The US Supreme Court Has Bad News For The American People And The GOP Is To Blame

The vacancy left by Scalia and the inevitable 4-4 ties bound to happen have left the court no choice but to deliver sorry and crippling news to the American public: The court will hear but a fraction of the cases it normally would in a session, with a mere three cases scheduled since Scalia died.

The Supreme Court of the United States is tasked under article 3 section 2 with the power to decide all cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution, to interpret the laws of the nation and to be the final word in the legality of all of our treaties. The Judicial branch of the government determines precedent often over cases the people and their elected representatives can’t agree on by interpreting their letter and spirit as it applies to our society as well as the intentions of the founders.

That’s quite a mouthful and a set of expectations that all too often fall by the wayside in favor of partisan politics. That’s not to say that the court doesn’t have its moments. Centrist judges and even partisan players have often taken their robes and their positions as seriously as they should, such as with the recent decisions on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage. On the other hand, when you have to sit back and witness the destruction of the Voters Rights Act, once again the issue of partisanship comes into play. Partisan or not, the court is tasked with those decisions, and it has nine justices for a reason. Ties at the highest court of the land don’t work.

No matter how you view the court, its role in our government is imperative. The death of Justice Scalia and the obstructionist GOP-led senate hasn’t just hampered the court’s ability to function, it has rendered it nearly inoperable. Between late February and Early April, the court hears eight cases on average with a high of eleven in 2011.

The reason is simple: The court isn’t interested in wasting time by hearing cases that will end in a deadlock. It’s counter-productive to maintaining the rule of law and a massive waste of time and resources. As a result, the court has heard cases with little consequence or controversy. The court has agreed to hear eight cases in total this term, which runs until January 2017, five of which were scheduled while Scalia was still alive. The court typically hears upwards of 70 cases in a term.

That means we can forget about integral decisions on archaic abortion laws, redistricting, campaign reform, and a plethora of other issues already ruled on by lower conservative judges until sometime in 2017, or whenever the Democrats regain the Senate if Clinton or Sanders are elected this November. The Republican party doesn’t play fair. Their tactics are bush league at best. By obstructing the executive branch and holding the judicial branch hostage, the GOP has effectively destroyed the republic they claim to be saving.


Featured image by Win McNamara, Getty Images