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John Cuthber

Independence of SCOTUS - split from Yay!

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"The Supreme Court is not a mere authority, but a partial determiner, of what the Constitution legally means."

And, to a degree, they make that decision on political grounds so they are not independent.

They come to the viewpoint they were chosen to come to, just like a poll at a railway station.

 

You gave an example earlier where the decision supposedly fell down political lines, so a counterexample should take the wind from your sails.

 

Republicans were frothing at the mouth to kill Obamacare (the popularized name of a new law here). The case went to the supreme court and Chief Justice Robers ended up being the swing vote. He is a Bush appointee, and one of the most conservative justices. No case had more political pressure from republicans in recent memory. They really wanted to kill this thing.

 

He decided to uphold the law to the consternation and complete dismay of the Republican party.

 

You cannot say that they make decisions on political grounds.

 

Some justices may make decisions on ideological grounds, but that is different. For example, Justice Roberts may have upheld Obamacare *because* he is a conservative Justice. The more conservative a judge, the more they believe in judicial restraint. Upholding Obamacare is an expression of judicial restraint, as well as being politically anti-republican.

 

Judicial conservatism doesn't parallel political conservatism. Judicial conservatism has to do with interpreting laws conservatively, and political conservatism has to do with appealing to conservative people.

 

The supreme court collectively decides not to hear most cases that are referred to them. Of those that are heard, half are decided unanimously. Only 10% are split down what one might consider ideological lines.

 

What does that mean?

 

It means that 4 times more split decisions are non-ideologically split versus those split down ideological lines (let alone political lines).

 

 

You want to say "they make that decision on political grounds" on the sole basis that they were nominated by an elected official. But, the statistics completely disagree with you. Judges value their political independence because the Judicial branch of the government is historically, and by design, a non-political branch of government.

 

What more does it take to convince you?

Edited by Iggy

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"Republicans were frothing at the mouth to kill Obamacare"

Which was originally a republican idea, and was supported by a republican SC.

"Justice Roberts may have upheld Obamacare *because* he is a conservative Justice."

So, it's OK, if only some of them are biassed?

"Only 10% are split down what one might consider ideological lines."

So that's only 10% too many.

"You want to say "they make that decision on political grounds" on the sole basis that they were nominated by an elected official. But, the statistics completely disagree with you."

Except where they don't.

 

"What more does it take to convince you?"

A system where overt political influence doesn't decide the makeup of the supreme court- one where the law makers are not also the judiciary.

And, do you mean "Judges value their political independence" or "Justice Roberts may have upheld Obamacare *because* he is a conservative Justice."? They both can't be true.

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"Republicans were frothing at the mouth to kill Obamacare"

Which was originally a republican idea, and was supported by a republican SC.

 

Finding a republican who supports something similar to Obamacare doesn't even *imply* that "Republicans were frothing at the mouth to kill Obamacare" is untrue.

 

No bill passed by Obama has been hated more widely or deeply than Obamacare. Romney himself said that his first act as president if he were elected would be to repeal Obamacare.

 

 

By the way, it wasn't "originally a republican idea". An economist came up with it (whose name escapes me), but they both took it from that original idea.

 

"Justice Roberts may have upheld Obamacare *because* he is a conservative Justice."

So, it's OK, if only some of them are biassed?

 

Having an ideology does not necessarily make one biased. Supporting judicial restraint gets a judged branded conservative. My point was that Roberts supports judicial restraint, not that he is a blind conservative. He believes judges should limit their power by not over-interpreting the constitution. That is a perfectly reasonable an unbiased approach. It isn't an approach I personally agree with, but it isn't biased and it isn't political either.

 

That said, everyone is biased. If it were not ok for a justice to be biased then there would be no justices.

 

 

"Only 10% are split down what one might consider ideological lines."

So that's only 10% too many.

 

No, that's 90% less than your stated position allows.

 

"You want to say "they make that decision on political grounds" on the sole basis that they were nominated by an elected official. But, the statistics completely disagree with you."

Except where they don't.

 

You skipped quoting the part where they do.

 

90% of Supreme Court decisions are not split down what may be perceived as ideological lines (vs 10% that are). Of only the decisions that are split in some way, four times more are non-ideologically split, than those that are.

 

The court is clearly willing to accept good legal argument regardless of ideology or political implications.

 

 

"What more does it take to convince you?"

A system where overt political influence doesn't decide the makeup of the supreme court- one where the law makers are not also the judiciary.

