Friday, May 9, 2014

Just Another Political Entity

That’s the verdict of a poll done recently about the Supreme Court.

Wide majorities disagree with the recent 5-4 party-line rulings that have upended a century of campaign finance law and tilted the rules in favor of the extremely wealthy and major corporations. The landmark Citizens United ruling was opposed by a whopping 80-18 margin. The more recent McCutcheon decision, which lifted caps on total giving, was said by a 51 percent majority to be likely to create more corruption, while 8 percent suggested it would lead to less.

By a 60-36 spread, those surveyed said that Supreme Court justices were more likely to be carrying out a personal or political agenda than working to render a fair and impartial judgment, an opinion that cut across party lines. John Roberts swore before Congress during his confirmation hearings that he had great respect for precedent. But once confirmed as chief justice, he embarked on a remarkable run of conservative judicial activism that has favored the wealthy while undermining affirmative action and protection for voting rights.

The tipping point seems to be the ruling on Bush v. Gore which handed the election of 2000 to George W. Bush with the approval of the 5-4 court majority, and it’s only gotten more noticeable since then.  Further examples are the gutting of the Voting Rights Act last year and the Michigan affirmative action case, which said that the way to cure racism was to say that there really isn’t any racism anymore so why worry about it?

Of course the conservatives can point to rulings and claim there was a liberal bias on the court: Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, school prayer, and Loving v. Virginia, thereby proving the point that it’s only judicial activism when it’s a ruling you don’t like.  But the Roberts court seems to be much more bolder about it.

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