Justice for Sale

NewJusticeWe were handed a stunning blow as citizens of the United States of America, SCOTUS said our voices were less than those of great wealth, less than the voices of anonymous corporations, less than the voices of those who were able buy our once great Republic. On 1-January-2010, the people of the United States of America were told in no uncertain terms, our voices would count for less and our nation would change to accommodate the will of whose money could buy seats at the table.

We stomped our feet. We complained. We talked among ourselves and pointed our fingers at those we knew were behind the scenes pulling the strings. We rung our hands and cried, ‘woe is us, what now?’

We Blinked

We allowed what we knew was an ethically and morally challenged court to remain seated and continue to hear cases that would change the course of this nation. We watched as case after case went before what we knew were politically motivated justices, in bed with politicians, PACS and lobbyists (in some cases literally in bed with them every night) and we did nothing. Well nothing isn’t entirely true, is it? We whined, we created cute memes and posted them on Facebook hoping they would go viral, we had battles of wits with our opponents on the other side of the divide, we wrote scathing blogs and we wrung our hands. Nevertheless, in fact, we did absolutely not one blessed thing to change the tide.

Meanwhile, ALEC, Heritage Foundation, American Crossroads, American Family, Citizen United, Freedom Watch, Family Research Council, John Birch and Freedom Works; naming just a few of the big ones intent on undermining your and my way of life and our opportunity at the American Dream, have worked hard to get every challenge heard in the highest courts in the land. Their stooges, like Shaun McCutcheon, do their bidding, becoming the face of our diminished democratic processes, the focus of our ire. Meanwhile those truly holding the purse strings gleefully sit back, observing the destruction and plotting the next strike against the Republic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hand Wringing and Weeping

The truth is we could be doing more if we weren’t so stuck on the idea we can do nothing. If our backbone weren’t so weak, so gelatinous we could be demanding the same loyalty of our elected officials with our confirmed moneyed speech the 1% demand of theirs. Rather than hanging our heads and wringing our hands, we should remember we ‘own’ our elected officials; we are the people who stand in line to pull the lever and put them in the position to direct or misdirect our lives through their actions in office. This is true whether they are Red, Blue, Green or Purple. This is a true statement whether they believe it or not. Those officials, from the President of the United States down to the lowest Dog Catcher are beholden to you and I for their seat at the table, they represent us not the special interests who would see our Democratic Republic become something other than a nation for and by the people.

Roberts Court

These are not elected officials

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Consider the problems of this court and then ask yourself does it makes sense.

Justice Scalia, who regularly and publicly castigates the President of the United State, speaks at Conservative forums without shame and shows extreme bias in his questioning from the bench. This is a man who makes no bones about his position and uses that position to do great harm.

“Can’t scare me,” he told a reporter who got on line with audience members to ask a question. “I have life tenure.” Justice Antonin Scalia, Medford, MA Tufts University 10/20131220px-Antonin_Scalia,_SCOTUS_photo_portrait

Next, let’s take a peek under the robe of Clarence Thomas (shudder) and his wife Virginia. Nominated to the bench by George H. Bush in 1991, Justice Thomas was tainted before he was sworn in. Despite the testimony of Anita Hill regarding his sexual harassment, despite the witnesses waiting to testify who were never called Clarence Thomas was passed onto the Supreme Court and continues to serve, for Life. He never asks a question, he also never recuses himself from any case. Prior to his time on the highest court of the land, he represented Monsanto for four years, thereafter moved back into the political arena.

220px-Clarence_Thomas_official_SCOTUS_portraitWhile Justice Thomas has many questionable ethics it is truly who he lays down with every night that should make us all cringe. Not because she is simply mean, but because she has used her association with him to further her own political agenda and they have both benefited by his seat on the bench. A short synopsis of Ginny’s connections:

  • 1985 – 1989 Attorney for US Chamber of Commerce, one of her efforts included advocacy against the Family Leave Act. She was considered highly successful within certain circles because of her personal commitment and passion.
  • 1991,  Legislative Affairs Office of the United States Department of Labor, during this time she argued strong against equal pay for equal work, specifically to close the gender gap. Thereafter she went to work for Congressman Dick Armey ( R ), as a policy analyst until 2009. Though her time in this role raised conflict of interest challenges for her husband during his confirmation hearings.
  • 2000, our Ginny found her calling with the Heritage Foundation a Right Wing Think Tank and lobbying group. Ginny Thomas was at the forefront of the effort to gather and submit resumes for the Bush administration,
    In her glory, Ginny Thomas

    In her glory, Ginny Thomas

    during the time the Supreme Court was deciding Bush-v-Gore. Can you say Conflict of Interest? Many did.

