Redefining the role of the Supreme Court in American law

By William Lewis

The Supreme Court has, for the most part, played an important role in our government. The Supreme Court has also at various times been controversial.

One such moment was a controversy between the court and then-President Andrew Jackson involving the removal of Native Americans from Georgia. The court said that they did not have to leave and President Jackson said that they did. The removal took eventually place.

Another serious matter that arose was the controversy over slavery. The court in the 1850s upheld most pro-slavery laws. Abraham Lincoln opposed the court on this matter.

Looking at other matters involving the court, when former Gov. Earl Warren of California became Chief Justice, he stressed human rights above all, leading to various liberal decisions. During Warren’s tenure as Chief Justice during the 1950s and 60s, the court supported decisions that catered to liberal programs.

Now today, we see that President Donald Trump has appointed two members and he may appoint more, especially if he serves a second term. Looking at the future, Trump may nominate several other justices.

When we look at the case involving Brett Kavanaugh, there are similarities in his case and the case some years ago involving Justice Clarence Thomas. Some of the same charges were placed against both. Thomas was approved by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 52-48. Kavanaugh was approved by the U.S. Senate by a 50-48 vote.

It can be said that both of these justices barely got the vote needed to get on the court. We can foresee similar close voting in the future when Trump’s next candidates appear before the U.S. Senate as one step in the confirmation process.

There are expected to be conflicts with the presidency and the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. The Supreme Court will probably be called upon to decide these conflicts, whether it be the president or Congress.

As we look at the Trump administration, he has many controversial issues that he wants to deal with. The Supreme Court will have a role in handling this. We have seen the Supreme Court called one of the three co-equal branches of government. The Supreme Court has grown in stature and political power, especially since Warren was chief justice.

An increasing number of people interested in politics have questioned the role of the Supreme Court. There is more interest in keeping the Supreme Court in dealing with interpreting laws, rather than making them, which seems to have occurred from time to time.

When we look at the justices, we see they are appointed for life as are other federal judges. Most of them are appointed in their early 50s and they stay on the Court for 30 years. That was the way it was established in our Constitutional Convention in 1787.

However, today is a different time in our nation’s history and it is time to re-evaluate the role of the Supreme Court in running our national government. Hopefully, we can have a court under some kind of democratic control for our people.

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