I know everyone's seen this by now, and I'm sure many people will have much more intelligent commentary on the matter than myself, but I'm astounded by a pair of Supreme Court rulings this morning that sound for all the world as if the Court is just making stuff up as it goes along.
WASHINGTON -- A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state.
Sending dual signals in ruling on this issue for the first time in a quarter-century, the high court said that displays of the Ten Commandments _ like their own courtroom frieze _ are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it goes too far in amounting to a governmental promotion of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits.
In effect, the court said it was taking the position that issues of Ten Commandments displays in courthouses should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.
By who? Apparently not legislatures or elected officials, since the courts have no respect for their discretion. So we need a federal judge to evaluate every display? Absurd. None of the other commentary I've seen appears to recognize the lunacy of these decisions. Maybe we should have the Supremes tour the country during their off-season and let them vote on everything they see.
As for the Commandments, it's not really a big deal to me if they're displayed or not... the presence or absence of the Commandments is not likely to win a single soul for Christ. My biggest complaint is that I think the matter should be left up to the states. The federal government needs to quit meddling with everything and let the smaller (and slightly more responsive) state governments deal with these issues. That's the whole point of the "federal" system.
Interestingly, Howard M. Friedman predicted this result last month. Referring to an article written by a reporter but based on an interview with him, Professor Friedman blogged:
As reported, I predicted that the Texas display would be upheld, partly because of the Justices concern about forcing bulldozers to tear down these displays around the country. But I also emphasized the peculiar history of the monuments that were furnished by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Similarly, though not in the article, I predicted that the Kentucky display in the companion case before the Court would be struck down because of its different history. By the way, my record on accurately predicting Supreme Court results is not good.
Michelle Malkin links to other conservative commentators if you want more opinions... but isn't mine enough?