  •  2009, finally Clarence must have had enough Ginny opened her own shop though it went through a couple of make-overs before settling into its current operation, Liberty Consulting, Inc. With strong ties to the Tea Party and no shame in selling her connections in ‘high places’, she is a frequent guest on Fox, including Hannity and others. In addition to her ‘consulting’ company our Ginny is a member of Groundswell2.

Should I say it one more time? Can you spell Conflict of Interest? Yet, he continues to sit on the bench.

I have to ask again, what is wrong with SCOTUS? We have always sought to have ‘our’ guy, meaning the President in office when a Justice retires so we can balance the court in our favor. There isn’t anything unusual in this strategy. Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose and the court shifts slightly. However, currently we have a court so blatant in their disregard for their position as one of the branches of Government, the arbiter of final Constitutional interpretation that slight shift is wreaking our democratic process. The Robert’s court has aligned themselves with the Right Wing of the Legislative Branch and sold our Republic a Bill of Goods with no Return and no Refund policy. Worse, they make no bones of their agenda, with their choice of cases or their questions from the bench.

It is Time to Stop our Hand Wringing and Bitching

A Supreme Court Justice can be impeached; their jobs are not for life. They can be removed if it can be shown they have not acted according to their oaths of office. Article III of the US Constitution says the following:

“The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior…”

These are not elected officials, they do nonetheless serve at our pleasure, they are public servants. This means despite their obvious disdain, they are the people’s servants. It is time for a groundswell of our own, it is time to stand up and demand a change. Not just in Congress, but throughout this corrupt system, including here in the courts even this, the highest court of our nation.

It is time.

1 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/02/antonin-scalia-government-shutdown_n_4033524.html

2 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/groundswell-right-wing-strategy-group-members-photos?slide=7

For Donor tag 1: http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/

The entire Federal Law on Campaign Finance: http://www.fec.gov/law/feca/feca.pdf

The 2013-2014 Limits on Campaign Contributions: http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/biennial.shtml

Top group donations by Party: http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topcontribs.php

Top individual donations with partisan bent: http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topindivs.php

Comments

  1. There is nothing more subtile than the serpent in the field and there is no more serpentine influence in the American Politic than the crazy element of the Right Wing. It’s ever-winding coiling is so soft and steady and stealthy that it can have it’s full suffocating compression around the neck of Liberty before the Citizens know what has happened.

    • You speak the truth John. I like snakes though, they are a more honest predator.

      To our other discussion, you can find most of my political writing (with references) under the category politics, sidebar.

  2. It’s hard to imagine having anyone worse to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States than Antonin Scalia! Every time he opens his mouth you know he is going to say something to side with whoever has the most wealth and power in the case before him.

    • True, he is a handful of disruption and corruption. The bigger problem? He takes others with him.

    • Who’s worst? It’s a cross between Scalia and Thomas. I also remember how Scalia refused to recuse himself from a case involving his old friend, Dick Cheney, claiming he could remain neutral. He then mocked the situation at the end of a press conference by saying, “Quack, quack,” – a reference to a duck hunting trip the two undertook the preceding fall.

      And, what can we average citizens do? SCOTUS appointments are life-long, like the papacy. At least Robert Bork never made it onto the High Court!

      • They are only life-long if we don’t pitch a bitch and demand the Senate do their job. Justices can be removed, they can be impeached. Yes, I know only has been in all the years of the Supreme Court and even that did not last. Nevertheless it can be done. Just because we are afraid doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We simply need to get off our ass and do it.

      • Yes, that’s one silver-lining I guess. lol. Scalia and Bork are cut from the same cloth. And Thomas is really awful too. Honestly, I think Scalia and Thomas have said more backwards things about race during their respective tenors on the Supreme Court than anything even Robert Bork said. (if I’m remembering correctly.)

  3. You’d love this series. xxxxxx

  4. We are rapidly moving from a democracy to an autocracy, and if we don’t stand up against the hypocrisy, injustice, an lies it will be a sad day for “we the people.” Great post Val!

