June 28, 2002
Supreme Court has been busy
I don't remember the last time the Supreme Court came out with so many controversial decisions in such a short period of time. This probably happens every year, actually, but I have a short memory (don't we all?).
I'm not particularly happy with the drug testing of high school students decision. When I was in high school, I probably wouldn't have minded too much, it's not like I was doing drugs, so why should I have cared? However, now that I'm older and wiser, I see it as a gross invasion of students' privacy. Yes, they shouldn't be doing drugs, they're too young to be screwing up their bodies and their heads, and yes, it's illegal, but when they have no evidence to indicate these kids are using drugs, they shouldn't assume the worst and have the legal right to check. It's not like smoking pot has a big effect on your ability to play the clarinet. It might have an effect on your ability to debate or play chess, but that's the kid's own stupid decision to make.
I think the voucher decision is ok. Let's get real. The court is not saying the government should start funding religious establishments. They're saying in areas with deporable public schools, and there are many of them, areas with low property taxes and bottom-of-the-barrel teachers, it's ok to try to improve the welfare of the youth and help send them to schools that might keep them from becoming crack dealers by the time they're 12. If those private schools happen to be religious, so be it. It's not pushing religion on anyone. For instance, that atheist fellow out in California who is scandalized that his daughter has to hear "one nation under God" every morning is not going to a) move to inner city Cleveland or b) send the kid to St. Mary's Academy. Those kids who do end up going to St. Mary's Academy, or Benevolent Teaching of Hare Krishna, or whatever, have parents who are ok with that.
There have been some common sense decisions too. First, they said prisons can't handcuff inmates to posts for hours at a time anymore. Well, duh. They also said states can't execute the mentally retarded. What I don't understand is why the states want to, and why some people are upset about this. Some people really think that executing people who don't have a clue what's going on serves some justice. For whom? It's regretable that the mentally retarded commit crimes, but strapping them to an electric chair isn't going to fix anything. It doesn't tell them "don't do that anymore!"
A lot of people think the courts are too powerful (except when the courts agree with them). Well, thanks to the boneheaded decisions legislatures make, I'm glad the courts have a little power. I'd be thrilled if someone would come up with a good challenge to the DMCA, and let the courts spank Congress with it. PFFT to stupid laws, PFFT to stupid government officials, and PFFT to stupid people in general who get upset about dumb things ("one nation under God".. the uproar is stupid, it doesn't hurt anyone, it's not an endorsement of religion, although I suspect the religious right thinks it is).
Published: June 28, 2002