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Conservatives Repudiating Supreme Court, Founding Fathers, Citizenship

When conservatives have disagreed with Barack Obama’s policies, they have tried to beat him at the polls and in the courts (they have generally failed). When conservatives have disagreed with Congress’s actions, they have worked to elect more conservatives (they have recently succeeded… although one can make a serious argument that South Dakota’s Congressional delegation is not really conservative).

Lex-AnarchyBut when conservatives disagree with the Supreme Court’s decisions, how can they seriously suggest that we should not recognize the Constitutional authority given to the Supreme Court by the Founding Fathers?

Louisiana Governor and presidential candidate Bobby Jindal says, “The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body…. If we want to save some money let’s just get rid of the court.”

Meade County Commissioner Alan Aker appears to believe that obeying the rulings of the Supreme Court is optional:

I was just notified by the county’s insurer that in light of the final federal court (Sorry to say, they’ve lost their “Supreme” title as far as I’m concerned. Of course, they’re no longer a court either, but I’m at a loss on what to call them.) decision on gay marriage, the county may be liable for its own costs if our register of deeds does not allow filing of same-sex marriages. Our register of deeds is an independent official and she will decide whether to obey our robed “legislators”. I expect she will [Alan Aker, Facebook post, 2015.06.26].

Former legislator Gary Jerke joins Aker in renouncing the supremacy of the court. jerke also renounces his citizenship:

Five individuals (5 out of 9) that the United States has arrogantly named SUPREME COURT have declared that God’s plan for mankind is incorrect. Our president (small case) boasted before his first election that the would “fundamentally transform America” and 5 black robed individuals did just that setting aside our Constitution and literally toke [sic] over the government telling individuals and states that their opinions do not matter. This is a truly sad day for all who live in the United States and as I shared on my facebook page I hereby declare I do not consider myself a citizen of this country in the respect that I am captive to God and God alone and a citizen of His Kingdom with allegiance to Him first and foremost [Gary Jerke, “God Gave Them Up,” The Right Side, 2015.06.28].

Jerke’s hyperbole is specious. The five individuals who this week made marriage equality the law of the land are not just five random people off the street. They are a majority of the Supreme Court, justices chosen by Presidents, confirmed by Senators, and empowered by Article 3 of the United States Constitution to decide such questions of law. The Founding Fathers themselves called the pinnacle of the judicial branch “Supreme Court.” The Founding Fathers were not arrogant (well, except in George III’s addled mind); they were clear: they recognized that their nation required one Supreme Court to ultimately settle certain disputes. To suggest otherwise is to ignore history, abandon American civic spirit, and invite anarchy.

*   *   *

In arguably related news, Edward Cline of Watertown exhibits a similar lack of faith in law and the judiciary and suggests I be taken out back for a stern discussion about my blogging:

Edward Cline, Facebook comment, 2015.06.27
Edward Cline, Facebook comment, 2015.06.27

You can disagree all you want with the conduct of the judiciary and other branches of government nationally and here in South Dakota. But to suggest that America is lost and that we cannot find solutions through our civic institutions invites exactly the kind of darkness, violence, and anarchy that Edward Cline advocates.

Update 09:35 CDT: A Facebook friend reminds me of two relevant numbers:

  • Percentage of the 2006 South Dakota electorate that voted to ban marriage equality in the Constitution: 52%
  • Percentage of the Supreme Court that voted to allow marriage equality: 55%


  1. Paul Seamans 2015-06-28 08:59

    Wasn’t Justice Kennedy, the swing vote in these decisions, appointed under President Reagan? How could any true conservative dare to question a decision of RR. Blasphemous.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-28 09:26

    Indeed, Paul. There’s a lot of “blasphemy” in such conservative blurtings that doesn’t fit with the adulation they usually profess for Reagan, the Founding Fathers, and the Constitution.

  3. mike from iowa 2015-06-28 09:50

    Whatever galls or pukes right wing nut jobs is good for America-body and soul.

  4. mike from iowa 2015-06-28 09:52

    Cory-for safety’s sake,limit any alley trips to 9 minutes or less.

