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Saturday, January 21, 2006 

Top 10 Supreme Court Decisions to Reverse

Dad29 reproduces the list of ten Supreme Court cases that Human Events wants overruled. They are as follows...
10. U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton 1995 decision that denied the peoples of the states the right to set term limits on their congressional representatives even though the Constitution is silent on term limits and the 10th Amendment leaves to the states and the people powers that the Constitution does not explicitly give to the federal government or expressly deny to the states.

9. Baker v. Carr 1962 decision that laid the groundwork for the "one man, one vote" standard ending county representation in state legislatures and forcing states, unlike the U.S. Senate, to redistrict based solely on population.

8. Plyer v. Doe 1982 decision that said that the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause requires state governments to provide public education to illegal aliens.

7. Grutter v. Bollinger 2003 decision that said the University of Michigan Law School could use race as a factor in admissions so it could achieve a "critical mass"” of a particular racial group.

6. Wickard v. Filburn 1942 decision that said Congress could regulate a farmer'’s growing of wheat for his own use on his own property under the constitutional language that authorizes Congress to regulate commerce "among the several states."

5. McConnell v. Federal Election Commission 2003 decision that upheld the McCain-Feingold law'’s prohibitions on political speech.

4. Berman v. Parker 1954 case that said the District of Columbia could seize a department store and hand it over to a private developer to redevelop a "blighted"” neighborhood, even though the department store itself wasn't "blighted." Decision set the stage for the 2005 Kelo v. New London decision allowing government to take property other than for direct "public use."”

3. Everson v. Board of Education 1947 decision that said 1st Amendment Establishment Clause erected a "wall of separation"” between church and state. Precursor to the 1971 Lemon v. Kurtzman decision that created a three-pronged test for when "“wall of separation" was breached and led to cases such as McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, which prohibited the posting of the 10 Commandments in a courthouse.

2. Lawrence v. Texas 2003 decision that declared same-sex sodomy a constitutional right, creating the rationale for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to declare a right to same-sex marriage.

1. Roe v. Wade 1973 decision that declared abortion-on-demand a constitutional right, overturning the abortion laws of the states, and led to further abominations such as Stenberg v. Carhart, which declared partial birth abortion a constitutional right.
Quite a list, and they went all the way back to Wickard. Wickard v Filburn is pretty much the reason that we have such a huge federal government these days (that and the 16th Amendment). That case concerned a quota that the federal government placed on grown wheat. Farmer Filburn grew more than the quota allowed, because he wanted to keep the excess for his own personal use. He wasn't going to sell it. He claimed that since it didn't enter commerce at all (and definitely not interstate commerce), then the federal government could not regulate it under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. That clause states that Congress has the power...
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.
The Court rejected his argument, claiming that there was a grand, nebulous structure of commerce. Filburn's wholly intrastate activity would preclude him from buying other wheat on the open market. See the problem here? Under this view, everything a person does can be tied to interstate commerce in one way or another. Anything that you do can be connected to your ability to buy or sell something. That means that Congress can regulate any activity.

That's what Congress tried to claim with the Gun-Free School Zones Act in 1990. They made mere possession of gun near a school a federal crime and enacted the law under the Commerce Clause. In the Lopez case, the Court struck the law down as going too far. Personally, I don't buy the argument that a gun near a school is substantially affecting interstate commerce. That's a state issue to regulate, and states do regulate it. The post-New Deal, pre-Lopez Commerce Clause powers of Congress allowed them to stick the federal nose where it doesn't belong.

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