John Roberts promised a gradualist Supreme Court – “just calling the balls and strikes”. But in a rushed decision riddled with many questions and problems left un-answered, Roberts and company threw out 30 years of Supreme Court precedence and 100 years of moving to the individual not groups and corporates as the basic holder of voting rights. Equating money as free speech and special interest groups/corporations as single-minded, unanimous voters are the two fundamental flaws in this decision. This is another tragic step as the US slips into an ungovernable bautocracy.
The fight over who and how one can buy political power has gone on for the length of the Union. For the last 20 years the fight has become brutal – and it is reflected in the wretched partisanship in federal politics of the last 10 years. Most recently the Republican Party became the NOPE machine, with not one member crossing over to support any Democratic domestic agenda items. The Democrats, using their now lost filibuster-proof majorities in the House and Senate excluded the Republicans from obstructing health and other domestic legislation. The voters waiting for consensus seethed as jobs continued to be lost while banks, rescued with more than a trillion dollars of their taxpayer money, continued to reject most mortgage amelioration, reduced loans to small businesses by a whopping 10%, yet paid their own workers bonuses bigger than in 2007, the start of the financial crisis. And the Obama administration put ever longer Democratic healthcare wrangling above jobs, financial reform, and substantive moment on promised education, energy and climate change reforms. So now in the need to rescue John McCain’s campaign financing reforms, there is no will to take the issue on as bitterly parochial partisanship rules Congress.
Given the rushed decision, with many unanswered major issues [think of such serious problems as the power of foreign corporates to now influence US elections, the easy ability of corporate and other special interest groups to dodge disclosure rules, the threat of nearly unprovable “we will do all it takes to destroy you” lobbying by special interests] one has to question the integrity of the John Roberts Supreme Court. Who set the agenda and to whom is the Roberts Court beholden to given such a flawed judgment. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has on its recent record the precedent of extreme political partisanship in the decision in 2000 not to count all the 2000 presidential election votes. Tyrants around the World say to US delegates – “don’t talk to us about voting fairness when you failed to count your presidential election votes”. Now imagine what Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe or Iran’s Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will proclaim – “Don’t you dare presume to lecture us about voting irregularities when you have basic voting rights problems yourself”. And then the tyrants will whisper “Thank you, Chief Justice John Roberts”.