This week, the five conservatives on our Supreme Court declared in essence that when a majority of white people in a state vote against giving minorities in their state any extra consideration for having been damaged by centuries of racist oppression by white people in their state, that is sweet, sweet democracy at work.
The wreckage of American society and principles that follows in the wake of the Roberts Court is unlike any this nation has seen in a lifetime. Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the four other conservative justices and he have waged a campaign against minorities, democracy and the very lives of Americans. They have been making a concerted effort to steer America into an irreversible plutocracy through extremist and illogical interpretations of the Constitution that defy simple common sense.
Consider the more outrageous conclusions The Roberts Court have concocted to further their fascist and elitist agenda.
1. CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE
To 99.9% of Americans, this declaration is absolutely ludicrous. To anyone who has studied and truly understands the Constitution and Bill of Rights, this is wholly unsupported. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were clearly written to apply to human beings who were citizens of the United States and all of us, except for certain Supreme Court justices, know what constitutes a human being.
Simply put, a corporation can’t have rights all the rights of citizens under the Constitution because it is not a citizen of the United States. It is ridiculous to have to disprove this cynical assertion but it is very simple to prove that a corporation is not a person. A corporation is not alive, it doesn’t breathe, run, have a brain or a heart, it has no right to vote, it can’t marry another other person, it can’t give birth to a human being and it has no physical body. But we know all of this (especially if we’ve read the classic PlanetPOV fable by Dr. Suits, “Corporations Are People Too!”).
When corporations were originally given “personhood” it was narrowly to apply solely to allow them to enter into agreements and have legal standing with regards to legal and court cases…it had NOTHING to do with recognizing corporations as having all the rights of actual American citizens. It was a patch job, a way to allow corporations when they were a newer thing, to have the minimum rights needed to operate their businesses. Fast forward to the anti-democratic Supreme Court ideologues of today and we see a total perversion of that intent in order to give multi-billion dollar international corporations protections that would allow them to dominate the American people’s democracy and government.
2. MONEY IS SPEECH
If The Founders could come have looked into the future to see this perversion of the 1st Amendment by The Roberts Court, they might well have decided, “Why fight this Revolutionary War against being ruled by a wealthy, undemocratic tyrant, what’s the difference?”
Deconstructing this insanity is really pretty easy. If something is true, the opposite of it is true. If a light bulb is turned on and makes a room bright, turning it off makes the room dark. Simple logic, right. So let’s try this very simple, 3rd grade logic when it comes to this proposition. If money is speech than those with lots of money have lots of speech and those with little money have little speech. And is that what The Founders intended when they protected free speech? Did they see the wealthiest having “the most speech” as a cornerstone of American democracy?
What is “speech”? What is the concept of it and the principle behind it with regards to our Constitution and democracy? Is it literal, does “free speech” just mean blabbing anything? Or does it mean expressing one’s opinions about society and politics? Were The Founders worried that someone might not be able to speak out on what flavor ice cream they liked or were they concerned about protecting the freedom of citizens to speak out against the wealthy, the powerful and their leadership? The intent is very important because it explodes this dishonest interpretation of the 1st Amendment by these anti-democratic SCOTUS judges.
If the intention of the 1st Amendment was to protect the right of citizens to freely criticize and protest those in power in their country without being censored or muzzled, does not the concept of Money Is Speech directly contradict the 1st Amendment by allowing the wealthy to drown out the voices of other citizens? Isn’t it crystal clear that it deteriorates the rights of 99% of citizens to freely express themselves when the Supreme Court hands a massive megaphone to wealthy plutocrats? Thus, doesn’t the proposition of “Money is Speech” really violate the true intent of the 1st Amendment?
Speech is speech and money is money. Money can buy speech but it can also buy adult diapers so is money adult diapers? Money IS NOT what it buys, it is something you trade for something else you want. It is asinine to say that what you trade for something else is identical to that thing you traded for. If a kid at school trades a cookie for potato chips, are cookies now potato chips? Putting aside for a moment that as stated above, the intent of the 1st Amendment is to allow open criticism of one’s government, even if one ignored that and made this simply a proposition about whether having the freedom to BUY something is the same as having the right to DO something, it fails instantly.
