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The 5 Worst Supreme Court Rulings of the Past 50 Years

Cases in which a majority of the Court fell down on the job.

Joanna AndreassonJoanna AndreassonJames Madison once said that the job of the U.S. Supreme Court was to act as "an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive." Unfortunately, the justices have not always seen their role in the same light. Here are five cases from the past five decades in which a majority of the Court fell down on the job.

1. Smith v. Maryland (1979)

The Fourth Amendment guarantees "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." But according to the Supreme Court's 1979 decision in Smith v. Maryland, "a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties."

Lawyers call this the third-party doctrine. Prosecutors and police call it the gift that keeps on giving. Let's say the cops want to know what websites you've been reading. The third party doctrine lets them get that information from your internet service provider without obtaining a search warrant first. So much for that pesky Fourth Amendment and the privacy rights it was designed to protect.

2. Harlow v. Fitzgerald (1982)

What do libertarian-leaning federal Judge Don Willett and liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor have in common? They both despise the modern doctrine of qualified immunity.

In Harlow v. Fitzgerald (1982), the Supreme Court held that government officials are entitled to immunity from civil suits so long as the specific conduct they're being sued over "does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights."

What that means in practice, Willett observed in a 2018 opinion, is that "public officials [can] duck consequences for bad behavior—no matter how palpably unreasonable—as long as they were the first to behave badly."

Sotomayor concurs. The Court's "one-sided approach to qualified immunity," she wrote in a 2018 case, "transforms the doctrine into an absolute shield for law enforcement, gutting the deterrent effect of the Fourth Amendment."

Case in point: In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit concluded that a Michigan police officer violated the Fourth Amendment when he shot and killed a fleeing suspect. But the court gave the officer qualified immunity anyway, because the situation did not perfectly match anything found in prior case law and therefore "controlling authority at the time of the events had not clearly established the rights we identify today."

3. Bennis v. Michigan (1996)

According to the Fifth Amendment, the government may not deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Yet thanks to the widespread practice known as civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement agencies get to seize cash, cars, houses, boats, and other property from people who have been neither charged nor convicted of any underlying crime, if they merely say they suspect the property was connected to a crime. To make matters worse, the Supreme Court has given a rubber stamp of approval to this unconstitutional state of affairs. According to Bennis v. Michigan (1996), "the innocent owner defense" is no shield against a state's civil asset forfeiture regime. Where's the due process in that?

4. Kelo v. City of New London (2005)

Speaking of the Fifth Amendment, it also forbids the government from wielding its powers to seize property through eminent domain for anything less than a "public use." Yet in Kelo v. City of New London (2005), the Supreme Court allowed a Connecticut municipality to bulldoze a working-class neighborhood so that private developers would have a blank slate on which to build a luxury hotel, a conference center, and various other upscale amenities. Public use? More like public power unleashed on behalf of private gain.

The Court upheld the land grab on the grounds that government officials are entitled to "broad latitude in determining what public needs justify the use of the takings power." In other words, the city of New London was permitted to define—and to enlarge—the scope of its own eminent domain authority, unencumbered by any constitutional limitations.

5. Gonzales v. Raich (2005)

Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution recognizes the congressional authority "to regulate commerce…among the several states." In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the Supreme Court gave federal lawmakers a massive shot of steroids, enlarging their power in this area to include the regulation of wholly local activity if it has a "substantial economic effect" on the national market.

Six decades later, in Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Court handed Congress even more power, upholding a federal ban on marijuana, even as applied to plants that were cultivated and consumed by patients for their own doctor-prescribed use in states where medical cannabis was perfectly legal. As Justice Clarence Thomas observed in dissent, "by holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution's limits on federal power."

Photo Credit: GeorgePeters/iStock

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  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    I didn't know those case names or even that they had been in the last 50 years, but I would sure have picked at least several of those results as mind-bogglingly bad.

    Another that I would have added is the exclusionary rule, the idea that illegally-obtained evidence should be excluded from trial and the police involved not be punished. It leads cops to search all sorts of things they have no business sticking their greasy paws in, finding 50 kilos of drugs, and all the public sees is an obvious dealer getting off scot-free. Aside from the unconstitutional war on drugs, the proper solution is to punish the cop for violating the 4th amendment, such as with jail time, and keep on using the illegally-obtained evidence in trial. The exclusionary rule just makes a mockery of both sides and destroys justice on both sides (again, aside from the war on some drugs).

    Then there's the idiotic three-step program for allowing bad laws: rational basis, intermediate scrutiny, and strict scrutiny. An obvious work-around to let the government do whatever it wants, probably from the 1930s New Deal court-packing era, or maybe the earlier Progressive beginnings. Everything ought to be strict scrutiny. The idea that the government can violate the Constitution just because a law has good intentions is the kind of nonsense the framers wanted to avoid; they just didn't think hard enough about the lengths bureaucrats would go to to remain in power.

  • Ordinary Person||

    What you're missing is that there was no other means for the courts to punish the executive branch other than to exclude unconstitutionally obtained evidence from the trial. Personally, I think willful and egregious
    violations of our constitutional rights by agents of the state should be criminal offenses and any evidence obtained excluded. The oath to defend the constitution should have teeth behind it.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    You identify a symptom that there is no way for courts to punish the executive branch) as if it were the problem itself.

    I know of no part of the Constitution that says police can violate my rights willy-nilly with no accountability. That is a court-made rule and ought to be thrown out. If a cop searches me illegally, that is a crime. If a cop seizes my property illegally, that is a crime. Same for prosecutors who prosecute me when they know I didn't do it (I am talking they have to forge evidence to frame me, or they have evidence proving my alibi but hide it), or judges who willfully sentence me when they know I didn't do it (probably much less common than prosecutors or cops).

    Qualified immunity, absolute immunity -- court-made rules that violate the Constitution. If you think not, then show your work.

  • JesseAz||

    Who is going to prosecute the cops? The district attorney and the executive have prosecutorial discretion. Make it a crime to violate the 4th and who presses charges of the d.a. is working with the cops?

    Likewise the harm from violating the 4th amendment rights of a criminal falls on the crime. The correct retribution for the violation is not to lock another person up but to rectify the violation, such as if the search had never occurred.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    Who is going to prosecute the cops? The district attorney and the executive have prosecutorial discretion.

    The federal government can prosecute violations of the Constitution, and state governments can prosecute violations of state constitutions.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    But despite it being theoretically possible, the point is it almost never happens.

  • Ben of Houston||

    This is precisely why we have civil courts, to fill this hole in governmental power.

