Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: July 16, 2019

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

7/16/2019: Justice John Paul Stevens died.

Justice John Paul Stevens

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  1. The Republican Party, as it was in 1975.

    1. The Democrats still miss that version of the party and occasionally give the RNC the “good” advice that it needs to go back to those roots.

      1. Well, Jimmy, part of the reason we have tens of thousands of new Covid cases daily, as opposed to a relative paltry handful in Western Europe, is that the Republican Party abandoned the idea of being good citizens in favor of every man for himself and what’s in it for me. We lack both then national culture of being good citizens and the necessary funding for institutions that give us strong communities. Tax cuts are more important.

        I sometimes wonder if Pearl Harbor happened today, if we could even mobilize to successfully wage another World War II. We won World War II in part because people understood that there are times when what’s good for the community is more important than what’s good for me. Would people be willing to defeat Germany and Japan again if it meant higher taxes, military conscription, rationing and restrictions on mobility? Probably not; these days people can’t even wear masks for a few weeks to get a virus under control.

        1. “Republican Party abandoned the idea of being good citizens”

          The GOP caused New York to have the most infections and deaths. GOP also caused New Jersey to have the second most.

          The rest of your screed is even less useful.

          1. Bob, citing numbers that are months out of date does not help your cause. Yes, in the beginning, New York and New Jersey were where it hit, but thanks to actual leadership in those states, they now have it far better under control than Texas and Florida, both of which are run by Republicans.

            But you knew that.

              1. OK, so what exactly should New York and New Jersey have done differently in the very beginning? Yes, the dead are still dead, but the newly dead are mostly coming from Red States because the New York and New Jersey did what they had to do to get it under control.

                1. You don’t get it both ways. If you blame Republicans for current misbehavior, you have to blame Democrats for previous misbehavior. If you excuse Democrat misbehavior with “dead is dead”, you don’t get to blame Republicans for the same misbehavior.

                2. “did what they had to do to get it under control”

                  Like requiring infected people to be admitted to unprepared nursing homes?

                  “newly dead are mostly coming from Red States ”

                  Not at NY March to May levels.

                  Florida has 4500 dead total, NY has 32,000.

                  I will confidently predict that Florida never reaches 50% of NY, probably far less.

                  1. But what you’re not factoring in is that we know a lot more about the virus now than we did in March. Had New York and New Jersey known in March what we know now, their death rates would have been lower. And what makes Republican behavior so bad is that *even now that we know* they are still not doing what is necessary to stop the spread. So even if you turn out to be right that Florida death rates never hit New York (which remains to be seen), the point is that current infections and deaths are preventable in a way that the earlier ones weren’t because of our greater knowledge.

                    1. “their death rates would have been lower”

                      Best speculation is baseless speculation.

                      If Napoleon would have had the Abrams tank, he would have won Waterloo.

                    2. Bob, in order for my so-called speculation to be wrong, one would need to assume that the governors of New York and New Jersey would have ignored available evidence. And while that’s something Trump does routinely, do you have any reason to think they would have done the same?

            1. new york – deaths per million 1670
              New Jersey deaths per million 1,768
              Texas deaths per million 125
              Florida deaths per million 218
              Massachussets deaths per million 1,214

              Texas is doing far better than NY
              Claiming New is doing better is like saying the house fire is under control after it has burned to the ground

              1. See my response to Bob above.

                1. texas georgia florida are running 10-20% below NY & NJ – kinda shows those states learned something

          2. The Democrat idea of “good citizen” is really silent subject.

        2. This is becoming a tired old trope – “big government would have saved us from Covid!!!!!!”

          That is fresh coming from the same liberals that decried quarantine travel bans as “racist” in February and March….

          But I digress….is Covid bad? Sure. Is there anything a command control government could have done to mitigate its spread? Probably not. At least without wrecking the economy and putting us into a giant Depression. We can’t all hide in our houses on long term quarantines to battle a disease with a mortality rate of 0.1% And it “looks” like the federal government isn’t doing anything because that is exactly what the media is portraying, not reality. Vaccine development and clinical trials for pre-purposed drugs are humming away at unprecedented rates, mostly because the administration knows how business works. But none of that fits into the “Trump is incompetent” narrative, so why cover it?