We have laws against prostitution in most states and most countries. Having sex is not illegal, people are free to have sex and freely express themselves sexually (in most states at least) but…if you use money to buy sex, that is not seen as being identical to having sex and in fact, is a crime (prostitution always seems to have some allegorical relevance to politics). If the ability to use money to get something is identical to that thing itself, if money can buy tv commercials that feature political speech and is thus transformed into being speech, why isn’t money that’s used to buy sex defined identically as “sex”? If there is a reciprocal nature to money, that whatever it buys, it becomes, then how can there be any laws against using money to buy anything?
Add to all this, their ongoing chopping away at campaign finance laws that strip bare their agenda to free the wealthy to cement in their domination of our democracy. It seems demented to declare that allowing the wealthy to buy politicians and elections doesn’t lead to corruption of politicians or democracy…but that’s exactly what Roberts declared. There is little sanity that can be found in these justifications, just the desperate throwing of grit in the eyes of the public to justify their making America safe for plutocracy.
RACISM IS OVER
This reasoning by our racially challenged Supreme Court majority (very sad that Justice Thomas seems to reflect such self-hatred about his own race) is also so simply absurd. While the Voting Rights Act laws were in place, those states prone to suppressing the votes of minorities weren’t able to do so because the laws restricted them…and since they weren’t suppressing votes anymore, the SCOTUS Five declared that there is no more racism in the South than elsewhere in the U.S. and the Voting Rights Act provisions were gutted. Immediately, these same southern states then leaped into full minority vote suppression mode and not a peep was heard from the SCOTUS Five.
Now comes this latest decision that gives a white majority in a state the right to kill Affirmative Action that is of course only an aid to non-whites.
At a time when such open racism has been and continues to be spewed at our first African American President, at a time when racist militias and hate groups have been growing, the Supreme Court looks to the racism around the U.S. and says, “I like what you’re doing! And it’s Constitutional!”
STATES SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO LET THE WORKING POOR DIE
Many were stunned by John Roberts voting with the moderates on the SCOTUS to uphold the legality of the Affordable Care Act (even though there was no legitimate Constitutional reason to prevent the government from initiating another social safety net program like Social Security and Medicare). At that point in time, after a long string of unpopular and highly suspect ideological decisions including Citizens United, the Supreme Court was on the brink of defining itself as illegitimate in the eyes of the people (crowning Bush President in the pre-Roberts Court SCOTUS in 2000 was what began this downward spiral). Roberts may have recognized that killing the ACA would be the stake in the heart of his court’s legitimacy so he voted to uphold the law…but set a time bomb to go off in hopes that would destroy it without his fingerprints being on its destruction.
Roberts claimed it was somehow unconstitutional for the U.S. to require states to expand Medicaid, they were free to take the Medicaid money they were taking but even though it was paid 100% by the U.S. and would only later decline minimally to 90%, Roberts deemed it unconstitutional to require states to expand Medicaid.
As many right wingers recognized, Roberts had shot a hole into the ACA boat in hopes it would eventually sink it down the line and no one would be pointing at him for doing it. What John Roberts and the Fucked-Up Five actually did was order the deaths of up to 3,000 Americans every year, mostly in the very red states where this decision was most welcomed. Thought “The Death Panel” was a right wing hoax? Nope. The SCOTUS actually became a real death panel, allowing states such as Texas the right to refuse expanding Medicaid to the working poor and to let uninsured citizens die from medical neglect (you might want to remind Right Wing red state residents of that at their next Pro-Life rally). The ongoing deaths of thousands of Americans will now be a dark legacy of The Roberts Court.
It’s hard to imagine a more anti-American, anti-democratic Supreme Court than The Roberts Court. Like rare ones before it, The Roberts Court will occupy a special place in history, reserved for the infamous who betrayed their nation’s principles and people in pursuit of a cruel, racist and elitist ideology.