  • tpaine||

    The individual citizen, acting as a private district attorney should have the right to bring criminal charges against government officials.
    Make it so number one

  • Jack Nunn||

    The problem with this approach is it can be abused several ways. One possibility is a person bringing criminal charges before sufficient evidence is available. If the accused is found not guilty the state is bared from bringing charges after a complete investigation because of double jeopardy. I can even see criminals having a friend bring charges then present a deliberately weak case to protect the criminal from future prosecution. Eliminating or modifying double jeopardy rules to attempt to fix this has it's own issues.

  • markm23||

    As if prosecutors aren't doing that already to shield their friends.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    That leads inevitably to the wisdom of victims hiring private cops and private prosecutions.

    A subset is letting private citizens investigate and prosecute bad cops.

    The more the government does to the exclusion of private enterprise, the more it does incompetently and corruptly.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Bringing back private prosecutors would help.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    I'm not a lawyer. But it strikes me that you rely pretty heavily on a notion that a constitutional violation must also be a crime. I wonder about that. And if it turns out that the constitution is not a criminal statute, maybe you then bump into some problems under state laws, if those are the ones being enforced. Some states don't work on the basis of limited and enumerated powers. So if your problem occurs in a plenary powers state, and whatever U.S. constitutional provision constrains the state is not in itself criminal law, where is the crime?

    If anyone tries to quote me on this, or hold me to it in any way, I will deny everything. This is rank speculation from someone not qualified to have an opinion.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Perjury, evidence fabrication, and withholding exculpatory evidence are crimes.

  • Robert||

    "Punish the executive branch"?! How can such an abstraction be punished? Is English punished by being abused? Is America punished by being named for a map maker?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    The exclusionary rule is not a product of the last 50 years of SCOTUS jurisprudence.

    The worst decision in post-WWII history was Griswold v Connecticut, in which the SCOTUS majority gave Douglas a going-away present by adopting a Constitutional "right to privacy" based on "penumbras" and "emanations" from the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately for the writers of this article, even if they had wanted to take on the "right to privacy" they would have had to reach back to 1965 to do so. Why is Griswold so bad? Well, without it we would have never been saddled with Roe v Wade, among other things.

  • sarcasmic||

    That probably falls under qualified immunity. Sure the search was illegal, but the good guys say they searched the bad guys in good faith.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    Qualified and absolute immunity are more court fixems to get around the Constitution.

  • BambiB||

    The biggest "fixem" in the history of the Court was probably Marbury v. Madison (where the Supremes just said, "We'll judge that!" but the second biggest was almost certainly Wickard v. Filburn.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    One of the major problems with the Constitution is that it doesn't specify punishments for violations.

    Hopefully we learn from this and do better next time.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    Yes, it's like passing a law against murder with no penalties.

    If the courts were going to invent anything out of whole cloth to "fix" the Constitution, why coudln't it have been actual substantial penalties for violating the Constitution instead of get-out-of-jail-free cards for State agents who violate it?

  • AnAmusedOutsider||

    If you disagree with the war on drugs, then you should support the exclusionary rule. It is one of the few avenues available for a drug defendant to fight a drug charge.

    You should also be aware that it has become extremely weakened over the years so as to become almost entirely non-existent. Some statistics state that fewer than one percent of defense motions to suppress (exclude) evidence are ever granted.

    Also the exclusionary rule does NOT prevent an officer from being criminally charged for lying about evidence or illegally obtaining evidence. Unwilling (and unethical) prosecutors do that.

  • Art Gecko||

    But if they seize 50 kilos of drugs, that means 40 fewer kilos on the streets. That's 30 fewer kilos sold to our kids. 20 fewer kilos to cause overdoses. 10 fewer kilos to ruin lives. I'm sorry, but we seem to have misplaced the 50 kilos... I'm sure they're in the evidence room, somewhere.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Two out of the 5 worst decisions were made in the same year: 2005. That works out to 40% of the terrible ones from 5 decades in that single year.

    What was happening on the court that year?

  • JesseAz||

    The guy who just retired decided he wanted to act more like a liberal that year.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Most of the votes for the relevant "bad" decisions came from Republican-appointed justices, by large margin.

    Other than that, though, great comment!

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Your heroine RBG was the deciding vote in two of the worst. Neither side has a lot to be proud of when it comes to liberty.

    But facts are not useful to a tribalist such as yourself.

  • Cyto||

    To be fair, there are at least 5 "deciding votes" in all SC decisions.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    There are, and you're right. But Kelo was given to us by the left-leaning wing of the court. On Bennis, RBG joined the right-leaning wing of the court to form a majority. She's the one constant in allowing the government to take our property pretty much any time they feel like it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Be glad that Kennedy is gone.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Be glad that RBG is almost gone.

  • MarkW201||

    The "guy" who retired in 2005 was a woman.

  • DesigNate||

    He's not saying the person that retired in 2005. He's saying the guy that just retired decided to be a liberal IN 2005.

  • JesseAz||

    Reason comprehension is a lost art. See mark.

  • loki||

  • Big Glade||

    There was also Town of Castle Rock v Gonzales in 2005.

  • Brian||

    "Where's the due process in that?"

    Come on, man. Do you think asset forfeiture should be a straight forward as, say, White House press passes?

  • JFree||

    What do you think are the confirmation odds of a nominee who says I think the SC needs to protect the rights and liberties of the people from elected officials like you

  • Eddy||

    Given that Congress often passes laws on the assumption that if they're unconstitutional the courts can figure it out later, that may not be as offensive to them as you think.

  • Eddy||

    Though I suppose they'd have to feign outrage for the cameras.

  • ||

    Pretty harrowing. Land of the free? More like land for the cronies.

    What? No Roe v. Wade?

    /ducks.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Roe v. Wade is actually the best thing the Supreme Court has done in the past half century. It not only achieves the correct result; it does so through rigorous, ironclad logic. That's why leading legal scholars refer to it as a SUPER-PRECEDENT.

    There are several candidates for worst recent SC decision.

    Bush v. Gore — Allowed Bush to steal the 2000 election from the rightful winner, Al Gore. Bush then went on to become the worst President in US history, until Drumpf claimed that dubious distinction for himself.

    Heller — A highly ideological, results-oriented exercise in judicial activism in which right-wing extremist judges invented a "Constitutional right to own a gun" out of thin air. Of course, any reality-based reading of the Constitution recognizes the Second Amendment only provides a collective right. That's why it mentions "militia."

