The Billionaire Alliance That Wants to Handpick the Supreme Court

A specter is haunting America, the specter of the Koch-Adelson alliance.

For years, billionaires Charles and David Koch -- the Koch Brothers -- and billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson were happy to go about their separate ways in the world of big money right-wing donors. But now, as Peter Stone reports over at The Huffington Post, they’ve started working together.

According to Stone, the Koch-Adelson alliance began during the 2012 election cycle, and has only grown stronger since. Almost 30 percent of the money Adelson spent in the 2014 election cycle went to Koch-backed groups, and he’s expected to match or exceed that spending total in 2016.

Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity, the most important Koch-backed group, has returned the favor by giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition. It’s also attended Adelson’s Las Vegas donor bash for two years in a row.

The biggest sign of a new Koch-Adelson axis, though, is the fact that Charles and David Koch have stayed suspiciously silent about Sheldon Adelson’s push to ban online gambling. Normally, this is the kind of thing the “libertarian” Kochs would oppose, but since so much money is on the line, they’re apparently more than willing to throw their “principles” out the window.

And money and the political power it buys, of course, are what the Koch-Adelson alliance is all about.

Even though the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, they both want to make sure that a Republican gets elected president in 2016. That’s because a Republican victory in 2016 will guarantee billionaire control over our political system for decades to come.

You see, the problem of money in politics begins and ends with the Supreme Court. It was the Supreme Court that first opened the floodgates to billionaire money with its 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, and it was the Supreme Court that gutted what remained of our campaign finance laws in its 2010 Citizens United decision.

And as long as right-wingers dominate the Court like they do now, they will strike down any and all attempts to reform campaign finance laws. Which is exactly why Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers are working so hard to elect a Republican in 2016.

Come January 2017, three of the nine Supreme Court justices will be over 80. A fourth, Stephen Breyer, will turn 80 in 2018. Death and retirement are very real possibilities, so our next president could get the chance to nominate as many four new Supreme Court justices. This is a huge deal.

Right now, the court is evenly divided between four liberal and four conservative justices, with Anthony Kennedy playing the role of “swing” justice (although he’s really a right-winger when it comes to campaign finance issues). So if a Democrat is in the White House in 2017 and just Anthony Kennedy decides to retire, liberals will get a majority on the Supreme Court for the first time in decades.

But if a Republican is in the White House in 2017 and Kennedy retires or passes away, right-wingers will get to keep and strengthen their stranglehold over our nation’s highest court, which, of course, means that the billionaires will get to keep and strengthen their stranglehold over our political system. The two go hand-in-hand.

Victory in 2016 means control over the Supreme Court, and control over the Supreme Court means control over our political system. As anti-democratic as that sounds, it’s the truth, and it’s exactly why Democrats need to join to together and support whoever ends up being the eventual Democratic nominee for president.

Whether that person is Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that they’re not a Republican and won’t appoint a right-winger to the Supreme Court. The rise of powerful billionaire alliances like that between the Koch Brothers and Adelson should scare the bejeezus out of all of us.

It’s a sign that our republic has taken another step forward towards becoming a complete oligarchy.

If progressives want to take back our democracy, we also need to form alliances, put aside our differences, and fight back against the billionaire class that’s hijacked our democracy by joining progressive movements and voting. The stakes couldn’t be higher.


liz banker 9 years 1 week ago

Our Founding fathers are rolling over in their graves: TAA/TPA/TPP are about giving up U.S. sovereignty over to global corporate powers.

When will the U.S. fizzle out as an empire?

After the dust settles, expect Jeb Bush as the 45th President of the United States.

Will Hillary backers blame Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, who else Thom to blame for Hillary's baggage and phoney campaign to appeal to the base of her party while collecting, herself, a cool billion in campaign donations.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 1 week ago

Liz, I do not expect another round of a Bush in the White House. I intend to work my tail off for Bernie Sanders' campaign. If his message resonates with you, I suggest you do the same. We NEED Bernie Sanders picking the next Supreme Court justices! He's the ONLY candidate I would trust with that awesome responsibility.

Thom, I think it makes a big difference whether Sanders or Clinton pick the next Supreme Court justices. Clinton is a corporatist; Sanders is not. I think you are smart enough to realize not all Democrat candidates are the same.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 1 week ago

What's really sad about this country is that poor people are shooting each other, instead of the Koch brothers, Adelson, and their ilk.

We can't do anything right any more, not even something as basic and fundamental as a violent uprising against oppressive billionaires.

Democracy is dead and we are all doomed.

