How much damage can SCOTUS do in one term?

Our government is still shut down, but that won't stop the kings and queens of America from holding court. This week, the Supreme Court begins their new session, and the docket looks like a Republican wish list of laws they'd love to see overturned. On Tuesday, the justices will hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC, which is another challenge to campaign contribution limits. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will take time off from keeping the government unfunded, to personally argue that billionaires should be able to dump even more money into our elections.

In addition, this term our nation's highest court will hear cases on abortion, affirmative action, labor laws, separation of church and state, and environmental regulation. And, the five conservative members of the Court could undo generations of work that was done improve our nation. By this time next year, fair housing laws could be eliminated, the EPA may be unable to regulate air pollution, our privacy rights could be further diminished, lawmakers could be allowed to advocate a particular religion, and US-based corporations could have the go-ahead to abuse workers in foreign countries.

It's almost as if the pro-corporate, billionaire-backed Tea Party hand picked these huge cases for consideration. Ironically, the government shut down may be the only thing that stands in the way of the conservative justices ruling in favor of their right-wing buddies. If the government funding bill is not passed, the Supreme Court may have to postpone hearings after this week. These cases are extremely important, and Supreme Court decisions can be nearly impossible to overturn. The kings and queens of our nation have amassed a huge amount of power, and it appears that five of them are about to use that power to screw over our nation.


Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 36 weeks ago

Everything that is good about this country seems to be imploding right before our eyes. It's very scary; so much so that at times, I have to tune it out just to keep my sanity. Since we don't vote for Supreme Court justices (BUMMER!), I'm at a loss for what to do to counter this. We're still paying the consequences for them handing us "President" Bush, and for Citizens "United" (Yeah- "united" my A$$). I wouldn't put anything past those bastards, no matter how crazy. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Ah, so many problems and so little time. I understand Representative Raul Grijaiva is running a petition to stop Corporations from mining and logging on protected Federal lands while the lockout is preventing employees and visitors from using them.

However important that and what SCOTUS is attempting to do the TPP bill that is trying to be pushed through Congress right now while everyone is distracted puts NAFTA on steroids. It has also been called a Corporate Coup de Tat. This bill would allow foreign Corporations to sue the US Government for tax payer money in international tribunal courts for any local regulatory laws that cost them any profit. This is a link to a Breaking The Set show that highlights this issue.

I mention this because I hope and pray Thom takes some time to devote a show/blog to this issue. It is of grave importance to us all; and, time is running out.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 36 weeks ago

Oh yeah... like DAnneMarc just reminded us, there's also TPP looming on the horizon. Corporate fascism's next level! Be very scared, folks; and this time I say that without sarcasm. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Thanks AIW. TPP Trans Pacific Partnership. SCOTUS we have no choice but to address one case at a time. I suggest the same conviction and turnout demonstrated by the LGBT community for their ruling on same sex marriage in the case of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The TPP, however, we can oppose right now all at once. Here is a website with the resources to help do just that.

As it was suggested on Breaking The Set, we should all call and write our Congressmen/women and insist that the TPP is not "fast tracked." That is the process that would strip Congress of its just review, limit it's knowledge of the bill, and demand a vote in 60 days. We might also want to mention that we do not approve of this agreement and will not vote for them again if they vote for it.

Here is a petition to sign to oppose the TPP:

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 10 years 36 weeks ago

...Know what you mean, Alice...

When I was young, I worked at a hunt club. I took care of the hounds in the kennels and waited on elites in the club. I overheard a lot of conversations. At the time, I thought they had simply had to much to drink. In terrifying retrospect, I now realize they meant every word. Elites like the Kochs no longer care about how much $$ they have, they only care about how much money you have. They don’t care about defunding Obama care, they care about population control. depriving people of health care and access to resources is all they care about. They don’t mind paying taxes, they DO mind that you get access to resources which is the end result of paying taxes. As far as they are concerned, regular people are too many mouths to feed, now that there are 7 billion of us. They see climate change and pollution the perfect solutions to the population problem. This has happened before in human history. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, ancient Sumerian texts, it says that the Gods (elites) grew weary of their clamoring...

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 10 years 36 weeks ago

I see a lot of assassinations on the horizon...

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 10 years 36 weeks ago

Suggestion: I'd love to hear a legitimate discussion about US poverty. Reality is that not everyone can work, due to health or circumstances, and we simply don't have jobs for all who need one. Millions of low-wage workers are a single job loss from losing everything, with no way back up. How do you get a job without a home address, phone, bus fare? Because we cut the rungs off of the proverbial ladder out of poverty, permanent, desperate poverty has grown as the middle class has shrunk. But we haven't even begun to talk about what to do about all those who are unable to provide for themselves, and how this impacts all of society. They don't just vanish. Prisons have increasingly become the only social services available to the very poor, at tremendous taxpayer cost. Shouldn't we at least start talking about this?

