America’s Disturbing Anti-Democratic Tendencies Were Lead by the Supreme Court

Not anything new here for people who have been paying attention, but Ezra Klein lays it out concisely – It’s the Supreme Court vs. Democracy.  Of course the Supreme Court is political, it always has been.  If the 5 conservative justices that have been taking us further down a road to a minority running roughshod over our supposed democracy are really following the “strict construction” of the Constitution,  then the Constitution is an ass.

Spoiler alert, they’re not “strict constructionists” or “originalists”.  Two total bullshit terms created by conservative think tanks to paper over their partisan hackery.  Everyone in the media should push back on those conservative conceits.

Even more frustrating is the press coverage of the naming of justices.  When interviewing conservatives who are applauding these ultra-right justices, ask them exactly what they’re applauding.  What rulings are you giddy over?  Taking limits off money in politics?  Creating limits on voting rights?  How does any perspective on the Constitution or American history guide that more money and fewer voters is a good thing?  Bush v. Gore was a bullshit, one time, unabashedly pure Red v. Blue ruling.  With Citizen’s United, Janus, the rulings allowing racial gerrymandering, etc., are you admitting it’s ALL Red v. Blue.

Do conservatives really want Roe gone?  Or Griswald, which granted a right to privacy and struck down laws prohibiting birth control (duh)?  Are they saying they really want Gilead?  What’s next after that, mandatory Church participation?  There’s nothing here defensible on any Constitutional grounds.  You would have to have completely ignored the writings of the Founding Father’s to promulgate a pro-religious construction.  This fight isn’t even Red v. Blue, it’s pure antedeluvian theocratic conservatism.  The GOP does not want this because Roe  gave them an issue and a rallying cry for 40 years.  You strike down the precedent of Roe and you further empower a women-led Democratic base that is already spitting mad.  So you go right ahead and be my guest.

The Court is a problem.  But it’s only exacerbating a growing anti-democratic trend that is natural to our growth patterns and the design of the Constitution.  The last two cycles it’s become pretty obvious that the Senate, like the Electoral College, has become an anti-democratic anachronism.

Demographers project American politics will become even less democratic in the coming years. By 2040, 70 percent of Americans are expected to be represented by a mere 30 senators, which means 30 percent of the population will control a 70-vote supermajority in the Senate.

The Supreme Court is meant to be insulated from democracy. It’s not meant to be a partisan tool for undermining democracy. What’s emerging now is a dangerous loop, in which Republicans barely holding onto power manage to keep control of the Supreme Court by any means necessary, and in return, the Supreme Court’s Republican appointees issue rulings to help their party cling to political power.

Wyoming has the same two votes in the Senate that California does.  And no matter how much you think about the more balanced representation in the House, that ludicrous Senate balance decides Supreme Court seats, the House does not.

The Founder’s were so focused on protecting minorities that they set up a system that could be exploited by unscrupulous partisans to create minority rule, clearly given the numbers today this scenario has taken place.  So you hear about different plans if Democrats can get control of the WH, House and Senate in order to level things.

  • Court packing plans sound pretty reasonable these days to overcome the 5-4 conservative majority.
  • Or plans to make D.C. or Puerto Rico states (with supposedly 2 more Dem Senators, each).  Lord knows those two paces have suffered without real representation for too long.
  • Or splitting California into 2 or more states (more Dems. likely, depending of course on the split).

It may seem fanciful, but the situation of a Democratic majority being stymied by the ideological rulings of a Republican minority will force hands to either modernize the Constitution or use the anachronisms and loop holes in their favor to avoid the tyranny of the minority.

We are reminded that we have precedent on democratic government taking action to reverse disastrously out of touch court decisions.

How Conservatives Weaponized The First Amendment

Adam Liptak in The NY Times noticed the funny trend the Supreme Court and the conservative legal establishment  has taken in recent years, using the First Amendment to comfort the powerful and afflict the afflicted.

They took the extreme nonsensical views of the libertarian wing and cynically, mercinarilly used them to help their pals in commerce or allies in the culture wars.

The court’s five conservative members, citing the First Amendment, had just dealt public unions a devastating blow. The day before, the same majority had used the First Amendment to reject a California lawrequiring religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide women with information about abortion.

So if you set up a phony abortion advice storefront in order to deceive women with misinformation about abortion, deliberately keeping them from legitimate women’s health centers you are allowed to keep deceiving. It’s your right under the First Amendment. Madison would have challenged the 5 conservative justices to a duel to defend his honor.

If fire had a big bucks lobbyist these people would argue that yelling “fire” in a crowded theater was protected speech.

 

Republicans Have Been Chasing FDRs Ghost Since 1944. So Much For New Ideas.

The New Deal sure changed things. Between the Progressive Era (roughly 1890-1920) and The New Deal (1932-1944) so much of what made the 1800s brutal and downright unAmerican, for anybody who didn’t own a railroad, was elevated to civilized standards. Poverty alleviated, sickness treated, playing fields leveled, fairness lauded as a virtue to be aspired to by government, not just Boy Scouts. A radical idea that saved capitalism in America.

But did capitalists appreciate that? Do they ever? From the start there were corporate Republicans who hated it and vowed a multi-generational jihad to take out the improvements and erase The New Deal. They countered The Wagner Act with Taft-Hartley as soon as they could.

Since the 1930s, when then president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised to break the hold of moneyed men on the government and broker “a new deal for the American people”, a cabal of reactionaries resolved to destroy the new government Democrats created.

Last week’s Janus Decision was just another in a series of conservative Supreme Court decisions taking a sledge hammer to the crumbling foundation of The New Deal. Read Professor Cox Richardson from The Guardian.