Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Supreme Court Thoughts

So the Bong Hits 4 Jesus kid lost in court today. I'm always sad to see a free speech case lost, but to me one of the most important points was what the Chief Justice pointed out at the beginning - the kid was not suing to have his suspension reversed or to set a precedent, he was seeking financial renumeration.

Dahlia Lithwick has some interesting thoughts on the case in Slate. I myself can't see how Roberts thinks that speech "celebrating drug use" can't be political. Why not? It also seems like a remarkable leap for someone who's so big on only interpreting what's actually there to make conclusions about what the content of "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" actually means.

I've been thinking more about the constant 5-4 decisions from this court, and I've realized it may not actually be so odd. The supreme court doesn't hear a random sampling of cases. It hears only cases that have made their way up the judicial ladder and been accepted by SCOTUS because they're interesting and hard to decide. Viewed in that light, it's not hard to see why controversial cases result in close split decisions.

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