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 36 weeks ago

Marx is supposed to have said something similar in his 1848 writings. It's a Darwinistic thing (with them on top of the food chain, of course), I believe he cited Adam Smith. When the industrialists have their full compliment of workers for their factories the remaining unemployed are a "surplus population" that is "not needed" (I guess the universe is centered around the industrialist elite. They don't need those people so those people are "not needed"). There are, thus, "too many" working class people and some will have to die off.

That's their ideal society, no food stamps or welfare, no unemployment insurance, etc.. When there's too many working people let a few die off.

The Republicans aren't fighting the results of this last election, they're fighting the results of Roosevelt's election.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Mark Saulys and sandlewould ~ Not to differ; but I must point out that according to the Adam Smith principle of labor, the larger the surplus of labor the cheaper the labor. When workers are easily replaced by a large unemployment force they are more willing to accept low wages and poor working conditions. China for example. A cheap and disposable labor force requires a large supply of readily available workers. I doubt they want to dispose of all the unemployed; however, they probably don't need as many as they have, and they will probably keep the remaining supply on a very desperate leash. Of course without further need of available workers, the sick and infirmed are nothing more than a drag on the system. Allowing nature to take its course and only the strong to survive ensures a labor force comprised only of strong and healthy workers. More money for the Corporations and the health insurance racketeers.

I agree that our current times are desperate; however, I must point out that compared to history the workers today don't have it that bad yet. It is quickly getting that bad. We must stay vigilant so that it doesn't ever get pre-WWII bad again. We must protect progress.

Rollin's picture
Rollin 10 years 36 weeks ago

Didnt the French have something like this just a few short hundred years ago? I think their solution was an interesting one. Perhaps we need to remove the "too rich to be usefull" or "too powerfull for their own britches". We need all the regulations put back in place, they were there for a reason that is so obvious now. We should also tax the heck out of EVERYTHING that is brought into this country to make our labor force attractive again and bring the jobs back. It's time to throw out "fair" trade and "FREE" trade agreements and re-regulate the import/export system.

If corporations are people, then why can they not be arrested for polluting the air-water-land and poisoning the food supply? How do you arrest a corporation? How about we take over them, put the CEOs in prison, confinscate all buisness assets and turn it over to the government (of for and by the humans)? I'll bet we could end poverty and have health care and jobs for all, not to mention our infrastructure.

Thanks for your time!

bobbler's picture
bobbler 10 years 36 weeks ago

Corporations, continuous onslaught for a generaltion or more, has overcome americas separation of powers. It's impossible to buy outright, a seat on the Supreme Court, but buying the White House indirectly buys seats on the Supreme Court.

Since the Great Depression, corporate money has rebounded to dismantle all the laws put in place to stop corporations from crashing our economy again.. All in blind pursuit of profit.. Buying the Supreme Court was only another cog in a wheel of the profit making engine of the 1-percent wealthiest (Multi nationals, BTW).

Assassination will not happen unless the gubmt hating crowd """finally""" realize their enemy has been the very same people they have been supporting all along.


i wish there was some way to be notified of future posts on this list.. It's hard to remember to come back here..

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 36 weeks ago

Fabian and DAnne, If poverty is such s big issue why are you letting tens of million of illegal Mexicans into your country. How can that help?

I hear over and over how the wealthy control elections down there. So how is it that Obama was elected in the last two elections. I don't get it

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 36 weeks ago

Kend - You're right; you don't get it. - AIW

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 36 weeks ago

Of course I don't get it. You whine and whine about the rich controlling elections yet you win them all. How can 1% of the population win a election. One person one vote still isn't it.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Kend ~ Poverty is an issue here and it's not the fault of Mexican immigration. Poverty is the fault of free trade, deregulation and a stagnant income level since the Ronald Wilson (666) Reagan Regime put in place a policy that reversed economic progress back to the stone age. We don't let Mexicans come into this country they let themselves come into this country. What forces them to make that choice is the economic situation in Mexico. It is a policy similar to ours yet with less resources. In time the US will morph into a copy of Mexico and you will see people sneaking over the border the other way. Mexican immigrants have an insignificant adverse effect on the economy here because they take jobs that Americans can't afford to take. Please stop blaming the victims. That is very Nazi of you.

