America is still reeling, of course, with most of us struggling to come to terms with the gravity of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It was just days later, after all, that we heard the story of a ten year old little girl in Ohio who was forced to travel out of state to Indiana in order to get an abortion and not be forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term. Indiana, it’s certainly worth noting, is poised to implement its own draconian anti-choice legislation in the coming weeks, and the story was made even worse when the state’s attorney general announced to a FOX News audience that his office would be launching an investigation into the doctor who helped the girl get an abortion.
All because she helped a little girl, and ensured she would not be forced to go through the trauma of giving birth to her rapists baby.
The right’s endeavor to turn a uterus into the property of the state, and weaponize the state against privacy and women’s reproductive healthcare is — as so many of us have come to realize — only the beginning.
But, we’ve had glimpses of what they’re coming for next.
None other than Texas’ Ted Cruz gave us another insight just recently.
“…On Sunday’s episode of his podcast, Verdict With Ted Cruz, the Republican said the 2015 case that legalized gay marriage in the U.S. “was clearly wrong when it was decided.”
“It was the court overreaching,” Cruz added, USA Today reports.
Elsewhere in the episode, Cruz compared the Obergefell case to Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion until being overturned by the court in June.
The issue, Cruz suggested, is that the legality of same-sex marriage should be left to the states.
“Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade, ignored two centuries of our nation’s history,” Cruz said. “Marriage was always an issue that was left to the states. We saw states before Obergefell, some states were moving to allow gay marriage, other states were moving to allow civil partnerships. There were different standards that the states were adopting.”…”
The court stepping in to ensure the government doesn’t get between you and your doctor when it comes to healthcare, or ensuring that the government doesn’t get to step in and prevent two consenting adults from getting married on the basis of gender or sex…that’s government overreach.
Seizing our bodies as property of the state though, and forcing us to give birth…that’s perfectly acceptable?
Women using coat hangers in desperate attempts to give themselves abortions…that’s fine. By Ted Cruz’s logic, that’s simply American history. Simply the price we pay for having a uterus, and the federal government has no right to step in and ensure safe abortion access in states that don’t want to provide it.
After they came for our bodies, can we really be surprised they’re coming into our homes and bedrooms next?
Can we really be surprised that after they’re dictating what happens inside our bodies, they’re trying to dictate who we can and cannot marry? They’re all about freedom though, right? Freedom to control. Freedom to discriminate. Freedom to dictate the most intimate details of someone else’s life.
In his concurring opinion for the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, Clarence Thomas was practically begging. Begging for cases to come up through the courts where the Supreme Court could overturn rights to contraception, allow for the reimplementation of sodomy laws, and the right for LGBTQ couples to marry.
Ted Cruz, of course, is using the platform of his podcast to essentially do the same.
All they’re looking for is one lawsuit. They just want one lawsuit related to each of these specific issues to make its way to the Supreme Court, and they’re ready and waiting to overturn each one of those past rulings.
This is war, and we better start acting like it. Right wingers like Ted Cruz and Clarence Thomas…they’re nothing but creeps. Sick freaks. Absolutemonsterswho are literally dedicating their careers and their power to attempting to control who you marry, what you can and cannot do in your bedroom, and what grows inside your body.
Of course, hearing stories like these I can’t help thinking about Ted Cruz’s young daughters. One is eleven, the other fourteen. Fourteen. Barely even a teenager, but certainly old enough to understand the weight of her father’s stance on these issues.
What if one of them is gay? What if one of them gets pregnant their senior year, and absolutely does not want to carry a fetus to term and put their body through that, let alone raise a child? Oh, I’m sure Cruz would ensure his daughter got whatever she needed. They’re above these laws, after all. But imagine being in that situation, knowing what their father has done. Knowing that countless other girls have been robbed of the freedom he’s ensuring they will still have, and carrying the weight of that with you.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply cut back the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce the carbon output of existing power plants, a blow to the Biden administration’s plans for combating climate change.
