It’s been a busy week for political announcements, from President Barack Obama announcing new climate change initiatives to the chase of Edward Snowden across the world. But the show stopper of them all has been the Supreme Court's decisions on numerous cases, like the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Reactions from those on the left and the right seemed to reflect ideologies. When the Voting Rights Act was struck down, those on the the left tended to disapprove while those on the right approved the ruling. And when the Supreme Court declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, many on the left celebrated and many on the right were disappointed.
On Tuesday — the day the Court ruled to strike down the Voting Rights Act provisions — the New York Times' editorial bemoaned the Courts actions in striking the preclearance clause of the Voting Rights Act. “The 5-4 ruling usurped Congress’s power and struck down the formula that it has repeatedly reauthorized to determine which states fall into that category,” claims the Times, as they go on to allude that the supporting justices knew full well that asking Congress to amend the bill would mean that it would remain dead in the water. “The justices know full well that lawmakers, who failed to expand the coverage formula in 2006, are extremely unlikely to do it now.”
Fast forward less than 24 hours and the New York Times editorial board praises the Courts 5-4 rulings striking down DOMA and dismissing Proposition 8. “Both decisions are huge victories for the gay rights movement that propels the nation toward greater fairness and full equality,” they claim of the same court that just yesterday they had lambasted.
Likewise, the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, wrote on Tuesday that “in its Voting Rights Act decision today, the Supreme Court struck down an outdated provision that was no longer necessary — because thankfully, ‘Our country has changed,’ as Chief Justice John Roberts put it.”
On Wednesday however, the Heritage Foundation wrote of the Court’s “disturbing decisions today on two important cases dealing with marriage law.” Noting how they disapprove of the Court's claim that Congress does not have the power to decide the meaning of the word marriage for the states, “The Court ignored the votes of a large bipartisan majority of Members of Congress.”
Judicial review has always been controversial — courts rulings for or against democratically passed measures often drawing the ire of presidents and journalists alike. But each side decries judicial activism.
Supporting a court that rules in your favor one day and then fighting the same court when it decides something you don't agree with the next is one thing it seems news organizations and political organizations all have in common.
Freeman Stevenson is a Snow College grad and is the DeseretNews.com opinion intern. Reach me at fstevenson@deseretdigital or @freemandesnews