  5. Btw, have you watched at all “House of Cards?” I’d be curious as to your take on the show. How true to life, etc.

    • I have not, I don’t watch a great deal of television and can rarely remember to watch ‘scheduled’ programs. Usually what happens? I watch them in reruns years later.

      • Well House of Cards isn’t a scheduled program. You can see the entire series on Netflix or just Sesason 1 on DVD. That series alone has jaded me. It’s totally believable!

        • I will have to go look it up, on your recommendation! I trust you completely.

          (I am already jaded however)

          • This will confirm and give you more reason to be jaded. 😦

          • Actually, I would love to see you write a review of it. You’re the only one I know who could write about its accuracy in respect to realism relating to how the political system is portrayed. (Btw, it’s based on a BBC drama of the same name.)

            • I will look for it and put it on my list to do. With your name behind it, so I don’t ‘blow it off’. I don’t think I actually have a subscription for Netflix, I guess it is time to look into this.

              • Sometimes they have one-month free offers, which would give you just enough time to binge watch two seasons worth of episodes. I just finished last night and started about a month ago.

  6. Can we just elect you for Congress or Senate? That’s my preference.

    But honestly, I had no idea about Clarence Thomas’ wife, and now I want to gag. I know I’ve always despised Scalia, but I never knew their exist grounds for dismissal of any Supreme Court judge. Oh and let’s not forget it was the Supreme Court, not the people, who voted in Bush-2 back in 2000.

    • Like most of us, Val has too many ethical standards to run for the U.S. Congress and therefore, isn’t willing to sell her soul to get some votes. Nice thought, though!

    • Yes, that is true Monica and the history of Ginny and the court goes a long way back. As to running for office? Nah, ethics aside I also have skeletons and I would not subject my family to the laundry. Here is what my closet looks like, not that I haven’t aired most of my laundry here:

  7. Brilliant Val – your analysis and your marvellous research and vast knowledge of the people doing the damage is awe-inspiring…

    • Thank you Valerie. The Supreme Court is of particular interest to me, there was a time, many years ago, when I wanted to be an attorney. Specifically I wanted to be a Civil Rights Attorney and my dream was to argue at least one time before them. Now? They are so corrupt, I am no longer in awe of them. Sad really.

  8. Scalia is saying that he’s above the law, basically. That’s the scary thing about lifetime tenure appointments.

  9. Well referenced and intellectually worded. I don’t live in America but Canada has its own set of issues… I am always ready to learn and often I do so when I stop by to visit you.

    • Thanks Christy. I don’t think we are all that different, though ya’ll certainly have some benefits we are lacking. I suspect you have just as many liars, thieves and polecats as we in your government.

  10. On another note ….. “It Is What It Is” has been nominated. Paying it forward.
    http://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/community-of-bloggerz-award-for-it-is-what-it-is/

  11. It’s that life tenure that emboldens Supreme Court justices, although they conveniently forget they can be impeached. Only one, however, actually has face impeachment: Samuel Chase, in 1803. But, the U.S. Senate refused to convict him, and he remained on the bench until his death 8 years later.
    http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Senate_Tries_Justice.htm

    Therefore, it’s unlikely we’ll see Scalia or Thomas forcibly removed from SCOTUS. But, it’s always healthy to have pleasant thoughts.

    • This Alejandro is the thinking that prevents us from pushing for change and from demanding the Senate take action. That it hasn’t happened does not been it cannot happen, shouldn’t happen or is prohibited from happening.

  12. It’s a sick world Val
    they are all at it, and
    the sewer just gets
    stronger with every
    rotten stinker 😦

    My Zombies are more civilised…

    Have a lovely day today my sweet friend 🙂

    Andro xxxx

    • I believe you are correct, your zombies are more civilized. Soon though I think people will begin to rip the blinders from their eyes and rise up, they will begin to say enough and no more. This cannot continue, it simply cannot.

  13. Hasn’t everyone seen it happening? People willing gave up their rights by not voting to keep them when they stopped going to the polls and voting. So what did you expect to happen? Voting by osmosis? Sit comfortable at home and think your vote and it would be counted? Let the good guys be scandled out of running by listening to the rich guys who were buying the country? We did it to ourselves. Started back in 1970 and kept on going downhill. Maybe started earlier with the live TV speeches and ads. As much as I Loved JFK, he opened the Pandora’s box in Viet Nam and Camelot ended before he could shut it again.

