Saturday, July 12, 2014

Scalia The Tyrant

Historically the Supreme Court has been an august body of legal paragons adjudicating the uniquely American doctrines of fairness, equality, and protection under the law. I am referring, of course, to giants like Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan, William O. Douglas, Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens. Even Reagan appointee Sandra Day O’Connor had a common sense judicial mien. I disagreed with most of her rulings, but she was not unreasonably partisan, crass and smug—qualities which have infected the current Supreme Court.

Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, in particular, have turned the Court into a right-wing forum for altering the letter and intent of the Founding Fathers’ blueprint. But more galling is their attitude. They are deplorably arrogant and pompous. Even their dissents are full of vitriol and lacking in solid legal foundation. They are law unto themselves. They have become self-anointed despots, disdainful of all the ways in which the Constitution provides protections for the greater good.

Thomas, the surly Uncle Tom with smarmy sexual habits, is a follower. It is Scalia who is the bully; Thomas is just his manservant. Thusly, I was amused to see Scalia viciously attacked in a recent edition of OpEd News. I quote here from the article written by Jim Hightower:

“So many absurdities abound in our lives that there's a whole body of philosophical thought called ‘absurdism,’ as well as an entire catalogue of plays called the ‘theater of the absurd.’ And then there's Antonin Scalia.

“This sour, scowling, and snarky Supreme Court Justice personifies the dictionary definition of absurd: ‘Utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false.’

“A right-wing dogmatist and extreme judicial activist who's full of himself, Scalia has been the court's chief monkey-wrencher for corporate interests, constantly messing with the Constitution to enthrone plutocratic money over our people's democratic politics. By black-robed fiat, he and his four fellow corporatists on the bench have managed to twist language and pervert nature itself by declaring that corporations are ‘people’ and money is ‘speech.’ Thus, in their now infamous Citizens United edict of 2010, the five decreed that these huge, lifeless, paper constructs -- without brains, hearts, souls, or tongues--must be free to ‘speak’ in our elections by spending unlimited (and undisclosed) amounts of their shareholders' money to determine who wins public office.

“Two years later, questioned in a CNN interview about the logic of this finding, Scalia leapt from the merely preposterous to the phantasmagoric, insisting that the founders themselves would've approved extending the human right of political speech to these imaginary corporate persons. Doing so, proclaimed the legal contortionist, increases the level of democratic participation, so it's inherently good: ‘I think Thomas Jefferson would have said, 'The more speech, the better.'

“Good grief! What we have here is one of the most powerful officials in America, one of nine supreme arbiters of what the wording of the Constitution means, who's either (1) sublimely ignorant about the core democratic beliefs of a key author of our nation's founding documents; (2) an ideological delusionalist; or (3) a shameless liar.

“Start with the fact that the word "corporation" appears nowhere in the Constitution. That is not by accident. Jefferson (along with Madison and other founders) abhorred any participation in the people's business by these predatory corporate beasts. Unlike Scalia, Jefferson had no trouble distinguishing between an actual human being and a piece of paper, which is what a corporation is. He saw them as plutocratic vultures poised to overpower our fledgling democratic experiment, supplanting it with a corporate aristocracy that would plunder and impoverish the people. He would have just as soon ripped out every red hair on his head than extend political speech to the vast piles of wealth stored in corporate treasuries.”

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