Re: What's Your Favorite U.S. Supreme Court decision?
Reply #3 –
Whether the framers envisioned this particular scenario is quite irrelevant. You'd get the absurd situation that everything you can argue wasn't thought at the time of isn't covered by a piece of legislation, while you should simply interpret what the law says.I get what you mean... But it ain't the framers (did you mean The Framers?) intent that's the problem: We're not talking about amending the constitution, per se! (see below)
One of the reasons to avoid judge-made law is simple: Consider, should (and, of course, we're always talking about a "should" in such cases) Kidnapping -a Federal Offense- admit the matter of "soul stealing" via photography into its ambit?
While such an example might strike you as silly, it's precisely such questions that, in Oral Argument, draw the pith of a complex and complicated matter of contention out for all to see!
What you call an irrelevancy is a foundational element in American law!
Some few maxims are relevant:
Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater! (If part of the law is unconstitutional, sever the part -leaving the rest intact and in force- and consider striking down the part...)
Don't cut off your nose to spite your face! (If some questionable part seems not ripe for adjudication, remand -with a mandamus if reconsideration isn't possible...)
You can't have your cake, and eat it too! (If a part is offensive but can't be severed -say, because it's integral to the whole- strike the entirety...)
And so on. My personal favorite, during these modern times, is:
A stitch in time saves nine! (Make an indefensible change, support it through every challenge brought against against it, and pray it survives long enough to be defensible as precedent! That way, the court has decided, without taking responsibility for its decision...)
One that you'd -I'm sure- think unnecessary:
A dog returns to its vomit! (When a law is so odious that it can't be tolerated, strike it and all its progeny... E.g., the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott decisions.)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is merely a law passed by Congress; despite the many opinions about it in the cannons of various courts. Amending such is easy...and only the higher courts' annals, and their keepers, are affected! (And perhaps the hubris of some jurists wounded and egos deflated -a salubrity much needed! Unless there's considerable opposition to the proposed changes (corrections or additions and/or deletions). Leaving such to re-interpretation by the higher courts (Circuit, Appellate, and the Supreme) is either recidivist or onerous...or both.
Court systems in most states follow the federal model Congress decreed for the Federal Courts; the constitution merely gave the power to design and create such to the Congress. But lower courts, county courts mostly follow the older patterns of the common law, where the power to create judge-made law (like in England) is entrenched and accepted.
Again, conflating our higher courts with their common law cousins is anathema to our peculiar but valued traditions!
Of course, you disagree...
(I've been kinda busy -- but I'll return to Bostock, et al. eventually.)