Ken Duerksen's picture
Ken Duerksen 9 years 1 week ago

Hey Liz! Cheer up - Bernie's gonna WIN!

dianhow 9 years 1 week ago

I think Jeb is done for .. Same for the former TX Governor. I stay well informed , always vote . I donated & volunteered for the Obama 2008 campaign.. I live on a small income- due to my husbands hard won pension being trashed. Life Savings are going fast I'm a 72 yr old widow / caretaker..but giving what I can to Warren & Sanders . I doubt Fox Rush Drudge Hannity Trump fans / followers will vote their own families best interests Its tragic..

dianhow 9 years 1 week ago

Choosing the Next Supreme Court judges are the Most URGENT issue of our time !!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 1 week ago

Hillary sounded so much like Obama on the TPP. She said that she would be sure to do what is best for the American worker. What that actually is, is anybody's guess.

Bernie is too good. Can we create a secret service detail for him?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 1 week ago

I don't trust Hillary as far as I can throw the Washington Monument. That goes for just keeping the Post Office intact and none privatized, let alone keep us out of war and nominating the next Supreme Court Justice. Her silence speaks volumes. There is plenty to say. If you want to hear it, just ask Bernie Sanders. He's not afraid to speak his mind. Just imagine if Hillary is afraid to speak now, how frightened she will be to do anything when elected. Nope, I'm not falling for that silent act. All that smug little smirk on her face does is piss me off. Bernie can and will win this. We have to start believing that instead of what the Corporate media keeps telling us to think. If they had their way we would stop thinking altogether. They have neither our best interest, or the truth, in their agenda.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 1 week ago
Quote chuckle8:Bernie is too good. Can we create a secret service detail for him?

chuckle8 ~ Well said; and, I second that idea!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 1 week ago

As Thom points out, big money can easily purchase elected officials, the Supreme Court, and control our political system. Big money also buys the media, and thus controls the message the billionaires want us to hear.

For example Meet the Press just had Romney on. A truly free press, one responsible to the people, would have instead interviewed one of Romney's economic victims, someone whose life was ruined by Bain's vulture capitalism. Bush, Walton, Koch, Romney, Adelson, etc., they're all the same, too much money, and with it, arbitrary power. Tax laws should have been in place to prevent concentration of wealth on the scale we're seeing it now. The founders, had they seen this coming, would most certainly have created legislation to prevent it. Why go through all that revolutionary struggle just so a handful of piggish Fascists could destroy our liberty a mere 240 years later? Tax the bastards at a to be determined high bracket rate of 90%, that's my solution.

w1ders's picture
w1ders 9 years 1 week ago

I've said it before and I'll say it over and over. Bernie Sanders is our one and only chance for a peaceful revolution. It we can't get Bernie in the White House, nothing less than a violent, bloody revolution will do the trick. We have done it before and we can do it again. Live free or die. Ilk like the kochs and Adelson leave us little choice. They think very little of us, why should we think any better of them. It is your children that will be the new slaves in their world. I'll do as much as any for a peaceful solution but don't think we'll be given the choice unless we put BERNIE SANDERS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. Yes, I'm yelling.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 1 week ago

2950-10K -- I hope that you realize the New Deal and the Great Society created the legislation that the founders wanted. It, of course, scared the piggish Fascists s*&#less. It brought us Lewis Powell.

Picketty sets that top tax rate at 83%. I wish I had the energy to determine how he came up with that number.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 1 week ago

83% usually shows up as an approximation of 5/6. But why he picked that, I don't know.

vince1s1's picture
vince1s1 9 years 1 week ago

Thom, I disagree! Until we get the dark money out of politics’ how do we know that this corporate democrat has not already appointed someone that is in line with his corporate view in expanding the NWO. I believe that this 5-4 stance is meant for just appearance where someone will always be there to rotate on that 5th vote in favor of big business. The corporate strategist use the supreme court like a carrot and stick to secure a section of a populate vote. If you disagree with my analysis then ' Why has not Ruth Ginsburg retired under the Obama administration? Can you answer that? I believe we cannot trust either the corporate run Democrat or Republican leadership to appoint someone not in line with their corporate view of the world as it must be. In fact our only hope for survival is too stand behind and go all out for a true honest candidate such as Bernie sanders who is not controlled by lobbyist representing dark money

vince1s1's picture
vince1s1 9 years 1 week ago

After being fooled in 2008, 'like alot of people' I will never vote for just a party, because they are both corrupt, I vote for the canidate not the party, so the party better get its --- in gear and not the other way around.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 3 days ago

vince1s1 -- I need to remind you that Bernie cannot be a dictator. Of course, Bernie repeats that thought over and over.

If the dems had a super-majority in both houses of congress, I think you would vote for a 3rd term for Obama. Card check alone would have stopped the TPP and prevented the other 90% of the dubya tax cuts from becoming permanent. Obama did prevent at least 10% of them from becoming permanent. Obama also has stopped a tax holiday.

I think voting for dems is our only hope.

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