Friday, July 2, 2010

Roberts Supreme Court Continues Its Conservative Judicial Activism

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts (left) has a consistent record of conservative judicial activism, as an analysis by Adam Liptak of the New York Times makes clear:

The centerpiece of the last term was, of course, the 5-to-4 decision in Citizens United, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections...

...The Citizens United decision contained not a trace of minimalism, and it showed great solicitude to the interests of corporations.

“They’re fearless,” Lisa S. Blatt, who served in the solicitor general’s office for 13 years before joining Arnold & Porter last year, said of the justices in the majority. “This is a business court. Now it’s the era of the corporation and the interests of business.”

...The court continued its push to broaden Second Amendment Rights, ruling on Monday that the amendment’s protections apply to state and local gun control laws as well as to federal law. [The NYT had an excellent editorial, "The Court: Ignoring the Reality of Guns."]

And the justices further limited the rights of criminal defendants. Last term, the court narrowed earlier decisions barring the use of evidence obtained through police misconduct.

Elana Kagan, President Obama's nominee, though not a conservative, will probably shift the court incrementally to the right, since she is not as liberal as the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The most disturbing part of Liptak's analysis is the following:

That trend, lawyers and legal scholars said, may well threaten recent legislation overhauling financial regulations and the health care system when challenges to them reach the court.

No major piece of legislation under Obama, then, is necessarily settled given the current Supreme Court. This court, in fact, makes it imperative that Obama be reelected. Reversing the court's rightward drift, which would only continue under a Republican administration, is the most important domestic consideration of the next six years.


Charles said...

Here we my thoughts on Kagan after the first day of the hearings:

But perhaps I am not taking this seriously enough.

She seems intelligent, and if she doesn't sound liberal enough now, I think once she's got that robe on she is going to sound a lot different (in some good ways, but I assume also, in a lot of bad ways.)

As she pointed out 15 years ago, the hearing process is a farce. She is just running through a script at this point. She won't be able to fully unleash her perspective onto the judicial world until they have made it official.

And I'll be straight with you man... the citizen's united case to me is just... some kind of artificial flashpoint anyway. Corporations and people with money have ways of doing the dirty business they do with politicians, whether it's by paying them by promoting them in ad's or whatever. It might sounds really "bad" but it doesn't change anything really one way or another. Now perhaps if the government was shrunk in scope and power, huge companies would have less reason to invest so much time money and effort on buying the men in DC...

Jeff Tone said...

To me, the Citizens United case was an outrage. It constitutes a direct threat to democracy by throwing out precedent and completely rejecting corporate campaign spending limits. The decision codified and finalized the corruption of our political system. We might as well start referring to the senator from Halliburton or Walmart.