SCOTUS: A Vote of No Confidence

I found the following poll this morning:

“I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one: a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little? What about the U.S. Supreme Court?”

A great deal

Quite a lot


Very little








What does this table say to you?

The case for or against the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is being heard before the Supreme Court right now. Arguments from the United States Solicitor General in favor of the individual mandate provision contained in the law didn’t go so well yesterday, as the more partisan members of the Court (Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia) propounded absurd strawman questions positing doomsday scenarios of totalitarian government, i.e., if the nanny state government was able to force a citizen to purchase health insurance, it would inevitably lead to the government being able to force citizens to purchase cell phones and broccoli.

The news shows last night had lots of coverage on the subject, most of which revolved around prognosticating that the ACA’s individual mandate might be in trouble, and that the entire ACA might go down in flames. In interviews last night, both John Dean and Professor Jonathan Turley brought up the point that the ACA, unlike the majority of other new laws passed by Congress, does not contain a “severability” provision which states that if a portion of the law is found to be unconstitutional, the remaining sections of the law would still be in force. Therefore, if the individual mandate set forth in the Affordable Care Act is found by the Roberts Supreme Court to be unconstitutional, the rest of the ACA may well go down with it.

President George W. Bush, after his failed attempt to nominate his White House Counsel, the embarrassingly unqualified Harriet Miers, to the Supreme Court, used his office to pack the SCOTUS with two of his political cronies, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, men he described as “strict Constitutionalists.”  But in reality, these were men who could be depended upon to serve the interests of the corporations and the 1%, thus tipping the balance of power with a heavy conservative thumb on the scales of justice.

The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court have made it very clear where their loyalties lie. Clarence Thomas’ wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas headed up a Tea Party group (Liberty Consulting, whose website has now been scrubbed) that had been actively working against the Affordable Care Act since it was first proposed. Justices Thomas, Scalia and Alito have been headliners and keynote speakers at conservative/Tea Party fundraisers, which is contrary to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges (that hasn’t stopped them, has it?). I find to this to be completely unacceptable, and even alarming, given that the SCOTUS, the highest Court in the land – whose decisions are not subject to appeal – is supposed to be impartial. They are not impartial at all.

The Citizens United case is a clear example of the activist nature of the Roberts Supreme Court, when it handed down the infamous and dangerous decision that in essence, money equals free speech, thus paving the way for unlimited corporate money – even from outside the United States – to be used to influence our elections. We’ve all seen the results of that terrible decision: the rise of the “super PACs,” money-making machines for mostly Republican candidates, funded by filthy rich sugar daddies like the Koch Brothers, and Santa Claus billionaires Foster Friess and Sheldon Adelson. Citizens United essentially put our democracy up for sale to the highest bidder, and has created a system in which the voices of the 1% are drowning out the voices of the 99%, the vast majority of the American people.

If you view the table above, it is quite clear that the American people have tumbled to the fact that such activities by Supreme Court justices have tainted the Court’s reputation for impartiality. It has become very clear that this SCOTUS is definitely not impartial. For the first time in our history, America has a partisan Supreme Court that has shown itself to be unwilling to follow precedent, and worse, is willing to toss years of precedent straight out the window to further the interests of the 1% over the American people.

Where do we go from here? If we cannot trust our Supreme Court, what hope is there for “We the People”…? Perhaps, in the future, our Supreme Court justices – and even our Congressmen and Senators – should wear the logos of their corporate sponsors; at least then, we’d know who they are really working for.


  1. There’s a very good infographic about special interest’s campaign to destroy the health care reform at my blog. This is a case where propaganda and money has been allowed to hijack rebuilding the nation.


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