  5. Donald Pay 2015-06-28 10:16

    These outbursts of outrage are par for the course. It will last about a month among the public, and then people will figure out nothing, absolutely nothing will have changed for them. The Republican primary fight may keep the nonsensical statements going for a while longer than a month, but the people will again lead on this issue.

    As far as Aker is concerned, at most Meade County will have to change a few lines in a form, and file a few more marriage licenses. More children will have the security and rights that is provided by married parents, including more financial, emotional and social support for those children.

  6. Jeff Barth 2015-06-28 10:51

    Folks who deny their citizenship must never have taken the Pledge of Allegiance. Either that or they were lying when they said it.

    I say the Pledge all the time, the difference is that I mean it.

  7. Jeff Barth 2015-06-28 11:07

    America. Love it or leave it.

    I believe that the Islamic Caliphate is accepting new members and they hate gays too!

  8. WayneF 2015-06-28 11:13

    I respect the Bible and people who try to live according to its edicts. However, it is not the Bible — nor the Koran or Bhagavad Gita — that guides this nation. The document which is the foundation of our nation is the U.S. Constitution.

  9. mike from iowa 2015-06-28 11:25

    The sole proprietors of phony patriotism don’t seem to love America as much as those of us who don’t claim to be bat-s— crazy patriots. You’re breaking my widdle heart. Boo hoo hoo.

  10. Douglas Wiken 2015-06-28 11:26

    Pigs are flying over South Dakota.

  11. Bob Newland 2015-06-28 11:32

    Is this not the same Supreme Court whose decision about allowing unlimited donations from billionaires to buy congressional seats prompted dancing in the streets by self-proclaimed “conservatives?”

  12. Don Coyote 2015-06-28 11:37

    @cah:”… empowered by Article 3 of the United States Constitution to decide such questions of law.”

    Such empowerment did not include the power of judicial review which was manufactured out of whole cloth by Chief Justice John Marshall nor did the Supreme Court have the authority to hear the case since they did not posses the authority of original jurisdiction as stated in the Constitution.

    And since you are invoking the Founding Father’s, here is Jefferson’s response to Marshall Court’s newly minted power:

    “Nothing in the Constitution has given the Supreme Court a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the Executive to decide for them. The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what are not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.”

    The Supreme Court long ago stopped being an impartial institution and is in need of serious reform such as term limits and Congressional override of decisions by a super majority.

  13. Don Coyote 2015-06-28 11:53

    @Paul Seamans: Kennedy is like a woman’s back-up boyfriends in that he was Reagan’s third choice after Robert Bork, who was vilified in his confirmation hearings and Douglas Ginsburg who withdrew after it was found out that he had smoked marijuana (gasp!). Kennedy has always been firmly ensconced in the mushy middle. No surprise in his decisions in the last two cases.

  14. 96Tears 2015-06-28 11:58

    New GOP slogan: Take It Back(ward)!

    I love love love the whining and mewling from the Taliban Wing of the Republican Party as they explain in the press and in social media that this is a Christian nation founded on God’s law. Sarah Palin, their spokesmodel, wants the SCourt impeached. Some GOPers are mewling about how the court is stacked for liberals, never mentioning the decision claiming corporations are people and that they can secretly pay off politicians with unlimited sums. Huckabee, another spokesmodel for the mewlers, said he is fully prepared to invoke God’s punishment on America.

    Rather than imposing Evil God on us, why not just move to a theocracy or a dictatorship that hates gays, pollutes their water and air and denies scientific realities?

    I hope and pray they keep up the rants beyond 30 days, Don, and marginalize themselves out of another presidential term and lose control of Congress.

  15. Gail Swenson 2015-06-28 12:29

    I had the same thought, Mr. Newland. Where was this Conservative outrage when the same Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Citizen’s United?

  16. Douglas Wiken 2015-06-28 13:15

    A GOP slogan I used before internet exchanges existed, “Backtrack for Progress or I liked 1929 Best.”

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-28 14:09

    Jeff, I look forward to the reaction Commissioner Aker receives when he refuses to say the pledge at the beginning of his commission meetings.

