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This week at the Supreme Court was a revelation to some in the center-left part of the DC media Village.

The four conservative justices who participated in oral arguments on conservative challenges to the Affordable Care Act showed themselves to be radical judicial activists, determined to overturn the law for rather flimsy reasons.

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post seemed to be shocked by the conservatives' obsession with "weird hypotheticals" and "astonishing arguments."

He comes to this rare-for-Villagers conclusion:

Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives.
I would add, not just from "this display," but from the entirety of the Obama administration's attempts to compromise with conservatives in Congress.

Well, we have learned that, but it's nice for a major Villager to notice this essential roadblock to effective, small-d democratic governance.

More, below.    

Dionne worries that the conservative Supreme Court is becoming a "judicial dictatorship":

A court that gave us Bush v. Gore and Citizens United will prove conclusively (should it "strike down or cripple" ACA) that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology.
Many here (Adam B, Armando, etc.) have written authoritatively about this fact of 21st-century politics, and most reading this far are familiar with their arguments.

Here's another take, from non-lawyer John Cole at Balloon Juice, that is spot on politically:

News flash -- right wing hacks tend to act like right wing hacks. We’re talking about a conservative (Supreme Court) bloc whose wives openly work for tea party groups, we’re talking about hacks that speak privately to the tea party hacks. We’re talking about people who lie on their disclosure forms for decades to cover up the money their wives are receiving from wingnut welfare organizations.

Every one of these men was a member of the Federalist Society. Every single one of them was groomed for exactly what they are doing right now. This is their time to shine, to do what they have been groomed to do. When you train soldiers to fight, and drill their mission into them every day, and drill the rightness and correctness of their mission into them every day, and assure them they are fighting for truth, justice, and the American way, only a fool would be surprised that they are eager to go into combat.

The conservative cabal on the Supreme Court is pretty bad now, and will surely get worse if a Republican gets elected President.

From the questioning this week, it's obvious that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, civil liberties, reproductive rights, etc., are all at risk from the current Supreme Court radicals.

One or two more like them, and the plutocracy will be entrenched for decades.  

Those here, and elsewhere on the Democratic left, who have misgivings about Obama must put those aside and work, donate and vote for him this year.

It's really the most important issue, as we learned again this week.

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Comment Preferences

  •  time to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, joe wobblie, bluedust

    occupy SCOTUS

    “Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”-Aristophanes

    by karma13612 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:06:59 PM PDT

    •  What exactly would that do? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, a gilas girl

      They are not accountable. They, by design, do not adhere to any public opinion.

      People panic too much on this site.

      by thematt523 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:10:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The SC conservatives (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msmacgyver, joe wobblie

        apparently listen to public opinion, at least public opinion that comports with their political prejudices.

        Several of Scalia's questions were indistinguishable from talk radio/Fox "News" concerns about ACA.

        Like the broccoli mandate fantasy.  

        A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

        by devtob on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:23:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          devtob

          people who disagree with them will change their minds? They obviously have opinions of what is going on in politics. That would be bad if they were completely isolated.

          But there is no pressure that can be put on them. All of them have lifetime appointments. They answer to nobody. Protests do nothing. No matter how much yelling you do or organizing you start, in the end, they will have their job until they want to leave.

          What could you possibly do to change their decisions?

          People panic too much on this site.

          by thematt523 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:31:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Intimidation via court packing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            devtob, joe wobblie

            or jurisdiction-stripping.

            If the court refuses to respect democracy, then the democratically elected institutions need to put it back in its cage.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:46:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think that would work (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              devtob

              Congress determines those things. Occupy them. And they won't do it. You are metaphorically holding a gun to their heads and say they have to do what you say or you ruin their jobs.

              Yeah, be a little more subtle next time.

              People panic too much on this site.

              by thematt523 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:06:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm saying that the next time we control Congress (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                devtob, joe wobblie

                it's time to settle all family business-the filibuster, the Gang of Five, etc.

                Our opponents will use any means necessary to advance their agenda.  

                Jurisdiction stripping would certainly work.  As would appointing 4 new liberal justices.

                The SCOTUS depends on the good graces of the elected branches to maintain its lofty status.  

                They need to be reminded that they are not kings.

                "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                by Geekesque on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:20:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  thematt523, you might be right (0+ / 0-)

        via logical, clearly defined values and cold hard facts.

        But, the problem is that nothing seems to be following any logical path anymore, least wise our very own government and elected officials.

        politicians and our government are getting away with so much bad $h!T that it makes me wonder if this country will ever get back to proper function again.

        Cheating, lying, stealing, legal insider trading, selling Senate Seats, being bought by corporations, taking the easy way out,

        It has all become the standard.

