Friday, June 14, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court flips off the American people

Because Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, and because the Constitution says they are the final arbitors of federal legislative activity, the Court has long labored to APPEAR non-political or partisan.  I say appear, because the court’s decision regularly illustrate it’s particular political leaning, which has vascillated all over the American political landscape.

So now comes word that the Supremes don’t want to be bothered with protestors on their door step.  Specifically:

This regulation is issued under the authority of 40 U.S.C. § 6102 to protect the Supreme Court building and grounds, and persons and property thereon, and to maintain suitable order and decorum within the Supreme Court building and grounds.  Any person who fails to comply with this regulation may be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment pursuant to 40 U.S.C. § 6137.  This regulation does not apply on the perimeter sidewalks on the Supreme Court grounds.  The Supreme Court may also make exceptions to this regulation for activities related to its official functions.

No person shall engage in a demonstration within the Supreme Court building and grounds.  The term “demonstration” includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.  The term does not include casual use by visitors or tourists that is not reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers. 

Approved and Effective June 13, 2013

Interestingly, this regulation appears to be wholely unnecessary – Regulation 5 clearly states that noisey disturbances are prohibited, and Regulation 6 gives a very good – if overly broad – outline of what is or isn’t a sign and where “signs” may and may not be used on the grounds.  So why bother?

My hunch is that the Supremes (and their staff) hate to be reminded that their decisions have real world implications, and that not every one agrees with them or what they do.  It’s got to be tough being Justice Scalia, for instance, and seeing people daily who marriages are in shambles, or whose economic fortunes are upended by a decision you make, not matter how well reasoned or “Originalist.”

But that doesn’t give the Chief Justice the right to throw the bird at American citizens, who come to America’s highest court to fulfill both their civic duties, and to receive the Rights promised under the First Amendment (Emphasis mine):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Given that this is an administrative action, and not congressionally passed legislation, I can’t tell how this gets overturned.  But I do know that when the NSA is getting millions of records of cell phone and email metadata, when the CIA is running off book prisons and manning drones used to conduct overseas assassinations of American Citizens without trial, and when the man who disclosed the NSA spying is called a traitor even though he’s actually upholding a long ago taken oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic – I know that when all this is occurring, the Supreme Court would be well advised to keep appearing apolitical.  Afterall, telling protesters they are not welcome on the Courthouse steps is one of the many things the British essentially did, and look where that ended up.

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