Politics in Interpretation: Don’t Get it Twisted on the Bench

Politics in Interpretation: Don’t Get it Twisted on the Bench

An ideology is not, in theory, going to carry over to the bench; this is often overlooked, as many assume that personal beliefs most definitely decide constitutionality.

A lot of people often associate the government with politics; this makes sense, as many people with thorough understanding of their ideologies can argue a case as to why their interpretation of an issue is most important and correct. Also, a lot of incoming law students often finish their undergraduate experience with a Political Science degree. Even if someone has the intentions of being a lawyer and does not have a traditional-subject degree before heading to law school, that person will have certain beliefs which lead them to argue a law or interpret things in some way. In the end, every person has some type of bias, even if it is not acknowledged in the process of making a decision.

This, too, includes judges, who decide if a law should be upheld, whether or not someone is guilty, and so on. In other words, a judge has to separate themselves from the facts and opinions, one of the hardest jobs, especially if outside forces or a personal agenda has the potential to influence a decision. This, of course, is especially relevenat for the Supreme Court.

Because of this, a while back, many Democrats objected to the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to fill Justice Scalia’s seat. While it is fair to object because there was not even a hearing of Merrick Garland, former-President Barack Obama’s choice for Supreme Court, Gorsuch still deserved a fair examination of past decisions and justifications.

I’ll admit: as a registered and very passionate Democrat, I really did try to find dirt on this guy and I was not really a fan of him by his association with some conservative viewpoints. But, among doing research and listening to his hearings, in the end I didn’t seem to really mind Gorsuch and I learned an important lesson he cleared up about judging being separate from a political atmosphere. And yes, I do think Merrick Garland should have had a hearing, and a lot of days I wonder what would have happened if he did. But the reality is, Gorsuch filled the seat instead, so it’s important to know what exactly that meant and why months later, this is still relevant. Why would I use an article to write about the guy in relation to constitutionality if it didn’t matter?

Typically, in interpretation, liberals align with loose interpretation and conservatives feel more strongly about strict interpretation. I expected very harsh strict interpretation ideals out of Gorsuch, and since I don’t mind government intervention to an extent and I like loose interpretation, I expected to really dislike him and find him quite biased. But something he did well in his hearing was explain that it is a matter of the law in analyzing all the facts presented as well as hearing the oral arguments: just because he is a registered Republican, that does not mean he would put it beneath him to rule in a “liberal” sense. He emphasized that his registration did not mean he was the envelopment of party ideals and he was not polarized, as many people aren’t. He even won votes from a few Democrats in the decision. I realized that this was really significant, perhaps the most important point to discuss in learning about the judicial branch.

It is not always enough to just tell someone “The Judicial Branch of the U.S. government interprets laws.” Okay, how? What are interpretations based off of? Why do traditionally nine people get to debate an argument, and not more nor less? What are some traditional signs in which someone will or will not decide in a specific measure at hand? What happens with a vacancy? What does it mean to have a split decision? These shouldn’t be things to have to take a class for; these are genuinely curious, valid questions that should be addressed to a person when the judicial branch is presented as an idea at all. Also, sure, political ideology would encourage someone to lean a certain way in a decision just based on interpretation from those ideals, but it is not the definite factor in a decision by far.

This isn’t just apparent in Gorsuch; this is apparent in judges throughout history, which seems to get overlooked. Gorsuch just seems to be a relevant example of this. Senator Tim Kaine is personally pro-life, but advocates for pro-choice policy; it can even be seen sometimes in representatives. Politics is not the be-all, end-all in arguments or in life. And this coming from a Political Science major who does nothing but track what’s happening in politics all the time. It’s important to look at each question listed above and realize that the judicial branch is as vital of a governmental organ and operates as much as the legislative and executive branches do. Just because the public hears about some ridiculous story that some Senator has been involved in or the President uses Twitter to announce official, law-changing, turning-point making decisions and doesn’t hear much from the Supreme Court, that doesn’t mean the justices aren’t as busy and aren’t making decisions that affect us all to large extents.

A liberal judge will not always make a decision based on loose interpretation and a conservative judge will not always make a decision based on strict interpretation. It heavily depends on the matter presented as well as the facts provided at-hand; Gorsuch is an example of this.

Cover Image Credit: Supreme Court, Wikimedia

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Is Nursing School Really That Hard?

It's all about your perspective, but here's mine.

"Is nursing school as hard as they say it is?" This is the question that constantly entered my thoughts as I prepared to decide on which college major I would pursue. I anxiously wondered if helping others for the rest of my life would be worth all of the rigorous courses and lengthy clinical schedules. And here I am today, with a whole year of nursing school under my belt, feeling exhausted but accomplished and ready to keep moving forward.

