The Court Has Taken Over- And I’m Not Talking About Egypt


James Fallows of the Atlantic breaks it down:

This is beginning to look like what, in any other country, we would call a coup. “Try this at home. Pick a country and describe a sequence in which: First, the presidential election is decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms. Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology. Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them. Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts. And, when a major piece of legislation gets through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepares to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.”

On Thursday morning the Supreme Court will strike down the individual mandate of Obama’s healthcare plan (and I will be forced to wear an “I love Ayn Rand” t-shirt to school- I am not in a good place). They will do so not out of any new or advanced interpretation of the commerce clause, but rather out of a cynical need to destroy someone who those five people see as an uppity and illegitimate President along with those who ascribe to his silly political movement. In the wake of this decision the President will have a choice; capitulate to the hostile will of unjustified authoritarianism, or fight with everything he has to demonstrate the hypocrisy and evil that exists right now on the bench. This duty of his to do fight in this way is beyond necessary, as the continued existence of the government as something more than just a nominal democracy depends on fighting the court for its mistakes.

Complaining about the Supreme Court is something that “both sides” have done on occasion, but the court as it exists today has concentrated power in its own hands to such a degree that any of its decisions must be seen as lacking any form of democratic legitimacy. Those five people have effectively shown that they do not represent actual traditional American values, nor are they seeking to maintain the Constitution they are sworn to interpret. Rather the conservative majority on the court is fighting to preserve the political power and economic interests of the narrowest of groups. Normal people would feel a sense of shame for taking part in shaping this sort of nasty apparatus of power, yet we are dealing with life long appointees who have successfully disguised their sociopathy as intellect for as long as they have practiced law. They will not change.

The only saving grace that could possibly come from this decision would be if the media, the sycophantic corporatized idiotic child scribes of the monied elite, decide to do their jobs and properly articulate the consequences of this decades-long judicial overreach. Abandoning the constant need to demonstrate the imagined duality of wrongdoing in political or legal reporting is obviously desired, but this change becomes an absolute necessity when we are facing such an malignant force for the continuation of our democratic government. Frankly when a major policy making body such as the court feels it necessary to deny the right (NOT privilege) of basic health care to millions on the basis of a strained metaphor concerning vegetables, nothing should be taken off the table in terms of responding to such a disgusting abuse of power.

But other than simply telling journalism to do its damn job or urging the President to fight like hell, I really don’t know how to respond to this eventual sadness at the end of the week. The court has in my lifetime installed a President, overlooked torture, legalized corruption, continued the war on the poor (via the war on drugs), and destroyed the rights of Union members and students to properly express themselves or organize to effect change. Hell decisions not to use the death penalty or life without parole against fucking CHILDREN only barely passed through the court. Major shifts in the way in which this country is run have happened because 5-9 members of the most privileged class of people in the entire world feel as though they can effectively make policy for 300 million people based on nothing more than their flawed reasoning and perception. Perhaps Fallows is wrong in warning us about an eventual coup; in that we are already hostage to the desires of a robed junta as we speak.


About stefanbc

I am an attorney who works mainly in criminal defense, child welfare, and medical marijuana advocacy. I live in Long Beach with my wife and four pets. View all posts by stefanbc

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