    (Sorry, forgot the name) — The one where the Court ruled explicit numerical affirmative action quotas were unconstitutional. What's wrong with quotas? If about half the population is female, then about half the workers in every job should be female. This is basic fairness. The same logic applies to racial representation.

  • JesseAz||

    I almost responded wothout looking at the username... Good one obl.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Remember when people thought he was serious?

  • ||

    Chapeau.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    You can do better. You need a more roundabout justification for that last one, more sophistry. And a few relevant hashtags.

  • DesigNate||

    I'm disappointed you didn't mention Citizen's United.

  • mpercy||

    "then about half the workers in every job should be female...The same logic applies to racial representation."

    Tell that to the NBA.

  • JesseAz||

    Tell that to garbage men, high line power workers, waste management, etc.. oh wait... Women don't want dirty or risky jobs?!? Force them in the name of equality.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Duh. That only applies for upper management, STEM, attorney, and other high paying careers that have been previously been part of the patriarchy and meritocracy cronyism.

    But we need to reduce the number of women in hair and nail salons, teaching, administrative assistant, and sociology careers. We need low skilled men to have a chance too.Thank goodness the homosexual men opened the door for us in flight attendant careers.

    Wait! Is there a pattern where women, not biologically speaking, gravitate toward specific hospitality oriented jobs, whereas men often go to higher risk and strength based jobs? It's almost like men are different from women in some mysteriously and previously unseen ways of unknown origin.

  • vek||

    And let's not even mention the fact that male and female IQ distributions are completely different... With far more males at both the high and low end of the spectrum... I mean that might scientifically explain why there are more super achieving males, AND more super dysfunctional males in society...

    Nope. Definitely don't want to mention there are orders of magnitude fewer female geniuses. That would be HORRIBLE to admit... Even though it's true.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Shrug. You can argue Roe v Wade as a bad decision, but it's hard to argue that it's as bad as these five.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Where "you" = Libertarians For Big-Government Womb Management and Libertarians For Statist Micromanagement Of Ladyparts Clinics?

    Carry on, clingers. Not too much longer, though, I'm afraid.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Where did I express my own opinion of Roe v. Wade, you cretin?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You can argue
    Where "you" =

    Other than that, great comment, you retrograde reprobate.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    you (pronoun) -used to refer to the people or person that the speaker is addressing.

    For an elitist bigoted prick, you're really, really dumb.

  • 68W58||

    He really is-but he wouldn't be an elitist, bigoted prick otherwise.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Ladyparts Clinics

    I've already told you this before, but please stop referring to reproductive health clinics as "Ladyparts Clinics." Vaginas and uteri are not necessarily "ladyparts" since many transmen and nonbinary people have them. That language is as problematic and transphobic as assuming there's something inherently "manly" about a penis and testicles.

  • Don't look at me!||

    You are getting better and better at this. When is your book coming out?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I've already told you this before,

    I tend not to devote much attention to advice from right-wing blowhards.

    I blame my education and, in particular, the lack of backwater religious schooling and homeschooling.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    See, the problem is by using "uterus" and "ladyparts" interchangeably, you're employing exactly the same "anatomy determines gender" nonsense as the bigoted right-wing science-deniers you despise so much. You need to check your cisgender privilege.

    Or, if you won't listen to me, listen to Planned Parenthood:

    Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus. Some men have a uterus.

    A transman accessing abortion care isn't doing anything related to "ladyparts," thank you very much. His vagina is just as masculine as a cisman's penis.

  • Nardz||

    A++++++

    OBL, you've broken the grading system

  • Demosthenes of Athens||

    10/10.

  • NashTiger||

    Your idiocy emanates from your penumbra

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I blame my education and, in particular, the lack of backwater religious schooling and homeschooling.

    LOl--check out Arthur L. Hicklib trying to pretend he's not an 85-IQ dumbshit.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    But he does occasionally use a thesaurus.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Some men have a thesaurus...

  • RabbitHead||

    Rev,

    You do realize Roe was Big-government feds telling states what to do, right?

  • perlchpr||

    That is not a thing Kirkland would object to.

  • AnAmusedOutsider||

    So was DC v Heller.

  • I can't even||

    It's when the Court officially wiped their collective asses with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

  • Eddy||

    Reason knows how to manage my expectations.

    By which I mean that I'm glad they don't put Roe in a list of the 5 bestest decisions ever.

  • Eddy||

    I noticed this right after James Madison's "impenetrable bulwarks" quote about the courts enforcing a Bill of Rights:

    "Beside this security, there is a great probability that such a declaration (Bill of Rights) in the federal system would be inforced; because the state legislatures will jealously and closely watch the operations of this government, and be able to resist with more effect every assumption of power than any other power on earth can do; and the greatest opponents to a federal government admit the state legislatures to be sure guardians of the people's liberty."

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu.....14s50.html

  • sarcasmic||

    Sounds to me like he was talking about the members of the Senate being chosen by state legislatures. The 17A did away with that check on federal power.

  • Tamfang||

    The Federalist Papers also say that federal laws would mostly be applied/enforced by state officers, and that a citizen oppressed by a State could turn to the United States for protection and vice versa.

    One of my reformist fantasies is to abolish the Federal judiciary, and let each State's judges hear appeals from any other State. Two obvious benefits: precedents accumulate by gradual consensus (how the Common Law ought to work) rather than by infallible decree, and judges aren't chosen for their deference to Congress and the President.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    NFB v. Sebellius (Obamacare) must be sixth. The Court held that the government can essentially regulate anything, so long as failure to comply is enforced via a tax.

  • sarcasmic||

    Obamacare went beyond regulation. It said the federal government can compel you to purchase something, as long as the penalty was enforced by the IRS.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    It's amazing how they've ignored the fact that taxes must originate in the House. Obamacare and the penaltax came from the Senate. Hard to top that.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    If you think about it, it's not particularly amazing. House members don't get to vote on judicial confirmations.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    They did take a short approach on that angle, but it died with hardly a whimper.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Which goes to show the original articles were no more important than the original amendments.

  • Rat on a train||

    Wickard v Filburn was running out of steam. They needed a new end run around the Constitution.

  • brec||

    #5, Raich, is basically Wickard redux.

  • Juice||

    It should be in the top 5. The way it was decided was an absolute legal atrocity.

  • JesseAz||

    Chevron has to be a close 6th. It allows the executive to claim they didn't understand a law as written and make up a new version, or change the definition of a word to expand power *cough title ix*.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    If you go back and look at the votes on these decisions, it should put an end to the caterwauling about judges from one side or another being uniquely terrible. Each side has contributed to these decisions in more or less equal parts.

