Writing on his personal blog, a federal judge appointed to the bench by President George H. W. Bush advised the Supreme Court to avoid “divisive cases” in the future that do more harm than good — such as the recent Hobby Lobby decision – before offering a more blunt suggestion: shut the f*ck up.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf of Nebraska, who is no stranger to controversy for posts he has written on his blog, Hercules and the Umpire, took the Supreme Court to task for taking on the Hobby Lobby case, saying it could have been avoided.
Citing the late Constitutional Law Professor Alexander Bickel’s advice regarding the “passive virtues” of judicial decision-making –- refusing to decide cases on substantive grounds if narrower grounds exist to decide the case — Kopf wrote that the Hobby Lobby case could have been resolved in less controversial ways.
What would have happened if the Supreme Court simply decided not to take the Hobby Lobby cases? What harm would have befallen the nation? What harm would have befallen Hobby Lobby family members who would have been free to express their religious beliefs as real persons? Had the Court sat on the sidelines, I don’t think any significant harm would have occurred. The most likely result is that one or more of the political branches of government would have worked something out. Or not. In any event, out of well over 300 million people, who would have cared if the law in different Circuits was different or the ACA’s contraception mandate was up in the air?
He then added, “Next term is the time for the Supreme Court to go quiescent–this term and several past terms has proven that the Court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the Court has the power to avoid. As the kids says, it is time for the Court to stfu.”
Kopf helpfully added a link to the Urban Dictionary for readers who were unfamiliar with the “stfu” abbreviation.
Judge Kopf has previously drawn attention to himself through his blog, as when he wrote “It’s time to tell Congrees to go to hell,” in response to the government shutdown that forced him to send court staffers home.
Following a brief shutdown of his blog, he returned with a post where he commented on a female attorney’s looks, writing, “She is brilliant, she writes well, she speaks eloquently, she is zealous but not overly so, she is always prepared, she treats others, including her opponents, with civility and respect, she wears very short skirts and shows lots of her ample chest. I especially appreciate the last two attributes.”
He followed that post with a round-about apology, referring to his use of “hyperbole and somewhat mordant tone.”
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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