Monday, June 28, 2010

This just in: Constitution is still relevant

The Supreme Court upheld separation of powers by striking down Sarbanes-Oxley, and upheld the Second Amendment by striking down Chicago gun law.

While I don't believe the Constitution is a perfect document, it would be nice if we were able to amend it where it needs improvement.

What gives you your freedoms?

UPDATE: Megan is back from her honeymoon, and this is her first post:
Sarbanes-Oxley is not very popular in large swathes of the financial world, and among some financial pundits. Arguably, it doesn't do much except intensify the compliance burden of public companies. Higher compliance requirements are a disproportionate burden on smaller companies, who have less revenue across which to spread the cost of attorneys, accountants, and administrators required to meet the new burden. In effect, then, it raises the minimum level of assets at which it makes sense to operate as a publicly traded company. To the extent that you believe that the financial reporting requirements for public companies increase the transparency and efficiency of the economy and the financial markets, this is counterproductive.
I really doubt that this is going to much impact the independence of the board's decisions. It's not like the Congress is an apolitical body with only the best interests of the nation at heart; in fact, I'd argue that it's both more parochial, and more open to manipulation by specific lobbies, than the presidency.

UPDATE: Brent Kendall clarifies the scope:
The court, however, refused to strike down the accounting board in its entirety, saying the board's mere existence did not violate the Constitution.

Justice Roberts said the structure of the accounting board violated constitutional separation-of-powers principles because it was too difficult for the president to remove board members.

Justice Roberts said Sarbanes-Oxley "remains fully operative as a law." He said the unconstitutional provisions governing the board could be severed from the rest of the law.

One can have a government that functions without being ruled by functionaries, and a government that benefits from expertise without being ruled by experts. Our Constitution was adopted to enable the people to govern themselves, through their elected leaders. The growth of the Executive Branch, which now wields vast power and touches almost every aspect of daily life, heightens the concern that it may slip from the Executive’s control, and thus from that of the people.--Justice John Roberts

UPDATE: Roger Pilon says:
Most Court-watchers expected the decision to come out as it did, yet the dissent by the Court’s four liberals speaks volumes. How could other rights in the Bill of Rights be good against the states, but not this right? Given the quality of their argument, the conclusion that the Court’s liberals are picking and choosing their rights on political grounds is inescapable.

UPDATE: Well, the Supreme Court gets it wrong sometimes, too.
I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that today’s decision is a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country.--Justice Samuel Alito

No comments:

Post a Comment