How a Corporatist Supreme Court Cabal Joined Forces With Right Wing and Kochs to Quietly Sell Out Our Democracy
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The Roberts quintet happily swallowed the perverse legal theory fed to them in the case, known as Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett. Turning both common sense and the Constitution topsy-turvy, the Court found--get this--that Arizona's matching provision gives cash-poor candidates an unfair advantage over those flush with money. Huh?
Well, explained the five, money speaks in politics, and the speech of the rich is inhibited if they know that their money-raising can result in "counterspeech" from opponents. Corporatespeak, good; counterspeak, bad. In a twisted and overwrought opinion for the majority, Alito wrote that public matching funds impose an "unprecedented penalty on any candidate who robustly exercises [the First Amendment right to buy an election]." Okay, I edited-in that last bit, but that's precisely what the Court's majority (and the Koch brothers) are actually saying. Not only are they freeing big money to shout as loud as it wants in our elections, but the Court has now allowed the money interests to quash the political speech of others. The good news is that Roberts & Company only nixed the matching provision, not the Clean Election Act itself. At least not yet. As Roberts wrote: "We do not today call into question the wisdom of public financing."
Stop them before they rule again
These guys are a clear and present danger to our democratic rights, not only in election cases, but also in a rising flood of upside-down economic rulings--including their shameful June decision involving Walmart's discrimination against women employees and their ridiculous ruling in April allowing AT&T to defraud customers. Both of these court opinions eviscerate the people's right to hold corporations accountable by filing class-action lawsuits. The Roberts Five are not objective and reasoned judges. They are crass political operatives disguised in robes of authority, deliberately contorting the law to transfer huge chunks of the people's power to corporate suites.
Roberts. Alito. Kennedy. Scalia. Thomas.
Memorize these names, for they are thieves. Put their names and deeds into every political discussion. Spread their infamy. Distribute wanted posters! Make bumper stickers. Send emails and letters-to-the-editor. Chastise Republicans for coddling them, Democrats for doing nothing, and tea partiers for giving these ultimate Big Government authoritarians a pass. It's up to us.
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the new book, " Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow ." (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly " Hightower Lowdown ," co-edited by Phillip Frazer.