    Surprisingly, the president who nominated the most libertarian-leaning judges appears to be Eisenhower. Unsurprisingly, Nixon's nominees tend to be statist pricks.

    Note that OMG He's a Nazi Gorsuch has signaled pretty strongly that he'd like to get rid of the third-party doctrine.

    Also note that RBG, who is currently being lionized by the left, was basically the deciding vote that gave us both Kelo and civil asset forfeiture. She even crossed over to join the conservative block in the case of forfeiture. Shows how interested in the left is in actual liberty. If you want the state to be able to take your shit away any time they want for any reason they want, RBG is there to insure that you get your wish.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Shows how interested in the left is in actual liberty.

    Far more majority votes in the five reported cases came from Republican-appointed justices than came from Democrat-appointed justices. Against that background, bevis the lumberjack's comment is silly. A ninth-grader could do better.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Far more minority votes and dissents came from Republican-appointed justices too. Because Republicans dominated the presidency in this period there were more Republican-nominated judges.

    But don't do any complicated thinking. You'll hurt yourself.

  • perlchpr||

    Artie doesn't think at all.

  • Nardz||

    "Surprisingly, the president who nominated the most libertarian-leaning judges appears to be Eisenhower."

    I don't see why it's surprising that the one (until Trump) president to not hold prior elected office would also nominate the most libertarian minded judges.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Reason never does its homework. The below cases are much worse as they set precedent early that is unconstitutional and contributes to the USA welfare state that we have today.

    National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012)
    ObamaCare. Allowed for government to force Americans to buy health insurance.

    Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619 (1937)
    Was a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that Social Security was constitutionally permissible as an exercise of the federal power to spend for the general welfare, and did not contravene the 10th Amendment. The Court's 7–2 decision defended the constitutionality of the Social Security Act of 1935, requiring only that welfare spending be for the common benefit as distinguished from some mere local purpose. It affirmed a District Court decree that held that the tax upon employees was not properly at issue, and that the tax upon employers was constitutional.

    Steward Machine Company v. Davis, 301 U.S. 548 (1937)
    Was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the unemployment compensation provisions of the Social Security Act of 1935, which established a federal taxing structure that was designed to induce states to adopt laws for funding and payment of unemployment compensation. The decision signaled the Court's acceptance of a broad interpretation of Congressional power to influence state laws.

  • Eddy||

    Only the first of these was within the last 50 years.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That limitation of 50 years was stupid and typical for Reason the propagandists to hide a discussion around the formative years of the US welfare state.

    The 5 Worst Supreme Court Rulings of the Past 2 Years. (2 years, because that's how long that I have been here)

    Goes to show that I dont really read the articles here. Thanks Shikha.

  • Brandybuck||

    You would have done an article about the worst 7.5 decisions in the past 75 years? Screw that! I REAL LIBERTARIAN would have written an article about the worst 100 SCOTUS decisions in the past 1000 years!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The United States of America had a slavery crisis and resolved that with the Civil War. The Democrats refused to end slavery.

    Mainly because of the two above SCOTUS permitting Social Security schemes, we now have a debt crisis. This time Democrats AND RINOs refuse to end retirement welfare giving us $21,747,000,000+ national debt.

    ObamaCare gives us health insurance and healthcare welfare which adds to debt crisis and destroying of a private health insurance and health care market.

  • MarkW201||

    The biggest single reason for that gargantuan national debt is that 3 times in the last 40 years, three different Presidents, from the same political party each time, proposed large tax cuts and got them through Congress. By doing so, each of these three Presidents saddled the US with very large structural deficits (e.g., deficits when we are at or close to full employment).

  • soldiermedic76||

    Bullshit. All 3 times tax revenues increased. Spending not taking is the cause of debt. No ifs, and, or buts about it.

  • MarkW201||

    Not if you 1) look only at federal income tax revenue, 2) adjust for inflation and population growth, and 3) figure taxes as a percentage of GDP. Any competent economist will tell you that you have to do these things.

  • Rat on a train||

    Did you notice that spending as a percentage of GDP has increased since WW2 while revenue as a percentage has been flat?

  • soldiermedic76||

    1) yes of course we are looking at income tax. Because we are talking about income tax. Wow. You were the one who brought up tax cuts. How far are you moving the goal posts?
    2) Spending, when adjusted for both those factors has increased. The largest portion has been non-discretionary spending.
    3) Taxes, as a percent of GDP has been rather consistent but spending has gone up as a percentage of GDP. So guess what, that means spending is the problem. Any competent economist will tell you if revenue is basically flat but spending increases, it isn't the revenue that is the cause of your defecit.

  • MarkW201||

    1) The reason I brought up federal income taxes is that many propagandists for Republican tax cuts, when they try to claim that "revenues increased," use the total amount of federal taxes, which includes many things besides federal income taxes, such as the Social Security/Medicare payroll tax.

    2) LIkewise, the reason I bring up inflation and population growth is that many propagandists like to use nominal tax revenues which are not adjusted for either of these.

    3) Actually, both spending and taxes, as a share of GDP, have shown about the same fluctuation.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Again, if all federal taxes went up, it doesn't support your hypothesis that tax cuts are the problem. Especially, as I pointed out the largest part of the budget, by far, is non-discretionary spending, e.g. social security, Medicare and Medicaid. However, this are underfunded mandates. The problem is once again spending, not taxation. Do you actually believe we can tax our way to prosperity?
    Next you will bring up the high tax rates in the 1950s, because that is another tired talking point.

  • iowantwo||

    Spending is not figured on a percentage of GDP. Dont figure tax revenue that way.

  • MarkW201||

    You can figure either taxes or spending as a percentage of GDP. Doing so is quite common among economists as it's a way of adjusting for growth in the economy and how it affects taxes and spending. There's nothing controversial or objectionable about it.

  • PubliusVA||

    US v Butler, 297 U.S. 1 (1936), is the culprit behind Helvering and Steward Machine Co. That's the case where SCOTUS decided that Congress can tax and spend for basically whatever it determines is in the "general welfare." The Court acknowledged that there were diverging interpretations of the general welfare clause, represented by Madison and Story, but basically said: "We've studied everything and Story is right, but we're not going to explain why. Just take our word for it." Voilà, now subsequent decisions only have to cite to Butler for the proposition that Congress can spend on whatever it wants for the general welfare.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Little bit surprised that Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld didn't make the list.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Of course welfare and massive national debt contributors did not surprise you.

    Some guys who did attack of planned the attack the USA and were not shot on sight, are you biggest concern.

