Supreme Court Unanimous: Rascal Scooter is Awesome
October 21, 2009
Court silent on whether access to Rascal Scooters is Fundamental Right
WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court was in a rare mood of unanimity, issuing a dissent-free opinion on the key issue of the Rascal Scooter’s Awesomeness.
The unanimous ruling continued a recent pattern that may be moving the Court closer to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.’s stated goal of greater collegiality. That goal has proven elusive since he joined the Court in 2005, with justices often reluctant to cede ground for the sake of joining the majority.
It may be too early in the term to declare a trend, and as Court-watcher David Barrow observed, rulings without dissents are easier to wrap up early in the term. Nonetheless, Barrow says, “Monday’s Rascal Scooter ruling sent a striking message of judicial consensus while belying any presumption of ideological division or conflict.”
While there was no dissenting opinions there was numerous concurring opinions on the Rascal Scooter’s Awesomeness, leaving many to think this might not be the last time we hear the Supreme Court on the issue.
The Court did not reach the issue as to whether the Constitution guaranteed Americans a fundamental right to assisted walking, leaving it to state legislatures to decide. The Court invoked moral and legal arguments in its ruling, acknowledging that those without the assistance of the Rascal’s awesomeness generally endure great agony, but put more emphasis on the American tradition of mobility.
The ruling upholds laws in New York and Washington states that make it a crime for doctors to deny patients the Rascal Scooter. Yet while yesterday’s ruling makes clear that states have a right to regulate Scooters, it also left them without the power to make the practice of Rascal Scooters illegal.
Advocates on both sides of the issue predicted a path ahead laden with more controversy and debate. “The clarity of this decision should serve as a benchmark for other courts,” said Mark Chopko, general counsel for the U.S. Scooter Conference, one of the organizations that has led the fight against banning the Rascal. But he added, “the debate over the legalization of assisted walking will continue in the political process.”
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