The new Robert’s Supreme Court
Linda Greenhouse of the NYT comments:
A Supreme Court quiz: Who offered this paean to judicial restraint: “If it is not necessary to decide more to a case, then in my view it is necessary not to decide more to a case”?
That was nearly 11 years ago, only eight months into his tenure. It was before Citizens United erased limits on corporate spending in politics, before Shelby County v. Holder eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, before Chief Justice Roberts swung for the fences in the Parents Involved case to bar formerly segregated school districts from trying to preserve integration through the use of racially conscious student assignment plans. (Only Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s separate concurring opinion in that 5-to-4 decision retained some leeway for school districts looking for strategies to prevent resegregation.)
And now we have Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, a case argued last week that presents the question whether a state that provides grants to schools for upgrading their playground surfaces can constitutionally disqualify a church-run nursery school from eligibility because of its religious character.
“Having eight was unusual and awkward,” Justice Alito said, according to The Journal article. “That probably required having a lot more discussion of some things and more compromise and maybe narrower opinions than we would have issued otherwise, but as of this Monday, we were back to an odd number.”
That’s a bold statement that hardly needs translation, but here’s mine anyway: We’ve got our mojo back. Consensus? That was so 2016. And the Roberts court in 2017? Now it begins.
well, nobody asked me, and i don’t know the whole story, but..
if the question is can the state give money to a private school to pave their playground i would say no, but not on the grounds of religous freedom, or separation of church and state.
more simply, if folks want a private school they should expect to pay for it, including the amenities. on the other hand, if the state sees an interest in helping its citizens pay for a private school, there should be no bar to that, given that the benefit to the state can be justified on other than racial separation motives.
i can see helping to pay for teachers, books, and housing. not so sure i see the compelling value of a paved playground.
oh, it’s a nursery school… in that case the playground might be critical, the state might still benefit from the private “school” and the grant should probably be allowed (neither barred nor required, certainly not on religious freedom or separation of church and state grounds).
me, i’d get the parents to put in time upgrading the playground.
And yet across America we deny children access to a “public” good – attending school ABC – because Mom and Dad are not wealthy enough to afford real estate in a certain part of town.
I put “public” in quotes because I’m clearly not talking about a service that is non-excludable.
yes, i think States have an interest in seeing that all kids get a good education regardless if what neighborhood they live in.
not at all sure that turns out to be possible. bad neighborhoods have a lot more going against them than bad schools. i don’t mean collapsing, rat infested… but just not “equal.”
as a crabby old man, i feel the need to point out that we got a pretty good education in Chicago south side 1950’s with pretty much only a blackboard and textbooks in one color without pictures.
the country-club schools in my current neighborhood don’t seem to be actually giving kids a better education, and i do get a little tired of having my taxes raised every four years “for the kids.”
Don’t forget Robert’s infamous, “It’s not a tax, so we can rule on it, but it IS a tax, so it’s constitutional.”
And then there’s the other infamous, “Well, yes, it says, ‘an Exchange established by the State under 1311  of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ several times, but it doesn’t really MEAN that.”
In overturning a precedent in the same decision that set the precedent, he exceeded the inane ruling in Helvering v. Davis, which required the “precedent” of Steward Machine v. Davis issued the same day.
NOW you are beginning to understand the law.
(btw you might like “How I killed Pluto and Why It had it Coming” By Mike Brown. It’s not rocket science, but it is astronomy, and talks a lot about the meaning of words.)
He who laughs last [his] laughs last.
Once again you play attorney by picking out one tiny piece of a document and ignoring the rest of it.
Really beyond tiring.
Well, EMichael, your repeatedly engaging in personal attacks and not actually providing any counter-argument whatsoever is also really tiring.
Thanks, Coberly. I think I will throw that one to my daughter. She is much more interested in planetary astronomy than I am. My fields of research were galactic dynamics and gravitational drag on photons.
I always provide a counter argument, and a winning one.
In this case I would suggest you read the entire bill. Just like I suggested you should read the entire Constitution.
Doesn’t seem to sink in.
i don’t know how old your daughter is, but “How I Killed Pluto” is really a book for grownups, not that the astronomy is at all rigorous, but that it is mostly about about “meanings”. It is also a very charming and personal story by the man who discovered the “tenth planet.” I think you might enjoy it.