 

Members of congress are specifically prohibited from being federal judges by Article 1; Section 6; Clause 2 of the constitution. That clause was specifically written because, like wiki says...

 

 

The clause was drafted to prevent similar problems which had occurred in the British Parliament

 

-Ineligibility Clause

 

Law makers cannot also be the Judiciary. I don't know where you're getting these things.

 

 

And, do you mean "Judges value their political independence" or "Justice Roberts may have upheld Obamacare *because* he is a conservative Justice."? They both can't be true.

 

Did you hear me say "Judicial conservatism doesn't parallel political conservatism"?

 

A judge can be conservative in his rulings and his decisions and also be apolitical. Judicial ideology and political policy are two different things. Having the former doesn't ensure anything about the latter.

Edited by Iggy

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And, to a degree, they make that decision on political grounds so they are not independent.

They come to the viewpoint they were chosen to come to, just like a poll at a railway station.

You continue to confuse philosophical and ideological stance with politics. They are only temporarily and contingently aligned.

 

The current Court is the most politicized we've seen in a while, but there are specific reasons for that - it's not in the nature of the Court to be so.

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OK if you all insist.

A bunch of politically appointed judges are independent of politics.

 

The justification for this assertion is is that they don't always act that way.

 

And, it seems you are unconcerned when they do act overtly politically.

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OK if you all insist.

A bunch of politically appointed judges are independent of politics.

 

The justification for this assertion is is that they don't always act that way.

 

And, it seems you are unconcerned when they do act overtly politically.

You apparently failed to thoroughly read any of the posts in this thread.

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You continue to confuse philosophical and ideological stance with politics. They are only temporarily and contingently aligned.

 

The current Court is the most politicized we've seen in a while, but there are specific reasons for that - it's not in the nature of the Court to be so.

 

OK if you all insist.

A bunch of politically appointed judges are independent of politics.

 

Correct. The person who recommends you to be hired doesn't make you dependent on them forever more in every subsequent decision, unless they are your boss and can also fire you. That isn't the case here. This is as common as common sense gets.

 

I understand that anti-Americanism is fashionable regardless of how illogical it is, but this is a science site. Simply disagreeing with, and mischaracterizing, everything cited isn't expected (at least, by me).

 

 

The justification for this assertion is is that they don't always act that way.

The court acts "that way" 10% of the time. If you want to call 10% "not always" then you're welcome to do it. Nobody can't see through that mischaracterization, nor identify the bias from which it originates.

 

 

And, it seems you are unconcerned when they do act overtly politically.

 

They don't act overtly political. See my last post to which you did not respond. They may, on occasion, act ideological. But, judicial ideology isn't the same as (and doesn't even parallel) political polity.

Edited by Iggy

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"Correct. The person who recommends you to be hired doesn't make you dependent on them forever more in every subsequent decision, unless they are your boss and can also fire you. That isn't the case here. This is as common as common sense gets."

 

If I hire Picasso to paint my portrait, I expect a different outcome from hiring Monet.

 

You choose the employee on the basis of what you expect to get from them.

"This is as common as common sense gets."

 

Also, as this is a science site I expect to see evidence if you are going to make allegations like this "I understand that anti-Americanism is fashionable regardless of how illogical it is, but this is a science site. Simply disagreeing with, and mischaracterizing, everything cited isn't expected"

 

I remind you that, here in the UK the system is very similar and equally politically biassed so I'm also criticising our system.

Edited by John Cuthber

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"Correct. The person who recommends you to be hired doesn't make you dependent on them forever more in every subsequent decision, unless they are your boss and can also fire you. That isn't the case here. This is as common as common sense gets."

 

If I hire Picasso to paint my portrait, I expect a different outcome from hiring Monet.

You choose the employee on the basis of what you expect to get from them."

 

If you prepay them, and you can't fire them, then I suppose you can expect anything you want from them, but there is no guarantee you'll get it. The thing you keep saying, and the thing that is not true, is that they are dependent on you after you pay them. They aren't.

 

 

"This is as common as common sense gets."

 

Also, as this is a science site I expect to see evidence if you are going to make allegations like this "I understand that anti-Americanism is fashionable regardless of how illogical it is, but this is a science site. Simply disagreeing with, and mischaracterizing, everything cited isn't expected"

 

You want to see a specific example where you mischaracterized with no citation and I corrected you with a citation? Fair enough, and easy enough to find...

 

 

"...the [uS] law makers are also the judiciary"

Members of congress are specifically prohibited from being federal judges by Article 1; Section 6; Clause 2 of the constitution. That clause was specifically written because, like wiki says...