    • Actually, from a historical perspective voting attendance did not start to go down until the 80’s. I wish I understood your reference to 1970, perhaps you would explain. While I don’t disagree with the issues around Vietnam, I was alive back then and had family fighting in that action, I also had family on the other side of much that was good during those years. Those good things included the actions that brought about Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the first movement toward Equal Pay and a host of other issues. It has only been since the Reagan Administration that we have seen those very same things be further and further diminished.

      Of course people have seen it happening. Many of us who have been on the front lines for decades, voted in every single election for decades have seen what is happening. I sense you are angry, however being angry here and with me likely isn’t the best strategy. I understand the anger, just not the target.

  14. OK, a little off subject …Read this Val and you can see why America is failing EVERYONE …. disgusting. These companies should be all boycotted.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/why-companies-including-ge-apple-cocacola-and-more-are-incorporated-in-delaware/story-fnda1bsz-1226877904035

    • Oh this has been going on for a century, if not more. It is known and everyone, from the largest to the smallest incorporate in Delaware. I don’t know why it continues to be legal, it is a loophole they don’t close. All the other states allow it and the feds allow it.

  15. I’ve always wondered how great empires such as Persia and Rome collapsed. These once had the finest institutions of governance.

    Now, I have a front seat!

    Couple this with the increasing belligerence of China …

    Forget Putin – all he is doing is showing up the west’s impotence – and China is watching, learning and preparing!

  16. Very frustrating when a justice’s personal beliefs influence his/her decisions. I understand keeping the two separate can be difficult, but it can be done. Nurses, doctors, lawyers, and countless other professionals often need to separate the two. Judges should be able to, too.

  17. You always have such great insight on these kinds of issues, Val. Thanks so much! Hope your week is going well. Just got back from the beach and trying to sneak in a visit before my workshop gets going.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Beach, I am so envious (not in a bad way). I need to push my toes into the sand! Workshop? Of this also I am envious, I believe I need to super charge my creative side. I think this is what is missing!

      Thank you for stopping in. I am always so happy when I see you visiting!

      Hugs back! Always hugs back.

  18. As you know your politics is always way over my head Val.. We in the UK are subject to the rules of the EU, by bureaucrats that are nameless, who force our government to follow its judgements.. We didn’t elect them .. We joined a ‘Common Market’ way back when, which was to enhance trade.. Now it rules Every thing.. Its time I think for individuals to wake up on both sides of the ‘Pond’ to see just where their countries are heading.. And who is ruling? and whose pockets they are lining and whose pockets they are fleecing? And once we really Do wake up.. Its time to embrace Changes within the systems we have been complacent in allowing to gain control over us..
    We the people on both sides of the pond elected those governments.. We the people on both sides needs to take stock of where we want our future to be headed…

    I for one know its rules and taxes are squeezing us ever tighter and tighter into a corner.. And we all know what happens when we feel cornered?..
    Some thing some where will give…

    Sending you Love.. xox Sue

    • You are so right Sue, which is the entire point of “Stand Up”. We are not so different, the US and UK, both taking much of our foundation from Common Law. Unfortunately, we have also both moved further and further away from a compassionate society where one can thrive and lift themselves up. We are more and more being, as you say driven into corners, by any number of forces but one force primarily, big money. Government, elections all have one thing in common, they are propped up by money, you and I don’t have it and our voices are being drowned out.

      Stand up and speak out must soon become the battle cry of all of us if we are to save our earth, save our children and save the future.

      Much Love
      Val

      • Many dislike this Man, Nigel Forage.. But he speaks his mind and has my vote next time around.. 🙂 We the People are starting to ‘See’ and Speak, and I think the UK government will be shocked at how many will vote for change..As the corner is getting ever tighter for those with nothing to loose..

  19. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  20. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    SCOTUS: very well explained. Take a look ….

  21. This is an awesome post, Valentine!!! So well explained and documented. You said it ….. we are spineless and “they” have succeeded in making us feel “impotent” against their power.
    The generation after us either are too busy living or have no clue about what is going on … I think it’s a combination of both. They don’t know they should care …. bet they don’t know who Scalia or Thomas are!!
    This is something we’d never seen ….. Sad for America. And we look foolish, stupid, brainless for those looking in from the outside.
    We are a huge, significantly dysfunctional unit. How can this be changed??