As I would enjoy learning about the gravitational drag on photons. I have been lobbying real physicists for years to write serious popular accounts of their field. The usual popular accounts are offensive and misleading in their simple mindedness. give us as much real science and math as can fit into a reasonable length book. You (I) don’t need to be able to DO the math in order to be able to FOLLOW it.
The exercise of trying to write carefully enough to be understood, absent any political agenda, might give you some insights into how really difficult communication is.
EMichael, I have read both, completely.
So tell me exactly what part of the bill authorizes subsidies to those who enrolled through the FFM.
Coberly, my daughter is a junior in High School. She intends to study Aerospace Engineering and Astronomy in college.
good for her. it’s a good read so if the astronomy is a bit simple she may not be disappointed. on the other hand, you might be interested in the “what’s in a name” aspect. or should be.
Coberly, her birthday is coming up, so I just ordered a copy from Amazon for her.
Well, I hope she enjoys it.
But just to be safe, you should probably get her that BMW too.
No way. I want her to use turn signals.
You are probably right. I am pretty sure BMW’s have turn signals, but I have never seen anybody use them.
Had an experience yesterday that might shed some light on that: put on my turn signal and began slowing for a right turn. Guy in big pickup behind me went crazy and got on his horn. Because I was going too slow, you see.
And that might shed some light on the problem of human rationality, which is also touched on in the “scientific” debate about Pluto, which you may read about if your daughter lets you borrow her book.
And that might give you an opportunity to contemplate the practicality of an economic theory that relies on human rationality. Given that the poor will always be with us, and we need them to perform the less technologically challenging work, we may need to see that they are fed and housed and get medical care, and even led to good jobs by something more direct than fear of starvation.
What do you have in mind that is MORE DIRECT than the fear of starvation?
people may be afraid of starvation, but they may not know what to do about it. they may take a job at low wages (insufficient to pay for more than their daily bread,if that) or rob a gas station, or sell drugs, or murder you for the money in your pocket, or start a revolution. or they may simply die… and not be available when you need an army or workers for the next economic cycle.
you could provide welfare… an idea i don’t actually like except in genuine emergency. or you could pay them enough to provide for their own daily bread plus retirement plus medical insurance…
but there are two problems with that (at last). first, they may not be able to find the job you are offering, or there may simply not be enough jobs available that demand the skills they can reasonable demonstrate in the short term.
second, they may just spend the money on current “needs” (wants) without saving it for retirement or future needs. or they may indeed save and invest only to lose most of it to inflation or bad days on the stock market… or private businesses that fail (due to “creative destruction if not personal inadequacy).
so, the answer i propose is pay them enough to give them a decent life, but keep some of their earned wages back from them and buy them “insurance”… retirement, medical, unemployment… in a form that is visible to them as “their money” (as opposed to “general welfare”..
and also provide well understood guidance to finding decent jobs… whether that is in high school or college guidance, or community employment offices, or…. i can think of a few other things
but the point is that you can’t expect THEM to think of them, and it is up to the “rich” to think of it and understand that to the extent that the rich (the boss) doesn’t or can’t … and i think in most cases they won’t want to be bothered… they need to modify their law of the jungle free enterprise religion to allow for some government organization and planning for such things as the average person CANNOT organize and plan for himself.
this is not socialism. i have no desire for the government to own businesses or direct the people at an intrusive level… just enough government “intervention” to make sure the people are not suffering from their own lack of sufficient intelligence or the predatory acts of others.
i think this might be a hard concept to grasp for someone who sees the world in concrete unchangeable “definitions” where if you go one step beyond “free enterprise” you are immediately lost in “communism.”
i’d like to think that the rich at least are not stupid, but my observation has been that to a great degree they are. smart enough to make money, but not smart enough to see how casting their bread on the waters will return to them ninefold.
