“In the Potemkin justice of the Roberts
court, the right to vote is under attack,
while the power to buy elections
is sanctified by law. Corporations
are called people under a faux doctrine
of free speech, while women are denied
standing to combat discrimination.”
– Brent Budowsky Editorial from The Hill, April 9, 2014.
Most of us came of age with nearly blind trust in this once-austere body, this third branch of government charged with deciding the most challenging questions of our time. But times have changed, and so has the purpose and direction of the Supreme Court. It’s literally gone off the rails, insane.
So, yesterday, we formally joined the national conversation by asking when the grassroots-at-large will rise up, start paying more attention to this judicial menace, and act by using the formidable power vested in the people to reshape The Supreme Court?
Budowsky’s April 9 editorial offers a prescription for us, a place to start in the near term:
Democrats, liberals and populists should promote a constitutional amendment to reverse Supreme Court decisions, propose statewide ballot initiatives to take back America from special interests, and make corruption in Washington a defining issue to mobilize the Democratic base, rally political independents and transform the 2014 and 2016 elections.
It’s one thing to make corruption in Washington a defining issue, but what of the larger picture? Which body reigns above us all and makes possible the Koch Brothers and their spawn? stands with the National Rifle Association in its total misunderstanding of the Second Amendment? restricts voting among known Democrats wherever and whenever possible? The list of shame goes on and on.
We have seen the rise of something worse than winning or losing a couple of elections. Pre-eminent constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe calls it the “Roberts Anti-court Court,” not just for the Court’s dismal showing, especially in the last several years with it’s rash of constitution-shredding decisions in favor of monied, self-interested litigants, but for it’s dramatic restructuring of the procedures and rules they formerly operated within, delimiting class actions, and forcing involuntary binding arbitration.
Tribe’s must-read book is entitled, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution.
“Since 2005, the Roberts Court has issued a string of decisions that make it harder to hold the government accountable in court when it violates the Constitution.”
“The result is a shrinking judicial role in enforcing the Constitution and protecting our liberty.”
[The Roberts Court is] “far more sensitive to the substantial burdens of litigation than to the potential benefits of lawsuits.”
“Whereas the midcentury court saw itself as a protector of the powerless, the Roberts Court is mostly uninterested in that role . . . it has dealt critical legal rules a death of a thousand cuts—leaving many of our rights intact but making them effectively impossible to enforce in any court”
Tribe urges us to “seek justice elsewhere . . . the democratic process, social movements, arbitration, our communities and families, consumer report websites and other means of ensuring that everyone comply with the law. Indeed, the Constitution presumes that democracy, not litigation, is how we’re supposed to resolve many disputes.”
Arthur Bryant, Chairman of Public Justice, a national public interest law firm, writing Thursday for the National Law Journal, agreed with Tribe’s analysis but goes a step further, “We must keep fighting for justice in the courts” and “keep working hard to make the Supreme Court a pro-court court. We need courts to provide access to justice to all.”
First, we need to keep using the courts, as much and as best we can, to hold corporations, the government and the powerful accountable—exposing the truth, righting wrongs and making the wrongdoers pay.
Second, we need to keep fighting to preserve and expand access to justice. Nothing could be more important.
The bottom line is that we cannot accept an anti-court Supreme Court. We need to develop a pro-court court. Then we need to do what everyone in America should be able to do: Go to court and get justice.
You can learn more about some of the more egregious recent decisions by the Court by taking a look at Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, unconscionably awarding people’s free speech to corporations who have exploited this new right only further consolidate corporate and political power; Shelby County v. Holder, a gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, legalizing political graft.
Educate yourself for this inescapable campaign to unseat the worse of the worse as it revs up into full gear. Sign the petitions against Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. And, connect with organizations and people in your own community who want to step forward to rescue America from these misguided justices. We need really, really wise justices to protect the voiceless, and these three are not that.
Click here for yesterday’s Part 1.
Budowsky: History to Impeach Roberts
We Cannot Let and “Anti-court Court Eliminate Access to Justice
Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution
And, to learn why VenusPlusX thinks this is important, read A Manifesto for The New Age of Sexual Freedom, and catch our unique mix of posts and videos 24/7 that will get us all to that better future, sooner rather than later.