The ruling infuriated President Biden and environmentalists, who said it raised formidable obstacles to the United States meeting its climate goals, including the president’s goalof running the U.S. power grid on clean energy by 2035. “Another devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards,” Biden said.
But the Republican-led states that challenged the broad authority the EPA claimed said it was a dutiful examination of the Clean Air Act and a proper acknowledgment that Congress had not given such vast powers to the agency.
The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the court’s majority. And it reinforced an emerging view from its conservatives that too much power is vested in executive branch agencies that act without clear authority from Congress.
“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’ ” Roberts wrote, referring to a court precedent. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.”
Supreme Court’s historic EPA ruling, explained
1:29Default Mono Sans Mono Serif Sans Serif Comic Fancy Small CapsDefault X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large XX-LargeDefault Outline Dark Outline Light Outline Dark Bold Outline Light Bold Shadow Dark Shadow Light Shadow Dark Bold Shadow Light BoldDefault Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua OrangeDefault 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%Default Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua OrangeDefault 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%The decision on June 30 sharply cut back the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce the carbon output of power plants. (Video: Libby Casey/The Washington Post)
Gorsuch wrote separately to elaborate: “When Congress seems slow to solve problems, it may be only natural that those in the Executive Branch might seek to take matters into their own hands. But the Constitution does not authorize agencies to use pen-and-phone regulations as substitutes for laws passed by the people’s representatives.”
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for herself and fellow liberal justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, countered that the majority had empowered the wrong people to pass judgment on an existential dilemma.
“The Court appoints itself — instead of Congress or the expert agency — the decisionmaker on climate policy,” Kagan wrote. “I cannot think of many things more frightening.”
Kagan began her dissent with familiar warnings about the calamity ahead. With higher seas, fiercer wildfires and other consequences of climate change apparent, the world is already in unprecedented territory. Global average temperatures have increased more than 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the preindustrial era, largely because of pollution from burning fossil fuels.
If warming exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), scientists warn, sea levels could surge, ecosystems collapse, and millions of additional people would be at risk from heat, hunger, disaster and disease.
Biden hoped to lead by example to convince other countries to cut emissions and help the world keep warming under the 1.5 degrees threshold.Now such diplomacy has become more difficult for Biden, especially as countries scramble for new sources of oil and gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The president said he will “continue using lawful executive authority, including the EPA’s legally-upheld authorities,” work with cities and states to pass laws, and “keep pushing for additional Congressional action, so that Americans can fully seize the economic opportunities, cost-saving benefits, and security of a clean energy future.”
The decision rested on what is called the “major questions” doctrine, which says Congress must “speak clearly” when authorizing agency action on significant issues.
In his ruling, Roberts chastised the EPA for finding “newfound power in the vague language” of the Clean Air Act, arguing a law written a half-century ago never allowed the EPA to force electric utilities to switch from coal to solar, wind and other renewable forms of generation.
“It is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme,” Roberts wrote. “A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”
In her dissent, Kagan said it made sense for Congress in the Clean Air Act to leave to government experts the best way to solve problems that might have been unforeseeable when the law was written.
“The enacting Congress told EPA to pick the ‘best system of emission reduction’ (taking into account various factors),” Kagan wrote. “In selecting those words, Congress understood — it had to — that the ‘best system’ would change over time. Congress wanted and instructed EPA to keep up. To ensure the statute’s continued effectiveness, the ‘best system’ should evolve as circumstances evolved — in a way Congress knew it couldn’t then know.”
“That new rule will be subject anyway to immediate, pre-enforcement judicial review,” Kagan wrote. “But this Court could not wait — even to see what the new rule says — to constrain EPA’s efforts to address climate change.”
Environmentalists and those who challenged EPA’s authority were divided over what comes next.
Richard Lazarus, a Harvard environmental law professor, said that the Supreme Court was insisting on a clear statement from what it knows is an “effectively dysfunctional” body.
