Why “Vote GOP for the Court” Cuts No Ice with Me

I’ve never voted for a Democrat or Republican for president at a general election. I’ve always voted for a Libertarian (in 2008 I voted for George Phillies, who was on the ballot as a Libertarian in New Hampshire in addition to the official candidate, Bob Barr), and I’ve never had reason to regret my vote. Throughout my adult life (I first voted in 1996), every U.S. president has been worse than the one before, and the major-party candidates they defeated would almost certainly have been just as bad.

One common argument I hear from Republicans is that libertarians should vote for Republican presidential candidates because of the Supreme Court. And indeed, libertarians generally share conservatives’ enthusiasm for the prospect of the Supreme Court’s overturning at least part of the PPACA. However, the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision authorizing invasive strip searches of all arrestees shows us the other side of the coin: the Supreme Court’s conservatives are disturbingly willing to defer to the executive branch on issues of non-economic personal liberties. Most of the politically controversial cases with which the federal judiciary deals have to do with civil liberties and civil rights. Major Commerce Clause cases come around only once every few years — and even there, Scalia and Kennedy are unreliable.

How will the current Court address issues like indefinite detention, the drone assassination program, and what Naomi Wolf calls “sexual humiliation as a political tool” — from the TSA’s groping and Rapiscan machines (can you believe that name? I always pronounce it with a long “a.” Sometimes I wonder if we’re living in an episode of the Simpsons.) to strip searches and prisoner abuse? How would an even more conservative court, with, say, a Ginsburg replaced by a Romney appointee, address those issues? A more conservative court might trim back the Commerce Clause just a wee bit, but it would definitely help law enforcement abuse my friends. So no, Mittens, you’re not getting my vote under any circumstances.

10 thoughts on “Why “Vote GOP for the Court” Cuts No Ice with Me

  1. Your post today and Marc’s earlier today both highlight that libertarians, classical liberals, and Pileus itself are certainly not in the tank for the Republican party and its policy positions!

  2. If the truth be told,for all intents and purposes,the U.S. Constitution has been so changed,warped and misinterpreted that it bares little resemblance to the Founding Fathers original intent. With that said,I do not expect either political party to restore the Constitution. It is basically against their political interests to do so. With that said, the only option a Liberty minded person has is to either not vote or to cast a “protest vote.” In the end,I would rather vote for someone I want and not get them elected than to vote for someone I don’t want and see them elected. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

    1. My understanding is that GJ supports it as a replacement for the income tax and as an interim measure on the road to removing direct taxation altogether.

      1. I don’t know about that. Economist Fred Foldvary has by far the best critique I’ve seen of a national sales tax plan:

        A sales tax violates free trade, makes products more expensive, and indirectly taxes wages and other incomes. The advocates claim that a shift from income to sales taxes would not raise prices, since the income tax already raises prices, but they are wrong, because much of the burden of a tax on wages is on labor. A sales tax has about the same excess burden or deadweight loss as an income tax. Income taxes punish savings, but sales taxes punish borrowing, and there is no logical reason to favor savings over borrowing. Savings and borrowing should be voluntary individual choices not skewed by taxes or subsidies.

        The “Fair Tax” plan exempts business purchases, putting the burden on households. That invites massive tax evasion, as folks would claim to be buying stuff for a business. The response of government would be a sales tax gestapo. If you did not have a receipt for your purchase and could not prove it was for business, you could go to prison.

        I’m open to hearing the merits of a national sales tax plan, too, of course…

  3. I think the Affordable Care Act will be a lot harder to overturn (without the court) than it will be to correct law enforcement abuses, if not executive power.

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