face of the Supreme Court, determined to preserve and expand their ideology for future generations.
Understand, under the Constitution, justices on the Supreme Court receive lifetime appointments. While the process of appointing justices has undergone changes over the years, the sharing of power between the president and the Senate remains unchanged.
To receive appointment to the court, a candidate must first be nominated by the president and then confirmed by the Senate. Presidents have the power to make "recess appointments" when the Senate isn't in session, but such appointments expire at the end of the Senate's next session.
The framers of the Constitution designed the U.S. government with a system of "checks and balances" to ensure no one branch would have absolute authority. But make no mistake about it, the Supreme Court has formidable power and has become a prized asset in our nation's political theater. While the court's sole purpose is to interpret the Constitution, rulings increasingly tend to reflect a justice's political persuasion.
Currently, the Supreme Court leans slightly conservative. Justices John Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are considered mostly conservative. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor are seen as liberal, while Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Anthony Kennedy are considered moderate to moderate conservative, respectively. With four of these Justices over the age of 70, court openings are a real possibility over the next few years.
In June, the Obama administration was levied with two major Supreme Court decisions adversely impacting progressive advancement.
Unable to get several controversial nominees confirmed to the National Labor Relations Board, the Supreme Court unanimously held that President Obama violated the Constitution by appointing officials during a Senate three-day break. I submit the president strategically "tested" the recess appointment law just as he's testing his executive authority in the face of congressional resistance, but failed.
In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc. the Court ruled 5-4 that for-profit corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs are not required to provide a full range of free contraceptives to employees pursuant to Obamacare. Once again, this progressive challenge to our religious freedoms failed.
Don't expect progressives to acquiesce in the face of these failures. They plan to do everything possible to elect a liberal president and retain the Senate in the upcoming elections.
If liberals are successful at "tilting" the balance of the Supreme Court to the left, our children and grandchildren will likely see an intensification of progressivism in their lives.
A misplaced vote could have impact beyond the term of any candidate. It could have impact for years to come.
Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.
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