Great blog AdLib.No government is perfect,but there are definitely serious flaws in the American model.What has gone on in the last decade proves that.How can such damage be undone?
My respect for President Obama has no ceiling. What he has achieved, even so far, despite the racism, obfuscation and sheer orneriness of the Congress, SCOTUS and the fundamentalist Evangelical Right, is really mind boggling. Imagine what might have been achieved with a little less racism and a little more cooperation. I’m willing to bet that the GOPTP will claim the ACA as their own by saying Romney brought it in first!
SO it’s funny that the Republicans seem to think that the recipe for success is to make whine out of sour grapes! (That last line is blatantly stolen from the Age Newspaper!)
ppo – I do think that history will portray Obama as one of the most important Presidents. Bringing the country through the Great Recession, getting the ACA passed, getting rid of DOMA and DADT, the list of major accomplishments goes on and on.
It is too bad that the public was so easily manipulated in 2010 to vote in the lunatic House that has handcuffed him from doing so much more but he has already accomplished a great deal and he has nearly three more years to accomplish more.
I don’t ever underestimate the dishonesty of Repubs anymore so yes, I can imagine the Repubs trying to take credit for the ACA once it becomes as embraced as SS and Medicare but they failed in convincing people that they supported those two programs after flip-flopping, I don’t think they’ll have any better luck with the ACA.
After what, 52 attempts to destroy the ACA, I think it’s going to be some time before anybody can ever say that the GOPTP deserves any credit at all for such a great program.
Obama will be remembered as one of our greatest presidents, in the ranks of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton. The triumph of his ACA in spite of unending GOP opposition, along with his coolness when confronted with both foreign (Ending Bin Laden and old wars and avoiding new ones) and domestic conflicts (Clive Bundy who wanted to start another Waco, and other episodes of gun violence) will be the subject of books and movies many years down the road. The GOP will be remembered for the corrupt and hateful creeps that they are.
Roberts is a paid flunky and/or racist; a shame to the court.
Hey fjb, he does disgrace the tradition and standing of the SCOTUS with his racism, anti-democratic, pro-plutocracy and anti-citizen campaign. History books should record his court as the most shameful one in modern history.
AdLib, this is truly one of your best analyses — ever. Profound, logical and highly readable.
The Planet’s Sue provided me with a link to an article co-authored by a Princeton political scientist, called “Testing Theories of American Politics:Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens.” It’s been mentioned in the media recently. One paragraph from the abstract really stood out:
The bottom line being, of course — as Kalima said — “Money talks.”
One question, if you don’t mind (to you and to the Planet in general): Are you optimistic that this situation can still be remedied? Or is it too late?
On the issue of affirmative action, I was mentioning earlier on Morning Blog that this decision was being discussed by a 3 person panel on PBS News this evening. There was a white guy (who was anti-affirmative action), Gwen Ifill, and an African-American guy who was defending the value of affirmative action programs. I can’t remember the white guy’s name, but he made the most incredible statement to the effect that “decisions on things like college admissions should not be made on the basis of something as superficial as skin color.” My jaw dropped. Gwen and her colleague did an amazing job of concealing the wince that that statement had produced. But they did eventually take an opportunity to say that skin color is anything but trivial in America today. Understated, but effective.
When I consider the racism, the cruelty (in denying people access to health care), the hypocrisy and the greed that five members of this Court have supported and defended, there are days when I feel pulled in the direction of real pessimism. But then I remember that giving up is really not an option.
Because that’s just what they want us to do.
That last comment you made, describes me to a T, Kes. I feel like giving up a lot of the time but do not for the same reasons you state. People who claim “both parties are the same” are usually the ones who are speaking for their Koch masters. They have muddied the waters so badly on the right that you have to guess which faction they belong to constantly. BUT I will never stop calling them out on their lies because that is precisely what they want.
And calling them out on their lies is a full-time job, Sue. Your background as a fraud investigator prepared you well for the job, because they are frauds who are endlessly engaged in fraud. 😉
Kes, thanks for the very kind compliments, they mean a lot to me, cheers!
