I) Antonin Scalia Needs to Go
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has given ample reason why his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court would be a boon to the nation. Three notable incidents make the case for Justice Scalia leaving the bench. In 2004, Scalia went on a duck-hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney three weeks after the Supreme Court announced it would hear a case over whether the White House needed to turn over documents from an energy task force headed by Cheney.
A few weeks before the Supreme Court was to hear a case involving the rights of Guantanamo detainees, Scalia gave a speech at Switzerland’s University of Fribourg, in which he said, “We are in a war. We are capturing these people on the battlefield. We never gave a trial in civil courts to people captured in a war. War is war and it has never been the case that you capture a combatant, you have to give him a jury trial in your civil courts. It’s a crazy idea.”
In a more recent case of Arizona moving into enforcement of federal immigration law, Scalia was moved to remark that “to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing application of federal immigration law that the president is declining to enforce, boggles the mind.” In rendering a judgment that the president is declining to enforce a law, Scalia is acting like a political opponent of the president, not as an impartial imterpreter of the law.
In refusing to recuse himself from cases that he has prejudged, Justice Scalia is acting more like a partisan politician than a politically impartial judge; also, Scalia has made it a practice to attend conservative political gatherings that create an image that he makes decisions in accordance with his political leanings. Justice Antonin Scalia has shown an arrogant one-sidedness that creates an impression that he does not rule in accordance with the legal merits of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
II. The Anti-Union Supreme Court
“The power of ordinary people to band together through labor unions and class-action lawsuits is being steadily weakened as corporate prerogatives are strengthened.” (1) Access to the courts is being “steadily limited by decisions that undermine class-action suits or force disputes into arbitration, a playing field that favors business malefactors.” (2)
III. Citizens United
“The Court has always regarded the corporation not as a citizen with constitutional rights but as an ‘artificial entity” characterized by the states and endowed with extraordinary privileges in order to serve societie’s economic purposes.” (3) In the Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court took a case on narrow grounds and expanded it to give personhood to corporations.
“The claim that churches surrender their rights to engage in electioneering when they accept 501(c)(3) status is obsolete after Citizens United, which rejected the view that groups can be divested of their right to participate in politics when they receive incorporated status and special legal and financial privileges.” (4)
“The Court announced (in the First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti) that, when it comes to campaign spending rights, the ‘identity of the speaker’ is irrelevant and an impermissible basis upon which to repress the flow of money speech. What matters is the speech itself, never the speaker –” (5)
Put in a nutshell, corporations have the right to speak because they are like people but they should be completely insulated from the speech restrictions of natural people.
Currently, there are 844 SuperPACS and countless 501(c))3) organizations to flood elections with mostly untracable dollars.
Lately, there have been a number of reports of employers threatening their employees with reprisals if they didn’t vote the “right way.” Such reprisals are no longer a crime because Citizens United has legitimated such reprehensible coercion.
IV. Further Enhancement of Corporate and Executive Branch Power
Another measure of the shift toward serving corporate interests is that in the 2010-11 term, the right-wing National Chamber Litigation Center urged the Court to review 30 cases and the Court heard 21 of them — a 70 percent success rate. (6)
Finally, when any of the justices defer to sweeping new executive powers in the “war on terror,” he/she is “flatly contradicting the crystal clear intention of the framers to avoid giving any president the authority of a monarch.” (7).
(1) Craig Becker and Judith Scott, “Isolating America’s Workers,” The Nation, October 8, 2012.
(3) Jamie Raskin, “Citizens United and the Corporate Court,” The Nation, October 8, 2012.
(6) William Yeomans, “How the Right Backed the Court,” The Nation, October 8, 2012.
(7) Bill Moyers and Bernard A. Weisberger, “The 1 Percent Court,” The Nation, October 8, 2012.