    Detaining some people we are "war" with and not given trials or summarily shot by our military (since they dont treat US troops according to the Geneva convention) could be on A list of bad SCOTUS. But never even close to the top.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Little bit surprised that Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld didn't make the list.

    It makes the libertarian list.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Kirkland does not even know what a Libertarian is.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I know what a libertarian isn't . . . a bigoted, backward, superstitious, authoritarian right-winger. Immigration, tariffs, abortion, the drug war, torture, abusive policing, military spending, special privileges for religion, white nationalism, and "traditional values" tend to be handy markers.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    This level of stupidity belongs in the Smithsonian.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    This level of stupidity belongs in the Smithsonian.

  • soldiermedic76||

    The sad thing is that he is deluded enough to believe he is actually clever.

  • Nardz||

    Not deep down.
    The psyche is a funny thing - it cannot avoid truth, though it can fight desperately against admitting it

  • NashTiger||

    He's basically an NPC with only one single EXE file

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "Little bit surprised that Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld didn't make the list."

    To make the list it's got to displace one of those five. It's hard to argue that Hamdi had a larger impact on the liberty of more people than the five he listed.

  • Cyto||

    Everyone knows Citizen's United was the worst. It allows corporations to make movies! About politics!

    CNN and MSNBC have made sure that I am well aware of the threat that allowing corporations to have freedom of speech poses.

  • epsilon given||

    Best. Citizens United. Comment. EVAR!!!

  • Cyto||

    Bennis is a pretty good decision, in that it lays bare the nature of the beast.

    At that point they are just the goon with a big stick taking whatever they want.

    They sound like Darth Vader - "pray I don't alter the deal further".

    Maybe a few folks will become "woke" to the reality of government as organized crime. It is a longshot, but just maybe...

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    the reality of government as organized crime

    But they're elected...so that makes it okay

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Also the Abood case was a pretty horrible one.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A....._Education

  • JesseAz||

    Janus started to repeal Abood... probably why it isn't relevant.

  • Juice||

    The third party doctrine lets them get that information from your internet service provider without obtaining a search warrant first.

    Funny that it's not considered to be the property (papers and effects) of the ISP, which you would think would require a warrant to be reasonable.

  • Cyto||

    I've always found that interesting. I haven't seen anyone address that bit... it is as if property that crosses between multiple parties is suddenly "not private".

    I wonder if they'd hold the same way if you gave me your diary for safekeeping? Or could the government just come get it from my study without a warrant?

    Or if you and I played bridge regularly. Would

  • Cyto||

    the scoring sheets from our games suddenly become "not private" if you keep them at your house and the government is interested in finding out about my bridge habits?

    It seems like a lot of these "terrible" decisions were decided on the basis of "we want this outcome in this case", rather than "what does the constitution and the law say".

  • brec||

    Your den is in your house, and the 4thA provides for the security thereof.

    Bits and bytes at an ISP are not persons, houses, papers, or effects. The 4thA protects physical property (including your physical person). To get a right to privacy from it requires abstracting from what it says, which I see as an abandonment of textualism or originalism.

    As an advocate of the protection of personal privacy from government snooping or taking, I'm left with depending on statutory means.

  • Jack Nunn||

    The problem is that it is considered the property of the ISP and not yours. This gives the ISP the power to turn over those records without a warrant. The ISP can refuse and force the goverment to get a warrant but rarely does so. Either way you have no say in whether a warrant is required or not.

  • AnAmusedOutsider||

    I am not necessarily sure that is true. Yes, that was clearly a horrible Supreme Court ruling, but I do not believe that the federal government can currently (legally) access one's internet browsing history without a warrant.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Thank you, Damon, for concentrating so much angst into one Sunday morning.

    *Fd'A starts drinking early*

  • Rob Misek||

    Roe vs Wade has by erroneously ruling that a living unborn human baby is the mother's body, DNA proves otherwise, has resulted in the murder of tens of millions helpless innocent people, 750,000 each year in the US alone.

    It has created a culture of murder for convenience and irresponsibility representing the most bloodthirsty genocide in earths history.

    And you're part of it.

  • Don't look at me!||

    The number of abortions in the United States increased gradually from 1973, then peaked in 1990 and has been on the decline since then. It is now lower than the number you cite.
    And it's really none of your business how others run their lives.

  • Rob Misek||

    Fucking murderers. You know you are.

    Murder is one of those things that others have to get involved with.

  • iowantwo||

    Wife beaters every where agree with you. So do meth cookers.

  • Rob Misek||

    The feminist brain trust showed up.

    Only fucking murderers agree with you.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    *rolls eyes*

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If you have information about a murder, the sole reasonable course for a decent person would be to alert appropriate law enforcement authorities.

    If you do not have a complaint concerning murder to take to the authorities, the sole decent course for an ostensible adult would be to stop spouting superstitious nonsense while grown-ups are attempting to conduced reasoned debate concerning matters of public importance.

  • Rob Misek||

    The "authorities" are complicit.

    When the law is corrected, don't worry, I'll be seeking the death penalty for the likes of you.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Fucking murderers, I'll kill you all!
    He said with knowing what irony was.

  • Rob Misek||

    Perhaps you can explain the irony from the perspective of JUSTICE.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Look at Judge Dredd here, meting out justice.

  • Rob Misek||

    Life isn't a movie, dork.

    By advocating abortion you're supporting real murder you dumb fuck.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Not advocating abortion, just advocating mind you own business.

  • Rob Misek||

    It doesn't work like that with murder.

    The killed need others to get JUSTICE.

  • iowantwo||

    The proper role of govt is NOT to protect the weakest among us. (sarc)

    Defining life, rests in the hands of the people. Not unelected oracles in black robs.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Or, science. The unborn individual is alive and growing, with his or her own DNA. With one shot at life, just like each of us.

  • Outside the Box||

    But... an egg cell is also "alive". As is a sperm. Does that mean masturbation is mass murder?

    "Life" is not a binary.

  • Rob Misek||

    Murderers are so fucking stupid.

    Neither an egg or sperm meets the scientific criteria of life.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    You just murdered the use of phrasing.

  • Outside the Box||

    Who said JUSTICE is the only that matters in the world? It might for you, but... isn't that your subjective choice?

  • Rob Misek||

    No, in the shithole you belong in, Justice doesn't matter at all.

  • NashTiger||

    Modern Medicine, DNA, Ultrasounds are now "superstitious nonsense"

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    If NASA discovered single cell organisms on another planet, would that be considered life?

  • Outside the Box||

    The notion that "life" is somehow a binary is definitely superstitious nonsense.

