Justices of the U. S. Supreme Court

John Paul Stevens, 88
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75
Antonin Scalia, 72
Anthony Kennedy, 72
Stephen Breyer, 70
Clarence Thomas, 60
Samuel Alito, 58
Sonia Sotomayor, 56
John Roberts (the chief justice), 53

Because of his age and length of service, Stevens is widely considered the most likely to step down, followed by Ginsburg. Both happen to be judicial liberals on a Court that has four liberals (Breyer and Sotomayor being the other two) and four judicial conservatives (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts). The fickle Kennedy tends to provide the fifth vote in close cases, particularly those involving abortion, race, and religion.

The election of Obama over McCain last fall prevented a Republican goal (dating from the 1968 presidential campaign) of an unambiguously conservative majority on the Court. In this liberal nightmare, the relatively youthful majority would be busy whittling away at Roe v. Wade, eliminating race-based preferences in the public sector, strengthening the government’s hand in fighting terrorism, and facilitating a larger role for religion in public life–among many other bad, bad things.

I know most of you have these players, their stats and which team they play for memorized, but I don’t and always have to go looking for them.

This morning’s New York Times has an op-ed piece titled, “Discrimination on Trial, but Not on TV.” In a 5-4 decision that split the top judges along their political leanings, the Supreme Court barred the live broadcast of audio and video from a California court where rights activists are challenging a state ban on gay marriage.

I would like to know what you think of this decision made yesterday, and your thoughts of our nation’s high court in general.

fnord

11 Comments

Filed under GLBT Rights, U. S. Supreme Court

11 responses to “Justices of the U. S. Supreme Court

  1. They’re living longer and serving longer.

    Stevens has served the longest of the nine, and by this coming July he will have completed 34 years. (He is threatening the record in this obscure competition, which was set by the justice whose seat he took in 1975, William O. Douglas, who served more than 36 years.)

  2. The US Supreme Court barred the live broadcast of audio and video from a California court where rights activists are challenging a state ban on gay marriage.

    In a 5-4 decision that split the top judges along their political leanings, the Supreme Court said the San Francisco courtroom had likely failed to follow regulations when it altered its existing rules to allow the transmissions.

    “We do not here express any views on the propriety of broadcasting court proceedings generally,” the majority decision said,

    “Instead, our review is confined to a narrow legal issue: whether the District Court’s amendment of its local rules to broadcast this trial complied with federal law.

    “We conclude that it likely did not,” the ruling said, adding that it would be “premature” to order a similar halt to a non-live rebroadcast of the proceedings over the Internet.

    In a dissenting opinion Wednesday, four of the Supreme Court’s justices argued that there was no justification for banning the broadcasts.

    “I can find no basis for the… conclusion that, were the transmissions to other courtrooms to take place, the applicants would suffer irreparable harm,” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer.

    He also cited “the public’s interest in observing trial proceedings to learn about this case and about how courts work.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iu6nxow6bb7HwTJ1JSReMZdlPTvA

  3. The court issued an unsigned opinion that said lower courts had not followed proper procedure in approving plans for the broadcast. The trial is to consider the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court cited arguments from proponents of the ban that releasing video of witnesses could subject them to harassment and even physical danger.

    The opinion came from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

    ———————

    What, if anything, does it mean that the majority opinion was unsigned?

    • lillacluvr

      Unsigned means they don’t want to take responsibility and be held accountable for what they just did and/or said?

      But, that’s only a guess on my part.

    • It means nothing of significance. It may mean, at best, that one of the Justice’s clerks wrote the opinion’s language, which reflected the views of the majority, and was then issued without any one of the Justices ‘fine tuning’ it. Not common, but in an ’emergency’ situation, not unprecedented.

  4. Yesterday was the second time the court has intervened with an emergency order in the sensitive issue of gay rights. In the fall, it barred Washington state officials from releasing the names of those who had signed petitions to overturn a state law giving benefits to same-sex couples.

  5. When I look at the political leanings of the Court, it’s easy to see at least one reason electing Obama was far superior to electing McCain.

  6. On Wednesday, the majority criticized the California courts for changing their rules “at the eleventh hour to treat this case differently than other trials.” Although Walker first raised the possibility of broadcasting the trial in September, it was not until December that the 9th Circuit began modifying its rules to allow such broadcasts. Walker announced his plans Jan. 7, and attorneys for proponents of Proposition 8 asked the Supreme Court for a stay.

    In saying it was expressing no opinion on the propriety of broadcasts, the court noted that “reasonable minds differ on the proper resolution of that debate and on the restrictions, circumstances, and procedures under which such broadcasts should occur.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/13/AR2010011304348.html

    • In going just far enough to meet the conservative’s goals but making it clear they weren’t making decisions or offering opinions beyond a very limited scope, this decision reminds me of the one the highest court made in handing bush the lesser his presidency.

      • lillacluvr

        This is why I said what I did before about the unsigned opinion.

        These are people that like to be able to say ‘I did this or that’ to their certain base of supporters but not be held accountable for any consequences of their actions.

        But I thought the Supreme Court was to be non-political . You know, something like the lady of justice being blindfolded?

      • But I thought the Supreme Court was to be non-political . You know, something like the lady of justice being blindfolded?

        Lately she appears to have been blindfolded, cuffed and gagged.