Fwd: What a Bush Supreme Court would mean

radman resist at best.com
Wed Aug 30 10:51:43 PDT 2000

>Putting to rest just what a Bush Supreme Court would mean.
> In My Opinion-Morton Bahr, CWA President
> CWA News, August, 2000, page 2
> This November elections will shape our political and cultural
>landscape, not just for the next couple of election rounds or presidential
>terms, but more likely for decades to come.
> That's because the next president will have a rare chance to define
>the philosophy of the Supreme Court that third branch of government which
>has at least as much influence on our society as Congress or the president
>for the next 20 years or more.
> The nine supreme court justices, of course, are appointed for life,
>and court watchers agree that the next president will have a chance to name
>two or three new justices, and perhaps as many as four or five if that
>president serves two terms.
> Supreme Court vacancies come up, on average, every two years. We re
>overdue because there hasn t been a new appointment since 1994. Right now,
>three justices are over age 70, including Chief Justice William Rehnquist
>at 75, and one is 80.
> The court right now is in a precarious balance between conservative
>and moderate wings, with the generally conservative Sandra Day O Connor,
>who just turned 70, most often the swing vote in the ever-more-frequent
>close decisions.
> Fully 28 percent of the 74 cases heard in the last Supreme Court
>session were decided on 5-4 votes the highest percentage of close calls in
>a decade-with the conservatives prevailing most often.
> Clearly, the character of the next one or two appointments will tip
>the balance in a fundamental way. And there is no mystery about the type of
>Supreme Court nominees each of the presidential candidates would choose.
> According to Newsweek, which calls the High Court the sleeper issue :
>Bush has said that he would nominate only strict constructionists to the
>bench , justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The
>court s most ardent conservatives. Gore, meanwhile, has said his judicial
>role model is the late Thurgood Marshall, one of the most liberal, activist
>judges in the court s history.
> What would a Bush court in the Scalia-Thomas mold look like? We don t
>have to guess, because the People for the American Way, a non-profit group
>advocating civil liberties, has done a comprehensive study of the decisions
>of these two men over the years.
> The groups conclusion: More justices like Thomas and Scalia would
>create a court that would favor business interests over workers rights,
>environmental protections and consumer protections, and would chip away at
>individual privacy and free speech rights
>(based on Thomas-Scalia positions on these issues.
> Scalia and Thomas vote together 94 percent of the time, often in
>minority dissents that are wildly at odds with the rest of the
>court. Their minority position on one case involving an interpretation of
>the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would have overturned at least 28 prior
>Supreme Court decisions. Their position was termed radical by four of
>their colleagues on the bench.
> Based on their voting record, the PFAW study found that a
>Scalia-Thomas court would attack workers rights, for instance, by allowing
>public workers and contractors to be fired or disciplined for their
>political opinions and affiliations.
> Further, Scalia and Thomas often have taken positions to weaken
>employees right to strike, and in one case, expanding employers ability to
>refuse to bargain with employees duly elected union representatives, the
>group found.
> These two justices, who Gov. Bush said on Meet the Press are the ones
>he most admires, also have a history of positions favoring employers and
>opposing the rights of workers under ERISA, the pension protection law. For
>instance, according to the PFAW report, in 1996 Thomas and Scalia were
>joined by Justice O Connor in a dissent that would have denied the employee
>beneficiaries of an insolvent retirement plan the right to sue for
>inclusion in another (solvent) benefit plan maintained by their employer.
>Fortunately, the majority ruled the other way that time.
> The addition of one or two new Supreme Court justices who share
>Thomas and Scalia s views also would undermine individual privacy rights
>and free speech, consumer protections, the separation of church and state,
>public access to the courts, and efforts to protect the environment
>conclusion based on the study of their opinions in all these areas. (To see
>the full report, visit the web site: www.itsyourcourt.org)
> That s the model that Gov. Bush says he wants. More justices like
>Thomas and Scalia would give the extreme political right and corporate
>America their dream team and be a real nightmare for the average working
>American for decades to come.
>with permission
>submitted for consideration in the Minnesota Trade Union movement and
>Michael Madden
>locomotive machinist
>P.O. Box 368
>Center City, Mn. 55012-0368

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list