  • MSimon||

    Do you have any idea how many miscarriages there are?

    And nothing is being done about it.

  • Rob Misek||

    A natural miscarriage is a natural death.

    Are you so fucking stupid that you don't know the difference?

    Fucking murderers.

  • Outside the Box||

    Those that die of *natural* deaths are so much less dead.

  • iowantwo||

    New flash!!!! thousands of people die every day of natural causes.

    You think you have a point.(if you wear the right hat, people won't notice.)

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yes. And in those thousands of cases, someone will take a look to make sure it was actually "natural" and not something more malicious.

    Are you advocating that every miscarriage be investigated to make sure it's not actually an abortion?

  • epochehusserl||

    I am surprised we don't see Griggs vs Duke Power on this list. But then again this is a social justice publication not a libertarian publication

  • John Rohan||

    I would vote for the 2001 PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin case.

    Essentially, the Supreme Court said that a sport (in this case, golf) had to change its rules to accommodate handicapped players. Are you kidding me? And it was a 7-2 decision. It could have ruined sports. Fortunately, the decision was so bad that it's essentially been ignored and hasn't been applied in the massive slippery slope that it is (but just give it time).

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Give some thought to Heller as a candidate for the list. It has at least 3 ways to achieve (50-year bracket) worst-ever status.

    1. It already is bad. It purports to rest on history, but there isn't a spec of valid history in it—not one cite from any founder supports Scalia's conclusion that the U.S. Constitution intended arms for personal self-defense. Unless someone can show how to take all the goofy purported history out, and still leave the decision standing, it was wrongly decided.

    2. It can be left alone, and go bad over time. Heller could provide cover for an actual pre-mobilized, gun-nut insurrection. If a small minority of extremists try to seize policy dominance by armed political intimidation (or worse), Heller will end up a consensus pick for one of the worst decisions ever.

    3. It can be overturned, as improperly decided, and trigger a crisis that way. At least a few million gun-centric would-be constitutional experts would pronounce their rights abrogated. Then threaten armed resistance (as patriots) to any consequent efforts to impose even minor gun controls.

    Not many decisions can even aspire to that Trifecta-of-Badness title, for which Heller now looks to be the leading contender.

  • Aubrey LaVentana||

    Your point (2) is being realized by AntiFa.

  • JesseAz||

    You have some nice shitty analysis there Lathrop.

    Regarding 1: Which founders didn't believe in an American right to arm themselves. These were all hunters and the enshrined the militia as being of the populace. What a stupid argument you make.

    Regarding 2: Umm... lolwut.

    Regarding 3: When did you become a conspiracy nut? We've had private ownership of guns for 250 years...

    Wow you're dumb.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Gun abolutists who figure John Wayne was a gun-grabbing commie when he collected firearms for safekeeping until the drunken yahoos slept it off are among my favorite half-educated, faux libertarians.

  • MSimon||

    Which movie was that?

  • Rat on a train||

    The Searchers?

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Excellent post. If there's one thing I cannot stand in Constitutional Law, it's right-wing judicial activism that invents new meanings based on what Republican justices wish the Constitution said, completely ignoring the actual words and historical context.

    Heller is an abomination. When Democrats take back the Presidency and hopefully expand the Court to at least 11 members, I hope it gets overturned.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    OBL: "When Democrats take back the Presidency and hopefully expand the Court to at least 11 members.... "

    Oh, that will take until at least 2022, as the 2020 Senate races again look bad for the Democrats.

    Even longer if the Democratic party runs Hillary Clinton again (there are strong rumors, fed by her people).

    And they'll have to finish the process of getting rid of the filibuster first, unless the GOP Senate has done it before then. Which could happen.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I would love a chance to vote for Hillary Clinton again in 2020 like I did in 2016, but as of right now I don't expect it to happen. Regardless, I guarantee the Democratic nominee will win the next Presidential election. Drumpf is the worst President ever, and American voters are tired of him, as demonstrated by the magnitude of the #BlueTsunami midterm.

  • Rat on a train||

    Be kind and pack the court with enough new members that some can take vacation during the session without threatening the result.

  • Toranth||

    I had to double check to make sure this wasn't another OBL joke post, because there is so much ignorance and foolishness in it.

    1. To start with, the right to self-defense is so old it doesn't have recorded origins. Every known legal system has acknowledged it in some form or another. And for that same purpose, the carrying of arms was expected. Some places put restrictions on the right - limiting the arms allowed (daggers only, or restricting swords to outside towns) or banning armor. But even a cursory scanning of English law, as far back as the Magna Carta, shows that Englishmen were expected to armed and that the cases of the time treated carrying arms and self defense with those arms as both legal and proper (Also see Assizes). The Castle Doctrine was a relatively recent declaration, with that quote dating back to merely 1600 - 200 years before the Founding Fathers.

    2. Heller is a bad ruling because criminals might break the law? Seriously?
    3. Even worse: Heller is bad because if overturned, people might get upset? Tell me, replace Heller with Roe, and do you still think your statement holds? "At least a few million baby-murdering would-be constitutional experts would pronounce their rights abrogated. Then threaten armed resistance (as patriots) to any consequent efforts to impose even minor abortion controls."

    Heller's only fault is that it accepted part of the lies that Miller told.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Toranth, re-read your comment, and find the part where you say guns for self-defense was put in the U.S. Constitution by the founders. It's not even in your own comment, let alone in the historical record.

    Like Scalia, you seem to be reasoning that whatever folks believed at the time of the founding was therefore in the Constitution. And of course that isn't true. Most of what they believed got left out of the Constitution, on purpose, or by accident, or because nobody gave any thought to whatever. And not because the founders thought the stuff that got left out was thereby abolished, or anything like that.

    The point I am making is a simple one. If the founders did not put guns for self-defense in the Constitution, and nobody afterwards put it in there by amendment, then it isn't in there now, and Heller is wrongly decided. That's it. I'm not saying nobody has a right to self-defense, including self-defense with a gun. I'm just saying that right isn't in the Constitution. Because it isn't. Or at least because I don't think it is. Find something in the historical record which says otherwise, and I will change my mind. Nobody seems to have found that yet.

  • JesseAz||

    Hey dumbfuck. The constitution is a granting of powers, not a granting of individual rights. It is on you to point to the clause where they grant the power to conficlscate guns you blithering moron.

  • chipper me timbers||

    ^This .

    This is the biggest problem liberty proponents face today. Just about everyone has it backwards when it comes to Constitutional powers.

