Thursday, September 08, 2005

10 Worst Supreme Court Opinions Of All Time

I have been thinkingn about writing a somewhat comprehensive list about the 10 Worst Supreme Court Opinions of All Time.

Since I will be on vacation for a while, I want to seek suggestions. I would suggest a number of criteria in choosing one's entries.

First, the decision has to be very wrong. I think that is implied in the name of the contest.

Second, the decision has to have a significant impact in the legal landscape. For example, even if one considered Bush v. Gore to be wrongly decided, I don't see how it could qualify because (1) it will not likely be applicable to other important cases and (2) it didn't change the outcome of anything. Every recount done by the media after the election found Bush won Florida anyhow. So the decision, right or wrong, has no lasting effect.

No, I'm looking for opinions that had meaningful impact.

For example, a few suggestions I anticipate include obvious racist decisions like Plessy v. Furgeson and Dred Scott, neither of which followed the Constitution and greatly impacted society.

I welcome your suggestions of cases for consideration. Include you reasoning please. I look forward to your suggestions.

And don't any of you go stealing my idea and beating me to the punch!


At 3:10 AM, Blogger a former european said...

Marbury v. Madison: Where the court usurped the right to be the sole arbiter of what is or is not constitutional (found nowhere in the actual document itself).

That damn case about the guy who grew crops on his own farm for consumption by his own family, but who was still deemed to be engaging in Interstate Commerce. This justified nearly unlimited federal power under the Commerce Clause (i.e. any human activity is deemed to be "interstate commerce").

Roe v. Wade: unsupportable then, even moreso now.

Miranda v. U.S.: stupid criminals must be warned not to blurt out confessions to their crimes (can't have that!).

Griswold: Penumbras and emanations are what happens when I eat too much 5-alarm chili, not valid bases for legal arguments. Was setting us up for Roe v. Wade.

That 60s case where the atheist gal got the Court to remove christianity from all public fora and turn us into atheists instead.

That recent decision where the Court said the govt can use eminent domain to seize property from one citizen to give to another "more worthy" citizen.

Sorry KJ, but I am too tired to look up the names of all these cases. I'm sure you know them by heart anyway.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Definately Griswald - a right to privacy invented out of whole cloth.

Wickard v. Filburn was the Commerce Clause case AFE was trying to recall pertaining to a farmer using his own wheat. Lame-o!

United States v. Virginia (518 U.S. 515, 1996) (the VMI Case) - Ginsberg's masterpiece of gender equality doodling inventing all sorts of new laws in an opinion that leaves one shocked by its utter lack of legal foundation.

Federal Club v. National League (1922)- In just five paragraphs, Justice Holmes granted baseball an anti-trust exemption that has held up for 80 years. Baseball is not commerce, you see. It's just an "exhibition." And my Aunt Fanny has three heads.

I might have a slight difference of opinion regarding a couple of decisions as being the "worst." For example Brown v. Board of Education - right outcome but a decision that really stretched and twisted the Constitution to get there. The "right to a public education" suddenly popped out when the Court realized that it couldn't bear to hand down another decision like Plessey. In comparison, Sanford v. Scott was a correct interpretation of the Constitution (prior to the 13th and 14th Amendment), but was a horrible decision in every way.

I should have just stolen your idea.
Have fun on your vacation!

At 12:17 PM, Blogger tee bee said...

Roe v. Wade, por supuesto;
Raich v. Ashcroft; que parte de "interstate commerce" uds. no lo comprenden?
Kelo, goes without saying - is there more to be done to this than the non-lawyerly me did, er, has done?
Engle v. Vitale and Abington Township School District v. Schempp; cuáles eran ellos que pensaban?!?

And I second AFE's vote for Wickard v. Fillburn, which contrasts with this year's Raich decision.

If I do say so, this not being Thursday, you have a queer notion of "vacation."

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At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCulloch v. Maryland (1815) overturned the Constitution - saying that it posed too harsh restrictions on government. Dissolved state sovererignty. Said that the Bill of Rights was the States way of suggesting preferences to Congress even though Congress was under no legal obligation to follow it. Said that the 10th Amendment, which says that government shall have no power unless it is granted by the constituion, should be interpreted to read that government should have every power unless specifically prohibited by the constituion. etc. etc. etc.

Combine that with Marbury v. Madison and the fact that so few Americans even know about these two cases and you have a complete explanation for everything that is wrong with America today.

Everything we have heard since McCulloch is a lie - in whole or in part. Today, you hear your congress, president, and justices speak of the "Constitution", but when doing so, they do not refer to the "Constitution of the United States of America", as the document is called. They refer to the Constitution - the body of laws and Brittish Common Law precidence that now constitutes the basis of governemnt.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marbury v. Madison is not about Interstate Commerce or a man growing food for his family's consumption. It is about a host of bad appointments that the angry and just ousted John Adams did "to" his arch enemy, Thom. Jefferson. Jefferson intercepted the letters of appointment, preventing the new apponntees from taking office.


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