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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 11 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 28
Supreme Court should STFU, federal judge says
Section One
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Supreme Court should STFU, federal judge says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A federal district judge has thrown in his two cents in the Hobby Lobby controversy, and he is not kind to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On his personal blog, Judge Richard Kopf says 'the Court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the Court has the power to avoid. As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu.'

Kopf helpfully included a link to Urban Dictionary, which defines STFU as an 'acronym used for the phrase 'shut the fuck up' for efficiency reasons.'

On June 30, a 5-4 majority of the high court ruled that some for-profit corporations may claim a First Amendment religious freedom exemption from the Affordable Care Act.

'To the average person, the result looks stupid and smells worse,' Kopf wrote on his blog.

'To most people, the decision looks stupid 'cause corporations are not persons, all the legal mumbo jumbo notwithstanding. The decision looks misogynist because the majority were all men. It looks partisan because all were appointed by a Republican. The decision looks religiously motivated because each member of the majority belongs to the Catholic church, and that religious organization is opposed to contraception. While 'looks' don't matter to the logic of the law (and I am not saying the Justices are actually motivated by such things), all of us know from experience that appearances matter to the public's acceptance of the law.'

The court, Kopf says, should simply have declined to hear the Hobby Lobby case, which they are empowered to do.

'Had the Court sat on the sidelines, I don't think any significant harm would have occurred,' Kopf wrote. 'The most likely result is that one or more of the political branches of government would have worked something out.'

Kopf was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

He is best known for a massive 474-page opinion in Carhart et al v. Ashcroft, striking down a ban on late-term abortion. His ruling was upheld on appeal by the Eight Circuit Court, but reversed by a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court.

Kopf also dismissed a 2007 suit over the use of the word 'rape' in a Nebraska state rape prosecution. Tory Bowen, the victim of the alleged rape, was barred by the trial judge from describing the action as 'rape' or 'sexual assault,' and told to use the word 'intercourse' instead.

She then sued Nebraska Judge Jeffre Cheuvront in federal court for violating her First Amendment right of free speech. Kopf dismissed the case, saying Bowen had failed to demonstrate that her suit was not 'frivolous.'

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