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Let's be real for a minute. Nursing school is a challenge that you will face unlike any others that will come your way. Some days you will think that you're going to fail a whole course just because you did badly on one test. Some days you will feel as if you are not capable of taking care of a sick person because you made numerous mistakes at clinicals. Some days you will be too tired to wake up to study because you just went to bed a few hours ago to take a break from studying. Nursing school will consume your life and, even when you do have some free time, you will be thinking about what you should be doing to prepare for your next class or that next test. Everyone says that it takes a special kind of person to be a nurse, and perhaps, they are right. There are numerous qualities found in a nurse, and perseverance is for sure one of them. So since that is the case, if you really want to be a nurse, you will find a way to make it through nursing school. Do not let all of the stories scare you away, because you will find a way to do what sounds impossible.

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Let's look at the positives. Nursing school has just as many rewarding days as it does "I want to crawl in a hole and cry" days. Some days you will be so incredibly happy about your test grade you received that you will jump out of your chair with a big smile on your face (then quickly and quietly sit back down because you realize your classmates are staring holes through you). Some days, you will feel so good about yourself because you had a patient to tell you that you are going to be a great nurse because it did not even hurt when you inserted their IV. Some days, you will feel brilliantly smart because you looked over your clinical paperwork for hours and deciphered what was really going on with your patient and why. These are the moments that will help you to keep going because they remind you of what you are meant to do in life. Nursing school will let you feel every emotion possible and feel it to the depths. So just hang on and enjoy the emotional roller coaster, because it will be worth the ride.

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Williams

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I Joined A Gym And This Is What Happened

Three weeks ago I made the decision to take better care of myself, for better or for worse.


Three weeks ago I made the decision to take better care of myself, for better or for worse.

Like many people, I'm notoriously known for jumping on the health and weight loss bandwagon and sticking it out until it gets hard. It would last a few days to a few weeks but never really much more than that. My trips to the gym would dwindle into non-existence. Where was the accountability? What was keeping me going besides a shadow of my high school self?

It's a frustrating, endless cycle that ends only in depreciating my self-esteem.

Three weeks ago, that cycle stopped.

A friend of mine tagged me in a post promising custom meal plans, fun workouts, accountability, and best of all—results. To be honest, this initially sounded like another one of the thousands of gimmicks thrown at consumers every single day. However, my friend went to a consultation, and the more she told me, the more I became hooked.

The gym we joined is a small, family-owned business dedicated to helping people lead healthier, happier lives. They believe in building you up while teaching you to be healthier—in and out of the gym. The price tag almost scared me away, but part of their challenge is that if you reach the weight goal they give you, you either get your money back or can put it towards a gym membership after your six-week challenge.

After speaking with my family and friends, I decided this was the best decision for me right now, despite my current medical conditions. I was tired of the excuses and knew if I wanted results, obstacles would have to be worked around.

Week one was absolute hell.

Everyone was given a custom meal plan that, although straight and simple, is easy to stray from. The plan consists of several food options I would eat anyway when eating healthy, so that wasn't the difficult part. The hard part is everything not on the list. Week one shows you explicitly just how terribly you eat and drink. Week one reminds you of all those days you spent inside instead of exercising.

Week two was easier… and more satisfying. Cravings were still there, but they weren't as strong as the previous week. Even more rewarding, I had lost three pounds! My family could already see a difference in my body. I was performing exercises and eating foods I never expected myself to do or eat.

Week three was a giant curve ball I thought I had prepared for. My family went on a week-long vacation out of town, taking me away from the gym and the environment I had grown used to for this program. I decided I would continue to meal prep and utilize the at-home workouts the gym provided for us. I wanted to stay on top of the game. Things changed, however, when I got sick and was bedridden for the rest of the week. I couldn't eat, and I certainly couldn't move enough to work out. Whatever it was that hit me didn't leave for over a week.

I lost six pounds in four days, which wasn't the way I planned to lose that weight.

Going back to the gym this week was difficult. My morale was lower. Sure, I'd lost more weight, but it wasn't through the work I had signed up to do. I feared gaining it all back after being able to eat again. Working out is shaky at best due to being on a liquid and soup diet, but this time, I'm not giving up.

It's only week three, and I've seen more results in less than a month than I have in the last five years. I've never felt so empowered to treat myself well.

If anything, it's a lesson in challenging yourself. Don't hold yourself back; you may be surprised by the rewards.

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