SCOTUS At Work. Not!

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Dec 30, 2002
Recently saw an hour long interview by Charlie Rose of the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court William Rehnquist, on PBS.

Rehnquist let the cat out of the bag by saying the current SCOTUS is not a busy court. He mentioned that in the past the SCOTUS use to average hearing about 130 cases a year. Today's court only hears about 80 to 90 a year.

One other thing I notice about the Chief Justice is that he is very personable and funny. Great sense of humor. He and Rose were yucking it up through the entire interview. It is probably the most entertaining interview that I ever saw Rose do.

Rehnquist is into games. Likes to play poker, bridge, etc. He is 79 years old. No serious thoughts of retiring he says.
Watch for the U.S. v Sabri decision on April 7th.

Oral arguments earlier this month suggested that the Court is going to uphold a federal law (18USC666) criminalizing bribing state government officials if the agencies they work for accept more than $10k/yr of federal funds.

They could just as easily uphold a federal law making stalking a FFL illegal; if it's upheld on interstate commerce grounds, the lack of any statutory requirement for proof of interstate money transfer or substantial effect on interstate commerce would effectively overturn of U.S. v. Lopez and U.S. v. Morrison.
New Congress

I've heard it before, and I like it

Have a congress of repeals. They have no authority to make or change law, just repeal it. That way, they have committies looking for 'bad' laws to repeal. They have votes on getting rid of laws. I'd say structure it like the old senate. Each state's legislature sends 2 reps.
Even easier than that. Just say the current Congress can only enact laws 1 month out of every 4. The other three months, they can only repeal laws.

Or even better: Every federal law has an automatic 5 year sunset. Can't be done away with. That means every law has to be renewed every 5 years.

Five years from now, they can't do any more damage -- they're too busy with their figurative finger in the dike.
Or even better: Every federal law has an automatic 5 year sunset. Can't be done away with. That means every law has to be renewed every 5 years.
I hear that! Keep 'em so busy cleaning up their own messes that they haven't time to make a new mess.

Honestly, all federal legislation should have a 5 year sunset with no provision of renewal.
I think it is every year Mark, but you could be right that it is every two years. Introduced back in the 60's (when Roy Jenkins was Home Secretary I believe) those laws have been renewed every time they have come up without particularly serious opposition.

When laws like that are enacted it seems to me that the ruling persons regard it as inevitable that they should be renewed as the powers granted are powers they cannot now 'do without'. I worry about your hopes for the AWB on these grounds. How many laws enacted at a time of crisis are still on the books many years after the crisis ended? (not that there ever was an AW crisis)

The situation with regards to Britain's terror laws is that we were under threat from the Northern Irish terrorists right up until the late 90's and arguable beyond. Then al-Qa'eda. There will always be a terrorist threat worth renewing slightly questionable laws over. Worries me.
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