Friday, June 18, 2010

Legal Commentary III: Legal Arguments That Piss Me Off

I'm not going to comment on the unanimous court decision, handed down today, saying that if the US Government raises land above the water they still own it. It's really, really straightforward. No fun.


Kansas GOP gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback is proposing an “Office of the Repealer,” tasked with seeking out bad or repetitive laws, wasteful programs, and archaic state agencies for elimination. As a general rule, the media venerates politicians who propose new government programs as bold and visionary, while anyone daring to suggest perhaps there might be cause to eliminate an agency or two is depicted as some fringe draconian nut. Or just quaint and silly.
Okay. Imagine we had some sort of an office whose job it was to review laws that are bad or repetitive. Imagine they had broad powers to overrule legislation on a broad range of grounds, all geared towards the public good.


What Brownback is proposing is a Fiscal Supreme Court, that would overrule wasteful spending. What would he say if we proposed giving those powers to the Supreme Court? Probably what he said about Sonia Sotomayor:

Judge Sotomayor has indicated through past rulings and in her writings that she believes the judiciary should take an activist role and make laws, instead of upholding the law. As Chief Justice Roberts said, a justice should be an impartial umpire, not a player in the game. I am afraid Judge Sotomayor wants to be more of a player than an umpire.
Why should the Supreme Court have extremely limited powers to overrule "bad or repetitive laws," but this Office of the Repealer should have broad powers not only to overrule bad laws, but also to overrule expensive or out-of-date ones?

I was going to say it's because maybe he thinks he'll have more control over the Office of Repealer, but we do have a Conservative court right now anyways. It's a baffling contradiction of thought. And that's why it's a legal argument that pisses me off.

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