I did read about that report and it’s less surprising than it is confirming what we all pretty much know. Our laws and Congress are slaves to fundraising for re-election and the wealthy behind those funds. It helps explain the disconnect between the majority’s almost unanimous opinion on things such as gun control and government’s blocking of it.
To answer your question, I think it’s only realistic to recognize that the dynamics will eventually change and turn against those currently basking in their wealth and power. It might be the replacement of a RW SCOTUS judge with a Progressive, it could be a widespread popular uprising like Occupy Wall Street that has more of a focus on direct political change, it could be the Latino population reducing white voters to a minority and/or the redistricting in 2020, in any case, it will be something because this Guilded Age is simply not sustainable. The few can’t maintain power when the many reach the point of refusing to continue suffering.
The real question is what will end up being the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Throughout history, the wealthy and powerful are always so drunk with hubris, they can’t conceive of even the possibility that they are sewing their own downfall among the many. It will come though, I’m confident of that.
As to that PBS panelist who was so blindly racist, I wonder how many Americans he probably represents. Of course skin color is superficial to him…he’s white! When your skin color only gives you advantages and only other people suffer prejudice because of their skin color, of course it’s superficial to you.
I’d guess he’d also say that which sex you are when it comes to pay equality is also superficial because he’s a man (or at least looks similar to one).
I sometimes wish Texas, Oklahoma and some other RW states would secede so all the assholes could move out of this country and live together in the new independent Republic of Jerkistan.
Adlib very good article. I think I made a statement in one of my religious right articles that Rev Kennedy of Coral Ridge Church, when asked about religion in politics, said, “we do not have to be involved in politics. If we obtain a majority on the Supreme Court, that is all we have to do”. He was speaking of controlling biblical rule and right leaning policies in this country.
It seems he was right, except he did get involved in politics. When I read that comment and looked back to 2000, it chilled me to the bone. The successive years have not warmed those bones either. He is dead now but Billy Graham’s grandson took over his ministry…….
Thanks Sue and good to see you!
I remember that quote and recognized that they had a point. That is the biggest threat of having RW Fundamentalists close to a President like Reagan and Bush, being able to pressure the choice of a follower of Dominionism or other extremist religious beliefs, could haunt the nation for generations.
To a degree, that is what we see with Thomas, Scalia and Roberts.
Ad, you bring up excellent points.
My dollars were just telling me the other day that the neighbor corporation was declaring that racism has been wiped from the face of the earth. It also told me that the poor folks don’t deserve to live, and to prove it it quoted the Roberts Court.
How can I argue with my money? After all it is speech.
Nirek, very funny!!! 😆
I had to turn in my daughter, she tore a dollar bill by accident and that means she destroyed speech, violating the 1st Amendment. I’ll miss her but at least my speech is safe now!
And how about the Treasury burning millions of old bills, that’s a mass extinction of speech! Someone oughta call the SCOTUS Police on them pronto!
The Roberts Gestapo have confused the meaning of “Money talks” with “Money is speech”. That’s a simple mistake for a four year old to make, but for the highest court in the land, it is a deliberate abomination.
For anyone in America to say that racism is over when we see hate crimes and the disenfranchising of minorities almost every week if not every day, is one of the biggest lies ever perpetrated by a body making laws for a country. These five are The Four (make that five) Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the New Testament, trying to bring “War. Famine. Conquest. Death and (let’s add) Greed “.
As for the “Corporations are People” nonsense, one can only wonder what these five have squirrelled away in secret bank accounts, what has been promised in exchange, or how far Dominionism and the Dominionist handlers control your SC.
Oh and for those who haven’t read it, I too highly recommend that you read the suggested post by Dr. Suits.
As for helping the poor, you don’t see that in many countries anymore. The fastest way to overcome this problem is to deny them the right to anything life sustaining to finish them off completely. Problem solved. Out of sight, out of mind.
Kalima, you made me smile once again! Indeed, from “Money Talks” to “Money is Speech”, that’s the SCOTUS we’re dealing with.