    Oh, and look at Don trying to read intelligence into Aker’s kneejerk repudiation of the court’s name and his own citizenship. But really, Don? You think 200 years of judicial review represents despotism? If the Court can’t decide whether laws pass Constitutional muster, then who does? If some state passes a law taking away Second Amendment rights, what recourse do you recommend?

  18. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-28 14:24

    Conservatives continually bemoan and whine about Liberals trying to change our history (i.e. Harney Peak, Civil Rights Act, etc.), and self-righteously calling for the structure of the Supreme Court to undergo radical changes when things don’t go their way.

    Agree with the Court or not, it has served this country since the beginning as Cory points out Now that wingnuts don’t like the marriage ruling they want to not only change history, but to provide their own limits on one branch of government.

    Does anyone where recall when FDR was accused of trying to pack the Court by increasing the number of justices?
    FDR was rightly called out for this attempt and soon dropped the matter, he knew he was wrong to monkey with the Constitution. I maybe wrong, but I do not believe the executive or legislative branches have attempted any radical changes since that time.

  19. jerry 2015-06-28 15:07

    Wow, a threat of a back alley thrashing, only a wingnut would come up with that kind of silly chatter. You know, sometimes in a dark back alley, things do not always turn out for the best for the bushwacker as there are way to many variables to consider.

  20. mike from iowa 2015-06-28 15:31

    Former SOH Tom Delay had iowa’s “cantaloupe calves” King and Texas Sinator Raphael Cruz introduce legislation to prevent appelate courts and the Scotus from ruling on marriage.

    When Delay was SOH he wanted his minions in congress to decide which cases the Scotus could choose to hear.

  21. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-28 16:29

    Thanks mfi, it was before my time too, but I recall writing a high school term paper on FDR’s court packing attempt.

    The point being that Roosevelt attempted to drastically alter the Founders jurisdiction as dictated by the U.S. Constitution.

    I don’t think republicans want to have a fight over revamping the Court just because they lost the Obamacare decision and the equal marriage argument. They are fools if they try.

    wingnut talk about changing the court to suit their fancy is nothing but smoke and mirrors appealing to their ignorant constituents.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-28 16:31

    Jerry, I doubt Cline would have the courage to say such words in my presence, let alone carry them out.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-28 16:39

    Don, to counter your judiciary minimalism, read Kennedy’s majority opinion, p. 21:

    The dynamic of our constitutional system is that indi- viduals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right. The Nation’s courts are open to in- jured individuals who come to them to vindicate their own direct, personal stake in our basic charter. An individual can invoke a right to constitutional protection when he or she is harmed, even if the broader public disagrees and even if the legislature refuses to act. The idea of the Constitution “was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.” West Vir- ginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624, 638 (1943). This is why “fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

    Fundamental rights are not determined by the majority or the supermajority.

    Don, some of your fellow conservatives fret about the tyranny of the majority. Justice Kennedy is telling you that the Supreme Court is your only bulwark against such tyranny. Suppose a majority of Americans decide Christianity is bunk and that Christians should be forced to wear badges that say, “Ignore my opinion; I’m a superstitious simpleton.” Suppose that majority elect a Congress and state legislators who refuse to stand up for Christians’ First Amendment rights. Get rid of judicial review, get rid of the ability of the Supreme Court to say, “No, that law is unconstitutional,” and who protects those Christians?

  24. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-28 17:00

    The marriage equality ban imposed by many states was a clear case of the majority dictating what a minority can and can’t do when it comes to marriage.

    Jim Crow laws were the same, state legislatures creating laws that allowed open discrimination were also created by the majority.

    When legislatures and voters create unjust laws, they are no laws at all.

  25. Kurt Evans 2015-06-28 19:14

    “96Tears” wrote:
    >“Some GOPers are mewling about how the court is stacked for liberals, never mentioning the decision claiming corporations are people …”

    Contrary to a widely disseminated urban myth, the majority opinion in Citizens United neither relies upon nor makes any reference to the concept of corporate personhood.

