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ETpro's avatar

If it was your call, what Supreme Court Justice/s would you replace?

Asked by ETpro (34242 points ) April 18th, 2012

Which Justice/s, if any, do you feel fall farthest from honestly interpreting the Constitution? What decisions lead you to this conclusion? If you could pick one or more justice to retire, which would it be. Do you have any thoughts on who should replace them?

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43 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Roberts
Scalia
Alito
Kennedy
and Thomas

jrpowell's avatar

What Marinelife said. But I will provide a reason. They all decided to toss Democracy in the toilet. Modern day Benedict Arnolds.

Qingu's avatar

Thomas is a joke. He’s incompetent, he’s a creep, and his wife takes millions of dollars from people who stand to profit from his rulings, which is about as corrupt as it gets.

I think Scalia is honest-to-god stupid.

The other cons are at least qualified.

I don’t know enough about people in the field t to have strong opinions on who to replace them with.

ragingloli's avatar

All of them. Then replace them with AIs

Aethelflaed's avatar

Another vote for Thomas, for the same reasons as everyone else.

bkcunningham's avatar

God bless her, but for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to speak so derisively about the Constitution she is sworn to uphold is way beyond distressing to me. Remember the remarks she made when being interviewed by Al Hayat in Egypt about developing a new government?

I love her deference to state court interpretations, but I’m afraid her time has come and gone. She has really had some opinions that don’t follow the Constitution so much as they promote her ideology. The New Haven fire fighters is one that comes to mind,

Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be on my short-list of replacements.

janbb's avatar

What @marinelife said.

@ragingloli Just wondering – do you know much about individual Supreme Court Justices and their stances or do you just spout this stuff out?

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, you prefer a constitution held slavery as legal and forbid women from having political power to South Africa’s model that Ginsburg advocated for the Egyptians?

(Egyptians who, by the way, might well forbid women from holding political power, being dominated by Islamists).

Okay.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu, I can’t understand your first sentence.

Qingu's avatar

The original US constitution enshrined slavery and failed to enumerate women’s right to vote.

South Africa’s original constitution has none of these obvious flaws.

Largely because it was enacted in 1996, centuries after the US constitution, and we humans have gotten better at constructing legal foundations for society in the time since.

So I’m confused as to why you find Ginsburg’s comment so beyond the pale. Do you prefer the US Constitution’s to South Africa’s? It does seem like many conservatives view our constitution as a religious talisman whose veneration must be enforced under penalty of heresy, rather than as a flawed, manmade legal document that has changed immensely over time.

EDIT: It’s also important to remember, practically speaking, that most Egyptians absolutely despise America. So I’m not sure how practical it would be, if the goal is to advance American-style governance in Egypt, to cheerlead America’s constitution as opposed to a similarly “civilized” constitution from a country dearer to Egypt’s heart.

ragingloli's avatar

@janbb
Humans are irrational, and that makes them inferior to machines. Humans can not be trusted with anything.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Clarence Thomas.

1. He was dishonest in filling out his disclosure forms, by omitting his wife’s earnings.
2. He has attended events that seem questionable for a justice of the highest court in the land.
3. Sometimes I suspect that his wife’s activities present a conflict of interest.
4. He hasn’t asked a question in over 6 years. I want to hear from the Constitutional experts. ALL of them. His lack of inquisitiveness or inability to articulate are disturbing.
5. Anita Hill was not lying.

I would replace him with Chief US District Judge Fred Biery.

janbb's avatar

@ragingloli I don’t entirely agree with you but I understand where you are coming from more now.

bkcunningham's avatar

Why it is you prefer the South Africa’s constitution over the US Constitution, @Qingu? I don’t. For the record, what about it is better than our constitution?

Qingu's avatar

I think the two points I brought up—freedom from slavery and universal suffrage—are sufficient to make it obviously better than ours. But let me know if you disagree. I’ll be happy to list other areas of preference. For example, I could go on quite a rant about the warped incentives created by the structure of our goddamn Senate

bkcunningham's avatar

We don’t have that? Thirteenth Amendment and 19th?