So, the same people you think are too stupid and short-sighted to save for their own retirement or to buy insurance are the same people you want voting?
that was a pretty stupid answer. maybe there is no hope for you.
but the fact is… as i already stated but you didn’t understand… that the normal human being is not able to cope as an individual with an unregulated free market economy.
sadly that may mean that they are not able to vote intelligently either. but the latter is a much easier thing for them to do than the former.
but as long as you don’t even believe in democracy or anything but law of the jungle there is no point in talking to you.
what the hell else have you got to offer? besides some Ayn Rand stupid fantasy.
“[The] normal human being is not able to cope as an individual with an unregulated free market economy.”
We do not have an unregulated free market economy, so your assertion is moot.
The government does not exist to protect people from their own stupidity, but to protect them from criminals. You know, the people who want to take their property. Such people can be upfront criminals, or they can be politicians and those who get the politicians to take others’ money for them.
Thus, regulations are and should be in place to protect people from fraud, and to prosecute those who do manage to defraud people. On the other hand, regulations and laws that tell us what kinds of cars can be made, what kind of petrol can be made, what insurance we MUST buy, what kind of toilets we can buy, what kind of light bulbs we can buy, etc., are beyond the proper authority of the government.
Why should I have to offer anything at all? Is the government about buying votes with other people’s money? Oh, wait….
sorry i was a bit testy. i had just had a robo telephone soliciter (free enterprise) interrupt something important. and your comment looked like another robot recording.
just when i think i have gotten the conversation to a point where we can talk sensibly you forget the whole line of thought YOU started and fall back into your old one liners.
i haven’t got time for it. maybe next time.
I look forward to it.
BTW, you do know there is a Do Not Call list, right?
Of course, the politicians have exempted themselves.
thanks for the no call list. i will see what it can do.
please try to understand this:
1) when you say “we do not have unregulated free enterprise…so your assertion is moot” you are telling me i have been wasting my time. it is YOU who believe in unregulated free enterprise that i have been trying to persuade that it is not in your interest. whether we have it or not at this time, the argument is NOT moot.
2) when you say “you think people who are too short sighted to save for their own retirement…are the same people you want voting..” you are failing to understand that “saving for your own retirement… on your own… are in fact difficult for ordinary people, but these peoplc are smart enough to vote for a federally guaranteed way to protect their retirement savings if they can be made to understand it. or think they understand it. my point was that “the rich” need to understand it, and why it helps THEM (the rich) so that they will stop lying to the people about SS and trying to kill it.
and i did mention that i don’t think the rich are smart enough to do that. but there is more hope in general for a situation in which the members of a community discuss the problems they face and then vote based on the facts and reasons that emerge from discussion, than there is in a situation in which it is every man for himself based on how many dollars he has on hand at a given moment.
3) i regard your failure to understand this, or at least that this is what i am arguing, that makes talking to you a waste of time. you may well be smarter than i am, and you might even (unlikely) be right, but after all this time it should be obvious even to you that we are wasting our time.
4) if you have given up rocket science for advanced physics, i would very much like to read your explanation of exactly what a photon is. i sent you a way to reach me directly. perhaps your computer skills can find that again.
Coberly, I believe that the American people ARE smart enough to do those things, even when it is difficult. If you believe they are not, then logic compels you to also favor making typical mortgages illegal, since they are far more complicated than 401(k)’s and IRA’s are.
I guess I just think more highly of my fellow citizens than you do.
I have not received an email from you at the address I use here.
Logic compels a great deal less than you imagine it does. In any case there is absolutely no logic that connects my understanding of the limits of human intelligence… and the range of “normal” intelligence… and making mortgages illegal. I certainly think people need to consult a lawyer before signing one. I also think that it would be a good idea if there were a government office that people who can’t afford a lawyer could go to for warnings about problem mortgages. I think you can probably remember the trouble people, and the country, got into just a few years ago from predatory mortgages.
You can think however well of your fellow citizens you want to, but the facts are the facts, not only the ones plain to see, but a fair amount of research has been done demonstrating the limits of human intelligence, even among experts.
i don’t know your email address. i gave you mine once but not in clear.
I do indeed remember the trouble people got in. The role of the government there should be prosecuting people for fraud and putting them in jail. Why is that not done?
Yes, those who cannot understand their mortgage should get a real estate lawyer. If they cannot afford one, they probably cannot afford a mortgage, either.
As for my address, the name is “narceleb” and I use GMail.