The Selling Out of Our Democracy

For years, the conservative wing of the Supreme Court has flapped mightily in the face of any attempt to deny American corporations their ability to disenfranchise and dispossess the American public. Compared to the media’s obsession with President Obama, the press makes few attempts to peer into the court’s marble nest, even though the justices and their predecessors are deeply involved in right-wing moneyed society, have repeatedly demolished campaign finance laws and hacked away at the rights of workers, voters, consumers and just about everyone else.

Jim Hightower, nationally syndicated columnist and host of Hightower Radio, offers us a much-needed, lively introduction to the conservative justices and their activities over the past decade. —ARK


“Leveling the playing field can sound like a good thing. But in a democracy, campaigning for office is not a game.” –Chief Justice John Roberts, fumbling a sports metaphor in a June ruling that does, indeed, tilt the political field to assure that corporate-backed players win the crucial money game.

In case after case, the five hard-core Republicans of the Roberts Court have been chopping furiously at the hard-earned legal rights of workers, consumers, voters, and others who dare to challenge the power of big business elites to reign over us, both politically and economically. There has been way too little public attention focused on (much less a sustained political challenge to) what has become a spectacular abuse of government power. A survey last year by the Pew Center found that nearly three-fourths of Americans have no idea who John Roberts is. Eight percent named Thurgood Marshall as the chief justice (and I certainly wish he was, even though he’s been dead for 18 years).

It’s not that the public is stupid, but that the Court deliberately hides itself. No C-SPAN or other television cameras are allowed, even in the relatively few times the justices convene in public session. The bulk of the justices’ official policy-making work takes place behind closed doors. They practically never have press conferences or give interviews, and some have even refused to let the media cover their ‘public’ speeches.

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