Saturday, July 02, 2005

Do other nations get inflamed over court cases?

Will have to ask my co-blogger, but very curious if:
  1. other countries have so many court cases that are so well known & still inflame passions and gratitude years later
  2. the famous US court cases known abroad?

Obviously the #1 case that still inflames passion is Roe v. Wade, but most Americans have a passing familiarity with Dred Scott, Brown v. Board of Education, and Plessy v. Ferguson, or recently with Lawrence v. Texas, Ashcroft (Gonzales) v. Raich, and Kelo v. New London.

Sandra Day O'Connor's recent Supreme Court resignation provided the impetus for this posting as it struck me that I've never heard of an iconic court case from another country despite knowing that other nations differ from the US on capital punishment & gay marriage & medical marijuana. Do other nations not place as much power in their third branch of government? Are the court cases not as seminal? Are there any other nations on the planet that devote a fraction of the expense, energy & passions on Supreme Court nominations?

Will be curious to hear back from Die Kola Kocht as spokesman for the entire European Union.

Final note: Continue to be impressed by Wikipedia - the best example of the ideal of what the internet should provide for mankind: an open data repository kept amazingly current - Sandra's Wikipedia entry already updated 1 day after her retirement announcement.

I am thinking, I am thinking, I am thinking and cannot come up with one courtcase that would influence or inflame the dutch kingdom. The question is why?? A probable reason is that more is decided on a political level because a lot can be discussed in our lower house. So there is no need for forced disucssions via court cases. Discussing it with a collegue the question came up who appoints a judge. In Holland there is a very strict seperation of law and politics. A judge certainly is not appointed by government. How is that done in the US. If government chooses judges court cases could be used as political battle grounds. What is your opinion.
You didn't answer the other question: you know a ton of Americana, so do you know Roe v. Wade or the other cases I mentioned?

In answer to your question, we have a number of different levels of courts - the Supreme Court you know & the next level below is the Appellate Court. Those two levels (plus at least the next level "district") are appointed by the president & approved by our Senate. The battles for approval have been incredibly bruising.

The court cases that I mentioned dealt with slavery, segregation, integration, abortion, homosexuality, medical marijuana, and the state taking private property. My question back to you is: how was abortion legalized in Holland? Here the Supreme Court made it legal. How was anal sex between two men made legal? How was miscegenation made legal? Once again, it was the Supreme Court.

How was gay marriage legalized? Here the Massachusetts Supreme Court made them legal for that state only.

Because so many vital issues are decided by our courts, it won't surprise you to learn that the right & left are going to spend $40M trying to sway the President's choice of nominee & convince the Senate to approve/disapprove that choice.

I'm positive that no other nation on the planet experiences anything close to multi-million dollar battles over 1 judge.
Most of these things have always been legal (anal sex for instance)and we never had segregation. The others were political decisions voted for in the lower house. I think the difference is that our lower house is willing to seriously discuss and vote for sensitive issues than the US equivalent. If you want big changes in the US you force a decision via a court. Over here you throw it in the lower house.
In general in the US courts are being used for getting answers to politically sensitive objects because politicians do not like to burn their finger on these subjects. In HOlland because of our multi party system with a lot of extreme politicial movements represented in the lower house, politicians are much more challenged, especially by the extreme left and right parties.

I know of the court cases but are not very familiar with the actual names. Will ask my wife (she, being a laywer) if she is familiar with the names.
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