  26. Barry Smith 2015-06-28 19:54

    Kurt The concept of corporate personhood as it relates to Citizens United is hardly a myth, but you are correct that it does not come from the majority opinion. Read Justice Steven’s dissenting opinion for help in your understanding.

  27. mike from iowa 2015-06-28 19:54

    The Scotus pulled korporate personhood out of their butts.

  28. Donald Pay 2015-06-28 20:45

    I would think the Republican Party would be tired of being complete lying douche bags. None of them are being honest with themselves or with the people. They are all play acting. The biggest actor, and a really bad one at that, is Scott Walker.

    Wisconsin and Indiana have had legal same sex marriage for a year as a result of a US Appeals Court decision. The US Supreme Court was asked to take up the case, and they declined. Same thing happened to other states. That was the real US Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage. It was over then, but the court decided to choose a most egregious case of state-sanctioned hate to hang this decision on.

    This whole year of waiting for the recent decision, and Governor Walker did nothing to delay or oppose implementation of the decision in Wisconsin, and he certainly didn’t threaten civil disobedience to oppose it. He never lifted a finger against it. In fact, he did everything he could to assure that the ruling went into effect with as little bureaucratic delay as possible. As a result, Wisconsin had thousands of same sex marriages between the Appeals Court decision and the recent Supreme Court decision. Had the Supreme Court ruled differently, those marriages could not have been taken away. The decision was baked in long ago because the Supreme Court had signaled the decision by their inaction in other cases.

    Here’s the point: Walker talks to the rightwing Christian voters like he vehemently opposes same sex marriage. He doesn’t. Walker is well known for taking all sides of an issue. He’ll say one thing to one group, and the opposite to another. He will flip-flop in a day, and the next day he’ll flip again.

    Walker supported the gay marriage ban in the constitution a few years ago, but it was a political decision, not one he really cared about. There is really no record that he campaigned on or even endorsed the measure. He may have religious and personal objections to same sex marriage, and he now has to pretend that he opposes same sex marriage, but he doesn’t strongly oppose it. Or I should say he only cares about the issue if he thinks he can obtain some political advantage from it. His major supporters, of course, are the Koch Brothers, and they are pro-gay rights.

    These Republicans act like little boys caught in a lie. They can’t be honest.

  29. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-28 21:14

    Scott Walker has no morals. He only recognizes political expediency.

  30. Mike Kokenge 2015-06-29 06:09

    Not certain why Kennedy and Roberts suddenly threw away their rubber stamps this past week. I look for the partisan judges to return to their normal selves today. Three important pieces will be decided. Lethal injection, gerrymandering, and clean air. 27 up or down votes. I say all 27 votes follow party appointment lines. Conservative agenda 5. Liberal agenda 4. Would love to be wrong, but I just don’t think so. Remember, this is still the same court that says the Koch brothers can run this country.

  31. bearcreekbat 2015-06-29 19:02

    You all simply have missed the slippery slope danger. After this outrageous decision, the Court might next decide that Christians cannot stone to death those sinners who wear mixed cloth clothing or those sinners who work on Sunday. If Christians cannot kill by stoning (or at least discriminate against) such flagrant sinners, how can we expect them to achieve comfort and satisfaction at the expense of such blatant sinners? For shame, for shame. What next, a supposed constitutional right to eat shell fish?

  32. Kurt Evans 2015-06-29 21:56

    Barry Smith wrote:
    >“Kurt The concept of corporate personhood as it relates to Citizens United is hardly a myth … Read Justice Steven’s dissenting opinion …”

    Whether a dissenting opinion “relates” to a Supreme Court decision strikes me as a matter of semantics, but I’ve never said the concept of corporate personhood was a myth. The myth is that the concept of corporate personhood was the basis for the Citizens United decision.

    “mike from iowa” wrote:
    >“The Scotus pulled korporate personhood out of their butts.”

    William Blackstone recognized the concept of corporate personhood in British law in the 1700s, and the U.S. Supreme Court has formally recognized it since before 1820. The Citizens United decision, however, makes no reference to it.

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