“The Court threatens to upend the national government’s ability to safeguard the public health and welfare at the very moment when the United States, and all nations, are facing our greatest environmental challenge of all: climate change,” Lazarus wrote in an email.
Others noted the decision still allows for the EPA to regulate power plants’ greenhouse gas emission. It just cannot mandate that utilities shift to renewables after Thursday’s ruling.
“There is something of a silver lining here,” said Jody Freeman, also a Harvard Law School professor. “It leaves a pathway for EPA to still set meaningful standards.”
EPA officials, too, say they have other tools to reduce power plants’ pollution. “While I am deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision, we are committed to using the full scope of EPA’s authorities,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.
Others predicted Thursday’s ruling may invite future court challenges to other federal regulations.
“The consequences potentially reach far beyond EPA and the Clean Air Act,” said Lisa Heinzerling, an environmental law professor at Georgetown University. “This is a big statement on how it intends to act moving forward.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), who led the lawsuit against the EPA, suggested he may bring more cases based on the “major questions” doctrine. “It could be a very positive tool in the ongoing fight against federal overreach,” he told reporters Thursday.
The ruling comes as Biden struggles to pass a major climate bill through an evenly split Senate, compounding Democrats’ efforts to address rising temperatures.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused the court of “pushing the country back to a time when robber barons and corporate elites have complete power and average citizens have no say.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised the ruling.
“The Court has undone illegal regulations issued by the EPA without any clear congressional authorization and confirmed that only the people’s representatives in Congress — not unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats — may write our nation’s laws,” McConnell said in a statement.
The United States is the world’s second-biggest annual emitter of greenhouse gases, and is responsible for a greater portion of historical emissions than any other nation.
West Virginia v. EPA is the latest battle pitting the coal industry and Republican-led states against a Democratic administration that proposes sweeping changes to the way the nation’s power sector produces electricity.
The Supreme Court in 2016 stopped the Obama administration’s plan to drastically reduce power plants’ carbon output. The plan never went into effect, but its emission-reduction goals were met ahead of schedule because of economic conditions that made coal-fired plants more expensive.
A more lenient plan was promulgated by the Trump administration, which said its reading of the law limited the EPA’s actions to regulating emissions at a specific site instead of across the system, a restriction that has come to be known as “inside the fence.”
But on the last day of the Trump administration, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that was an intentional “misreading” of the law.
“The EPA has ample discretion in carrying out its mandate,” the decision concluded. “But it may not shirk its responsibility by imagining new limitations that the plain language of the statute does not clearly require.”
As a result, the Trump rules were struck, the Obama rules were not reinstated, and the Biden administration has yet to formulate its plan.
For that reason, the administration and environmentalists were stunned when the Supreme Court took the case. The Biden administration advised it to simply vacate the D.C. appeals court decision and wait to make a more intensive review of the EPA’s powers after new regulations were proposed.
The case deeply divided the business community. Mining companies and other firms in the coal sector urged the court to rein in the EPA, arguing coal is necessary for keeping electricity prices low and the grid reliable. Apple, Tesla and other major tech and retail firms investing in renewable energy, meanwhile, told the court that “stable, nationwide rules” are needed to avert climate disaster.
Hence, the US Supreme Court ignores popular opinion. Worse, some Supreme Court Justices seem they have a God-given duty to ignore public opinion. In his Dobbs opinion Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. writes, “the Judicial Branch derives its legitimacy, not from following public opinion, but from deciding by its best lights.”
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton.
Therefore, America has nine would-be dictators sitting in a Temple like building in Washington, DC, who think they can behave like gods on Mount Olympus or the Soviet Politburo. To elaborate, the Supremes think they can do whatever they want and face no consequences.
This situation exists because of our broken Constitution. In particular, I think two provisions to the Constitution Article III and Article I, Section Three create the menace of an all-powerful US Supreme Court.
How the Constitution Creates an All Powerful US Supreme Court
“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.” William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham, British Prime Minister.
