When One Right Conflicts With Another
We have a problem. The problem being when the Supreme Court legislates from the bench via its rulings. The Constitution is quite clear on the division of powers within the government, and yet the SCOTUS continually overstep their authority through their rulings. I'm going to tackle one of the MOST hot topic buttons there is:
Discrimination versus Freedom of Association
The Constitution encompasses the Freedom of Assembly in the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It is quite obvious that if you have the Right to Assemble, you also have the Right to NOT Assemble. This has been upheld by the SCOTUS through various rulings but the most famous of these would be the ban on being forced to join a Labor Union in order to work if you don't want to. even though the SCOTUS has also done the reverse by ruling you cannot discriminate based on Race, Creed, Religion, Sex, or Sexual orientation. In other words, you have the Right to NOT associate with a group, but you are being FORCED to associate with another! The bottom line is this is a legal conflict of opposing rulings. The question becomes which Rights are predominate over another?
Where exactly are the lines being drawn? As we all know, it really depends on the makeup of the SCOTUS itself as to which way the Rulings will lean. This Court is supposed to be two main things; Impartial, and ruling on the Constitutionality of the Laws in question before it. It is indeed a very rare occasion when you will find the SCOTUS itself in complete agreement which illustrates the conundrum I am bringing before you. With the appoint for Life to the bench, a Supreme Court Judge may actually be holding views which have become outdated, or too progressive for the majority of Voters, and yet they will still be imposing their outdated or progressive views upon the Nation at large simply because of their longevity. This is hardly fair to the Public because it is their opinions that are coloring their Rulings, not the letter of the Law and the Constitution. The ONLY question they should be ruling on is does the case before them violate either the Letter of the Law, or the Rights guaranteed by the Constitution as written. If it does not, then it is up to the Legislators to decide whether the Law itself needs to be changed. The Legislators are elected by the People and better reflect the views of the Voters (and of course the special interests who fund their campaigns--a whole different topic).
How do we solve it?
So how should we address this issue? Is it time to do away with these Lifetime appointments? Maybe a better idea would be to expand the size of the Court itself? Maybe a combination of the two ideas? There is no designated number of Judges for the Supreme Court in the Constitution. The number is set by Statue which Congress can increase it at will. Considering the length of time between the bringing of a case to The Supreme Court and the length of time to receive a Ruling, this may be a good idea so that Cases can be broken up between panels and therefore speeding the process. A special rule could be employed whereas a Bill would have to pass BOTH House of Congress by a 2/3's majority and must also be signed by the President, ordering the new, full, expanded Court to review a Ruling issued by one of the panels. Maybe, just maybe, by expanding the Court we can finally get a Ruling on exactly which Rights are greater than the others and their ranking?????