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The Freeman - - OPINION -

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

en­light­en­ing.’

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