Court Overstepped Its Bounds
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Paul Stevens, in an important appearance on CBS’s Sunday night television magazine 60-Minutes,
told of his deep concern for the direction our nation is headed largely because of two key decisions by the high court.
Stevens said he disagreed with decisions by a majority of the other judges on the high bench to intervene in the 2000 presidential
election and stop the ballot recount in Florida, thus giving the presidency to George W. Bush.
also critical of the court’s 5-4 decision in January, 2010 that the First Amendment bars Congress from prohibiting corporations
and unions from using their own money to make independent financial contributions to candidates for public office. The justices
voting to support this decision argued that corporations are individuals and that the rule violated their right to free speech.
suggested that in both cases, the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds from merely interpreting the law to rewriting the law.
agree with Justice Stevens on both actions. Not only were both decisions wrong but in both cases, they led to serious consequences
for the nation.
many Americans probably missed the Stevens interview because the show was, as usual, pre-empted by Sunday night football and
did not run at its regular scheduled time.
Americans, if they are thinking at all, agree that eight years under the Bush Administration were nearly devastating for the
nation. Bush launched two unnecessary wars, the military contracted with outside corporations and spent billions for services
such as feeding the troops, transporting supplies, rebuilding bombed out cities and even bringing in hired mercenaries to
help fight our battles. He stripped the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency and allowed big corporations to continue
polluting the land, air and water. He instituted major tax cuts for the wealthy and allowed banks and lending institutions
to gamble on bad real estate mortgages. Bush and the Republican legislators ran up one of the biggest federal deficits in
time President Barack Obama came to power, the nation was in such a deep financial dilemma it was going to take years of sacrifice
and cost cutting to pull us out of it. But every move Mr. Obama tried to make was cleverly blocked by Republican Senators.
had a chance to kick the bums out of office in this year’s mid-term elections. But the Supreme Court ruling in January
opened the door to billions of dollars in secret donations from corporate interests. A Tea Party grass roots movement designed
to promote badly needed change appeared to have been cleverly overtaken by secret cash contributors that turned the movement
into a Republican movement. For weeks before the election our television screens were bombarded with a barrage of attack ads
against Democratic candidates. The money for these ads was traced to the Chamber of Commerce, which was keeping the names
of the contributors secret.
obvious that the November elections were rigged. Instead of getting what they really wanted, voters only made matters worse
by electing more sold-out representation with allegiance to big corporate interests.
is why we now have a government in gridlock. The Republicans, who are making it clear that they will do everything in their
power to make sure Mr. Obama never gets a chance at a second term in office, are in a position of making sure that none of
the president’s initiatives get written into law.
that, but they are fighting hard to maintain those big tax cuts for the rich, while at the same time blocking a desperately
needed extension of unemployment benefits for millions of long-term unemployed workers. Also threatened are social security
payments and Medicare benefits to the elderly. States are forced to cut services including medical assistance to the poor.
broken infrastructure is no longer getting fixed. More and more Americans are losing their homes, many of them living in the
this is happening while the nation’s wealthy are getting richer and richer.
Stevens was quite right in voicing his concern for the future of the United States. He knows that when the high court becomes
corrupted, the people no longer have a legal route for getting anything fixed.