Dahlia Lithwick and Barry Friedman seem genuinely disturbed by the way the Roberts court is able to hide its right-wing partisanship while behaving as a right-wing partisan entity:
So they worked at the illusion of escape: Overrule the old precedent anyway, but claim to be leaving it intact. Where “restoration” involves pretending to put the law back where it originally was, “escape” means running away from existing precedents while denying you are doing so.
Perhaps the best example of The Escape came in a 2007 campaign-finance case. Americans have heard a lot about campaign-finance law this past year, as a result of the court’s dramatic decision last January in Citizens United. That decision overruled prior precedents allowing Congress to restrict corporate money in elections and earned a national shout of disapproval. But what you probably don’t know is that the court had already accomplished virtually the same feat, by the same 5-4 margin, in the 2007 case Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life. Unlike the Citizens United case this year, however, in which the justices announced the change out loud, in Wisconsin Roberts claimed to be following precedent when he was shredding it.
The whole article is worth a read.
Saying one thing and doing another. That’s got precedent!
I read that this morning and it was a point by point clear indictment that, by the end, you felt it came to an inarguable conclusion.
And then my first thought was “How long before Nick Gillespie or Matt Welch or one of the Reason half-wits tells us everything we just read was wrong?” Useful idiots.
That’s why they gave Roberts the job–he has that clean-cut boy scout look and says he’s just following the rules, when he’s actually doing their bidding to the letter. It’s a sad thing to read a court decision, which is supposed to bring clarity, and find nothing but mendacity and obfuscation.
Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas are corporate moles. They exist for one function only: To make America legally available for corporations, pirates, the super-rich and the religiously insane to PLUNDER.
I do NOT exaggerate. The fact that Alito and Roberts were even allowed an up-or-down vote is STILL nauseating to me. If DeMint can shut down the entire Senate, even for just a few weeks, there had to be some way to Harriet Miers these assfucks.
One hope, and it’s not much of one:
Impeach these crazy bastards. All of them. Impeach and remove them from office.
One way or another.
Balls and Strikes!
You’d have better luck feeding them lots of bacon and hoping they have bad genes.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
I just finished watching the 2004 documentary “The Future of Food”. Buried in everything was the fact that *one* Supreme Court Ruling is responsible for the mess we’re in vis a vis genetic manipulation of food.
And that’s just one example of the sweeping power a right wing court can have on the country for at least a generation if not many.
We’re so fucked.
Here’s a glimpse of the world your Fonzis of Freedom want us all to have:
You know who else did that?
@Sly: For some reason, I picture the Cameron Diaz’s character’s brother from There’s Something About Mary shouting that instead of “Franks and beans.”
I think this decision just really ticked the prez off. I was shocked a little when he called them out at the State of the Union. I’m pretty used to it now though. It’s mentioned often in his weekly radio addresses and occasionally when he’s discussing something else in speeches, townhalls, rallys, etc. He does not like this.
OT, but when I followed the link I spotted this item at Slate: Veteran CBS reporter and wife busted for growing pot in their NW DC backyard. “War on drugs,” indeed.
I think the effect of Citizens United on state court systems is going to be just as great of a disaster. Fortunately I don’t live in a state where judges are elected, but in those that do I think what little protection the courts provided for people against corporations will disappear completely.
Anyone who’s watched MLB in the past 20 years can tell you that the umpires were all too happy to define their own strike zones, and it was only when the Commissioner’s Office clamped down and started disciplining them for failing to call the rule book strike zone that they grudgingly complied. Roberts wants to be Eric Gregg in the 1997 NLDS.
@geg6: There’s also this prize: Winfield, IN without police service due to bill non-payment.
All hail the free market!
I predict that until Winfield pays it’s bills, the invisible hand will push a lot of criminals into town.
@Roger Moore: Entrepreneurs, not criminals.
@Roger Moore: I dream of the day when people start looking at capitalism as the tool it is, instead of the religion they want it to be.