I think all five of those justices know full well that racism is unfortunately alive and well in America and inside of themselves. Even Thomas. But that’s irrelevant to clearing a wide path for the elites to control the U.S. government and society so they lie about not seeing it around them.
They are the Five Horsemen you describe, excellent allegory.
I may not know about their finances but I do know that the corporations who are people are run by those they see as their peers so of course they want to horde all the power into their hands, they are all the elite and 99.9% of Americans are the inconvenient but necessary rabble. I always think about what elitist and isolated lives SCOTUS judges live in, they aren’t really a part of our society, they are told that they sit above all of us in judgement…like…hmm, what does that sound like? Not regular people…someone more unique and all knowing…I’ll think of it. Now how can people like that have any real connection to the society the rest of us live in unless they work at it (and I guarantee you that just by looking at Scalia’s belly, he ain’t working at nothing except eating a gallon of ice cream in one minute.
The problem with the wealthy’s hatred of the poor is that there are far more of the poor than them and if they get really angry, the jig is up. And who would serve the wealthy and their businesses if the poor were eliminated? The wealthy refuse to think this through, they always do which is why they always have a comeuppance in store for them.
That’s good. I’m trying to catch up for all the times that you have made me giggle, laugh out loud and spit out my tea. 😉
Out of all of them Thomas is the one that leaves me scratching my head. He is another Michael Steele, a 999 Cain who thinks that they are fully accepted as an equal in the elite white man’s world. When push comes to shove they are not and never will be.
Yes I believe that if things continue around the world as they are doing, the 99% of oppressed citizens will have no other choice than to rise up and fight for what has been denied them for so long. It won’t be like the “Arab Spring” mired in unspeakable bloodshed, but I see more protests around the globe as people realise they’ve been had, and a wake up call to vote out the perpetrators.
When is enough enough, we will see, but humans can only be pushed so far. We all have our breaking point.
The Roberts court is using vague technicalities to allow states to deny Medicaid expansion. Those five heartless judges determined that if the federal government threatened states with the loss of funding for other programs, that would be “unconstitutionally coercive.”
To my knowledge, the federal government has NOT threatened any state, in any way. The court also voted to “limit enforcement authority,” of the HHS secretary.
“The Medicaid Expansion is Unconstitutionally Coercive of States Because States Lacked Adequate Notice
to Voluntarily Consent and the Secretary Could Withhold All Existing Medicaid Funds.” No such threat to withhold existing funds has been made, that I know of.
The republican governors of these states refusing medicaid expansion, are in my opinion, criminals. They are clearly and willingly violating Article I, section 8 of the Constitution in
pertinent part provides that “Congress shall have Power. . . [to] provide for the common Defense and
general Welfare of the United States.”
I would call denying medical aide to people unconstitutional, according to Article 1, section 8 of the US constitution.
Here’s the operable phrase which is wholly dishonest and has no connection to Constitutionality, “Because States Lacked Adequate Notice to Voluntarily Consent…”
That is flat out false. This bill took around a year to pass, it was passed in 2010 and didn’t begin kicking in on expanded Medicaid until the end of 2013, three and half years later…so four and a half years isn’t “adequate notice”???
This is just blatant fabrication by these ideologues to justify enforcing the political agenda they support. States could have had 10 or 20 years notice and the same BS excuse would be used.
I have no doubt Ad. How do we get rid of SC judges? That’s the big question. Can they be impeached?
That would be the only way, KT, because the evil never die, only good people die.
Hey Sue! How are ya?
As Sue says, they can be impeached but only for the same reasons that a President could be impeached. There could be a case made against Scalia who has constantly refused to recuse himself on cases where he has personal complications (like voting on the constitutionality of VP Dick Cheney keeping info on his energy task force secret…just days after he vacationed with Cheney).
But setting such a precedent would be bad, one can imagine how often the RW would want to use it once the balance of the court shifted to the left.
I do often hope for a UFO to land at the Supreme Court building while they’re in session and take the perfect specimens of Scalia, Roberts and Thomas light years away while performing probes on them and asking, “How does that feel constitutionally?”