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Peaceful John
03-28-2011, 10:02 AM
With the lower courts seemingly ignoring SCOTUS's opinion in McDonald, it would seem that -- like dealing with a recalcitrant child -- something ought be done to chasten the naughty courts. What recourse is available to SCOTUS? And what are they most likely to do?

wash
03-28-2011, 10:18 AM
They can grant cert to cases that are appealed and GVR them.

I think they have authority over the national guard or something for when they have to integrate public schools and things like that.

zhyla
03-28-2011, 10:47 AM
Civil rights are not restored in a day. It may take a few years but it will all get done.

Fish
03-28-2011, 11:12 AM
I think they have authority over the national guard or something for when they have to integrate public schools and things like that.

Nah, in the case you're thinking of (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_in_the_Schoolhouse_Door) it was the President who mobilized the National Guard.

There's a famous incident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester_v._Georgia) in the early 19th century in which the Court made a decision that President Jackson disagreed with; Jackson's response was "[Chief Justice]Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!". Like many of the more colorful incidents in history it's not clear that it actually happened, but it illustrates an important point: the Supreme Court has no means of directly enforcing its rulings, it relies on other branches of government for that.

...which makes a certain amount of sense, given that the Court is probably the least answerable to the people of any of our branches of government (nine people, appointed for life)... but it's a bit sobering to realize that the branch of government charged with enforcing the Constitution has no means of doing so other than moral suasion.

N6ATF
03-28-2011, 1:38 PM
Thought the fed courts could order the US Marshals Service around...

Dreaded Claymore
03-28-2011, 4:17 PM
Thought the fed courts could order the US Marshals Service around...

This.

vincewarde
03-29-2011, 12:38 AM
Nah, in the case you're thinking of (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_in_the_Schoolhouse_Door) it was the President who mobilized the National Guard.

There's a famous incident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester_v._Georgia) in the early 19th century in which the Court made a decision that President Jackson disagreed with; Jackson's response was "[Chief Justice]Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!". Like many of the more colorful incidents in history it's not clear that it actually happened, but it illustrates an important point: the Supreme Court has no means of directly enforcing its rulings, it relies on other branches of government for that.

...which makes a certain amount of sense, given that the Court is probably the least answerable to the people of any of our branches of government (nine people, appointed for life)... but it's a bit sobering to realize that the branch of government charged with enforcing the Constitution has no means of doing so other than moral suasion.

Indeed, Jackson was the worst president ever because he clearly and willfully violated his oath of office and got away with it. May this never happen again!

As for Heller/McDonald - remember how long it took to desegregate the schools after Brown v. Board of Education. It's going to be a long fight unless jurisdictions simply decide to save money by seeing the writing on the wall and give in. Even that won't decide individual issues - for that we need court decisions.

Fish
03-29-2011, 12:59 AM
Thought the fed courts could order the US Marshals Service around...

Interesting point. Think I'll do some reading.

Hmm, the U.S. Marshals Service reports to the Attorney General (http://www.justice.gov/agencies/index-org.html), but their primary mission (http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/28C37.txt) is "to provide for the security and to obey, execute, and enforce all orders of the United States District Courts, the United States Courts of Appeals [etcetera etcetera]."

I wonder how that shakes out in practice. Certainly when US Marshals were deployed during the Civil Rights movement, it was the President who ordered their deployment, though it was to enforce a Supreme Court order. Do Marshals consider themselves more like typical LEOs, or more like bailiffs but with jurisdiction outside the courthouse? (Any Marshals reading this?)

Interestingly, the Supreme Court has its own Marshal (http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/28/III/45/672), as well as the Supreme Court Police, both of which report to the Court and not the President. I did not know this. (However, AFAICT their role seems pretty much confined to keeping order in the court and providing personal security for the Supreme Court justices.)

Anyhow, I've learned something tonight. Cool.

hoffmang
03-29-2011, 1:10 AM
The consequences for the lower courts are reputational and fully fixable by the Supreme Court. When the pendulum swings to the other side of the aisle, supposed conservative judges who didn't support the 2A will stay in District Courts instead of being considered for the Courts of Appeal or the Supreme Court for example.

However, there can be lots of consequences outside the judiciary....

-Gene

GOEX FFF
03-29-2011, 1:12 AM
Keep in mind too, that McDonald ruling was only but 6 months ago.
Even though things seems slow in these days of "instant gratification" to catch up,
some things are moving at lighting speed for the otherwise dawdle system, FWIW.