To explain, Article III creates a Supreme Court but sets no rules or guidelines for that Court.
Article III Section 1 states: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”
Article III does not define the Supreme Court, set any qualifications for its members, or define a process for selecting justices. Indeed, it does not even require justices to be attorneys. Nor does Article III define the Justice’s powers or the number of justices.
Thus, we have Supreme Court Justices who serve for life and can only be removed by a two-thirds vote of the US Senate. Hence, Supreme Court justices are unaccountable to the people.
I don’t blame the Constitution’s author James Madison for this mess. Madison could not have known what havoc his vague paragraph could unleash. Notably, there was no such thing as a Supreme Court anywhere on Earth in 1787. America’s Supreme Court was the first.
Instead, I blame Congress for not exercising any authority over the Supreme Court or trying to limit its power. Worse, Congress has made no effort to bring America’s Supreme Court system into line with foreign courts.
America’s Undemocratic US Senate
Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution states “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State.”
I think Article 1, Section 3, is bad because it makes no provision for population differences between the states. Hence, America’s most populous state, California with 39.613 million people and least populous state Wyoming, with 581,075 people each have two Senators.
In detail, a US Senator from California represents 19.81 million people while a Wyoming US Senator represents 290,538 people. Thus, a Wyoming US Senator represents fewer people than the population of Riverside, California, (327,569).
Article 1, Section 3 creates an unrepresentative US Senate that appoints an Unrepresentative US Supreme Court. For example, I estimate there are 14 US states with populations under two million. Yet 28 US Senators represent those stations.
Furthermore, I estimate the combined population of America’s two most populous states, Texas and California, have a combined population of 70.634 million people. Four US Senators represent those 70.634 million people.
I estimate America’s seven least populous states have a combined population of 4.601 million. Yet 14 US Senators represent those states. To elaborate, those states are Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming.
This affects the US Supreme Court because the Senate approves the President’s Supreme Court nominees. Furthermore, Article III gives low-population, mostly white rural, and Conservative Christian states more seats in the Senate.
Consequently, America has a Senate full of people who see nothing wrong with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Organization and New York State Rifle & Pistol. Even though most Americans disagree with those decisions. In such an environment, it is impossible to hold the Supreme Court justices accountable for their actions.
What We Can Do About the US Supreme Court?
I think there are many reforms we could make to the US Supreme Court to make it more accountable and democratic. Those reforms include:
1. Term Limits
Currently, federal judges, including US Supreme Court Justices, serve for life, which makes them unaccountable. We could change this by restricting Federal Judges (including Supreme Court Justices) to a 10-year term. At the end of the term, Congress will have to approve a second term. I would also restrict Supreme Court Justices to 20 years or two terms. Hence, no more service for life.
2. Increase the Size of the US Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court is too small to litigate for a nation of 334.9 million people. We need a larger US Supreme Court that is more representative of the nation. A larger court will make the US closer to the world standard. For example, India has a Supreme Court with 32 members. I suggest a US Supreme Court of 35 members. One advantage to this arrangement is that Justices will could form committees to handle more cases and delegate authority.
3. Depoliticize the Nomination of US Supreme Court Justices
My suggestion take the nomination of Supreme Court Justices away from the president. Instead, turn it over to a committee of law professors or judges. The US Senate could still approve the nomination, but the beginning of the process will be unpolitical.
4. Have a group of ordinary citizens that reviews the Supreme Court and its decisions
Give this body the power to suspend Supreme Court Justices and refer them to Congress for impeachment.
5. Make it easier to impeach Supreme Court Justices
Currently, you need a two-thirds vote of the US Senate to impeach a Supreme Court Justice. Allow the Senate or both houses of Congress to remove Supreme Court Justices with a 51% vote.
6. Make the US Senate more representative of the American people
My suggestion add one US Senator to each state’s delegation for each five million people in population. This system could give Texas, which has around 30 million people, eight US Senators and California nine US Senators. Hence, we could have the US Senate that reflects the American population.