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Hullabaloo


Thursday, May 08, 2014

 
The Supreme Court brought this on itself

by digby

When the Bush campaign petitioned the Supreme Court in 2000 to stop the recount in Florida I very energetically insisted to all of my friends that the Court would never take such a partisan case because of the risk to their prestige and reputation as the objective deciders of fact. They had no obligation to take it. The process was playing itself out according to the constitution without anyone taking to the streets. And the country was humming along nicely with a popular president still at the helm. It seemed completely unlikely to me that the court would interfere.Obviously, I was wrong.

And according to Gallup its poll numbers have plummeted ever since then. Now they are seen as just another political entity. Here are the results of a new poll done by Greenberg, Quinlan and Rossner:
Wide majorities disagree with the recent 5-4 party-line rulings that have upended a century of campaign finance law and tilted the rules in favor of the extremely wealthy and major corporations. The landmark Citizens United ruling was opposed by a whopping 80-18 margin. The more recent McCutcheon decision, which lifted caps on total giving, was said by a 51 percent majority to be likely to create more corruption, while 8 percent suggested it would lead to less.

By a 60-36 spread, those surveyed said that Supreme Court justices were more likely to be carrying out a personal or political agenda than working to render a fair and impartial judgment, an opinion that cut across party lines. John Roberts swore before Congress during his confirmation hearings that he had great respect for precedent. But once confirmed as chief justice, he embarked on a remarkable run of conservative judicial activism that has favored the wealthy while undermining affirmative action and protection for voting rights.
The people are seeing reality. And the ramifications of this Federalist Society takeover of the court majority are profound:
Big majorities in the GQR poll said that Supreme Court justices should no longer be appointed for life, that cameras should be allowed in the courtroom and that justices should disclose financial conflicts of interest and be bound by ethics rules.
It's hard to believe they aren't bound by conflict of interest and ethics rules already. But certain conservatives on the court routinely flout what common decency would suppose anyone with integrity in that powerful position would do. They don't care. (What are we going to do, impeach them? Not likely ...) And as for term limits, it appears that people are seeing that the court is such a powerful force in American politics that allowing them to remain on the bench for as many as 30 or 40 years beyond the the president who appointed them may not be such a great idea.

When I was growing up the Court seemed like a magnificent institution that had the ability to reach beyond normal politics and take the country past its failures and into the future. It never really was all that --- it was always a political institution peopled by political actors. But it wasn't a nakedly partisan institution like it is now. The conservative majority isn't just driven by ideology --- it identifies very strongly with the Republican party and its decisions are colored by that identification. It seems they have not been able to hide that from the American people and they may end up paying a big price for it as an institution.


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