The Supreme Court of the Corporate Interests
By David Hoffman
One day, if there is any justice and sanity left in this world, five damnable reprobates - John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy - will be forever condemned as the five so-called "justices" who transformed the United States Supreme Court into the most racist and corrupt institution in American history.
Undoubtedly many legal scholars are now shaking their heads in disagreement, recalling the plethora of racist and anti-labor decisions made by previous courts both prior to and shortly after the American Civil War, and during the "robber baron" era of the Industrial Revolution.
But those decisions, as vile as they were, reflected the sentiments of their times, when African-Americans were viewed as second-class citizens, and workers were viewed as disposable pieces of garbage devoid of legal protections and rights.
Today's Supreme Court, however, is supposedly operating in the aftermath of the gains made by both the civil rights and labor movements-gains frequently achieved through the great personal sacrifice of many courageous men and women.
Of course, it is doubtful these reprobates are concerned about their place in history. As I've stated in several previous Pravda.Ru articles, far too many people in positions of power are sociopaths who lack any sense of empathy or compassion for others, and thus place their personal interests, gratifications, and beliefs above the people or principles they are supposed to serve.
Now these five corporate-controlled puppets have continued their attack on American workers, American democracy, and the Bill of Rights with two egregious "end-of-term" decisions: Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores and Harris vs. Quinn.
While it is of small comfort to me, the Harris decision confirms that I was not engaging in hyperbole when, in past articles, I warned about the shameless hypocrisy, the undermining of democracy, and the legally sanctioned corruption that had been unleashed by two recent Supreme Court decisions-Citizens United vs. FEC (2010) and McCutcheon vs. FEC (2014).
For readers who missed those articles, Citizens United stated that both corporations and labor unions enjoy the same "free speech" rights as flesh-and-blood human beings-a ruling that almost immediately resulted in a spate of anti-labor legislation in states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio designed to deplete the financial resources of labor unions so the corporate voice would be the only influential voice in America's political arena. McCutcheon expanded this corporate power by limiting the definition of political corruption to the "quid pro quo" variety, where money and/or goods expended for political favors must directly change hands.
Harris has continued the court's attack on the finances of organized labor, compelling public sector unions to represent workers who receive wages through government funds, like Medicaid, but refuse to pay union dues. According to Alito, compelling these workers to pay such dues violates their right to "free speech and association."
But what about the labor unions' right to free speech, or their freedom to refuse to associate with workers who fail to pay dues? Aren't these supposed to be the very freedoms Alito and his four fellow hypocrites claimed had been established in Citizens United?
But while the rights and resources of labor unions are once again being diminished, the rights of corporations are once again being expanded, In the Hobby Lobby case, these five corporate-controlled "justices" ruled that "closely held," for-profit corporations can restrict the health care coverage they provide employees under the Affordable Care Act if this coverage violates their religious beliefs.
This, of course, means that for-profit corporations owned by religions that believe in faith healing can now argue that providing any health care coverage violates their beliefs, and that workers can now be subjected to religious discrimination and fired for complaining that their employer's restrictions are anathema to their own religious beliefs.
In other words, for-profit corporations not only have unbridled "free speech" rights under the United States Constitution, they now have unbridled religious rights as well. In fact, in the Supreme Court's eyes, the only people who no longer have free speech or religious rights, in any meaningful sense, are poor and middle-class Americans-the very people that many of the nation's founders sought to protect by insisting that a Bill of Rights be added to the Constitution.
Of course, as the tired old argument goes, someone employed by a company that makes workers subscribe to the religious beliefs of its owners can always look for another job. What this argument fails to consider, however, is that almost all of the good paying jobs are controlled by large corporations, meaning that workers must really choose between economic survival and homelessness.
According to an article in Business Insider by Brent Logiurato, more than 90% of the corporations in the United States are defined by the Internal Revenue Service as being "closely held." So while Hobby Lobby stores should rightfully be boycotted, it would probably be economically impractical to boycott or refuse to work for every corporation that chooses to exercise its "freedom" under the Hobby Lobby decision.
It is time for a federal investigation into the financial dealings, associations, and activities of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy. Although their supporters will undoubtedly call it a political "witch hunt," there is something clearly amiss when these five so-called "justices" only recognize "quid pro quo," corruption, and when Thomas and Scalia have appeared at "political retreats" sponsored by the Koch brothers-right-wing billionaires who have benefited immensely from the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions.
Such an investigation is crucial, because, as I said in my recent article America's Federal Judiciary: The Best "Just Us" Money Can Buy (06/11/14), it is actually less costly for corporations and billionaires to buy politically appointed federal judges and Supreme Court "justices" who serve lifetime terms than it is to buy candidates who consistently require funds to run election campaigns.
Thanks to the limitation on political corruption and the expansion of corporate power they've created, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy can now attend all the "political retreats," "judicial conferences," "symposia," and other lofty sounding events they desire, all sponsored and paid for by the corporations and billionaires they unabashedly support, and nothing can be done about it.
Which reminds me of a line from the 1971 movie Billy Jack: "When policemen break the law, then there isn't any law, only a fight for survival."
Today he would say, "When Supreme Court 'justices' limit the definition of corruption so they can make rulings that serve their personal interests and the interests of their corporate handlers, then there isn't any corruption, only injustice, loss of freedom for the common person, and a nation where the rich continue to get richer and more powerful while the poor continue to get poorer and weaker."
David R. Hoffman
Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru