Vox Populist: In Roberts Court people are damned


Today’s six-member ultra-conservative supermajority on the US Supreme Court has abandoned all claims of being an impartial moral force for blind justice. Instead, the Republican Party’s small network of corporations and right-wing activists have carefully fabricated and armed the court as its own political oligarchy. In just a few decades, these anti-democracy zealots, backed by a few billionaires, gradually began to impose on the United States an extremist political agenda that they could not win through the ballot box.

Their eureka moment — the startling development that opened the eyes of wealthy elites and ideologues to the raw power they could seize by politicizing the judiciary — was the Supreme Court’s Bush v Gore ruling , which was widely seen as illegitimate among liberals and progressives. In December 2000, the five-member Republican majority brought the recount of the Florida presidential election to an abrupt halt and stormed over both democracy and the adequacy of the judiciary to install George W. Bush in the White House. A horrified dissenting judge, John Paul Stevens, mocked the five, noting that while their fabricated decision didn’t actually determine whether Bush or Gore won, it made the loser “clearly clear.” He explained it was “the nation’s trust in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law”.

One of those who helped steer the court’s overt political power play over the Florida vote was an obscure corporate attorney who has long been an aggressive behind-the-scenes Republican pushing to stop voting by blacks, poor and other Democrats Restrict constituencies : John Roberts. Shortly thereafter – surprise! – Bush elevated Roberts to a senior federal judge and only two years later promoted him to the highest judicial position of power in the United States: the Chief Justice of the Supremes.

Roberts’ slim Republican majority has passed more than eighty partisan rulings and fabricated laws that “We the People” never voted for and do not support.

From that lofty perch, Roberts has since orchestrated a comprehensive political list for the court, handpicking cases created and advanced by far-right interests. He has also manipulated precedent and procedure to make intricate decisions that enforce plutocratic, autocratic, and theocratic rule over the democratic rights and aspirations of the American people.

To date, Roberts has cobbled together slim Republican majorities to apparently surrender more than eighty partisan decisionsa fabricated law that “we the people” never voted for and that the majority of us do not support.

It’s bizarre that the Supreme Court, the least democratic branch of government, should pretend to speak on behalf of “the people,” even as its right-wing core grinds out an unprecedented level of partisan judgments that most Americans clearly don’t want — and is not supported. Take abortion rights, for example, which the court — now freshly packed with Trump’s trio of Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — has nullified. It will be a costly “victory” for these supposedly “impartial” black-clad politicians as they erode public confidence in the justice system by imperiously setting their own agenda over the overwhelming will of the people.

Not only have this band of self-righteous judges squeezed their reactionary social prejudices into the court-enacted law, but they have also sanctioned cases to establish corporate dominance over us and our environment. During Roberts’ tenure, the court sided with the United States Chamber of Commerce — the main lobbying group for US corporate giants — in a staggering 70 percent of cases. In fact, three members — Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas — are now among the five most pro-business judges of the past 75 years.

More than six in 10 Americans believe Supreme Court decisions are primarily motivated by politics rather than unbiased interpretations of the law. The bad reviews have prompted embarrassing outbursts of judicial anger and irritation. Alito, for example, whined loudly last year that critics were making “unprecedented efforts to intimidate the court or damage it as an independent institution.” Likewise, Barrett was so stung that she felt it necessary to go public with a strained denial, asking the public to believe that “this court is not made up of a bunch of partisan hacks.”

Note to testy judges: if you don’t want to be called a partisan, stop being one. And, Brother Alito, it is not critics who harm the third branch “as an independent institution” – it is your servile allegiance to corporate interests and your knee-jerk allegiance to extremist ideologues. You can wear the robe, but you cannot hide behind it.

Jim Hightower

Populist author, speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter (sign up at HightowerLowdown.org) and hosts Hightower Lowdown Chat & Chew, a new TV/webcast show on Free Speech TV.

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August 5, 2022

3:17 p.m


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