January 29, 2009
Lilly Ledbetter: How Courts & the Legislature are Supposed to Interact

The story.

Here's the basic sequence of events:

1) Congress passes law.

2) Application of law is challenged in court. Supreme Court rules on the case based on the law written by Congress...not merely some desired outcome that would be perceived as just, regardless of applicable law and precedent (i.e., legislating from the bench).

3) The legislative branch, aware because of the court case that the law could use some amending to achieve desired goals, acts accordingly to change the law itself.

Whatever one thinks of the policy outcome, in this instance or others, that's the procedure by which such questions should be decided.

Posted by Eric Earling at January 29, 2009 11:11 AM | Email This
Comments
1. Add to step 2) that the court also looks to the Constitution if appropriate to determine the validity of the law to begin with.

Posted by: BA on January 29, 2009 11:24 AM
2. POTUS Obama is doing a bit of 'showcasing' for the benefit of his many 'constituent contributors'. Nothing more, nothing less. :)

Posted by: Duffman on January 29, 2009 11:33 AM
3. Uh, what step is it that the judges look at the law and determine whether it conforms to international law or how they can make the law better?

Posted by: swatter on January 29, 2009 11:45 AM
4. Eric, you make a good point. However, 4 out of 9 Supreme Court justices interpreted the law to cover this case; they didn't just think that was "merely some desired outcome". They didn't prevail, but it suggests the legal issue wasn't totally straightforward. Anyway, I'm glad Congress has changed the law.

Posted by: Bruce on January 29, 2009 01:29 PM
5. It is about time. I have worked in a man's (world) for 24 years doing the same work (Tile) as my peers for less money and the demands on me have been unfair,I have brought this to my employers attention to no reply.I have to be more detailed and work twice as hard,plus God forbid I act like I have any family issues or emotions.

Posted by: Peggy Cox on January 29, 2009 07:44 PM
6. The Supreme's Kelo decision basically begged the Congress to re-define eminent domain to exclude the general benefits that they had just decided they law, as written, allows. My reading of the Hamdan case as well - because the US has sovereignty over Guantanamo that US laws and treaty apply there - is a strict reading of the question of sovereignty. Similar operations are not forbidden in, say, a sublet in Poland.

So yes, this is exactly what should happen - the judiciary points out a flaw or unintended consequence of the law and Congress acts to bring the law's wording closer to the original intent of Congress. Problem is, it requires elected officials to take a stand on an issue.

Posted by: MGCC on January 30, 2009 05:35 AM
7. The problem with Ledbetter is that she and the Democrats thought that her case should have been decided differently, and they pushed for Obama's election BECAUSE they wanted the Court to reach "some desired outcome that would be perceived as just, regardless of applicable law and precedent (i.e., legislating from the bench)."

You're right, Eric, how it is working now is how it should work. Too bad Ledbetter and the Democrats disagree.

Posted by: pudge on January 30, 2009 10:30 PM
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