          1. In February and March the evidence was far from conclusive that a travel ban — or wearing masks — would be effective. Once the evidence became conclusive, liberals got on board with both.

            And you’re right that there’s nothing that could have prevented it 100%, but that’s not the point. The point is that the experience of other countries that shut completely down until the virus ran its course are now back in business and with far fewer cases per capita. But if you care more about money than you do about people dying, then that’s your calculus. And, if we had a communitarian society in which good citizenship was valued, we’d have been far more willing to take care of each other to mitigate the worst of the economic pain.

            1. Liberals offer a lot of “what ifs” in this alternate reality they wish we lived in. None of these a proven solutions or really workable hypothesis. Just really pipe dreams.

              The United States is not Europe. Our economy isn’t even the same. The thought that all we have to do is replicate their strategy and *poof* magical results is fanciful thinking at best.

              And this “communitarian society” you wish we lived in, how is it going to avoid economic collapse if we all just hide in our houses for 18 months hoping the big bad virus goes away?

              Also you seem to assume that everyone is just OK with giving up their liberty and lives for 1.5 years to make this happen? I’m sure some people are, but ask around and you will probably find a rather high percentage that would rather not trade the small risk for a significant percentage of their adult life spent inactive. Don’t believe me, just ask any person under 25. They have pretty much told us through their actions that the risk isn’t worth losing 1 to 1.5 years of their youth.

              1. We don’t have to hypothesize when we can see what has been done elsewhere and what the results are. And it wouldn’t have taken 1.5 years; a month or two is more like it.

                The one thing you are right about is that a lot of people, especially younger people, aren’t willing to do what is necessary to stop the virus. Which goes to my earlier point about people no longer being willing to sacrifice for the greater good. And the draconian measures that would be necessary to force people to sacrifice for the common good are incompatible with a free society.

                Which is why, as George Will pointed out in his column yesterday, Germany, with a population of 80 million, had 159 new cases of Covid this past Sunday while Florida, population 21 million, had 15,300. If that’s the social policy you wish to pursue, fine, but make no mistake: Your politics is killing people.

                1. “Your politics is killing people.”

                  Strawman lately?

                  1. No. In this case literally true.

                    1. And we are of course ignoring the real mental health effects that lockdowns are having on people. What is an uptick in suicide, or a marked increase in alcohol dependence, or a very real percentage of people sinking into depression when you have a political point to make?

                    2. Do you have any actual numbers to show that that is happening? Assuming you do and you didn’t just make that up, at that point the question becomes which is worse, physical death or mental health issues. You can treat someone for mental health; you can’t fly someone back through the pearly gates.

      2. I believe those Democrats are misguided. I believe Democrats should welcome a Republican Party that can’t win a majority vote in a national election; can’t compete effectively in educated, successful, modern communities; and can travel only so far electorally as voter suppression, gerrymandering, and our system’s structural amplification of backwater votes can carry it.

    2. “The Republican Party, as it was in 1975.”

      A party which last held either house of Congress 30 years prior. Amiable losers.

      1. Sorry, 20 years prior.

        4 years total from 1930 to 1980.

        1. In recent years white racists, formerly spread across both parties, consolidated in the Republican Party. It is now virtually all white. Only in that way could it get big enough to still have a national impact.

          1. Or maybe the Dems did a good job at chasing certain people out of their party by adopting politically correct racist policies.

          2. Yawn. GOP is racist, attracts all the racists etc. ad nauseum

            1. It is indeed a tired old song, but still gets good play on the radio for some reason…

            2. Bigots no longer wish to be known as bigots.

              This is good for the liberal-libertarian mainstream, which arranged this change, but bad for conservatives, who get and deserve the consequences of appeasing and embracing old-timey bigotry.

              1. Well not quite.

                The Dems have defined “bigot” as anyone who doesn’t agree with their extreme left wing agenda.

                And since now they launched the current cancel culture, people who aren’t inclined to go along with the plan the Dems are looking to enact are engaged in self preservation because 99% of them still need jobs.

