Now to the Court

The electorate has been misinformed by the Executive Branch and uninformed by the Congress. Now it is the Court’s turn. Aside from the many legal challenges percolating from the mire of political infighting, the Supreme Court is considering some cleaving decisions – cleaving in that large portions of American society will rise or fall on those decisions.

Increased activity largely is from the conservative side of society trying to leverage a newly conservative court. But long overdue Constitutional issues also are on the docket e.g., citizenship, gerrymandering and Native American rights. Needless to say, soon Roe v. Wade will be addressed; one or two Presidential authorities as interpreted by Donald eventually will come before the Court. In the near future, voting rights will be addressed – especially as they are violated in Dixie.

֎ Native American rights – In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled Monday in favor of Native American rights in a Wyoming hunting case. There is another Native American rights case to be decided this term — a case from Oklahoma that deals with tribal territorial rights. Justice Neil Gorsuch — who is a champion of American Indian rights has been the deciding vote on several cases including Monday’s — is recused from this particular case. That means the court could deadlock.

֎ Political and racial gerrymandering – Three states, Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland, are before the court dealing with redistricting. Gerrymandering by race is one issue. The others are political party gerrymandering. Any rejection of gerrymandering will have immense impact on future elections.

֎ Separation of church and state – This particular case is known as the “cross case.” It’s about a World War I memorial concrete cross that sits at an intersection in Bladensburg, Md. — and whether it should be allowed to continue to stand on public land. The Federal government asked the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the cross, which critics say is an unconstitutional state endorsement of Christianity as the state religion.

Mariner notes other religion/state conflicts in many places – even money – where Christian doctrine and state authority are represented as co-equal. This confusion, generated in an early age of the nation despite the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution, is what causes consternation among Evangelicals and conservatives when the state takes actions in behalf of the US citizen which do not represent the authority of Christian doctrine.

֎ Census citizenship question – Donald’s administration is trying to add a citizenship question to the upcoming census. The court will decide whether it can. Based on questioning during oral arguments, the court’s conservatives agree with the Trump administration and allow it by a narrow 5-4 majority. The Census Bureau, however, states that there could be an undercount of 6.5 million people if the question is included.

֎ Race, murder and jury selection – This is a case about bias in jury selection. A Mississippi death row inmate was prosecuted six times for the same crime by a prosecutor with a history of racial bias in jury selection.

֎ When is a word too dirty to be trademarked? – A clothing designer, Erik Brunetti, tried to trademark his “FUCT” line, but it was rejected. The US Trademark Office has not exactly provided standards about what constitutes “immoral,” “shocking,” “offensive” and “scandalous”, leaving the justices to decide whether the term will be allowed.

Other potential cases of consequence:

-Gundy v. US: A sex offender case dealing with how much power is too much to give to the US attorney general for his application of the law.

-Gamble v. US: A double jeopardy case to decide whether a state and federal government can try someone for the same crime.

Major issues remain outside the priorities of all three branches of the Federal Government: cash in elections, Electoral College and misrepresentation in the Senate, antitrust enforcement, bank regulations, and not last and not least, privacy and state security.

Ancient Mariner

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