Archival, updated 2018 to reflect Trump’s Supreme Court – In his extraordinary 26 minute history of the Supreme Court Dr. Michael Parenti warned us in 1995 that this partisan, aristocratic institution might one day empower an autocratic president. It seems that time has come and two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, can push the scales of justice in favor of their politics unless there is a groundswell to question and change the legal rules of that institution. Why is so much power being given to 9 unelected, non term-limited judges?
I’ve always been intrigued by the major questions not asked by reporters at press conferences, not asked by legislators at public hearings or even the questions citizens at town meetings don’t ask public officials. It’s not that they do not know about or could not easily become informed enough about a given issue and ask substantive questions. It’s just that so many taboos are packed into these questioners’ ideological mindset, career goals or concern with what other people over them might think. Maybe it is a culturally-rooted fear of challenging entrenched power brokers.
Maine’s Angus King is a swing Independent Senator who caucuses with Democrats. As a former lawyer, like many of his colleagues, he cannot plead ignorance about the historic importance of his vote on the fateful Senate filibuster to deny Neil Gorsuch confirmation as Trump’s first Supreme Court appointee. Confirmation hearings for this far-right, “friendly fascist,” defender of torture, Federalist Society nominee are scheduled to begin March 20. A filibuster will follow. The key vote will come, likely in the first week of April, when Gorsuch supporters vote for cloture (i.e. termination) of the filibuster. The Republicans will need 60 votes for cloture in order to proceed to a vote on confirmation. They only have 52 votes, which is enough for confirmation but not enough to first end the filibuster.
The Supreme Court has mostly completed its decimation of any anti-corruption law that might have caused any more than the slightest inconvenience for the plutocracy’s political investments. Therefore the Court has now picked up its judicial supremacy ax to perform a similar demolition of laws that regulate the other side of the corruption equation. In a decision announced on June 27, timed as one of three final opinions of its 2015-16 term, the Court turned its attention to protecting the influence peddlers – who are installed by and otherwise benefit from the now freely flowing plutocratic investments – from prosecution for their delivery of the peddled policies.
The myth that Ralph Nader “spoiled” the 2000 election and put George W. Bush in the White House is being resurrected. Eric Ruder remembers how it really happened.
WITH POLLS showing a much closer race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump than was originally expected, Clinton supporters are resorting to frantic warnings that Bernie Sanders could cause a replay of the 2000 elections–when, according to the standard narrative of what went down, Ralph Nader’s Green Party campaign put Bush in the White House.
Obama Nominates a Conservative to Court: Sanders Still Missing Strategic Opportunity
Obama Writes Nomination Insurance for Plutocrats
Obama has decided that, to fill Scalia’s vacant seat for radicals on the Supreme Court the country needs another former partner of a Wall Street law firm, turned prosecutor, and then appellate judge. Another judge obscures the highly political work of the contemporary Supreme Court beneath a veneer of technocratic competence. Just the opposite is required at this time. We need a politician who will make a political case against decisions like the Court’s most important ruling of the past half century that “money is speech,” which was pure politics when decided but has become part of the ordinary technology of plutocracy that a judge like Merrick B. Garland administers with exquisite technical competence to the satisfaction of plutocrats. Chief Judge Garland is a continuation of business as usual. What is demanded by the times is a justice that will eradicate the politicized judicial doctrines that sustain the corrupt business as usual.
The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia evoked widespread commentary about how outspoken he was both on the Court and at law schools and other forums where he often lectured and sometimes tangled with audiences. Knowing of Justice Scalia’s unusual expressiveness for a jurist, my colleague Robert Weissman and I wrote him a challenging letter in 2006, starting with these words: Continue reading
It was one of our team’s weirder investigative discoveries: The recently departed Justice Antonin Scalia— alev ha shalom — in 2011, was ticketed for recklessly driving his black BMW.To his family, I offer condolences. To my readers, I offer the facts. A man’s soul must be laid to rest, but history must not be buried as well, especially now that the Justice’s passing has become grounds for stories that border on historical obscenity, cf. the New York Times, “Liberal Love for Antonin Scalia.”
The salutary rule of private life that one should not speak poorly of the dead does not properly apply to public persons who we know only through their public deeds. When they choose to lead a political life, which is the only capacity in which we have occasion to know them, and have had an overwhelmingly perverse influence on the course of public affairs, honest historical judgment should not be suspended or falsified for inappropriate application of rules that properly pertain to private life. Biographers will weave the personal attributes, the odd-fellow relationships with Justices Ginsburg and Kagan, membership in Opus Dei, assessments of when one person’s flamboyance crossed the line to another’s buffoonish bombast, to make a fuller portrait for those who might care about Antonin Scalia as a person.
The Supreme Court’s acceptance of a case about the allocation of voting districts will have consequences far beyond the millions of U.S. taxpayers its ruling may deprive of representation. A decision that only counts voters, rather than all persons, will undermine the very foundation of the Republic.
History has been made. But few Americans are aware of it or angry about it. I say: Wake up Americans. A war has been waged against US democracy, from the inside. Time to pick a side and fight back.
If you are not totally brain dead, distracted by pain or pleasure, or consumed by narcissistic obsessions, face the ugly, painful truth. Continue reading
The recent Supreme Court ruling removing limits to campaign financing should be the final straw on the camel’s back of the American people. Democracy in our country is a standing joke . . . and the trend of politics-for-sale is no longer funny. Wealthy elites and mega-corporations have created a modern day Court of Versailles in which the super-wealthy profit from the abject poverty of the rest of us. The Marie Antoinette’s of our day cut food stamps for impoverished children while crying, “Let them work for their cake!” Continue reading
RT America on Apr 2, 2014
The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down key limits on campaign contributions. The $123,200 overall limit for total contributions to campaigns, parties, and PACs will no longer be in effect, although contributions to individual candidates remain limited to $2,600. Potentially opening the door to a flood of cash from wealthy individuals, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion, stating that this ruling “perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.” RT’s Lindsay France looks into this historic ruling.
Sept. 28, 2012
Moyers & Company presents “United States of ALEC,” a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.
Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, the episode explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”