                So now the Dems are afraid of “silent Trump voters” because they have instilled so much fear into the general culture that people will just keep their mouth shut but still vote for Trump. Is that really a society you want to live in where a good 40% of us are scared to publicly support a mainstream candidate for the Presidency? Before you go off on answering that, just keep in mind that the tables can get flipped pretty easily. Just because the left is enjoying free reign now doesn’t mean that is for sure in the future.

                1. You see a big comeback for bigotry, superstition, and backwardness coming to America?

                  I see the opposite.

                  (That 40 percent figure is delusional.)

              2. “Bigots no longer wish to be known as bigots.”

                I agree with the rev
                Exactly what has become of the democrat party

                1. Please get out there and express your message broadly, joe. More Americans — especially young Americans, and most particularly educated young Americans — should be told what the Republican Party offers to them.

            3. It was a deliberate strategy. A generation of Republican politicians and strategists are on record about it.

              1. Shocker – people vote for their self interest. Isn’t that what the left encourages women and minorities to do by voting for them?

              2. “A generation of Republican politicians and strategists are on record about it.”


                Its the Atwater quote. He was in college when this “strategy” was supposedly conceived.

                Plus a couple of Nixon aides making ambiguous statements 50 years ago.

                Its a lib fantasy.

                1. Did you miss the formal apology from the Republican Party (after Atwater, after the Nixon aides) . . . and the consent decree . . .or did you ignore those points, with the rest of the stale, obsolete bigots from can’t-keep-up America?

                2. Patrick Buchanan, Nixon Administration.

                  “Let’s break the country in two. We’ll have the bigger piece.”

    3. For the sake of amusement, I looked at the Democratic Party platform of 1972 (you know, the radical platform), and I found:

      “We have nominated or elected men of the high calibre of Woodrow Wilson…

      “We believe in hard work as a fair measure of our own willingness to achieve. We are determined that millions should not stand idle while work demands to be done. We are determined that the dole should not become a permanent way of life for any….

      “…We are determined that the government shall no longer mock the supreme law of the land, while it stands helpless in the face of crime which makes our neighborhoods and communities less and less safe….”

      Never mind the more “progressive” parts of the platform – we all know that a single non-progressive utterance is enough to get you cancelled, and making amends by being progressive in other areas is not an option.

      1. Does preceding an opinion with “We all know that…” make the statement more likely to be correct, or less?

        1. I think we all know the answer to that question.

      2. “we all know that a single non-progressive utterance is enough to get you cancelled, and making amends by being progressive in other areas is not an option.”

        Uh, the Democratic presidential nominee was called out for opposing busing just recently and he was cancelled…by becoming the nominee rather easily…

        1. The Left will only eat their own to a certain extent.

          Don’t tell me that Biden didn’t get a “pass” on his sexual assault allegation either for anything other then the fact he is a liberal.

          1. “The Left will only eat their own to a certain extent.”

            So ‘they always do X’ except ‘when they don’t do X!’

            1. That statement is logically true for just about everything.

              1. No one ‘always does X’ if ‘when they don’t do X’ is ever true.

  2. Maybe I was busy last summer, but I completely missed he had died. Next thing I know you are going to tell me Patrick Swayze is no longer with us.

    1. We still have Lou Reed.

  3. Kelo
    CU dissent
    Heller dissent
    McDonald dissent

    So willing to ignore the BoR

    1. Toss up whether Stevens or Souter was the worst GOP pick in the last 50 years.

      1. If it was still January of this year, I’d nominate G. Harrold Carswell.

      2. It’s not the cowardly and awful RINO Roberts?

        This is the problem with easy and fast hyperbole. ‘Roberts is just the worst.’ Well, what about Stevens? ‘The worstest!’

    2. That is called the magic of a “living document.” It just becomes whatever 5 people on the Supreme Court think it ought to mean.

      1. This comment is especially amusing given in every one of those cases named the precedents set were historically groundbreaking.

  4. Stevens since he wrote far more opinions deviating from the constitution – probably only because he was on the court far longer.
    Per term basis , it would be toss up

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