(Published in the Center City Concerned Citizens Review, September 2016, Philadelphia)
By Joseph Batory
In the 1942 movie Casablanca, the Police Captain Renault who was fully aware and participating in the gambling that was occurring in Rick’s Café makes this hypocritical comment: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”
In that context, it is absurd that so many politicians and conservative “talking heads” were “shocked” by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s negative comments in July about Donald Trump. After all, the Supreme Court has never been political! Really?
The Presidential Election Giveaway in 2000
The presidential election of 2000 was simply too close to call because of irregularities in the election process in a key deciding state, Florida. A recount vote in Florida began and should have continued.
However, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority handed the election to George Bush by a 5-4 vote which stopped the Florida recount. The presidential election of 2000 was decided by the partisan vote of the Supreme Court which was clearly a political, not a judicial, decision.
Elections now for sale to the Highest Bidders
In 2010, the Supreme Court handed down another partisan 5-4 decision which has opened the doors for the unprecedented influence of money in elections in the United States. As a result, hundreds of millions of dollars have now poured into Super PACs which are theoretically independent from the candidates.
But this is Supreme Court doublespeak nonsense. It is true that candidates cannot receive money directly from the Super PACs …BUT… these same candidates can be bankrolled into office or destroyed via media ads from these Super PACs.
As candidates in 2016 are benefiting from larger and larger contributions to Super PACs, they run the risk of being controlled by these billionaire and millionaire donors. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the needs and wants of wealthy political benefactors has become the priority rather than the common good of America’s citizens.
The NRA now runs our legislature and courts
In 2008, the Supreme Court by yet another divided 5-4 vote embraced the NRA’s individual-rights theory of the 2nd Amendment. This absurd re-interpretation of the 2nd amendment is a fantasy that the Framers of the Constitution would today endorse the possession of semi-automatic assault rifles and other powerful firearms and handgun ownership even by unstable or criminal persons as the fulfillment of the American Dream protecting the “untouchable” 2nd amendment.
Ironically, in numerous interpretations of the 2nd amendment from its inception, the Supreme Court and lower courts asserted that this amendment did not necessarily give all individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.
Then the National Rifle Association (NRA) in 1977 began an intense political fight to redefine the Second Amendment. Utah Senator Orin Hatch was the “hit man” and conservative justice Antonin Scalia authored the reinvented interpretation of the 2nd amendment which was approved along party lines. It is a legacy of blood with more than 50,000 incidents of USA gun violence just in 2015.
In 1991, Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, a lifelong conservative, had called the NRA’s Gun Control interpretation of the 2nd amendment: “one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat, fraud—on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” Justice Burger, who died in 1995, would undoubtedly have been horrified to see this fraud become reality in 2008 thanks to a politically-influenced Supreme Court.
Joseph Batory has written extensively for publication on the topics, politics and education.