  • Toranth||

    The right to self-defense is a natural right, and has been recognized to some extent by all cultures in recorded history. I specifically stated this, so I'm not sure how you missed it. This requires arms. I said that, too. The history and culture showed that the people needed to be armed. This is explicit, and I said it, too. How can you possibly read my comment and not understand that history shows that English culture and law expected that the people would have arms, and would able to carry them for multiple purposes (hunting, self defense, militia service or training)?

    As JesseAz put it more bluntly, the Constitution doesn't give someone their rights. Instead, the Constitution limits what the Government is allowed to do. The rights of the people are protected from the government - the controversial ones (those rights sometimes not protected under their culture) are explicit in the Constitution and Amendments 1-8. However the others, the non-controversial ones, are also protected. This is spelled out explicitly in the Bill of Rights, as the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    So if the founders didn't put the right to internet publish in there then internet writings are not included as protected by free speech?

    Do the Federalist papers not exist in your universe or the other contemporary writings and actions of the framers? Do you even understand what the word arms means or have you decided to choose a definition so restrictive it only means the things attached to your shoulders?

  • iowantwo||

    The right to KEEP, and BEAR arms shall not be infringed.

    Parse away the meaning of KEEP, to exclude having arms on your private property.

  • Aubrey LaVentana||

    for Kelo and Raich, which side was Kennedy on?

    I had to look.

  • BLNelson||

    Add:
    Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964) "Public" accommodations.
    United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1 (1936) Welfare
    National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, 301 U.S. 1 (1937) Unions
    National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012) Obamacare

  • BLNelson||

    I know - 3 are more than 50 years old; should be the worst in the last 100 years...

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Don't forget Brown v. Board of Education, BLNelson. That one might have caused more heartburn for your brand of libertarianism than all of the others combined.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Of course, this list may drastically change if Rev Kirkland v. Higher Brain Functions ever makes it the the Supreme Court.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|11.18.18 @ 2:18PM|#
    "Don't forget Brown v. Board of Education,"

    No doubt 'separate but equal' was not, but B v BoE was horrible, twisted reasoning and it is likely the result of Warren's guilt over shoving all those Japs into concentration camps in WWII. He hoped his tortured logic in B v BoE somehow absolved him of his crimes.
    It's a shame there wasn't a better case or a less guilt-ridden jurist to solve the issue; as it was the decision lead to years and years of strife.
    BTW, the fucking annoying asshole ignores the result in favor of his typical lefty signalling. Fuck off, annoying asshole.

  • Bretzky||

    While those are all bad decisions, I would replace Smith and Raich with Roe v. Wade and Chevron v. NRDC. Regardless of your position on abortion, Roe is one of the 5 worst decisions the SCOTUS has ever issued. There are three things that mark Roe as a terrible decision. First, it is the perfect example of a judge making policy instead of doing his job, which is interpreting the law. There is no basis in the law for the Court's ruling, which is why it ultimately rests on those silly penumbras and emanations. Second, it runs roughshod over the Tenth Amendment. Not that other rulings haven't done the same, but Roe is egregious given the complete lack of a foundation in the constitution for making it a federal issue. And third, the decision didn't even achieve the one thing it was really meant to achieve: the settling of the abortion issue for all time. In fact, it politicized abortion in a way that revived the anti-abortion movement and squelched the admittedly slow movement toward legalization that was then under way.

    Chevron is the case where the Supreme Court basically gave the administrative state free rein to make up its own rules. It is almost impossible for someone being oppressed by a federal administrative agency to get redress in the courts. Chevron is not the primary reason why that situation exists (Congress is the one mostly at fault here), but it is the judiciary's flag of surrender in the fight to force administrative agencies to abide by due process of law.

  • chipper me timbers||

    This is why the Gorsuch appointment is a home run. Kavanaugh not so much but here's hoping Trump can get 2 out of 3 right with his next one.

  • MarkW201||

    A non-ideological list of this type would have to include Shelby County. The majority opinion was so poorly reasoned that not only do virtually all non-conservative constitutional scholars condemn it, many prominent conservative constitutional scholars do so as well.

  • AnAmusedOutsider||

    Good point, but I think most libertarians oppose the Voting Rights Act.

  • Tamfang||

    I went to Wikipedia so you don't have to.

    Smith v. Maryland
    • majority: White, Burger, Blackmun, Rehnquist, Stevens
    • minority: Brennan, Stewart, Marshall

    Harlow v. Fitzgerald
    • majority: Brennan, White, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor
    • minority: Burger

    Bennis v. Michigan
    • majority: Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg
    • minority: Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Breyer

    Kelo v. City of New London
    • majority: Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
    • minority: Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas

    Gonzales v. Raich
    • majority: Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
    • minority: Rehnquist, O'Connor, Thomas

  • chipper me timbers||

    Ginsburg is the worst.

  • Toranth||

    I'd say Breyer. I'm always surprised when he supports a ruling against the government.

  • mtrueman||

    Maybe one of the readers can clarify something for me. It's about the first decision:

    ""the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

    THEIR persons, houses, etc. If you freely give away these things to others, surely it's within their right to do with the information as they please. Otherwise it's an infringement of property rights, arbitrarily letting someone stop you from doing whatever you please with your stuff.

  • Don't look at me!||

    That was the reasoning. Is it correct is the question.

  • Rob Misek||

    The internet is limbo, the Wild West.

    The corrupt want to keep it that way.

    Designate it a public place and all your rights will apply and not before.

  • JesseAz||

    The problem is that the use of personal information is required for a backend database of most multi customer functions. The USSC has also found, for example, that public accommodation must support everyone regardless of race. To do this institutiond must use personally identifiable information. You surely aren't suggesting we have to give up rights to privacy in order to use banking are you? You believe banks can sell your expenditures records willy nilly? What about your medical records? You suggest you can't rely on doctors if you don't want your privacy invaded? This is just a silly notion.

  • mtrueman||

    "You surely aren't suggesting we have to give up rights to privacy in order to use banking are you? "

    I believe businesses share your credit rating and such with each other as a matter of course.

  • JesseAz||

    Credit ratings are the assumed probability the bank relies on to determine if you will pay back your loan.

    Now do "banks share your purchasing history, private social security number, income documents, etc.".

  • mtrueman||

    They share some personal information, as I pointed out. Credit ratings. I assume they share or sell other information as well.

