Justice Anthony Kennedy

The Supreme Court, 2011-2012 Term: Likely To Be Momentous, Historic, Path Breaking!

The US Supreme Court begins its new term tomorrow with expectations of major decisions likely to be issued on the Obama Health Care Plan, illegal immigration laws, gay rights and gay marriage, and affirmative action, among other cases.

Rarely has a term opened with such potential major impact on the future of many hot button issues, expected to occur by June of 2012 at the latest!

What seems more likely than anything else is that Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, and with a reputation as a “swing vote” on the evenly divided Court, will be the decisive fifth vote on many cases!

To imagine that one man should have such great influence, more than the other eight, including the Chief Justice John Roberts, is an indication of how tenuous constitutional law is in the age of a Court dominated until recently by conservative appointments of Reagan and both Presidents Bush.

As always, the Court, while seemingly trying to avoid politics, in actual fact plays politics, and will have a decisive role in what happens in the Presidential Election of 2012.

And what many forget is that IF a Republican President is elected in 2012, the Court will be turned more hard Right than it is right now, and that will have a destructive, deleterious effect on constitutional law for at least a generation!

It is the most important impact of the Presidential election, something many ill informed voters do not recognize, but which has a long range effect on their lives!

Progressives will be on tenterhooks wondering if Justice Kennedy will side with the left side of the Court, or the right side of the Court. For the advancement of America, let’s hope he swings to the left on these important issues mentioned above!

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Health Insurance Mandate: A Warning Sign Of Trouble Ahead For Obama Health Care Plan!

A federal Appeals Court in Atlanta has ruled against the health care mandate contained in President Barack Obama’s Health Care plan, this coming after another appeals court ruled that it was constitutional!

This guarantees with certainty that the US Supreme Court will have to rule on the legislation, with the likelihood of a 5-4 vote, with Justice Anthony Kennedy probably the swing vote who will decide whether the plan survives or dies.

Were the Supreme Court to declare the Obama Health Care Law unconstitutional, it would have a major impact on the whole Obama agenda long term and historically, so it is a case that will gain the maximum attention imaginable when it comes up likely in 2012, before the Presidential election takes place!

It is amazing to the author of this blog that anyone could believe that it is responsible for anyone to feel that he or she has no need to commit financial resources in the form of health insurance in case of an accident or serious illness, and instead will lean on the public support and expense for his or her medical care in the form of an emergency room or simply not paying his or her bill for medical care!

This is the total antithesis of the idea of personal responsibility for one’s own health care, and it throws the expense on the rest of society, which sounds to many like the “socialism” that the critics denounce!

This is utter and rank hypocrisy, and it works against the concept that all Americans have to expect to pay for their own health care, as much as they have to pay taxes, obey the laws, and often serve in the military if called upon, in much of our history!

Two Civil Liberties Decisions Of The Supreme Court That Make Sense!

The Supreme Court made two decisions today on criminal law that makes sense, and protect civil liberties!

In one case, Graham V. Florida, the Court divided 5-4 with the four liberal Justices joined by Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the Court, who more often votes with the conservatives, but not this time!

The case involved the issue of whether a juvenile offender, who had committed crimes short of murder, could be imprisoned for life automatically, and the decision was to reject that. Justice Kennedy, the author of the opinion, said it was generally accepted nationally and internationally that such a viewpoint was wrong, with only eleven states and mostly Florida cases having sentenced juveniles to life without parole on non murder cases.

The fact that Kennedy used the international argument upset Justice Clarence Thomas, who said foreign practices are irrelevant to our laws and Constitution.

The struggle over whether foreign law should have any impact on our courts is a heated one, and it shows just how important Justice Kennedy is on the Court, as the truly “swing” vote on the Court, which he has been for many years now, with a tightly divided Court!

In another case, US V. Comstock, the Court by 7-2 declared that a sexually dangerous convict could be held beyond the terms of his sentence, as a way to protect the public from him being a menace on the streets of the country.

While at first thought, it would seem that this is a denial of civil liberties, it seems fair that if someone is seen as a threat to the public because of inability to control sexual impulses, based on clear and direct medical and psychological evidence, then the protection and promotion of safety of citizens must be foremost!

Interestingly, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were in the minority on this case! It proves once again that both Justices are indeed hard to understand in their thinking!