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2018 Jun 30 - New Supreme Court Justice

20180630
Wow, summer's here and it is hot out there, call me Sylvia Plath, because it feels like my head's in an oven. But with spring gone it's not just the weather losing it's cool, the internet is all up in arms because Donald Trump is going to be electing a new judge to the US Supreme Court.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is stepping down after several decades on the bench, although at 81 years old who can blame him. When I'm that age the only bench I'd want to be on would be in a nice park somewhere. I say "who can blame him" but apparently the answer is: any self righteous person with a twitter account, a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker and a shade of narcissism, but it's the internet, narcissism goes without saying. Anyway what now, perhaps the judicial system has a method for appointing his successor or there's a formal electoral system honed over centuries of legal development? Not quite, this is much more like the process for electing people to the house of lords or FIFA or the EU commission, namely it's up to the whims and fancy of whoever's currently in office. It's like when the management at work change what type of tea and coffee are going to be in the breakout area. And much like that large box of weird herbal tea in that kitchen, the new supreme court justice is going to be hanging around for decades to come.

With a majority in both the congress and senate, the President can put in pretty much anyone he likes which is either a bad thing or a good thing, depending on your political persuasion, and whilst the president does admittedly have a large knowledge and history of how courtrooms work, it is mostly limited to civil actions like defamation, trademark infringement and bankruptcy proceedings. Therefore we're likely to see someone from a list of party approved names being parachuted in.

The thing with the supreme court though is that they don't actually make the law, all they do is establish what badly written or ambiguous laws mean. If you don't like their interpretation of something, pass a new law or a constitutional amendment to fix it in writing. If you don't have the seats to do that then try to win some more of them. Ultimately, the supreme court is but one part of the US government and if you're on the left and you don't control any of the other parts, you can hardly complain at this stage about not being able to put your ideas put into practice.
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