Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So Now All's Well With The Supreme Court? Well, Not Quite


Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the Supreme Court gets to pick the president of its choice. So their interference in the 2000 election-- stopping the Florida vote count and throwing the White House to George Bush-- was an exception to the rule. I'm no expert on the history of the Supreme Court, although I once went to a lecture at the L.A. Public Library by Jeff Toobin who was promoting a book he wrote on the subject. That said, it seems to me that some Courts rule in a way to protect workers, consumers and ordinary Americans from the overwhelming power of corporations and, sometimes, Big Government, and other Courts advance the power of corporations and Big Government at the expense of the people. The current Court has been one of the worst when it comes to safeguarding the needs of ordinary people.

And because of its abysmal track record, many people were shocked yesterday when it handed down 2 very pro-people decisions, CBOCS West v Humphries and Gomez-Perez v Potter. Today's Washington Post covers the cases well enough.
The Supreme Court said yesterday that workers who claim that they faced retaliation for complaining about racial or age discrimination may sue in federal court, and made clear that federal employees have the same protection as their counterparts in the private sector.

In a pair of decisions that drew support from both liberal and conservative justices, the court said its past decisions compelled the view that federal laws that protect workers from discrimination also protect them from retaliation for filing complaints, even if the words of the statute do not specifically say so.

Sounds like comity reigns in the U.S. of A., right? Yeah... it sounds that way, unless you're thinking about how these two rulings are clearly an exception for this Court. People For the American Way calls them "welcome exceptions" to the what this Court does as a matter of course, undercuts "the rights of everyday Americans and protects powerful business and government interests."

The dissenting judges in these cases-- the ones who wanted to keep the Court on track for the special interests were, predictably, a combination of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts, the very justices John McCain promises he will model his Supreme Court nominations on. That's why it is so crucial that when we go to the polls in November, we're not just voting for a president but, in effect, for a Supreme Court. If you're a warmonger and want to see endless war and international conflict you may have already made up your mind to extend Bush's term by electing a Senator who has voted 100% with him on everything this year, John McCain. However, at the same time you're voting to define terrorists as anyone living in a country the government doesn't like, you're also voting for a Supreme Court that will continue ruling in favor of powerful corporations that take away the liberties and freedom of American citizens. If that sounds like a good idea to you, John McCain is your man. But you'll need to also elect rubber stamp senators who never dissent in the confirmation process. You need senators who will, robot-like, go along with even the most unqualified and arrogant reactionaries, senators like Susan Collins of Maine, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, John Cornyn of Texas, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Ted Stevens of Alaska, 9 senators who just can't say no, no matter how badly their constituents are hurt.

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