Qingu's avatar

I said original constitution. I think from the context of her remarks that Ginsburg was talking about that as well.

If she wasn’t, then it’s still preferable to model your country’s constitution on one that deals with such issues up front (like SA’s) rather than one that took decades and a civil war to tack them on (like ours), wouldn’t you agree? I mean, presumably you would not want the Egyptians to draft their constitution without such provisions and wait decades to tack them on in amendments, as we did?

bkcunningham's avatar

I prefer the US Constitution and form of government.

Qingu's avatar

You prefer the original US constitution to South Africa’s? Or the US constitution as it exists in 2012?

bkcunningham's avatar

Seriously, @Qingu? Do you prefer the South Africa of today or the South Africa pre-de Klerk?

Qingu's avatar

I’ll repeat: South Africa’s original constitution, the one Ginsburg was referring to, was enacted in 1996.

The originalUS constitution was enacted in 1787.

Which one do you prefer?

To answer your question, I prefer South Africa’s original constitution to the law of the land when South Africa was an apartheid state. But this was a pointless deflection and you know it.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think you are calling me a racist in a backhanded way, @Qingu.

bkcunningham's avatar

If you are asking me if I prefer slavery, of course not. I don’t appreciate your insinuations, they are juvenile at best. It is very difficult to have a discussion with someone who stoops to those levels.

janbb's avatar

@bkcunningham In @Qingu‘s defense, I think he is not calling you a racist but just pointing out that those who favor a strict interpretation of the Constitution may not be considering some of the datedness of its original form.

bkcunningham's avatar

That is why I mentioned the amendments, @janbb. I’ve never met anyone who says we need to eliminate all amendments in the US Constitution and keep it in it’s original form. That goes against the intent of Article V. The founders made provisions for amendments.

Qingu's avatar

Not calling you a racist. Not insinuating anything. Just asking a simple question. It sounds like we agree that the original South African constitution is better than the original US constitution.

Though a direct answer, as always, sure would be helpful.

bkcunningham's avatar

You are comparing apples and oranges, @Qingu. What point are you trying to make with your question? I mean why are you comparing the writing of the original US Constitution with South Africa’s current constitution? It doesn’t make any sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Sometimes I feel like you think very differently. I never would have though @Qingu was calling you a racist or assuming you want to go back to the slave days.

The way I see it, you like the justices who want to stick to the constitution and don’t agree it is a document that needs to change with the times. Or, more importantly you take issue with the Justices who are willing to say the constitution should change with the times. So, @Qingu pointed out the original writing of the constitution has change via amendments, you did not seem to be acknowledging that, but then eventually you did. It’s some sort of miscommunication. I am not saying your fault, just a miscommunication.

bkcunningham's avatar

Where did he point out that the US Constitution has changed via amendments, @JLeslie? I honestly missed that.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, let’s review.

You said Ginsburg was a horrible judge because she said the South African constitution is a better model for Egypt.

I then pointed out that the SA original constitution is clearly better than the original US constitution—because, for example, it outlaws slavery and gives women the right to vote.

You haven’t actually responded to this yet. I’m still waiting for a clear answer from you. I don’t expect to get it, of course, but here’s hoping this was just a misunderstanding on your part.

bkcunningham's avatar

A clear answer to what, @Qingu? I’ve answered all of your questions. You haven’t answered my question, “What point are you trying to make with your question? I mean why are you comparing the writing of the original US Constitution with South Africa’s current constitution?”

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, here is what sparked this topic of discussion. You said:

God bless her, but for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to speak so derisively about the Constitution she is sworn to uphold is way beyond distressing to me. Remember the remarks she made when being interviewed by Al Hayat in Egypt about developing a new government?

I then looked up the remark. Ginsburg said the Egyptians should think about modeling their constitution after a modern one, like South Africa, rather than an ancient one, like America’s.

Her remark seemed entirely reasonable to me. I then asked you why you found it so offensive, since the SA constitution prohibited slavery and gives women suffrage and America’s did not.

I have yet to get a clear answer to that question. Maybe the problem was that you weren’t actually familiar with what Ginsburg said.

bkcunningham's avatar

And I noted two amendments that contradicted what you said, @Qingu.

