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Is the Supreme Court too politicized?


Fri, Jun 29th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

No matter what your opinions are on the recent rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court, there is a concern that like Congress, the court and their law clerks are being reduced to a mere appendage of the two powerful political parties.

Has the court become too political? The Supreme Court needs to maintain the people’s respect and trust. The court is the ultimate appellate authority. They are a legal institution, not a political body. Unfortunately, it seems to many that the justices are increasingly swayed by political leanings.

In June 2012 the New York Times and CBS News conducted a poll that found that only 44 percent approve of the job the court is doing and 75 percent believe decisions are sometimes influenced by the justices’ political or personal opinions. If the court is politicized, has their authority been sullied in the eyes of the American people? The court by its very nature decides issues that are politically sensitive, polarizing, and therefore elicit strong feelings from the public.

Over the last century, the percentage of 5-4 rulings has risen dramatically. Prior to the 1930s, 5-4 rulings comprised less than 4 percent of the total. Since 1980, 5-4 rulings have consistently been north of 20 percent of the total. The narrow rulings are reflective of the political polarization of the country.

Extreme partisanship has infected the process of nominating and confirming judges. The U.S. Constitution designed the judicial branch to be separate from the legislative and executive branches, for “checks and balances.”

The Supreme Court generally has been a trusted authority. However, if the court is seen as being too political, then that trust will be eroded. Respect for the court and the integrity of the justices is what maintains their authority in the eyes of the public.

The court in essence stands as a referee of our political system, they are the arbiters of the law. Their authority is the final authority. Bush v Gore is one decision that made many question the court’s ability to make ‘apolitical’ decisions.

Article III, Section I of the Constitution reads, “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in the Supreme Court.” Section II says, “The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact.”

I’ve often heard statements like the court’s job is to strictly interpret the Consti .....
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One Moment Please... An unintended experiment

Mon, Jun 18th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

In the May 21, 2012, issue of the Fillmore County Journal, I addressed the numerous inquiries about why the Journal was now being delivered on Saturdays instead of Mondays. As I said in that commentary, that was a decision by the Postmaster General ..... 
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How should the winners govern?

By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Jun 18th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

When I first went to Washington in the 1960s as a novice congressman, the Democratic Party was clearly in control. It held the White House and enjoyed big majorities in both houses of Congress. So big, in fact, that a sizable group of Democratic p ..... 
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Talking points

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Mon, Jun 18th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

“Talking Points” as we whimsically call them, could more aptly be thought of as “alarm buttons”! The rich should pay their “fair share” is a match setting fire to a parched field. Words such as Capitalism, Socialism, Free trade, Amnesty ..... 
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Talking common sense

Mon, Jun 11th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

Political party rhetoric is directed to appeal to a voter’s emotion rather than a careful, honest, reasoned use of common sense. Being somewhat of a political junkie, I read and watch a variety of opinion pieces. A few weeks ago on a May 27 progra ..... 
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Exposing the argumentative tactics of the conservative right

Mon, Jun 11th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

By Herb Panko Chatfield, MN The views of the Conservative Right are consistently well-represented in this newspaper---mainly by the three regular columnists John Goutcher, Stan Gudmundson, and Andrew Kingsley. Opposition voices are long overdue. ..... 
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In praise of fathers

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Mon, Jun 4th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

By Yvonne Nyenhuis There are two things I’m addicted to, ice-cream and Book TV on C-Span. Recently I watched Bay Buchanan introduce a book she has written of her experience as a single mother raising three sons. As her story unfolded, I realized ..... 
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One Moment Please... Journal Scholarship Recipient

Mon, May 28th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

The past couple of weeks have come with a flurry of graduation reminders. A couple of weeks ago, parents, officers and students celebrated the annual D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony in Peterson, recognized on page 21. Thank you to our Sheriff’s De ..... 
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Another look at unemployment numbers

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, May 28th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

I’m getting to be a little more nostalgic as I get older. I look back at the old days and think that maybe, just maybe, things were better then. Some of you might remember them as well. Do you remember when the left was thoroughly enthusiastic ..... 
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