 

>>The clause was drafted to prevent similar problems which had occurred in the British Parliament

 

-Ineligibility Clause

 

Law makers cannot also be the Judiciary.

 

 

So... there you have it

 

 

 

 

I remind you that, here in the UK the system is very similar and equally politically biassed so I'm also criticising our system.

 

Here in the US, our Supremes are nominated by the president. In the UK, from what I remember, your Supremes are nominated and chosen by committee (a committee on which the PM does not sit). Since the main force of your critice has to do with the President nominating appointees, I have to say, the criticism you've leveled is rather US-centric.

Edited by Iggy

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"The thing you keep saying, and the thing that is not true, is that they are dependent on you after you pay them. They aren't."

Nope, I never said that. I barely mentioned pay.

What I said was that the decisions will depend on the make-up of the court and that make-up is decided politically.

In just the same way that, if I choose Picasso, I will get a portrait with half an eye and both the ears off to the left or whatever, because I chose an artist who paints like that.

It's not that I paid him to do that- it's because that's what he does.

I don't have to pay Justice Rightwinger to vote against abortion, because I chose him carefully, knowing that's how he would vote anyway.

 

Since we were initially discussing gun control in the US it would have been silly not to focus somewhat on the US legal system, wouldn't it.

Edited by John Cuthber

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"The thing you keep saying, and the thing that is not true, is that they are dependent on you after you pay them. They aren't."

Nope, I never said that. I barely mentioned pay.

 

"pay" is an analogy for "appoint". YOU mentioned "if I hire". YOU said that and brought it into the discussion. I was merely carrying along the analogy while responding to your mention of it.

 

What I said was that the decisions will depend on the make-up of the court and that make-up is decided politically.

 

Right. You said that the decisions of the court were decided politically. Let me quote...

 

It means the decision is not politically independent.

So, if SCOTUS's decision is essentially political it is, at best...

 

Yet, 9 times more of the court's decisions are not so politically decided. Why does this scientific fact do nothing to dissuade your opinion?

 

I have my guess

 

In just the same way that, if I choose Picasso, I will get a portrait with half an eye and both the ears off to the left or whatever, because I chose an artist who paints like that.

 

You can't help yourself.

 

Did Picasso paint this?

 

How about this, and this, and this and this, and this, and this, and way more than I have time to list and link.

 

Picasso frequently painted in realism, and he was very good at it. Your belief that Picasso could only do (or was expected to do) expressionism reflects your belief that justices nominated by republicans can only (and are expected to only) decide for republican policies. In neither case is it true.

 

It's not that I paid him to do that- it's because that's what he does.

I don't have to pay Justice Rightwinger to vote against abortion, because I chose him carefully, knowing that's how he would vote anyway.

 

Yet , it ws the court of Chief Justice Warren and Chief Justice Burger (considered to be staunch conservatives before they were appointed) that ended up legalizing abortion (Warren was retired yet his agenda carried on).

 

I mention their names only because it demonstrates why a litmus test like you propose doesn't work. One has no idea what political temperament a justice will have afterhand when nominating them and approving them beforehand.

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"One has no idea what political temperament a justice will have afterhand when nominating them and approving them beforehand."

One ought to avoid appointing unstable, unpredictable justices.

 

 

And, since the use of Piacsso was clearly illustrative, rather literal, taking it literally is a straw man.

The point remains that Picasso is famous for works like this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dora_Maar_Au_Chat.jpg

If you ask Google for images related to his name you get pictures of Picasso and a lot of abstract stuff.

I never said, that he was only able to produce abstract art. No sensible interpretation of my words would lead to that conclusion.

But it is what you expect from him.

 

You seem to think that being biassed means always acting in a given manner while the word actually means having a tendency to act that way.

Once in ten is often enough to be biassed.

A bias of only about 1 in 40 is enough to make sure that casinos play roulette.

 

So, most of your points don't seem to stand up to analysis.

 

The simple answer to "Yet, 9 times more of the court's decisions are not so politically decided. Why does this scientific fact do nothing to dissuade your opinion?"

is that once in ten is enough to show bias.

Would you say a coin that landed on heads 5% of the time was unbiased?

That's what you get if the outcome has a 10% bias.

 

(90 times out of 100 it's random, averaging 45 and the other 10% it's always heads so that gives 55 heads out of 100).

 

If you claim that's unbiased, I'd like to organise a few card games with you sometime- I could use the money.

