New Rights Created by Congress and the Supremes

This has been a busy week in political America. Republicans and Democrats have been busy writing press releases and formulating talking points about a whole slew of issues that have been debated and decided by Congress and the Supreme Court. Particularly important are the Medicare prescription drug bill and the SCOTUS decisions on affirmative action and anti-sodomy laws.

Americans have been busy asking questions, trying to figure out what all of it means. For example:

  • Are Republicans for or against expanding the size of government and the welfare state?
  • Are Democrats for or against judging a person by the color of his skin rather than the content of his character?
  • Are Supreme Court justices for or against allowing anything and everything to go on in the bedroom as long as everyone is a consenting adult? And how long will the age of consent remain at 18?
  • Here’s my question: Why do our elected, and, especially, our unelected officials, believe they may create new rights whenever the political need arises?

  • On Monday of this week, the Supreme Court, in Grutter v. Bollinger, ruled that, because diversity is a compelling state interest, the use of affirmative action for enrollment at our public universities is perfectly constitutional. This case gave admissions officers and other university officials the right to use racial discrimination to block access for white and Asian students to our nation’s schools.
  • On Thursday morning, another ruling came down from the Supreme Court. This one, Lawrence v. Texas, struck down state anti-sodomy laws, reversing the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick case upholding such laws. The support for the decision emanated from the supposed “right to privacy,” a right which has resulted in the popular belief in a constitutional right to abortion. Now, it seems, there is a constitutional right to consensual, adult sex. Is there a limit to that right? Some surely will argue there is not – just as the pro-abortion crowd argues there should be no limits on abortion, including partial-birth abortion.
  • On Thursday night, the Senate and the House both passed Medicare prescription drug bills. These bills will create a whole new entitlement program, giving seniors cheap prescription drugs. Apparently, congress believes Americans, at least older ones, have the right to cheap (or free) drugs.
  • When does it stop?



  • Supreme Court decision: Grutter v. Bollinger
  • Justice Thomas’ dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger
  • Supreme Court decision: Gratz v. Bollinger
  • Supreme Court decision: Lawrence v. Texas
  • Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas
  • Justice Thomas’ dissent in Lawrence v. Texas
  • Supreme Court decision: Bowers v. Hardwick
  • Senate Republican Policy Committee Legislative Notice #27: S.1 – The Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act
  • Text of S.1, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, as reported in the Senate
  • Senate Roll Call Vote on S.1, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill
  • Text of H.R.1, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, as introduced in the House
  • House Roll Call Vote on H.R.1, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill