Good Enough For Government

In Good Enough For Government, Matt, Supreme Court on November 5, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , ,

The Judicial Branch is Supreme-O

A main component of what turns people off from paying attention to government, in its branches and twigs of executive policy decisions, congressional legislation, and elections, is the continual suspension of the reward for curiosity.

When we read articles covering things like the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (probably more familar as Cap and Trade), or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), or Executive Order 13492 of January 22, 2009 (to close Guantanamo Bay prison), or the meaning and prospective effects of the November 2nd elections (243-192 Republican majority in the House and 53-47 Democratic majority in the Senate [including two independents, Leiberman-CT and Sanders-VT who caucus with the Democrats.]), we’re essentially reading conjecture. And no matter how smart or informative the analysis is, an overwhelming percent of it is still speculative. We can’t know in one sitting what manifestations legislation will have once they are incorporated by the executive branch and all the secondary clauses (which are, constitutionally, meant to work as checks on sloppy application of the more general intent of the Act) are applied, nor the outcome of an executive order, nor how legislators are going compose new laws and then, vote, because Cap and Trade standards will depend on markets, elected officials will react to unforeseen crises, and, to wit, Guantanamo is still fucking open.

I don’t mean to portray it as a cycle of perpetual depressing ignorance prodded along by intermittent sojourns of alleviating delusions of apprehension.

It’s analogous to the cellular market, with a robust class of enthusiasts and less wonky yet still engaged patrons, but a majority that is just kind of turned-off by all the technical jargon and probably the underlying sense that whatever they buy could very well become obsolete in about two years (which seems to just further excite and engage the members of the first group). (There are some flaws with this analogy since this majority I speak of will probably shrink as the older generations are recycled by newer and plus the finer points of cellular technology are still way more fun and interesting, and can be package in many more user-friendly ways, than legal and administrative issues.)

This leads toward the Supreme Court, and why it is really the most satisfying branch of government to follow.

Take Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the case in which the State of California is appealing a federal district court ruling that their law against selling violent video games to minors below 18 years old is unconstitutional.

This case is an example of the magic of the judicial branch that does not exist in the others mentioned above because the executive and legislative branches are really consumed by a political class and (disregarding whatever degrees to which this is true or not so true) they feel very inaccessible to the general public. Or that access is spread over a much longer period that requires more diligence and sacrifice of time that could be spent attending to our more personal interests. When are you ever going to see Dee Snyder engaging in one of the other two governmental processes in as direct a way as testifying on the nature of first amendment rights?

It’s in the steady, earthy judicial branch (ironically the most academic and philosophical) where our Quasimodo citizen identities seem to be able and encouraged to participate without the floor inevitably moving from under their feet through the infinite regress of massive national politics. On the other hand, those good feelings vanish when the Court moves on to less spectacular trials like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and the buzz recedes.

But simple reports on Supreme Court rulings or proceedings will usually render the type of rewards you would expect from reading a completed exposition rather than delay them.



Here are some tasty ironies.

  1. The case arguing in favor of censoring violence in entertainment, because it regards a California law that was, obviously, signed by its Governor, is attached with the name of the original Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  2. G4, the TV channel dedicated to video games, has given better, more serious coverage to the issue than the articles I’ve found from straight news agencies, which seem to deem it not otherwise appropriate than to treat the issue like a joke or fluff.

Part 1 of G4‘s report on the transcripts from Schwartzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

Part 2 of G4‘s report on the transcripts from Schwartzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association.


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