 

In essence I said"they are biassed"

You said "you say they would always vote on party lines, and they don't always do so, it's only 10% of the time so you are wrong".

But I didn't say they would always do it, I said they would be biased towards doing it.

So, what you have attacked is not the point I actually put forward.

It's a straw man.

Please don't do it again.

Edited by John Cuthber

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"One has no idea what political temperament a justice will have afterhand when nominating them and approving them beforehand."

One ought to avoid appointing unstable, unpredictable justices.

 

I never said, that he was only able to produce abstract art. No sensible interpretation of my words would lead to that conclusion.

But it is what you expect from him.

 

No. No, that's not right at all.

 

It is what you expect from him. *You* expect Picasso to paint expressionism and *you* expect justices appointed by republicans to judge things in favor of republican policies. I don't pigeonhole things like that at all. The fact that Picasso frequently did not paint in expressionism and the fact that justices don't follow the mantra by which they are appointed does nothing to persuade you against your bias, but I had no bias to begin with. i don't care that the most conservative chief justice in modern times legalized abortion. But, you have to explain it. You have to wonder why that is the case. I know that legal argument matters more to a justice than does political policy, but your bias doesn't permit you to know that. You have to argue it. And, good luck with that.

 

 

The simple answer to "Yet, 9 times more of the court's decisions are not so politically decided. Why does this scientific fact do nothing to dissuade your opinion?"

is that once in ten is enough to show bias.

Would you say a coin that landed on heads 5% of the time was unbiased?

 

If your claim is true, that justices decide cases on political merit, yet they only manage to flip the coin on the right side 5% of the time then either they are retarded or you are wrong.

Edited by Iggy

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"It is what you expect from him. *You* expect Picasso to paint expressionism and"

And so does Google images, so it's not just me is it?

And I don't, of course, expect it all the time.

 

"If your claim is true, that justices decide cases on political merit, yet they only manage to flip the coin on the right side 5% of the time then either they are retarded or you are wrong."

Or I never expected then to do much better than 10% because a lot of the things they discuss are not clearly "political".

 

You still seem to be saying that, unless my point is validated on every single occasion, I'm wrong.

So, re "i don't care that the most conservative chief justice in modern times legalized abortion. But, you have to explain it."

No, I don't. I never said they would always act that way did I?

 

So, it's still a strawman.

 

On the other hand, if you say they are not biased then you have to explain the 10% of cases where they were.

Still willing to play cards or do you accept that a bias is still a bias, even if it's only 10%?

You have two choices, lose money or accept that I'm right.

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"It is what you expect from him. *You* expect Picasso to paint expressionism and"

And so does Google images, so it's not just me is it?

 

Yes, yes, I agree. You've given this about as much thought as Google images has given it. Indeed smile.png

 

I could not agree with you more.

 

 

"If your claim is true, that justices decide cases on political merit, yet they only manage to flip the coin on the right side 5% of the time then either they are retarded or you are wrong."

Or I never expected then to do much better than 10% because a lot of the things they discuss are not clearly "political".

 

In fact, nine times out of ten I would bet that you'd call something political and the Justices would just look at it legally. Their tract record clearly shows that they don't hold or manifest your political bias. How that must positively bug you.

 

 

You still seem to be saying that, unless my point is validated on every single occasion, I'm wrong.

So, re "i don't care that the most conservative chief justice in modern times legalized abortion. But, you have to explain it."

No, I don't. I never said they would always act that way did I?+

 

No, I'm sure you were all up in arms because they acted that way 10% of the time. You imagined that 10% was more than chance and it caused you to go berserk. A court that decides something consistently with their perceived political pejoration one time of ten.

 

What outrage one time in ten must have caused you! It's awful to thing about.

 

 

So, it's still a strawman.

 

8-D

 

he he

 

On the other hand, if you say they are not biased then you have to explain the 10% of cases where they were.

Still willing to play cards or do you accept that a bias is still a bias, even if it's only 10%?

 

I'm willing to admit that you see someone who decides for something 90% of the time as opposed to that thing, and see someone who decides for something 10% of the time advocating for it.

 

It's hard to convince yourself that one in ten is a majority. I'm very curious to see how you do it. Please, tell me more.....

Edited by Iggy

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I really don't see any point to rebutting any more straw men like these

"It's hard to convince yourself that one in ten is a majority. I'm very curious to see how you do it. Please, tell me more....." (I never did).

"No, I'm sure you were all up in arms because they acted that way 10% of the time." Nope again.