The slight of hand employed by Roberts et al gets an assist from the right-wing noise machine as well as the media.
From the article:
This is because of what Lithwick and Friedman describe but also because the right/Republican/Tea Party/Fox News misinformation machine says that the judiciary in this country is “activist” and “liberal” and no one questions it.
It’s conventional wisdom that the Court is liberal, just like it’s conventional wisdom that any health or financial reform/regulation is “socialist.” It’s conventional wisdom that taxes destroy job creation and that government spending can’t possible stimulate the economy or employ a single person.
Because the misinformation machine states it, it’s the baseline that all other media repeat and it’s up to others to DISPROVE the lies, rather than the other way around.
Democrats/liberals/progressives (but especially the politicians and talking heads) are afraid to establish talking points, make principled stands and, importantly, vote on the truth in these matters. For example, rather than correctly stating over and over that tax cuts for corporations and the rich have NOT led to a better economy and in fact have led to foreign, not domestic, investment as well as savings rather than spending/hiring, Democrats have demurred on the issue and won’t even vote on it until after November. This is because they too have accepted the conventional wisdom and don’t want to challenge it for fear of losing votes.
But by never challenging Republican/tea party/right-wing “facts” those facts get stronger and more ingrained and harder to ever correct.
This is nothing new. Rehnquist was a genius at gradually poking holes in various liberal court doctrines through seemingly narrow rulings, until the entire doctrine was so perforated that it collapsed (or was rendered merely symbolic).
He was also careful to pick cases involving the most heinous crimes to cut back on civil liberties. (But in fairness, the liberals on the Court had often used the most innocuous crimes–such as possession of smut in Mapp v. Ohio–as the vehicle for fashioning more protective rulings.)
The Roberts Court is just continuing the work of the Rehnquist Court.
Who cares about this stupid shit? Jane Hamsher said something meeeeeeeeannnn! My fee-fees run red in the street!
@EconWatcher: “The Roberts Court is just continuing the work of the Rehnquist Court.”
Agreed. The Corporate Overlords liked Rehnquist and like Scalia, I think, but even they must bow to appearances and so hire the more presentable Roberts and Alito. Another little bow to the smelly peasants and their friends is to pay lip service to equal justice while rendering decisions that are as unequal as possible.
A few smarmy lies on the televised hearings keep the guillotines away.
So untrue! I mean, let’s think back to the Louisville/Seattle school segregation cases from a couple of years ago. Both cities were sending kids down the road a piece to create diverse schools and Roberts told us that Brown v Board was color blind, thus meaning de facto school segregation is not only allowed, but was the whole point of Brown!
See, Roberts was upholding the greatest school segregation ruling of all time by mandating segregated schools! Genius…
Oh, and I suppose some pointy headed liberal will tell me that Judge Roberts sticking his nose into local school policy, determined by local school boards, and over-ruling them from on high is “activist.” But, I know it’s not, because only libs are activists.
i am only slightly ashamed to say: barry friedman is my cousin! he’s a brilliant guy! he owes me a lunch.
@timb: Guess I should read the article before commenting, since the authors discuss this very instance
Uncle Clarence Thomas
I’m much more interested in the new “talent” taking her “position” on the Court. Mmm mmm mmm… Elena baby, I switched to Diet Coke!
@Ash [email protected]: That. Yes.
What Roberts et al. are doing has a long history in reactionary litigation.
When James Bopp sued the N.C. State Board of Elections on behalf of N.C. Right to Life back in the late ’90s, he told me over the phone (I was a reporter doing a story on the suit) that they weren’t seeking to have the statute in question ruled unconstitutional on its face. Of course, I had the SBOE fax me the complaint, and that’s exactly what they were seeking. I didn’t get to use the word “liar” in the story, but I was able to make clear, in the third paragraph, that Bopp either was lying or hadn’t read the complaint he had signed.