Tuesday, July 2, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court "highly activist" in recent decisions...

Remember the political rhetoric from the Republicans during the George W. Bush "reign" against activist judges...ironically beginning with the Supreme Court's gift of the presidency to Bush himself, in spite of the facts on the ground that Al Gore had indeed more votes in Florida than his Republican opponent. And remember the debate over the Bush appointments to that same Supreme Court, of Justices Roberts and Alito, that there would  be no "judicial activism" from this court, as it would keep a strict adherence to the founders' meaning and intent in their writing of the constitution.
With the court's decisions recently, once again, it has proven itself to be little more than a rubber stamp for the long-term Republican goal of suppression of the votes in states and districts populated by predominately Democratic voters...the poor, blacks, and the young. Gutting the critical clause in the Voter Registration Act now paves the way for states to pass laws restricting voters, even though literacy tests and other abominations to keep the 'underclass' out of the voting booth were abandoned long ago.
While that blow to democracy, in favour of a political ambition on the 'right' to control both houses of Congress and the White House through voter suppession was being digested in the public media, the court then declared the federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, once again leaving the matter of gay unions and marriages to the states.
This decision was supported by seven of the nine justices, whereas the VRA decision was another five-four decision in favour of the conservatives.
And now that we all know, without a shadow of a doubt, that every branch of the U.S. government is driven by party ideology, including especially the Supreme Court, how long will it take for the ordinary citizen to lose confidence in the strict adherence to the principles, protocols and practices of the legal profession, allegedly the pillars of the court's existence and its operation?
How long will it take for the political operatives to begin the information campaign to wrap the next presidential candidates with the 'appropriate' list of candidates for the court, should there be an opening in the presidential term?
How long will it take for legal scholars to begin to shred the pretense of "law" and its traditions, its long established principles and decorum, and replace those papier-mache cover-ups with the raw truth of partisanship?
Sadly, the framers of the constitution did not provide for an appeal process to the Supreme Court's decision, except for repeated attempts to bring cases previously ruled back to the court, in a different fomat, with a different plaintiff, and a different petition.
The court has, itself, without help from the political operatives, reduced its value, not to mention its platinum reputation, through such horrendous political decisions as in Bush v. Gore in 2000.
The new century ushered in a new bravado on the part of the Republicans, one that unabashedly saw the court trump the facts in favour of their political appointee to the White House, thereby literally, as well as metaphorically, denying the "facts" of the case. Weren't we all under the strong and nearly indelible impression that legal decisions resulted from the presentation of the facts, and there was clearly no lack of such compelling facts favouring Gore in 2000?
With this latest gutting of the Voter Registration Act (in Justice Ginsberg's dissenting opinion, "It is like not opening your umbrella in a rain storm because you are not getting wet."), the court has fallen further into the slough of political ideology and political "re-districting" in effect permitting those in power in state legislatures, should Congress not act to prevent this, to continue to write, promote and pass legislation making it even more difficult for Democratic voters to vote.
There are so many signs that the U.S. is a crumbling political, economic and social culture, and this latest move by the Supreme Court continues the country's slide into a deserved valley of ideology and corporatism from which it will only climb after decades of diligent repair.

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