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.
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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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23 Actual Quotes From Nursing Students

Behind the scenes at clinicals.
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Many nursing students actively complain about the tortures of nursing school, but those on the outside may not know how stressful it is. Here are 23 fun quotes from actual nursing students that can give you an idea of what nursing school is really like:

1. "If I died and went to hell, it would take me a week to realize that I wasn't in nursing school anymore."

2. "My GPA is higher than the number of hours I sleep at night."

3. "Is it weird that I love nursing school, but it also makes me want to cry at the same time?"

4. "Can't I just learn everything I need to know from watching Grey's Anatomy?"

5. "I laid my practice catheter on my bed to scare away my roommate's boyfriend."

6. "My clinical badge picture actually makes me look like I am a serial killer."

7. "We are literally a cult, guys. We wear the same things and in order to be a nursing student, you have to pass certain tests that involve manipulating body parts and such."

8. "We only worked 12 hours on our 12-hour shift! This is a miracle."

9. "Wouldn't that be cool if we initiated IV bags full of Starbucks coffee into each other's bloodstreams?"

10. "Are you a pulmonary embolism? Because you make me breathless."

11. "I am never getting married because I stopped talking to boys when I entered nursing school."

12. "Everyone else gets to go out, go to the bars, go on dates, work out, go to the lake, but I am just sitting here trying to pass nursing school."

13. *Holds up blank piece of paper* "This is a picture of my current social life."

14. "I just want it to be the weekend so I can have free time to work on homework."

15. "For our tests, all the answers are correct. You just have to pick the BEST answer."

16. "All I want for my birthday is a lavender stethoscope with my name engraved on the bell."

17. "On a pain scale from 1-10, I would say that nursing school is a solid 11."

18. "Do these scrubs make me look fat?"

18. "I love the pockets on our scrubs! You can literally hold anything and everything. Maybe even a puppy so that you can take it out when you start to feel sad."

19. "It is really sad how I refer to life outside of nursing school as 'real life.'"

20. "Finals week is literally every week in nursing school. We haven't gone a week without a major test this entire semester."

21. "People only respect me when I am wearing scrubs."

22. "I have my friend groups clumped into two different groups: sorority friends and nursing friends."

23. "How is school going? Yeah, nursing school sucks, but it is so worth it."

Although a lot of these quotes seem to be negative, you need to remember that it is easier to complain about the bad than it is to praise about the good. Nursing school is pretty time-consuming, as well as mentally and physically exhausting, but I would not trade it for any other major. I am blessed to call myself a nursing student, and my nursing friends have turned into one of the biggest support systems that I have ever encountered.

Oh, and all these quotes are actually quotes from me, ha.

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Hey Donald Trump—The Media Is A Pillar Of Democracy, Not The Enemy Of The People

An attack on the media is an attack on the people.

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If you know anything about Donald Trump, you know that he can't stand being criticized or bad-mouthed. He loves anyone who supports him and despises anyone who doesn't stand by him.

Trump is known for his contempt for the media. He has repeatedly labeled them as the "enemy of the people" and has claimed that approximately 80% of the "fake news" media is "dangerous and sick."

He claims that he is providing a "great service" to the American public by discrediting the media and exposing their lies. That claim is not just divisive, but incredibly dangerous. Discrediting the free press is discrediting the people. The government is always going to be criticized and the people have a right to report what is going on in the world. Any news reported that criticizes him or disagrees with his ideas is his definition of "fake news." Silencing the news and labeling anything that hurts his reputation as "fake" is an attempt to censor what the citizens are told. Once our intake of information becomes censored, we can no longer call ourselves a free nation.

News reporters and editors are human, which means that they are naturally biased. This doesn't excuse blatant false news being spread in an attempt to trick the people, but it doesn't mean that reporters should be silenced. Doing so would be detrimental to our democracy. There is misconstrued information on both sides of the political spectrum. People should think critically about the news they hear and be hesitant to accept statements without proof. However, when there is proof, you can't just call something "fake" and pretend like everything is a media-fabricated lie. We deserve more from our nation's president than slandering reporters without explanation or facts.

The president of the United States should not condone hostility toward the press. It would be acceptable to challenge what the press is reporting or provide facts to prove otherwise, but it is unacceptable to discredit them as a whole just because they say something that makes him look bad.

Bringing up the president's past and reporting the horrible things he has said is not just bogus "fake news" trying to sabotage his campaign. If you're in a position of power, people are going to hold you accountable for your wrongdoings whether you like it or not. Instead of playing the role of the victim and discrediting the press as a whole, respond to their statements respectfully. You owe it to your country to be better.

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