Saturday, June 30, 2018

What If The Supreme Court Ruled On The Existence Of God?

Recently, I blogged something I think was profound*.
Imagine that Trump nominates a young, strict constructionist. Imagine further that Roe v Wade and gay marriage are overturned and sent back to the states for local rulings and the possibility of amending the constitution. What does it really mean?

It means that the people will be given a choice about these key elements of their culture and their lives. It's not the Supreme Court's culture and it's not your culture or my culture, it's our culture and a strict constructionist will hand the power back to us. That's a very, very good thing.
The two rulings causing the most hysteria among the progressives are abortion and gay marriage. Like the existence of God, both are rulings on unanswerable questions.

What is a marriage? Is it defined by biology or emotions? Both sides have merit. Both can be strongly held by well-intentioned people and defended with sound logic and fact..

When does life begin? When the egg is fertilized? When the heart starts beating? When the child can feel pain? When it is born? When it can be considered sentient? Any one of these is defensible. Any one can be strongly held by well-intentioned people and defended with sound logic and fact.

Why are ambiguous questions that define key parts of our culture being decided by 5 people and forced upon 325,000,000? If the questions can be answered in multiple ways without "hate" or illogic, then one answer is as valid as another. The dudes and dudettes on the Supreme Court aren't going to come up with the killer arguments that put those questions to bed once and for all because those arguments do not exist. The Supremes are not supremely wise, they just have the training, experience and position to rule on laws. That's not the same as cultural omniscience.

I am fundamentally opposed to both abortion and gay marriage, but I would find them easier to accept if the citizens of my state voted to make them legal. At least then I wouldn't feel like I was living in a 5-person dictatorship. And frankly, I can't respect 5 people who think they can answer eternal paradoxes definitively for all the rest of us. That's obnoxious.

The real question at hand is not whether this or that ruling will be upheld or overturned, it's this: Who gets to rule on hopelessly ambiguous cultural matters, the 325,000,000 of us or the 5 of them?

Here, we see members of the Supreme Court paying a visit on our elected officials so they can issue a ruling upon the rest of us.

* - Hey, even an ideologically blinded blogger finds an acorn now and again. Although just what that blogger would do with the acorn once he found it is beyond me.


tim eisele said...

Yes, I agree that a lot of these things should have been settled on the spot by the people concerned, and that the Supreme Court should be concerned with actual Constitutional issues. But in that case:

"Why are ambiguous questions that define key parts of our culture being decided by 5 people and forced upon 325,000,000?"

Unfortunately, the answer to this question appears to be that there are a lot of people who are, to put it bluntly, assholes. They simply Will. Not. Concede. That. The. Other. Guy. Has. A. Point. They bicker back and forth, and can't just let anything *go*. Oh no. Can't have *that*. Can't show weakness! Can't compromise! Gotta go to court! Gotta prove I'm *right!" Gotta *punish* you for having the temerity to disagree with me! And when both sides of the case are That Sort Of Person, that's when it escalates all the way up to the Supreme Court.

It seems to me that the courts don't *choose* to take up these issues, rather they are foisted upon them by people who are constitutionally unable to get along with anyone. And then what is the judge supposed to do? Regardless of which way they decide one of these cases, the losing side will squeal about unelected judges picking wrongly while the winning side will rub it in by trumpeting about how it Proves Them Right. Then the losers will keep bringing up variations on the same case in hopes that this time it will be different. For decades, if necessary. The only real recourse of the judges is to just be more liberal about refusing to hear cases at all, but then that just bumps it down to the appeals courts catching all the heat.

It's a no-win situation. I do not envy the life of a judge. Pretty much by definition, they have to deal with some of the most obnoxious people in the world.

Foxfier said...

Semantic issue-- "life" is an objective biological measure; "moral worth" or "personhood" would be more accurate for the sense of the "beginning" question.

It's just that phrasing it "when does a biological human become a legally protected, recognized person" upsets folks.

peppylady (Dora) said...

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If you have time stop by coffee.