    • I do not think the generations after us are oblivious, simply lost. I think our generation is split and also so concerned with what happens to themselves individually they are failing to be truly active. We are willing to whine, but not willing to risk our comfort. I get it, I do get it. We are all scared, I know I am. The generation behind us and the one behind them, hell they are dealing with massive debt, unemployment and the loss of even a bite at the American Dream, instead what they have is a nightmare.

      They care, but they have to put food on a table that is likely rented.

      How do we change it? We stop writing about it, stop bitching about it and start taking to the streets, through our votes and perhaps more.

      • Agree with your reasons about the younger generations!! Out to the streets we should go!! Yes, they are lost and need the food on their tables.

  22. I don’t care for either Citizens United or the latest ruling. Obviously, the majority of the high court sees money as speech. Nonetheless, then I say …. 1) more reason to remove tax-exempt for political organization … 2) open disclose of all donors and amounts.

    To me, this is an example of the importance of having a balanced court. After all, the Supreme Court is for all Americans. Four seats for the Right is just as bad as four seats for the left. Scalia’s viewpoint should be heard … as should Ginsberg’s …. but neither should be in a majority.

    • In the Warren Court, nearly all controversial decisions were unanimous and along Constitutional lines versus ideological lines. This is not to say all cases were consistently decided this way, however those that affect the state of the nation for decades were handled with great care.

      I do not disagree Frank, all views should be heard. However, the Justices on the court should not have ideological views that carry weight in making decisions on regarding the Constitution of the United States. Their religion, their politics, how they vote? None of this is relevant, the fact that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are practicing Catholics should not affect their decision-making when considering a case before them regarding birth control or access to abortion, however both have said in speeches what their beliefs are and how they would judge. So no, their views are dangerous on the court.

      I want a balance of intellect, knowledge and skill. I do not want a balance of ideology.

      • Agree .. .how they vote or practice religion shouldn’t effect their decisions … .but there are different judicial/legal philosophies that can came to different conclusions about the law … thus the balance I seek.

        • No disagreement Frank, thus the balance we all seek. Describing our seated Justices as Left or Right leaning however, this is troublesome. This means we are describing them with a political ideology rather than a Judicial bent. This, I find frightening given everything else.

          • I think those labels also have a judicial interpretation meaning. Balance is the reason why I think Judge Alito was a horrible pick. Not that he would be a bad judge, but that made 4 with the same philosophy …. thus why I think President Obama’s next selection (presumably for Justice Ginsberg) could be equally as bad (in my view).

            • Although Alito is one of the more conservative Judges on the bench I don’t usually have an issue with his decisions and I have read several of them. Normally, what he writes are based on his reading of law, precedent and the Constitution. While I might not agree and I might wish otherwise, I don’t find him to be offensive or ideological. He has also voted with and written decisions that go against the ‘conservative’ side where his reading of the law differed from theirs. I can live with the balance.

              I don’t take issue with Soytamayer, she was qualified and her reading of the law in the cases before her prior to her elevation to the Supreme court were fair and not extreme. I suspect if the President has the opportunity to pick another he will do so with equal caution. He appointments to the lower courts have not had it easy, his selection to the Supreme Court won’t either unless they are impeccable. We already have a court that is extreme in its views Frank, I am fine if there is another Soytamayer or even another Ginsberg on it.

              • Personally, I want more swing votes.

              • Alito was the only SCOTUS justice to vote against the Westboro Baptist Church when they brought their case before the Court. Sotomayor’s judicial reputation was impeccable, but she had the audacity to say, in 2001, that White males just couldn’t understand how she – as a woman and an ethnic minority – felt about things. Thus, her nomination became purely partisan. I wrote to both Texas senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn asking them why they voted against her, but of course, they never replied.

  23. Great summary about what is happening. I agree whole heartedly about Ginny Thomas. A piece of work, that woman. Totally shameless. And dangerous.

    Just last night I was reading an article about how Bill O’Reilly is concerned that the “hippies” have become disenchanted and were coming for the white guys — while creating a culture of disenchantment. (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/bill-oreilly-grievance-industry-hippies-white-guys
    ) I hope Bill O is right — because it is time that we dusted off our peasant blouses and DO something!

    • Hippie here! That is the point I think Elyse, those of us who were the disenchanted of the 60’s and 70’s need to remember who we were and where we come from before it is too damned late. We need to stand up and start fighting back for what we believe in. We need to demand the changes we say we believe in and vote for before there is no going back.

%d bloggers like this: