Immaterial is Subjective

Immaterial Is Subjective

The SCOTUS recently ruled (I believe it was 6-3) that some of Pennsylvania’s laws were “immaterial”. I have no doubt there are many, many laws throughout the statutes of Pennsylvania’s laws that are immaterial (and other States), but the Judiciary, in its interpretation of the law, is legislating from the bench. In this particular case, I agree the matter at hand is “immaterial” but it is the law as it was passed by the Legislature. The law requires the date be included as part of the verification process. Arguments could be made (and probably were) that other process were in place (e.g., a postmark) that made including the date unnecessary, but that is not what the law says.

SCOTUS has a terrible track record of cherry-picking aspects of a case. The Legislature dropped the ball on Citizens United, they could have fixed it and made the Court take a stand. They didn’t, mostly because they had no interest in fixing campaign finance laws. The legislature passed something they knew, or at least highly suspected, the courts would reject. SCOTUS was happy to oblige.

Many people are up in arms over Roe vs Wade and any discussion about restricting second amendment rights. Abortion has already been discussed in previous posts and to a lesser extent, so have second amendment rights. The whole limiting guns for law-abiding citizens screams of the success, or lack thereof, of the war on drugs. Making them illegal did nothing to reduce usage. The only thing outlawing any gun will do is make it more desirable. But that doesn’t fit the narrative. Fixing a broken judiciary is a first step before any Constitutional adjustments are made. But I digress.

Another issue awaiting a SCOTUS rule is can the executive branch make law or can the Judicial Branch force the Executive Branch to do something that many of the States would like done. It concerns tailpipe emissions. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has stated there is nothing in the Clean Air Act that requires it to regulate vehicle emissions, but about a dozen states disagree (Imagine, the EPA is sort of the good guy in all this…truth is stranger than fiction!). It is touted as an environmental case, but again, if SCOTUS decides EPA should regulate emissions, some would argue they are legislating from the bench.

I would agree.

Here again, if SCOTUS comes out and interprets, or creates, law, Congress can always come back after the fact and change the law to make it crystal clear that the EPA should not regulate, or be required to regulate in any shape form or fashion, any aspect of tailpipe emission. But it won’t. It will simply say SCOTUS said so, very much like it did with Citizen United. This is part of the problem. People must understand the Legislature can make laws within the confines of the Constitution. The Judiciary is simply supposed to interpret gray areas, not make laws it thinks are appropriate.

This is the next battle that is brewing. States rights, remember that topic that caused such tremendous turmoil in our history, will rear its ugly head again as the country’s divisiveness deepens. States will want to distance themselves from abortion mandates, second amendment mandates, or censorship guised as free speech initiatives. It is coming and unless we can get some leadership in place to apply some common sense and live and let live policies, it will happen sooner than any of us want.

It will not be pretty.

Categorized as Policy

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