"You imagined that 10% was more than chance and it caused you to go berserk." ditto

"In fact, nine times out of ten I would bet that you'd call something political and the Justices would just look at it legally." ditto

and so on.

If you make a valid point I might reply. If I don't reply to any future post, you might want to think about what sort of logical error I'm choosing to ignore.

 

It remains the case that a bias is a bias even is it's 0.001%.

Edited by John Cuthber

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It remains the case that a bias is a bias even is it's 0.001%.

 

How biased that coin must be for landing heads 50% of the time. 50 is so much more than 0.001. It must be very, very biased.

 

It must be an American coin. Oh, how we must hate it!

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Weird, you think that might be relevant, when I already posted the right maths earlier.

Are you unable to read?

 

And I don't see why you are going on about this being an American issue.

The UK version is, it seems, even more muddled.

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/media-releases/2012/lcj-retire-next-summer

and this guy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Chancellor

is a crook.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Grayling#Expenses_claims

Edited by John Cuthber

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OK if you all insist.

A bunch of politically appointed judges are independent of politics.

Not absolutely - just essentially. By tradition and in practice the Supreme Court is often at odds with any given political faction, and that is a predicted consequence of the established structure. Politics blows with the wind, judges are set up to hold to standards of consistency and insulated from the consequences of that consistency.

 

It is possible to corrupt a Supreme Court, and it has been attempted with some recent partial success (the partly successful method was to nominate incompetence and intellectual incapability, in an unusual situation in which those attributes favored one political faction).

 

 

No. Among the supporting evidence was the observation that they very often acted contrary to that way, and very seldom acted in close affinity with that way.

 

And, it seems you are unconcerned when they do act overtly politically.
Not to anyone paying attention. Few aspects of current US jurispudence have been of more concern to me and the likes of me.
It remains the case that a bias is a bias even is it's 0.001%.

But a very low level of bias is not essential or even dominating.

 

Getting rid of political bias, like getting rid of friction, need not be absolutely successful to be effectively beneficial. One can remove enough friction so that friction does not dominate the workings of a machine, is not an essential aspect of a machine's behavior.

Edited by overtone

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nevermind, that should have been a PM

 

completely off topic

Edited by Iggy

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It still wouldn't have made sense as a PM.

What I said was

"is that once in ten is enough to show bias.

Would you say a coin that landed on heads 5% of the time was unbiased?
That's what you get if the outcome has a 10% bias.

(90 times out of 100 it's random, averaging 45 and the other 10% it's always heads so that gives 55 heads out of 100).

If you claim that's unbiased, I'd like to organise a few card games with you sometime- I could use the money."

It has nothing to do with the fact that 10% is quite a lot smaller than 50%

So choosing 0.001% or any other figure doesn't affect the outcome.

A bias is still a bias.

 

And the allegations that I'm anti American would be insulting if they were not absurd and baseless.

It's not anti American to focus on the US justice system in a thread about SCOTUS

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It still wouldn't have made sense as a PM.

What I said was

"is that once in ten is enough to show bias.

Would you say a coin that landed on heads 5% of the time was unbiased?

That's what you get if the outcome has a 10% bias.

 

(90 times out of 100 it's random, averaging 45 and the other 10% it's always heads so that gives 55 heads out of 100).

 

If you claim that's unbiased, I'd like to organise a few card games with you sometime- I could use the money."

It has nothing to do with the fact that 10% is quite a lot smaller than 50%

So choosing 0.001% or any other figure doesn't affect the outcome.

A bias is still a bias.

 

And the allegations that I'm anti American would be insulting if they were not absurd and baseless.

It's not anti American to focus on the US justice system in a thread about SCOTUS

 

I ignored your math because it is irrelevant to the scenario. You are claiming that there are 9 coins, five of which will do their best to come up heads and four of which will do their best to come up tails. The fact that they most frequently do not accomplish that outcome argues against them trying it at all.

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"You are claiming that there are 9 coins, five of which will do their best to come up heads and four of which will do their best to come up tails."

Stop telling me what I'm claiming, or at least get it right.

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"coin" was an analogy for "justice". I think I had to explain earlier that "pay" was an analogy for "appoint". If I stop using analogies I think we can avoid this trouble.

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There are a bunch of people who may be chosen to become justices, and the each have some trend towards voting heads rather than tails or vice versa.

If you pick ones who are more likely to vote heads then you will tend to get an overall decision that is more likely to be heads.

The extent is a different question.

It's the fact that you are allowed to choose a biassed set that's the issue.

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