Saturday, April 7, 2012

Five Rogues in Black Robes

"This court well on its way to becoming one of the most divisive in history. It has squandered even the semi-illusion it is balanced. It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes. All the fancy diplomas of the conservative majority cannot disguise the fact its reasoning on the most important decisions affecting Americans seems shaped more by a political handbook than a legal brief.." - Marueen Dowd, New York Times-Denver Post

"The first truth is that liberty is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than that of their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

"Hacks in black robes" is strong language. Personally, I reserve the term "hacks" for the reprehensible PR-pushers and pundits. Instead, these characters - the 5 conservos on the Supreme court- I refer to as "rogues". In this sense, Chris Jimroglou's Denver Post letter of April 3rd probably comes even nearer the truth:

"Has the Supreme Court totally lost its mind? First they allowed corporations and the wealthy to make donations to political candidates without any transparency. They are presently considering the repeal of Obamacare, and now they want to degrade us by allowing strip searches when someone is arrested for even a minor offense."

Here, summarized in one succinct paragraph is why this 5-R-majority whacko court has lost its grounding and marbles and NEEDS to be lectured on its responsibilities! Meanwhile, many craven media pundits and whores act as if these five renegades are demigods or merit obeisance and worship. Case in point: Jan Crawford on CBS News two nights ago, who blubbered in front of the cameras that Obama had better be careful as Americans take a jaundiced view of a president lecturing the judiciary.

Says WHO? Which Americans? If those Americans do have this take and are disposed to "punish" Obama in November, say for his recent warning about the 5 Supremes ditching his health care law mandate, then they aren't aware of just how radical this bunch is.

Note the sentence in Jimroglou's letter that "they want to degrade us by allowing strip searches when someone is arrested for even a minor offense". The particular (New Jersey) case on which basis they allowed the strip seach was actually the embodiment of miscarried justice. It involved the husband of a pregnant wife (who was driving) being pulled over for speeding, and then the husband being arrested for "unpaid traffic tickets" - but which later records showed he'd paid! Never mind, the cops booked the guy - never bothering to check the record- then subjected him to a degrading strip-cavity search since he was being entered (again, mistakenly) into the jail "general population". The five conservative justices breezily huffed that in even the most simple criminal cases (again, this wasn't the guy wasn't guilty!) strip seaches need to be allowed...say even for jaywalking...since you never knew when a terrorist might turn up!

Evidently, these rogues never heard of Benjamin Franklin's famous quote:

"He who would sacrifice liberty for a temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety."

Meanwhile, Justice Brennan in a counter- argument for the liberal side - warned of the dangers of encroaching fascism as rulings such as this became more frequent. (As my German friend Helmut notes, the initial Reich laws under Hitler began with strip searches for even minor infractions. The fear was that even a minor transgressor could be an 'enemy of the state' - say like a Bolshevik! The job of the Reich Courts was to uphold the insane Reich laws.)

But remember, dear readers, the original definition of fascism was corporate -linked and also surfaced during the Third Reich. Its best definition was probably given as part of an essay: "The 14 characteristics of Fascism" by Dr. Lawrence Britt in Free Inquiry magazine, Spring 2003 . Some of the characteristics:

1)Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -- Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need."

2).Supremacy of the Military -- Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

3) Corporate Power is Protected -- The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

4) Obsession with Crime and Punishment -- Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws.

A look at this court's extremist rulings over the past year (including increased latitude of police searches, say even for casual car stops) shows how the 5 conservatives have fueled and reinforced the fascist characteristics (1), (3) and (4). In the case of (3) we have already seen the court's conservatives rule in favor of corporations over citizens in their 2009 case: "Citizens United v. FERC". They essentially declared "money as speech" and thereby threw open the doors to unlimited amounts of corporate cash being spent to attempt to inject one or more corporate allies into office (such as in Wisconsin, where those state Repukes have now overturned an equal pay for women law, at Gov. Scott Walker's behest), but done under the "SuperPAC" umbrella. No transparency, so one wouldn't even know who Mitt Romney's nefarious backers were, say if he got in because of $1b in Super PAC money.

In terms of Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many huffers and puffers in the media have asserted - despite Obama's warning to the court's conservos- that overturning the legislation of a congress has been done before, and they usually cite Marbury v. Madison. In other words, they want to make us believe "activist judiciary" is part and parcel of the Supreme Court's operation. What they will not say, is that if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is overturned, it will effectively be torching the legislation passed by super-majority! In other words, representing the most serious dereliction of the court ever!

In the other assorted cases of judicial overthrow of laws passed by elected reps, bear in mind the congress (namely Senate) still operated under simple majority rule. It's only been since Senate Dems gained a super-majority (in 2008)that Repukes have insisted on 6o votes to get any legislation passed. Before that it was 51, a simple majority. Thus, the cases overturned in the past were always variations of a simple majority but never a super-majority. Now, it is true that no Republicans voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But that was their decision and doesn't detract from the fact the bill still had to garner 60 votes, or would've been subject to Republican filibuster. (Usually, not literal, but conveyance of a "threat to filibuster" - often sent by phone from a nearby pub, or Senate jacuzzi).

In addition, let us be clear that even with a 60-vote majority the Dems were never a unilateral political front, say comprised of all liberals. In fact, to effect the legislative passage in 2010 the Health Care Act's sponsors had to bridge vast ideological chasms - say between the liberal factions (who insisted on a public option) and the conservative "Blue Dogs" who insisted that such an option was unacceptable and the most they'd allow were "medical exchanges". The point being made, is that the liberal-conservative gap had to be bridged within the Democratic party itself before this law could materialize.

For the five conservo justice rogues to overthrow the law, or the critical mandate (which became the only way for all to benefit minus any single payer scheme) then would be not only to overthrow the will of the people via the 60 elected reps ...but to toss more than 44 million Americans back to the corporate wolves. Who will now impose pre-existing conditions, insurance pay caps and outrageous premiums with impunity.

If the five conservative rogues overturn the law, or even a part of it, they will have shown themselves to be the pro-fascist ideologues they've signalled for the past five years.

This also, is even more reason that a Repuke president would be a disaster, because another conservo SC pick would tilt this court onto a veritable speedway to fascism that will make the old Reich Courts look tame by comparison.

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