June is the month when the Supreme Court rolls out all remaining decisions on cases, big and small, that it has heard in the preceding months. Has the conservative majority decried by left-leaning politicos and a hysterical American media wreaked havoc on the judicial system this year? Not exactly.
The Affordable Care Act survived it’s third trip through the Supreme Court, this time on a technicality, but by a 7-2 majority. A large majority of justices agreed.
Even more justices were in agreement on a free speech case. A would-be cheerleader had been banned from her junior varsity cheer team because of a profane social media tantrum. The Court recognized that her outburst was rude, crude and a perfect example of white trash, but also that free speech allows for such outbursts. The vote was 8-1.
A 6-3 vote stopped unions from spending three hours a day on private farm property trying to convince farm workers to join their union. Twice as many justices agreed as dissented and this was about as close as things got.
The Supremes voted 9-0 that the Federal Trade Commission had overreached its authority in its methods of taking private property from people and entities they deemed as “bad guys”.
They also were unanimous in finding 9-0 that illegal aliens who have been given Temporary Protected Status are not eligible to permanently remain in the U.S. under the green card program. In fact there were three immigration cases this session and all of them were decided 9-0.
There was a religious freedom case where Muslim men had been pressured by law enforcement to act as informants on their mosques. The justices voted 8-0 against the cops.
There was an NCAA case dealing with student athlete compensation. The justices voted 9-0 in that case.
The case of Goldman Sachs v. Arkansas Teacher Retirement System resulted in a 9-0 vote as well.
One high profile case was Fulton v. Philadelphia where the city penalized a Catholic Services Agency for following its own religious beliefs. The Supreme Court stood up unanimously for the First Amendment and religious freedom, again, 9-0.
A human rights case called Nestle v. Doe was determined by an 8-1 vote.
A case called Collins v. Yellen was all for one and one for all, featuring yet another 9-0 vote.
The point is that in an overwhelming number of cases, the vast majority or many times, all of the Supreme Court justices agreed on the intent of the U.S. Constitution as it applied to any number of issues. 9-0 votes have been far more common than 5-4 votes, which raises the question, what exactly is the problem that President Biden’s commission to change the Supreme Court intends to fix?
The Supreme Court enjoys more credibility than any other branch of government. Why? Because it is the closest thing to an apolitical body we have. The justices genuinely believe in applying the Constitution, even when it splits with their personal beliefs.
Congress’ approval rating is consistently below 30% and has dipped in some recent years below 10%. If that same Congress and the White House tinker with the makeup or the rules surrounding the high court, it will only damage the court’s credibility and chip away at the legitimacy of our government as a whole.
This year the Supreme Court demonstrated it has an uncanny ability to deliver on the basis of the U.S. Constitution, not on the rantings of cable news networks or the latest polls. Mr. Biden’s Commission should take one look and then return a three-word report to the president.
“Make no changes.”
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.