As the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court has ultimate and largely discretionary jurisdiction involving issues of federal law and state court cases regarding federal law, and is allegedly non-partisan in reaching decisions that affect every American. The current Court is decidedly more conservative than the previous Rehnquist Court (1986–2005), and has arguably become a legislative arm of corporate America with decisions that altered the political landscape in America favoring corporations over the people and Constitution it is tasked to serve. Both courts transformed into a Republican legislative branch, but more so when they are in the minority, and particularly since the election of Barack Obama.
The current Court revealed their allegiance to corporate America with their Citizens United decision that ruled corporate political donations were protected, private, and unlimited that is far removed from restrictions on individual contributors who are limited in the amount of contributions and must identify themselves as a donor. One justice, Clarence Thomas, was the beneficiary of an in-kind contribution during his confirmation process when Citizens United donated $100,000 to advertise his qualifications after being nominated by George H.W. Bush, and Thomas repaid Citizens United several times over with the atrocious ruling that appears to have been decided well in advance of hearing the case.
Antonin Scalia and Thomas attended secret billionaire’s meetings prior to the Citizens United case with conservative business leaders at a policy event sponsored and hosted by the Koch Brothers who fund the Tea Party as well as a variety of conservative think tanks and PACs. Incidentally, Senator Mitch McConnell championed the Citizens United ruling dating back to 2003 as the lead plaintiff in McConnell v. FEC (2003) litigation challenging the constitutionality of Section 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). McConnell recently vowed to defend Citizens United to keep corporate money flowing to the Republican effort to complete the corporate takeover of the United States government with the assistance of the corporate Court, and particularly Scalia and Thomas.
Thomas and Scalia’s attendance at the Koch meetings brought out questions such as did they attend meetings aiming at subverting public law, and was there a conspiracy to engineer a court case on which those two justices could influence a desired outcome? The beneficiaries of the outcome are Republicans reaping outrageous campaign donations to complete their fascist power grab and transform government into a privately owned entity to enrich the Koch meetings attendees. Both Justices should have recused themselves from hearing the case. A justice’s tenure can be abbreviated by resignation, retirement, or death, but there is a provision in the Constitution for a Justice who does not serve “during good behavior” that involves indicting, trying, and if convicted, evicting the offender from the court. There is no good reason for not impeaching Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia for not serving during good behavior, but it is Thomas who is as corrupt as any crime boss.
While Americans await the Corporate Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, one thing is clear; Clarence Thomas has no right hearing or voting on the case. Besides palling around with terrorists Charles and David Koch, Thomas’ wife received $680,000 in payment from the Heritage Foundation during the four year period from 2003-2007, and Clarence conveniently forgot to include the earnings on his financial disclosure for four years. In fact, until Common Cause brought attention to Mrs. Thomas’s Heritage Foundation earnings, he failed to report the source of his wife’s income for two decades at which time he amended the disclosure. Thomas’s wife’s employment with Liberty Central, a teabagger organization she co-founded in January 2009 is “dedicated to opposing” what she characterizes as “the leftist tyranny of President Obama and Democrats in Congress” (read Affordable Care Act). On the Liberty Central website, Mrs. Thomas assured potential clients that she would use her “experience and connections” to assist them with “governmental affairs efforts” and political donation strategies (Citizens United). Ginny Thomas partnered with Dick Armey and FreedomWorks to fund and train teabagger efforts to defeat the health law with Koch money, and although well-documented, it is hardly public knowledge; except to Clarence Thomas.
The Citizens United ruling was decided during the Koch Industries secret policy meetings in 2009, and the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act was planned in 2010 shortly after President Obama signed the landmark legislation into law. It is no coincidence that after teabagger extremists swept into power after the 2010 midterm elections, 28 Republican-controlled states joined forces to file challenges and appeal to the Corporate Court to rule against helping 30-40 million Americans get healthcare coverage.
America’s flirtation with three branches of government ended in 2000 when the Republican Court awarded the presidency to George W. Bush, and confirmed it is a Corporate Court with the Citizens United decision. The danger of an adverse ruling against the individual mandate in the ACA is that mandated contributions to Social Security, Medicare, Federal and State income tax will be struck down following the precedent set by a ruling against the ACA’s individual mandate. Republicans have panted to end the New Deal since its inception, and a ruling against the ACA sets in motion the termination of its programs. Since President Obama has been in office, Republicans suggested the unconstitutionality of the minimum wage, child labor laws, public education, union representation, and any measure that does not reward the corporate world, and they have openly questioned the legality of the 14th Amendment and interpretation of the 10th Amendment. Now that Koch-Republicans control the High Court, there is nothing to stop them from declaring any existing laws unconstitutional, and with a Corporate Court, ALEC-inspired voter suppression laws all but guarantee the end of democracy.
A major Republican sweep in November spells the end of three branches of government because a Corporate White House will appoint two Koch-Justices to do the bidding of Republicans, and it will be impossible to save America or the Constitution. The GOP never admitted they lost the 2008 General Election, and with a Corporate Court behind them, they are probably right.
Image: Alliance For Justice