During pretty much any presidential campaign, a lot of us run around thinking, “Supreme Court, Supreme Court.” Actually, a lot of us sort of yell it.
None of us can remember a presidential election more important to the Supreme Court than this one. We have lived under–and I mean under–the five heavy thumbs of the conservative majority for so damn long. (I, for one, cheered when I heard Scalia had died.)
For all the moaning and mourning about how an evenly divided Supreme Court has been only minimally functional, crippled by the Republican Senate’s obstruction of Merrill Garland’s nomination, I can see a court as of January 2017 that will rectify the egregiously imbalanced wrongs of the Court under John Roberts’ chiefdom, and will provide decisions that can affect our lives beneficently for many generations.
I realize Supreme Court decisions can be abstruse and hard to consider against our individual, day-to-day lives. How do decisions affect us ordinary people directly? Can we see the effect?
That’s why Lemieux’s article is so terrific: it tells us in simple, straightforward language what impact his five worst decisions of the Roberts court have had on all of us and, even more angering, why and how the Roberts court twisted their decisions and ignored the Constitution in order to make or defend bad laws that never existed.
It’s a total slam-down of Roberts and his court.
Most progressives would rank Citizens United v. FEC as the worst ruling ever handed down by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. But five other rulings are turning out to be even more disastrous.
Here’s the list. There are a couple of surprises. You can test your memory and awareness of the Supreme Court as to what these cases were about (I’ve provided some teaser paragraphs from Lemieux’s discussion), or just read the whole article.
1. Shelby County v. Holder.
Even setting aside his failure to base it on the text of the Constitution, Roberts’s argument—that Congress once had the relevant power but no longer does because the statute was too effective at protecting the rights it was intended to—defies logic.
2. NFIB v. Sebelius.
In terms of its policy impact, it would be hard to identify a worse decision in the history of the Supreme Court. Thousands of people a year will literally die because Roberts re-wrote the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act to make it much easier for states to opt out.
3. Connick v. Thompson
The impact of this case—making it more likely that innocent people will be railroaded into prison—is self-evidently terrible.
4. AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion
[My comment: this is about the corporate evil called forced arbitration which SCOTUS supported.]
5. Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett.
I actually think that this, not Citizens United, is the very worst of the Roberts Court’s campaign-finance decisions.