Qingu's avatar

But I was asking about the original constitutions. Ginsberg was pretty obviously referring to the original constitutions.

Which original constitution do you prefer? And why do you find it so difficult to answer this simple question?

I prefer SA’s.

bkcunningham's avatar

To repeat my original post: God bless her, but for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to speak so derisively about the Constitution she is sworn to uphold is way beyond distressing to me.

She is speaking in a demeaning manner to the US Constitution. She is an assistant US Supreme Court Justice. I can’t make it any more clear than that regarding what I find disturbing about her statements. It isn’t that complicated.

What leads you to believe she is referring to the original constitution. Why would she do so for that question or for the context of the question? That doesn’t make any sense.

Qingu's avatar

Because she notes that the US Constitution was written very long ago, unlike South Africa’s:

Ginsburg said Egyptians “should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone on since the end of World War II.”

“The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification.”

And thank you for repeating your original post, but I would still like a simple answer to this simple question: Which original constitution do you think is better, the US’s, or SA’s?

I’ll note that this is at least the fifth time I’ve asked you this question without getting an answer.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think the original US Constitution is better than SA’s because its intent in establishing a Constitutional Republic ensured for liberties and freedoms that aren’t given in the SA constitution which is way too far left for my personal likings. The right to housing? Housing a right? Come on.

So what if the US Constitution was written “a very long time ago” (really?) that doesn’t mean that you disregard it or interpret it to your likings.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Was not the original question about pruning the current Supreme Court of some of its members? I support some of the earliest answers offered to this question.

bkcunningham's avatar

Yes, my apologies for derailing the thread everyone. My apologies to you, @ETpro. Sorry.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, thanks for answering. I think that’s pretty fucked up.

Anyway, back on topic. Sorry to derail.

ETpro's avatar

@marinelife Thanks. I figured someone would list all 5 conservative justices. I’m surprised there’s been no counter proposal to replace the 4 more liberal justices with cons.

@johnpowell Thanks for providing the rationale. I presume if that wasn’t what @marinelife thought, there would be a dissenting post by now.

<rant>I agree that decisions like Citizens United Vs. FEC are judicial activism, which conservatives claim to abhor when liberal justices do it, but stand up and salute when it supports their ideology—the constitution be damned. The idea that the Founders meant corporations when they said people in the 1st Amendment is utterly preposterous. Company licensing was, almost exclusively, a state issue. There was no Wall Street when the Bill of Rights was ratified. There were a few companies such as the Pony Express who were granted special license to do business across state lines. There were NO multinational corporations. The corporate structure did not exist. How the hell could the authors of the Bill of Rights really meant to give freedom of unlimited TV advertising to corporations when none of those concepts even existed in their time—and when they had just survived a brutal Revolutionary War largely inspired by their hatred of the one multinational “Corporation” that existed in their time, the British East India Company? </rant>

@Qingu I agree. It would probably be well to leave Roberts, Alito and Kennedy on the court as they are competent jurist and constitutional scholars and they provide some balance.

@ragingloli Strange answer.

@Aethelflaed Thanks.

@bkcunningham Have you read what Justice Ginzburg actually said, or just what the right-wing blogosphere and Fox talkers accused her of saying? Oh, never mind. I see a whole debate has erupted to that point. I don’t want to resurrect that now that the dust has settled.

As to Brett Kavanaugh, his confirmation to the DC Circuit was held up for three years due to concerns about his purely partisan activities. While he was eventually confirmed through a back-room deal to give Democrats a plum they wanted, I’d vigorously oppose elevating him to the nation’s highest court. It should not be an institution packed with partisans of either stripe.

@janbb Thank you.

@Dr_Lawrence OMG, Thank you. I sure as heck don’t want to wade back into that swamp.

@bkcunningham & @Qingu Thanks for returning to the topic. Much appreciated.

Ron_C's avatar

Thomas is a dishonest creep.
Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Kennedy, are traitors and should be impeached and imprisoned before they can do anymore damage to the country.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C That’s pretty extreme—but sadly true.

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