Concerning elections my friend you have the situation backwards. We the people control the elections. The wealthy control the viable candidates. We decide the lesser of two evils while the wealthy pull every trick in the book to secure the election for the greater of two evils. What we are inevitably left with when it is all said and done is one or the other evil. It is true that We the People still control the vote in the elections; yet, it is also true that we never win them. The wealthy stack the deck and we have to play the hand that we are dealt. Of course, it is stacked so that we lose.

Mike-C's picture
Mike-C 10 years 36 weeks ago

I agree with Thom’s warning. Years of pro-humanity Supreme Court rulings are in jeopardy because the deck is stacked. Recent rulings appear to support this although the ruling on the Affordable Care Act did surprise me.

However, the court has reversed itself many, many times in the past. The pendulum can swing again when the Justices are replaced. Any damage that the current court may do to pro-humanity laws can be repaired - all may not be lost forever.

Here is a link I found that furnishes reversals up to 1992. I could not find a more recent list in the limited time I had to research this. There has been many, some occurring within a few years of the original ruling.

akunard's picture
akunard 10 years 36 weeks ago

70% of the worlds population would love to live at the U.S. poverty level!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

akunard ~ Are you trying to imply that poverty in the U.S. is nothing to complain about? Do you live below the poverty level in the U.S. or anywhere else? If you don't you don't know what you are talking about.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 36 weeks ago

(SIGH) I give up. You're too thick, kend, to get it.

akunard's picture
akunard 10 years 36 weeks ago

DanneMarc- If the deck is stacked against you, I must assume that you did not vote for Berry.

The Kennedy clan were not poor but they sure talked like they knew "their" pain.

As usual don't let facts get in the way of economic theory.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

akunard ~ You assume correctly! A mistake I--and I hope many others--will not repeat.

The Kennedy family aside, there are many other wealthy families who do not aspire to politics who also are sympathetic to the "pain" of the poor. We need more Kennedy type families in this country. They are the saving grace for the wealthy.

You might be surprised to learn that I have visited areas of poverty in Mexico and I can tell you that from my perspective the poor in that country live like Kings compared to the poor in this country. There is hardly any homelessness. Most poor families can afford nice size houses to live in. There is no property tax. They can afford cheap transportation. There are no mandatory insurance, smog, or expensive registration requirements. The income and standard of living is about the same as those right at the poverty line in this country; but, there are no people in desperate straights that I could see anywhere I traveled. I've visited several of the people in their homes that you would consider part of this 70%, and they had a better standard of living then I do. No where near as much money, but a very solid house big enough to raise a family, a car, good cloths on their backs, plenty of food on the table, and free health care. Their main complaint was the bank account. They insisted I was rich because I made more money. They couldn't understand that I spent it on the cost of living as fast as I could make it. Here in the United States you don't have to venture far from any airport to see large groups of homeless people begging for money or huddling under an overpass for shelter. I guess poverty is really relative. One man's poverty is another man's wealth. However, you may be right about your assertion that 70% of the world's population would love to live at the U.S. poverty level. Most people I've met have a warped perspective of what it is really like to live in the U.S. They only see the checks coming back to Mexico from family members working here and think this is some big Citadel of Prosperity. Some people believe all American's are rich and wealthy. My contention is that is because they lack an education and the opportunity to travel here and experience the U.S. first hand. If they did, they might just become disillusioned and change their minds.

As usual don't let the facts get in the way of an economic theory.

akunard's picture
akunard 10 years 36 weeks ago

Fact: the U.S. has millions of Mexicans taking jobs others won't take and sending money back home. We need them to pick our produce, etc. I have been strongly against schools teaching their children in Spanish for more years than I can count. Guess why.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

akunard ~ I must admit I was unaware that our schools were being taught anywhere in Spanish. If so I can only guess that you're reason would be that it cripples the child and prevents them from learning and mastering English; thus, prolonging the oppression of Mexican immigrants another generation. Is that the reason?

akunard's picture
akunard 10 years 36 weeks ago

Dead on! Those children are U.S. citizens and will never mainstream into the middle class. They are locked into a sub culture by design. Visit Homestead, Fl. which is a prime example.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 36 weeks ago

You're right, DAnneMarc. Traditionally business was always against welfare and unemployment insurance because they compete with wages and force business to pay higher wages and a large "unemployment pool" creates a buyer's market for labor. But that fits with their broader, Darwinistic philosophy of "let the surplus die off".

Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book in the '90s called The End of Work in which he postulated that with the advance of technology fewer workers will be needed so we will all be working shorter days and weeks. Marx predicted something similar but after the revolution. Since we haven't had the revolution and may not anytime soon what I think will probably happen is that a few will work full time and the rest will be a "surplus population" and be allowed to die of their own or be eradicated like so many cockroaches like Native Americans or Palestinians or other inconveniently situated surplus populations.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

akunard ~ Thanks for that information! I had no idea. All of the Spanish speaking people I know are very proud of their children who come home from school with a perfect command of the English language. They become the jewel of the family. That, together with a fluency in Spanish, makes them automatically qualified for any number of good, high paying jobs and promotions their parents never could have hoped for. I wonder if the outrage amongst the spanish speaking community in these areas is even being heard? This is an unnecessary expenditure that robs people of an education and actually dumbs them down with taxpayer money.

If they will invest to sabotage the education of this group, imagine what is being done to sabotage the education of everyone else. Our education system is being ruined from the inside. It is an outrage and disgrace!

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 36 weeks ago

Akunard, I was a labor organizer for nine years organizing por laborers. Most of the members opf our organization were undocumented immigrants but we were a racially and ethnically diverse group.

Our last campaign before our ultimate disaolution (which was due to infighting and which prevented us from completing the campaign) was an antidiscrimination campaign fighting discrimination in hiring which favors the undocumented and shuts out legal immigrants and U.S. born - mainly African American - workers.

There were several reasons for our undertaking the issue of discrimination. First it was just wrong; second, it created a class of workers (the undocumented) that could be exploited at will; then (third) this was used as leverage against U.S. born workers who were not otherwise afraid to assert their rights; and lastly, the practice of discrimination in hiring made for a tremendous amount of animosity between the two groups of workers - undocumented and U.S. born - and there could thus be no unity or solidarity between the two. A necessary part of our campaign was also support for immigration reform (if not flat out amnesty).

Akunard, few things made us bristle more than the phrase, "The immigrants are only doing jobs the U.S. born workers don't want to do.". As a result of years of using the undocumented for leverage against the U.S. born workers and their organizing and collective bargaining endeavors many jobs that were good middle class jobs are now poverty wage jobs that "Americans don't want to do".

Back when we were getting the campaign together the issue of illegal immigration and immigration reform was hot and a letter to the NY Times was published which was written by a son of "Oakies", migrant farm workers from Oklahoma's dust bowl era. He grew up in the farmworker's life. That farm work was also traditionally often done by traveling kids on vacation from college - as he one summer, with a group of friends, wanted to do. When he and his friends tried they were told by growers that there was no opening for them and "on every ladder stood an immigrant". This young man held no ill will toward the immigrants and supported their cause describing the situation as a pitting of two desperate groups against one another. He ended, however, by saying, "but please don't say they [immigrants] are only doing jobs Americans don't want to do.".

I wonder if you were aware that Spanish is an official language of the United States. That's because of Puerto Rico and other island holdings - much like French in Canada because of Quebec. I got that on pretty good auithority, i.e., a Puerto Rican revolutionary from Brooklyn, N.Y. who was a grad student at the University of Chicago.

I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with you on the teaching of English but it might be more nuanced than that

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Mark Saulys ~ Thank you for much food for thought. It makes perfect sense about welfare competing with wages. In that light the sorry state of current affairs makes perfect sense. I think the real threat to the "surplus population" is our Free Trade policies. It so drastically increases the unemployment population that the real threat to these people is also greatly increased. To further complicate the problem, Free Trade drives down wages to the level that they compete with welfare and unemployment insurance. No wonder why these critical social services are under assault. The wealthy realize that these displaced workers will never seek minimum wage work unless they are in seriously dire and desperate straits. I think we need to do everything we can to repeal free trade; but first, we need to get the money out of our political campaigns. Meanwhile we have to do everything we can to protect our social safety net. Until we get the rest of our house in order, this will be the sole source of survival for some 30 million men, women and children. May God help those who have already fallen through the cracks.

I believe that if we can achieve real Campaign Finance Reform, the repeal of Free Trade will follow naturally. That will remove this threat from the backs of the vast majority of the unemployed. Anything less may very well be a genocide for the poor in this country.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 36 weeks ago

Further proof - if further proof was necessarry - Kend, that you are quite insane (or dishonest). Who wins all the elections!?!

You know what they say about "some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time" and on many issues our side does have majority public support but elections are rigged through gerrymandering, voter suppression and other means and when we do win elections and have a majority unprecedented obstructionism thwarts the will of the people.

The issue of undocumented immigrants, while not too complicated for most, is apparently too much for you to grasp - being in the throes of schizophrenia - or whatever your problem is.

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