The Right Coast

February 28, 2005
The Supreme Court and other disappointments
By Tom Smith

Some colleagues and I had a fancy and very expensive dinner Friday night at one of San Diego's fine dining establishments that seems to be in a bit of a decline, but more on that later. I do not mention the names of my distinguished colleagues, for reasons that will become clear, but all of us had been appellate court clerks and two had been U.S. Supreme Court clerks, within the last decade or so. I was struck by how both USSC clerks were completely dismissive of the idea that the Court was even attempting to follow the law, or were doing anything other than just making it up as they went along. Bound by past decisions? Don't be silly. Obliged to do what Congress said? Get outta here! It makes you wonder if it should even be called a court. We have a radio show in the San Diego area (not one you want to listen to) that calls itself "the court of public opinion." Maybe that's the kind of court it is. That is, just a metaphorical court. Not a court, but a figure of speech. So maybe it should go "God Save the United States and this honorable so-called Court!" They could stick in the so-called when they get around to taking out the God. Not that they have to; they just might feel like it someday.