With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, arguably the most Conservative Justice on the recent Supreme Court, and the high possibility of Democratic Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Republican Justice Anthony Kennedy and Democratic Justice Stephen Breyer retiring, the future of the Supreme Court is at stake this Presidential Election Year.
Citizens United changed the nature of American democracy. In the first five years after the decision super PACs received more than $1 billion, $600 million of which came from just 195 donors and their spouses. Between 2006, before the Court decision, and 2014, after the decision, independent expenditures increased 25-fold. If Donald Trump wins, those Supreme Court Justices will be Conservative, Antonin Scalia, type Justices and Citizens United will not only not be overturned, much worse legislation could be put forth.
In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law requiring a photo ID to vote. This decision ended 150 years of laws and policies that steadily expanded the. The justices conceded that those least likely to have state-issued identification are disproportionally poor and nonwhite. The state had offered no examples of voter fraud that would have been prevented with voter ID. This decision has led to at least 23 states introducing some of the most restrictive voter suppression laws.
In 2007 and 2010, the Supreme Court overturned 70 years of precedent when it declared that the Second Amendment applied to individuals, not just militias. This decision made gun reform extremely difficult. Since 2010, we have seen states make the most lax gun laws rather than pursue gun reform and pushing for stricter background checks. Thanks to concealed carry and open carry laws, the only places that remain gun free are churches, courts and legislatures.
Immigration as we know it will be decimated if Donald Trump is allowed to implant extremely right wing, conservative Supreme Court Justices. He has already talked about building a wall along the Mexican border and mass deportation of illegal Mexican immigrants and Muslims. There is a famous quote on a bronze plaque affixed to the inner walls of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty that reads, “Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” If Donald Trump is allowed to nominate 3-4 Supreme Court Justices, we may as well rip this plaque off the wall and tear down the Statue of Liberty.
In 2014 the Court made it more difficult for poor women to prevent pregnancy when it held that privately held businesses could be exempt from the Obamacare requirement that insurance cover contraception based of the company’s religious beliefs. Ruth Bader Ginsberg warned that, “The Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood invites for-profit entities to seek religious-base exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faiths.”
In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners have no constitutional right to DNA testing even though at the time such testing had already played a role in 240 exonerations, 103 of which also identified the actual perpetrator.
The American Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court in. But the Court rejected the Act’s Medicaid expansion mandate. Almost 8 million people lack health insurance as a result.
Supreme Court decisions effect every aspect of our lives, both politically and personally. Our ability to elect progressive candidates and enact progressive policies is determined by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the constitution and legal precedents.
All of the afore-mentioned Supreme Court decisions were very close decisions:
- Citizens United, 5-4
- Overturning Indiana Law and opening the door to voter suppression, 6-3
- 2007 and 2010 Second Amendment decisions, both were 5-4
- 2014 case exempting Obamacare from covering contraception based on religious beliefs, 5-4
- American Care Act, 5-4
I am extremely disappointed that the DNC robbed Bernie Sanders of the nomination and one of the last things I really want to do is vote for the anointed one, but imagine if these cases were decided with a Conservative leaning 7-2 Supreme Court. This is the main reason that I will be backing Hillary Clinton this November. She is by no means the best candidate that ran, that would be Bernie Sanders. But, Bernie Sanders did not win the nomination, Hillary Clinton did. I would love to write in Bernie Sanders or vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, but I believe that would only result in a President Donald Trump, and that we cannot have.
To paraphrase Bernie Sanders the major political task that we face is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly.” I, for one, couldn’t agree more. Donald Trump would not only destroy any hope for a Progressive America, he could very well cause a global catastrophe, both ecologically and economically.
And for those of you that keep telling me that I backed the wrong candidate, I will leave you with a quote from Captain Malcolm Reynolds, “May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”