July 14, 2013


It’s better than the Democratic war-room. Better far than the Tea Party’s tactics. Even better than the Republican Party at Convention Time, they who usually (although not in 2012) put on the biggest and best show on television.

What could this be?

Why, our very own “above the fray,” “bi-partisan,” “court of last resort.”

Chief Justice John Roberts has become a wielder of power unlike any we have witnessed. He and his Court have done exactly what they said they wanted least in the world to do: legislate from the bench. (Is there perjury in their future?)

What I’m talking about is the week of June 26th, 2013.

Let me lead you through a little of the underbrush.

President Obama’s healthcare package was approved based on the idea that while the “mandate” may be unconstitutional, as a “tax” the bill could stand the test of scrutiny.

This was not a single-standing decision. It followed the Court’s version of life called Citizens’ United vs the FEC.

That decision was reviled broadly. It was clear that the Court wanted money to be the motivating force in American elections, and access to it.

When Obamacare came before the Court, Justice Roberts needed to repair his Court’s image as wise, thoughtful, concerned with what matters to the man on the street. His solution made many forget the loss of voting power citizens had had heretofore, i.e., one-man-one-vote. That ancient American idea, enshrined in the Constitution, went by the boards, buried by the public’s relief at being insurable and health conscious.

Next we learned that Congress had given the Chief Justice power to appoint the eleven FISA Court judges. He did: ten Republicans and one Democrat. This to a court where in terrorism cases – or the suspicion of complicity in terrorism – evidence is presented only by the government; there are no appeals; everything decided is secret.

During the week in question, Justice Roberts scheduled the release of the Court’s latest decisions brilliantly. He buried the real threat to American greatness, stepping all over his Court’s rejection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with the Court’s subsequent decisions re DOMA and California’s Prop 8.

And what of the watch-dog press?

Forget ’em.

They fell for it. Hours and hours of the more colorful details surrounding same-sex marriage, and almost nothing devoted to the idea that the right of all Americans to vote freely had just been wiped from the books.

I’m not saying that the millions of people affected by the rejection of DOMA and the sending back to a lower court of Prop 8 aren’t important. They are. But they, too, have just been out-maneuvered. Fine, they may marry but they may not be allowed to vote. Which “right” do you imagine matters most?

What the court has in effect constructed is a way to maintain Republican power in Congress and the White House, should they ever again be lucky enough to grab it. (Or, being even-handed, a way to maintain Democratic power.)

With the decimation of the Voting Rights Act (and incidentally most of Amendment #15 of the Constitution), a result widely foreseen and forecast, the Court has made it open season on minority voters, the elderly, and the youth vote by saying that any state in which there is prejudice (as there is, let’s face it, in every state) is free to place whatever voting restrictions on registered voters it wants without penalty and, more importantly, without being slapped down by the Justice Department.

Step #1: get rid of one-man-one-vote.

Step #2: allow not just the impression of impropriety, but impropriety itself to exist.

State houses across the land swung into action as if well-trained commandos.

Justice Roberts’ s public relations’ skills far outweigh those on 18th and K Streets, or even in the war rooms of political gamesters of whatever label. The one-two punch, so widely unseen by a public looking elsewhere for its entertainment, is a clean knock-out.

What remains is whether a referee has any power in the world to overturn or overcome these actions by the Court. Certainly not in this Congress. Nor can we sensibly expect Amendments to be offered to the Constitution from this Congress which cannot make a decision, period, in the best interests of the nation.

Roberts and Co. have completed the set-up. Only time can tell whether it will be used now or in thirty years. But rest assured, gentle readers, it will be used, by someone.





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