Court Decisions Leave Questions

It seems strange that just about every time a higher court’s ruling comes down, it raises a host of questions and uncertainties for state legislatures and courts.

Such is the case with a 5-4 ruling that upended a ’60s-era formula to protect African-American voters, because “it doesn’t speak to current conditions.” What are they talking about? What has changed? Voter discrimination is voter discrimination, isn’t it?

The status of same-sex couples in the Islands has been left unclear after the recent Supreme Court of the United States ruling.

How many more 5-4 rulings does SCOTUS need to announce before it’s final?

Since I don’t practice law and probably have no business questioning the SCOTUS, maybe it’s better to just shrug my shoulders and hail our democracy, even if it is confusing.

What is obvious is that the judiciary is a separate branch of government and it has the final say on what’s legal and what’s not, whether or not it makes sense. But I always will argue that its decisions should make sense to taxpayers, no matter how complex the issue seems to be. If it takes a Supreme Court Justice 37 pages to write a dissenting opinion to the new law, it’s probably too much for the average taxpayer to grasp.

Another surprising reaction to an interesting legal case unfolding on television is the Zimmerman vs. Martin case, a murder trail. What’s surprising is the way television reports attacked the credibility of prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel. To put it mildly, she was ripped to shreds by attorneys during cross examination. The remarks that followed her testimony were brutal. She is still a student in high school in Florida and obviously very shy and not articulate enough to handle the nuances of high-powered cross examination. Before anyone is carried away with her testimony, they should be reminded that she was not on trial and neither were her communication skills.

Reporters could have been more understanding in their choice of words. If you’ve never been cross-examined by a skilled attorney, you would be surprised at how well they can twist and turn every word that comes out of a witness’s mouth. It’s not illegal, they are just representing their client.