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Feb 2

We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

The following is commentary, made by Atheist Universe member Doug Hanlon, regarding the Supreme Court of the United States, I presume in response to some of the previous quote postings which mentioned SCOTUS.  It was moved here because the comment violated the group policies, regarding word and line count.  It has been duplicated here, without alteration.

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Loren, speaking of the US Supreme Court:

Five of our nine justices were appointed by second-place, popular-vote-losing presidents. As such, the current Supreme Court is illegitimate in that its very makeup flouts the will of the people.

Well, the problem is, the Supreme Court is not supposed to reflect the" will of the people". Separation of powers, etc.  It is supposed to interpret the Constitution, even if its interpretation is unpopular.

Of course, it doesn't really do that. When it ruled that there was a right to abortion hidden in the 'penumbra of the Constitution' or ruled that racial segregation was Constitutional, and later that it was unConstitutional, it was clearly doing something else. 

It's not just going wtih the tide of public opinion, though. When it ruled agains t various anti-civil-libertarian laws -- like the decision in 1957 that let a friend of mine (a leader of the Communist Party) out of prison, where he was awaiting trial under the Smith Act, it was going against public opinion -- and I' glad it did.

The problem with abortion is that it's a black-and-white issue only to some people: there are those who favor the right to abort no matter how old the -- whatever youiwant to call it -- in the womb is, even a week before birth; and there are those who think that from the moment a sperm touches an egg, that's a human being. And there is a smooth spectrum between those two states, which is where most people are.

I am sorry the Supreme Court rule the way it did when it did, because I know that will drive some 'middle' folk to the Left, as the extreme anti-abortionists are forced to say out loud the ridiculous/wicked conclusions of their beliefs, eg that a raped ten-year-old cannot even take the morning-after pill. But, except for the timing, I believe that they did the right thing: in a divided nation, leave it to the states.

Like many things in life, it's not a perfect answer, assuming you're at one end  or the other of the spectrum of belief -- but it's the best we can do.  We ought to have the same approach to gun laws and similar issues.

 What issues? Well, even here, there is a spectrum. I don't believe we should allow a state to deny the vote to a citizen because of, say, their irrational religious belief. So, yes, you should be allowed to vote even if you believe the earth was created 6000 years ago by an invisible man in the sky.  On the other hand, I'm happy with denying the vote to a convicted murderer.

I believe we get tangled up in semantic knots if we think in terms of 'Rights'.  Rather, we should think in terms of 'What will help humanity flourish?'  ... knowing that we can be wrong, that life is complex, that we're all prejudiced to some degree, that any law can be mis-used, that we have to be cautious in making big changes to society and its rules.

This won't make dogmatists on Right or Left happy but it's the right way to go.  (And, at bottom, I believe that some variant of the above rule is what really guides the Supreme Court.)  I leave 'flourishing' undefined, except to say, like pornography in an earlier legal case, most people know it when they see it.)

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