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Supreme Gang Of Five Has Put Big Business In Control

By James Donahue

The U. S. Supreme Court ruling on the question of a documentary film designed to attack former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign has set the stage for the destruction of the American democratic process by big business interests.

The court voted 5-4 in support of an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy which, in essence, struck down laws and court rulings dating back over 100 years that prohibited corporations and unions from paying large amounts of money to influence the outcome of elections.

The ruling, supported by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, determined that corporations have the same rights as individuals to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the dissent, accused the majority of “judicial activism.” He wrote  that “the conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court’s disposition of this case.”

Stevens correctly called the decision a “radical change” in the law and said the ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.”

Joining Stevens in voting against the ruling were Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

President Barack Obama said the ruling will give “a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics.”

As if we don’t have enough of that already. Financial payoffs by lobbyists representing big business and special interest groups have nearly crippled both the House and Senate from passing meaningful legislation sought by the voting public.

It may be of interest to note that all five judges voting in support of this ruling were directly linked to former President George W. Bush, who proved himself to be so supportive of big business interests he rejected the U.S. involvement in the Kyoto Agreement to reduce carbon emissions, and used executive order s to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its powers to enforce air, water and ground pollution restrictions.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were both appointed to the high court during his eight-year tenure. Justices Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas were among the five judges who ruled to put Bush in office during the Florida recount debacle in the 2000 Presidential elections. The four dissenters were Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer.

From all appearances the nation is now burdened by a partisan oriented court with a majority of its members leaning very heavily in favor of the conservative Republican agenda. While judges have the right to vote as they choose at the polls, theoretically they are appointed to the bench to interpret law and legal cases as they relate to Constitutional mandate. They are not supposed to change law or create new law.

Supreme Court judges are seated for life by Presidential appointment and Congressional approval. Thus if voters disapprove of judicial decisions, the judges cannot be removed by the normal election process. In fact, it is almost impossible to reverse a high court decision once it is made.

President Obama called the decision “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

MSNBC Commentator Keith Olbermann, in a special editorial statement condemning the decision, said: “Right now you can prostitute all of the politicians some of the time, and prostitute some of the politicians all the time, but you cannot prostitute all the politicians all the time. Thanks to Chief Justice Roberts this will change. Unless this mortal blow is somehow undone, within ten years, every politician in this country will be a prostitute.”

Can anything be done to correct such malfeasance? President Obama said he wants to “talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response.” Beyond this, legal talking heads are already saying that there is little legislators can do at this point to head off the total destruction of the American democratic system as we once knew it. It takes years to appoint new voices on that high court and before such change can be carried out, the whole system will be controlled by Wall Street and the big banks.

There is a solution, however, if lawmakers can summon up the courage and the will to try it. The Constitution provides for any elected or appointed person in high office to be impeached if they can be found guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  And yes, supreme court judges can, and have been impeached in the United States.

The law demands that the Congress bring forth charges and the Senate to conduct hearings to determine guilt or innocence. Even if the will exists, which it probably doesn’t, it would be very difficult to legally show that this ruling constitutes a high crime or a misdemeanor, even if it opens the door for the total dismantling of our nation.

The judges are all lawyers, and lawyers have a way of twisting common sense into a legal jargon that makes it almost impossible for justice to be served.