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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Really Important Supreme Court Decision No One Is Talking About

The Really Important Supreme Court Decision No One Is Talking About

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” as my old Texas momma used to instruct my brothers and me. But apparently, five of the justices on our Supreme Court didn’t have mommas with such ethical sensibilities — or perhaps they’re just ignoring their mommas’ wisdom now in order to impose their extremist political agenda on you and me.

That agenda became startlingly clear in 2010, when the black-robed cabal of Sam Alito, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas hung their infamous Citizens United edict around America’s neck. It allowed unlimited sums of corporate cash to spew into our elections, effectively legalizing the wholesale purchase of America’s elected officials. In his majority decision, Supreme joker Kennedy drew from his deep well of political ignorance and judicial arrogance to declare that these gushers of special interest money “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

Is he on the court — or in a comedy club? Not only were Kennedy and his fellow corporatists wrong on the substance of their decree, but also ridiculously wrong on the politics. You don’t need a law degree to see that CEOs are presently flooding this year’s presidential and congressional races with hundreds of millions of corporate campaign dollars, gleefully perverting the political process to buy government policy for their own gain.

That not only gives the appearance of corruption, it is corrupt.

And now the same five judicial extremists have added a third egregious wrong to their agenda of turning The People’s rights over to soulless corporations. On June 25, they struck down a century-old Montana law (enacted directly by the people through a 1912 initiative vote) that banned corporate money from corrupting that state’s elections.

These five are not mere “judicial activists” — they’re dangerous political hacks, fronting for corporate powers that are openly attempting a plutocratic coup on America. As a Montana newspaper editorial succinctly put it: “The greatest living issue confronting us today is whether the corporations shall control the people or the people shall control the corporations.”

That was written in 1906, as Montanans were rising up in outrage against the “copper kings” — giant, out-of-state mining corporations that were grossly exploiting Montana’s workforce, extracting its public resources, and routinely extending bribes to control its government. A populist rebellion culminated 100 years ago in the passage of a citizens initiative, called the Corrupt Practices Act. With that, Montana’s people outlawed direct corporate expenditures in elections for state offices.

Their law worked, breaking the copper kings’ legislative chokehold. A century later, the law was still working, for the lack of corporate cash allowed people politics to supplant money politics, opening up a more democratic electoral process.