Voting 9-6, the Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to keep Leila de Lima in jail and face the drug charges filed against her. Normally, it would have been necessary to mention how the individual justices voted. And it would have been necessary as well to explain the intricacies of de Lima’s case that led to the voting. But I think all that used to be necessity is gone.
Let me put it this way. I no longer have to enumerate the names of the justices and qualify how they voted. If you have even been just a casual observer of the Supreme Court and how it has voted in a number of cases that were patently rooted in politics, you will know how the justices voted without being told. One particular set of justices would be going one way, another set the other way.
And quite frankly, I do not know if the circumstances of a case still mattered because one set of justices seems to always see it one way and the other set the other way. It has become uncomfortably too predictable, if I may say. And the funny thing is that it is almost impossible to see it as one side getting the picture all the time and the other not getting it at all.
Virtually all of the justices, learned and erudite to a man (or woman), have a way of making their decisions reflect their positions. They are very good at it. And so it is that that is the way the Supreme Court has become. That is the way it is. And whether that is eventually good for the country, I do not know. All I know is that it gives me a strange feeling to see some justices almost always on one side, and others almost always on the other.
It has become like, if one is to deliberately omit mentioning the name Supreme Court, we are talking of some mixed basketball teams of distinguished ladies and gentlemen, or some rival clubs or fraternities and the like. I would not be surprised if the more creative and adventurous among us would not be inspired to create memes that reflect just how stark some imaginary line has been drawn.
It would have been easier to call out the uncanniness of the situation had this involved an ordinary lower court where an ordinary judge would be involved. An ordinary judge who seems to decide in a particular way on certain cases will be a sitting duck to keen observers. Not so with collegial bodies whose individual thinking members just happen to vote similarly, even if consistently.
That coincidence is limitless is the rub. Who is to say that consistency is not coincidental? It is what it is, remember? Things just happen. Maybe, so that we do not get spooked unnecessarily, we should stop elevating to the Supreme Court issues that can be settled more politically, or by means of fisticuffs and the like. In so doing, we can reserve the Supreme Court for cases that truly need enlightening.
Right now, many of the things tossed up to the Supreme Court involve questions whose outcomes we already know of and anticipate.
We just toss it up for the imprimatur to make it official. And that eventually cheapens the Supreme Court, if it hasn’t been so cheapened already. Maybe it is time we stop using it as a prop for our political follies.
‘We should stop elevating
to the Supreme Court issues that can be settled
more politically, or by means of fisticuffs and the like. In so doing, we can reserve the Supreme Court for cases that truly need