        Why do we not trust SCOTUS?
        How about Citizens United, How about Election 2000..

        Why do we think they can be swayed?
        Because they are, because they have been, and because they will be.

        As an aside, why do the laywers stand before the SCOTUS or any court, except to defend their side of the issue. SCOTUS in fact does not make their decision in a vacuum.

        Hence,
        Occupy, to let our voices be heard. At least that is what I mean my occupy. To be heard. I am not trying to get in the way of business, or the sidewalk, and get beaten by police. But, it would be nice if the court knew that we aren't going to take this one sitting down.

        “Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”-Aristophanes

        by karma13612 on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:16:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I believe all this is premature (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob

    You cannot determine a decision based solely on oral arguments. I still believe that it will be upheld.

    85% of legal scholars expect an upholding. And the most common prediction is 6-3. The liberals + Kennedy and Roberts. And those were the two who showed skepticism for the anti-mandate argument. So their prediction made sense, and is likely.

    And no, Citizens United was not unexpected activism. Most of them predicted that 5-4 decision months in advance.

    Obviously, the mandate could be struck down, and yes, some dumb arguments were made, but to take all of that and extrapolate that all of liberalism is under unstoppable attack, and a case THAT IS NOT EVEN DECIDED YET, is very dumb.

    And yes, the Supreme Court has ideological judges. But they always have, and they always will.

    People panic too much on this site.

    by thematt523 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:20:20 PM PDT

    •  Most justices... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, joe wobblie

      Most Supreme Court Justices today decide how they are going to vote before the hearing. Many have even admitted this. These days, it's just a formality. They decide by reading the brief.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:34:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Legal scholars are explicitly that! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, labwitchy, blueoasis

      TheY are legal scholars rendering their decisions based on sound legal precedents.
      A pack of hired and groomed '5-4' lackey neo-fascist ideologues spewing nothing but senseless teaparty jingles out of their collective cloacae, are a DIRE THREAT to Our American System of Government of the people,by the people, and for the people!

      ! The swinistic greed and racial hatred of the American ruling elite is abysmal !

      by joe wobblie on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:51:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also (0+ / 0-)

    Except for Citizens United (which was predicted) and Bush v. Gore (which was the Rehnquist Court, not the Roberts Court), can anyone name ONE act of rampant, unpredicted judicial activism?

    People panic too much on this site.

    by thematt523 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:21:29 PM PDT

    •  Rampant, unpredicted (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie, bluedust

      judicial activism occurred in Citizens United, at least according to Russ Feingold:

      Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.
      Also, in Heller, the conservative radicals made up a right to self-defense with a handgun that is not in the Second Amendment.

      A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

      by devtob on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:50:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Russ Feingold (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devtob

        was upset because his campaign finance law was invalidated. And again, nobody said that was unlikely before the Court decided. It was PREDICTED.

        There is a difference between a court being conservative and a court being unpredictable. You're upset that the court is too conservative? Fine. But that does not mean that everyone else is wrong.

        And yes, there was obviously going to be some conservative opposition to the mandate. The prediction was 6-3, not 9-0.

        Why are you so desperate to believe that the court will overturn it? Wouldn't you be happier believing that you can win this battle?

        People panic too much on this site.

        by thematt523 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:12:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope you're right, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Geekesque, joe wobblie

          but generally the tone of the questions reveal the eventual vote.

          I'm not alone in believing, after the oral arguments, that the ACA will be mostly ruled unconstitutional by the usual 5-4.

          Or in believing that it will be a partisan, political decision.

          A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

          by devtob on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:26:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The stakes haven't been high enough. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, joe wobblie, blueoasis

      These guys pretended their entire careers to care about the law moreso than naked partisanship.  They were just waiting for the right chance to launch the counter-offensive in their quest to take us back to the 1920's.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:44:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Evil is winning (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, joe wobblie, bluedust

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:32:28 PM PDT

  •  When we control congress next, there needs to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, joe wobblie

    be serious, serious payback directed at the court.

    FDR-style court-packing or jurisdiction stripping come to mind.  

    The Supreme Court has historically been an obstacle to progressive economic policy.  Time to take away its ability to hear Commerce Clause cases.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:42:07 PM PDT

  •  SCOTUS is just as political as any other court in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob

    the land. I hold very little stock in the decisions they make. Sorry, I have become very pessimistic about our courts and legislature in the past decade. GOPers seem think they are above the law, and can do whatever they want. They are on a power trip, not looking to the best for their citizens. Now that they are "in charge" in many places they are running this country into the ground. So sad to see our democracy undercut by those who profess to uphold it!

    Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

    by 50sbaby on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:37:38 AM PDT

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