Thursday, February 3, 2011

The 9th Circus

Fox News was running a story on February 2nd on five (in a row) recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that overturned decisions of the ultra-liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The 9th Circuit – sometimes dubbed the “9th Circus” due to the number of rulings that make a normal person just scratch their head and wonder just how many martinis were consumed before they reached a decision – is the last-chance appeals venue for much of the western United States. Next stop after the 9th Circuit would be the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 9th circuit covers a huge geographic area and a lot of densely populated areas and as a result renders decisions on a lot of appeals each year. Due to the large number of decisions from the 9th Circuit there are a good number of that court’s cases each year that come before U.S. Supreme Court.

What was notable about the five recent Supreme Court decisions discussed in the Fox article was that the rulings were unanimous, and the five case were five sequential cases and all of them out of the 9th circuit.

In the Supreme Court opinions “strong” language was used to suggest that the 9th Circuit needs to pay more attention to precedent and give more weight to the rulings of lower state courts. Justice Kennedy also mentioned that the 9th Circuit is is demonstrating “judicial disregard” for “sound and established principles.”

Although three of the five appeals were fairly routine and technical matters, in the fourth instance the 9th Circuit’s ruling holding that credit card companies would be forced to provide advance notice of interest rate increases to a customer when they have failed to make payments or defaulted on the debt (something already required to be stated in the card issuers terms) was overturned. The fifth case was a 9th Circuit decision that ruled prospective employees of NASA could not be asked about recent drug use on a background check form. According to the 9th Circuit this was unreasonable.

Thank god (and the founders) we have a Supreme Court. Can you imagine if decisions like this were allowed to stand? Employers have a hard enough time as it is finding qualified employees and trying to compete in the world market. Is it to much to ask that a public sector employee for an organization such as NASA (paid by our tax dollars) who may be working in a sensitive, or critical program should undergo a thorough background check before being hired? Our men and women in the space program have a risky enough job as it is without having to rely on cracked-out support staff.

The left in this country likes to talk about bias on the right, and how we misconstrue the constitution in cases like the 2nd Amendment. I strongly disagree with this premise. It is the left that relies on legislating from the bench, rather than following the letter of the law, to shape the country as they see fit. Whether it is the Endangered Species Act that forbids us to use our own land as we see fit, or using the EPA and other agencies to seize power over other areas of our lives, the left never hesitates to jump at the chance to increase their power and influence over every aspect of our lives.

The current U.S. Supreme Court with its conservative majority is a great opportunity to turn back the clock on some of the damage that has been done to this country through bastardization and exploitation of the legal system and the increase in the regulatory environment in all aspects of our lives.

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