  • Outside the Box||

    yeah I agree with you. Where I see potential trouble is

    A) if you had a contract with the 3rd party to not give your information and they still do, then that is a contractual violation
    B) if the third party is compelled by the government to give them your information, then that is a violation of the 3rd party's property rights

    I generally disagree with the bulk of libertarians on privacy and information issues (I'm anti-IP for instance, though that is becoming more common), for example if you do business with me, that is information we *both* have, and it makes no sense for you to somehow have property rights over what I do with my stuff, including passing that information along, including if I'm a vendor. I don't get the asymmetry of saying that a vendor cannot pass along information about your transactions with them (again, excepting a contractual agreement to the contrary) but you can pass along that you bought the item at my store, say.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Although I support the outcome Heller exposed the extreme partisanship of the Supreme Court and the lengths all 9 justices will go to advance partisan goals. Scalia's majority is an absurd liberal constructionist opinion while Stevens' dissent is a perfect strict constructionist interpretation of the 2A.

  • crufus||

    What about the FYTW decision that gives police and prosecutors the freedom to do whatever they want?

  • DWB||

    You misspelled Roe and Obergefell

  • Spiritus Mundi||

    Terry v Ohio

  • Uncle Jay||

    I'm holding out until the SCOTUS outlaws exhaling.
    It'll get here.
    Just you watch.
    You just have to be patient.

  • Outside the Box||

    I'm not that upset at the first one. Information is none of "persons, houses, papers, and effects", and information cannot be owned since one person's use does not prevent another's (the reason to have property and ownership as institutions). The only part I don't like about 3rd party doctrine is that the 3rd party can be legally compelled to hand it over, which is not a violation to the original person imho, but to the 3rd party itself.

  • Joe_in_Indiana||

    NUMBER 1 with a bullet --> Obamacare!

  • aajax||

    Libertarians should really take a break from demonizing liberals and make common cause where possible and necessary.

  • Arcxjo||

    Is it any surprise "Notorious" RBG had a hand in 3 of these?

  • AnAmusedOutsider||

    This is a pretty good list (of bad things, that is).

    People all across the political spectrum agree that these were bad decisions.

    Qualified immunity is an absurd legal fiction. If the Constitution was meant to make prosecutors and cops exempt from the law, it would have said so. The Supreme Court just recently declined to hear the case of the Baltimore police officers suing the DA, Marilyn Mosby, for prosecuting them for the death of Freddie Gray, so the federal appeals court ruling, which states that she has absolute immunity from civil lawsuits, will stand. Though I think the relevant case law would have supported that determination, I really hoped the Supreme Court would have taken the case. It would have been interesting to see whether they would side with prosecutors or police officers, two groups of people that courts generally believe should be above the law and that are usually on the same side, but in this instance, were on opposing sides.

  • MikeAT||

    Good ones, but you don't list Obamacare (National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012)), abortion (Row v. Wade) (sorry, it's not a matter for a judge to decide, it's for the states or the people, not a federal agency), or creating a right to marry (Obergefell v. Hodges). Remember, you like SCOTUS "finding" things you like, but if you give them power to "find" rights, they will start "finding" thing you don't like. Remember the wisdom of Robert Bork, "defer to the legislative branch where the constitution is silent."

  • Art Gecko||

    Why would they not need a search warrant to get your data from your ISP? It's a private company and it's their data.

    PS. In casino states, the Gaming Commission can get your Player's Club records without a warrant. Just walk in and demand it, and the casino has to hand it over.

  • ||

    "...the court (SCOTUS) abandons any attempt to enforce the Consitution's limits of federal power." 1. The Constitution was supposed to limit only the feds, no one else, so the qualifier "...of federal power" is redundant. 2. The Constitution does not enforce itself, it's an inanimate object. If its limits are defined by the persons who it is supposed to limit, it does not limit. The public could define Constitutional limits, but it neglects that responsibility so it may submit to tyranny while singing "...in the land of the free, home of the brave." This servitude is induced psychologically by govt indoctrination, so-called "public education". Failure to identify the purpose of forced attendance of youth in "free" training is part of the delusion. Primary indoctrinators are now many generations removed from the original founders who openly admitted their goal of creating "citizens, those who obey (worship) gov authority". The victims, in turn, create new victims. And vicious cycle continues until society self-destructs.

  • ||

    Public: Please gov, limit yourself.
    Gov: Sure, we will, trust us.
    Public: How will we know?
    Gov: We'll tell you.
    Public: What if we doubt your veracity?
    Gov: You gave us authority over you and that gives us the authority to tell you what to believe.
    Public: What if we still don't believe you?
    Gov: We have authority to use deadly violence against you.
    Public: What if we withdraw your authority and self-govern?
    Gov: You can't do that if we indoctrinate you from early childhood to the grave. You won't even know your power.

  • ||

    You ain't seen nothin' yet! Wait 'til the NDAA comes up. This law gives the POTUS unlimited power, e.g., he can order the arrest, unlimited imprisonment, torture, and death, of anyone, anytime he wants. This is the "new due process", i.e., the end of due process. It is tyranny in it's extreme. And it was passed by Congresspersons who will never be held accountable, used by LEOs who will never be held accountable, and approved by the Supremes who will never be held accountable.
    How can this be? Gov accountability is a fiction, an illusion perpetrated by gov, for gov, of gov. Lincoln lied. The people are the host, gov the parasite.
    This is what happens when the public doesn't self-govern by reason, by voluntary political interaction with rights.

  • mlhouse||

    Agree with most of them with the exception of Smith v Maryland. THe Constitution does not create a privacy right. It only protects a person from unreasonable searches. With a few recognized exceptions, such as attorney-client privilege, the activity you have with other entities does not have an inherent aspect of privacy. If you make a purchase at WalMart your transaction is recorded, if you provided CC info that is recorded, as potentially is your activities within the store and on the grounds. For almost every law abiding citizen, this information is boring. But, for law enforcement it is often critical to solving crimes.

  • letters2mary||

    Now there's a Thanksgiving feud-starter topic for you! But the choices of the five are well up there, even if some would contest their "worst" status. And thank you very much for omitting Roe v. Wade.

  • CE||

    Gonzalez v. Raich seems the worst, for the reasons Thomas spelled out:

    "by holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution's limits on federal power."

  • CE||

    Hard to see how your internet service providers' traffic records are YOUR papers or effects. Maybe read the fine print before you sign up with them.

  • Tempe Jeff||

    Well, I think paying for the Internet Service to store my records compels them. Can self-storage companies rummage through your stuff while, you're paying rent?

  • Killer Kowalski||

    Is it really too soon to include South Dakota vs Wayfair? The decision that decided that individuals in other states can be forced to act as tax collectors for a state simply because they might have a customer in a random tax jurisdiction?

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