I guess it's inevitable that I would seize an opportunity to shout out my own opinions about the three day dumb show that we were forced to endure this week at the Supreme Court. I have heard so much nonsense about what happened there, even from normally brilliant commentators like Randi Rhodes, that I have to at least say what I think is really happening.
First, I would like to deal with a bit of judicial precedent. I'm not a lawyer, but I think anyone reading the following will get the point. This involves the notion that the "individual mandate," i.e. the requirement that people buy insurance, is some sort of outrage to the Constitution and the founding fathers.
Here is something that, I am positive, every Supreme Court Justice (well, except maybe for that jackass Clarence Thomas) is fully aware of:
"In July, 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” authorizing the creation of a marine hospital service, and mandating privately employed sailors to purchase healthcare insurance."
1798. Less than ten years after the passing of the Constitution, a Congress still largely made up of the very founding fathers that the Republicans claim to revere, passed a law with an individual mandate to buy health insurance, and it was signed into law by another founding father, John Adams.
This law was never legally challenged; its existence utterly destroys the Republican claims that an individual mandate is some sort of an unconstitutional abomination.
If you have any doubts about my claim, click on the link above, where you can find the original text of the law.
Now, let me turn to a little bit more recent history, that of Republican Supreme Court appointments in the last half century.
This story starts with Richard Nixon and the Southern Strategy. Given the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court Justice, Nixon attempted to use it to pander to Southern racists by attempting to appoint two far-right wing Southern judges, Clement Haynsworth and G. Harold Carswell, both grossly unqualified, to the seat. After the Senate turned them both down, Nixon chose an even more extreme character, an Arizona corporate tool with a history of open suppression of the minority vote, William H. Rehnquist. When the Senate, fatigued with this game, gave in and accepted Rehnquist, Republicans learned a big lesson: if they were just belligerent and obstructive enough, and if the candidate didn't have too blatant a racist past, they could force the Senate to agree to almost anyone, no matter how indifferent they were to the law they were selected to uphold.
Thus followed a sorry history: the open admirer of Mussolini, Antonin Scalia, the comically unqualified Clarence Thomas, another Arizona Republican, Sandra Day O'Connor, Alito, Roberts; the entire pack of them sharing one single distinction- an utter disregard for the law and for precedent when it stood in the way of the rich and of corporations getting their way. In plainer terms, every single one of these Justices was corrupt.
In general, these very intelligent individuals have managed to thinly disguise their real agenda, simply turning the country degree by degree, in an endless series of 5-4 decisions, toward the right. But like a sleeper cell, they wait away the years, until they have the chance to do the real damage for which they were appointed. Twice, now, they have thrown off their cloaks and struck death blows to American jurisprudence.
The first was Bush v. Gore. This still stands as the greatest act of judicial corruption in the history of our country. As a result, we had eight years of corporate plundering of the wealth of the United States, until our economy collapsed, spiralling down into a near depression. The basis on which the five-vote majority made their decision was utter nonsense, and yet the weak Democrats allowed them to engage in this vicious attack on all of us without the slightest consequence.
The second treachery was the Citizens' United decision- once more, rendered with the barest pretense of a justification, and which again threw the country into the hands of the ultra rich. As with Bush v. Gore, no one important enough to matter dared state the obvious- that this was an utterly lawless act of corruption. Again, the justices involved in this crime escaped without penalty.
Now comes chapter three in this sad litany. By now, those who were stunned last week at the illogicality, the childishness of the corrupt Justices' arguments should know better. They know they face no danger of being unmasked by the cowardly Democrats, or of facing the slightest penalty for their corruption, and like any sort of serial criminal they grow more bold and careless with each offense. At this point, they are openly mocking their opponents, demonstrating that they need no precedent, no persuasive argument, to do what they want, what they were selected to do. They are set upon remaking this country into a corporate oligarchy, and that is the goal they will further with their decision in this case.
It is time for us to forget the notion that we have the right, through our elected representatives, to try to make this a better country. America is not ours any more- it belongs to the Koch brothers, and the Mitt Romneys among us, and their servants on the Supreme Court are about to give us another lesson in that fact.