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Supreme Court Justices (Government 2) - Research Paper Example

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SCALIA AND THOMAS The Supreme Court of the United States is one of the most revered of American institutions. The justices who sit on it have some of the finest legal minds in the country and are sworn to uphold the Constitution, the founding document of the nation…
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Supreme Court Justices (Government 2)
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Download file to see previous pages Both men are on the conservative wing of the court and have held their position there for many years. Both are remarkably intelligent men who have also been lightning rods for political controversy. Antonin Scalia is a Reagan appointee and has sat on the Court since 1986 and is the senior associate judge. He still has many years of service left. He is known for his sarcastic wit and sharp tongue, as well as for his hard-headedness. He is known for his dissenting opinions. A dissenting opinion disagrees with the majority opinion and is issued separately, often attacking the reasoning of the judges who sided with the majority. As one critic observes: His writing style is best described as equal parts anger, confidence, and pageantry. Scalia has a taste for garish analogies and offbeat allusions—often very funny ones—and he speaks in no uncertain terms. He is highly accessible and tries not to get bogged down in abstruse legal jargon. But most of all, Scalia's opinions read like they're about to catch fire for pure outrage. He does not, in short, write like a happy man (Clarke). Nevertheless, Scalia knows what he believes. In the end, he is not interested in the government forcing people to act in certain ways. Although he is a pro-life Catholic, in 1992 in a case about funding for Planned Parenthood, Scalia has this to say about the legality of abortion: “The States may, if they wish, permit abortion on demand, but the Constitution does not require them to do so. The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” Another famous ruling by Scalia came in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003. This was a case about affirmative action. The court ruled that the University of Michigan should permit affirmative action in order to create a more diverse, harmonious school. Scalia, in a dissent, said he found this ridiculous. These were ideals that the government should not legislate but are taught by general practice. Respect for others was something that “is a lesson of life rather than law—essentially the same lesson taught to (or rather learned by, for it cannot be 'taught' in the usual sense) people three feet shorter and twenty years younger than the full-grown adults at the University of Michigan Law School, in institutions ranging from Boy Scout troops to public-school kindergartens.” Both of these cases show that Scalia is a man of principle. He is not willing to sell his ideals down the river. He understands that even thought the constitution may be a document written many years ago, a living tree is just as likely to rot as it is to grow. Clarence Thomas was appointed by President George H.W. Bush. He has many years of service ahead of him. He is originally from a poor family in Georgia. He is only the second African-American to sit on the Supreme Court, after Thurgood Marshall. He is known for his quiet and serious demeanour on the bench. The issue of his appointment was one of the most scrutinized and divisive issues in politics in America in the 1990s. During his confirmation hearings in the Senate, a woman named Anita Hill came forward to say she has been sexually harassed by Thomas. Thomas denied this. Thomas' response to the allegations was truly memorable. Faced with a huge circus around unproven allegations, he told the Senate, “This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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