With the Supreme Court delaying the release of their decision on the Affordable Care Act, Americans will have to wait until Thursday morning to find out whether our grandmothers will be harvested for stem cells, as per my Fox News-informed understanding of Obamacare.
But the Supremes did render an important decision in Miller v. Alabama, in which Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the 5-4 majority, ruled that states violate the 8th amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment when they don't allow for the option of a sentence shorter than life without the possibility of parole for juveniles convicted of murder.
We also learned that Justice Samuel Alito really, really cares about sentencing 14-year-olds to life in prison without parole. If throwing kids in prison were a song, it'd be his "Free Bird." He cares about it so much that he read his dissent from the bench, a punishment that is somehow still legal, even as it features gems such as this…
The two (carefully selected) cases before us concern very young defendants, and despite the brutality and evident depravity exhibited by at least one of the petitioners, it is hard not to feel sympathy for a 14-year-old sentenced to life without the possibility of release. But no one should be confused by the particulars of the two cases before us. The category of murderers that the Court delicately calls “children” (murderers under the age of 18) consists overwhelmingly of young men who are fast approaching the legal age of adulthood. Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson are anomalies; much more typical are murderers like Donald Roper, who committed a brutal thrill-killing just nine months shy of his 18th birthday.
The case to which Alito refers to is Roper v. Simmons, in which Christopher Simmons was convicted of murder and Donald Roper was sued for relief in his capacity as the Superintendent of the correctional facility where Simmons was held. The legal term for Alito's dissent is "fail."
Unfortunately, we as a nation are still ineligible for parole from the life term appointment of Justice Alito.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Children, Crime, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court
One can imagine why the Obama administration might want to postone the Supreme Court's decision on health care reform until well after the elections, when Obama is either relaxing on a beach in Hawaii or realizing his nefarious secret machinations with Russia as an untouchable second term despot. I mean, what politician wants his signature legislation castrated before the nation a half-year before Election Day?
However, if this is the kind of legal fire power the DOJ is bringing to the Supreme Court this week, they might be better off to let things finish up as fast a s possible so everyone hopefully forgets all about this…
The Justice Department says the mandate is constitutional, in part, under Congress's power to levy taxes. But in urging that the justices should not postpone a decision until the mandate takes effect, sometime after 2014, the administration has had to argue that the mandate is not a tax.
Justice Samuel Alito raised the issue as Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. argued Monday that the fine is a not a tax.
"Tomorrow you’re going to be back, and you’re going to be arguing that the penalty is a tax," Alito said.
So, the best lawyers in the Justice Department put their heads together and decided that the best way to go about this was to argue both sides at the exact same time? I'm not one of those fancy law-talking-guys but that doesn't seem like a winning strategy to me.
Though, maybe they're just trying to highlight how much this legislation truly is the brainchild of Mitt Romney.
Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images
Tags: Department of Justice, Health Care, Judiciary, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court, Taxes
Good day, patriots! 'Tis I, Sara Benincasa, your Comedy Central Indecision Delegate, here to further enlighten you with important facts about the fabulous government of our great nation. Today we turn our insightful gaze on the Supreme Court. I'm awash in that legendary post-midterm elections glow, as are you. But we must focus! FOCUS! On the Supreme Court!
"Oh, yes!" you are probably saying. "The Supreme Court. Which of the Supreme Courtesans were up for reelection this year? And is it true that Rand Paul ran for Chief Justice?" These are all reasonable and intelligent questions, and I applaud you for asking them. However, it is my duty to burst your shiny bubble and inform you that, alas, Supreme Court justices are appointed rather than elected.
"Appointed?" you scoff. "I don't recall being asked for my opinion on Alito or Scalia or those two ladies or the other guys."
Well, gentle reader, that is because you are not actually the person who appoints Supreme Court justices. I know it seems unfair, and I do encourage you to send a letter to your congressman complaining about this injustice. But the fact is, he can't do much about it, either. That's because the power to appoint Supreme Court justices rests mostly with the President. Howevsies, the Senate does get to weigh in, and bitchy senators have worked their butts off in the past to successfully block certain nominations. This is because every U.S. Senator is, at heart, a nasty sorority girl.
The Supreme Court consists of nine humans: eight associate justices and one Chief Justice. Right now, the Chief Justice is John G. Roberts, Jr. (he's the one who got all confused with Barack Obama at the swearing-in ceremony, prompting a do-over.) They all decide important stuff, like whether pooping on the flag is constitutional, or something.
Alrighty-roo, that's really all you need to know about the Supreme Court. You can go read the decision on Plessy v. Ferguson if you really want to, but I encourage you to sit on your couch and forget everything you just learned here, because you will probably never need to use it. (Unless you actually become a Supreme Court justice one day. Which is totally very likely.)
Tags: Antonin Scalia, Cramming for Midterms, Elena Kagan, John Roberts, Midterms, Samuel Alito, Sara Benincasa, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court
For the first time in U.S. history, we will have three women serving concurrently on the Supreme Court: Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and whatshername? You know, the hot one. Sandy something.
Anyway, the important thing is that everyone was in agreement that she was the best person for the job. Perfect agreement…
Five Republicans joined 56 Democrats and two independents in supporting the nomination; 36 Republicans and one Democrat, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, opposed her…
The sharp partisan divide over the nomination illustrated the increasing political polarization of fights over high court nominees, who in years past were backed by both parties in the absence of some disqualifying factor. Ms. Kagan received fewer Republican votes than Justice Sotomayor, who was supported by nine in her 68-31 confirmation on Aug. 6, 2009. Democrats balked at President George W. Bush’s nominee, Samuel A. Alito Jr., with only four endorsing him in a 58 to 42 vote in January 2006.
You see? It's not that the Republicans (and Ben Nelson) suck. It's that everybody in the Senate sucks. And that, ultimately, is agreement enough, isn't it?
Tags: Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito, Senate, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court
While America waits with baited breath to find out why Elena Kagan — Obama's choice for Supreme Court appointment — is the evilest woman to ever walk the Earth, here's a collection of Daily Show clips on Supreme Court appointments to help us get a running start at over-reacting…
August 6, 2009: White Men Can't Judge – Sotomayor Confirmation
The Daily Show airs Monday through Thursday at 11pm / 10c.
More videos after the jump…
Tags: Antonin Scalia, Arlen Specter, Elena Kagan, George W. Bush, Harriet Miers, John Paul Stevens, John Roberts, Jon Stewart, Robert Bork, Samuel Alito, Sandra Day O'Connor, Senate, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court, Ted Kennedy, The Daily Show