Thursday, June 10, 2010

Supreme Lies

By brazenly interfering in a state election while it is going on, the radically reactionary majority on the U.S. Supreme Court has once again exposed the deceit in all the high-minded talk from self-proclaimed "judicial conservatives" over the years about the perils of "activist judges" who "legislate from the bench."

They've always claimed an allegiance to stare decisis, the principle that judges are obliged to respect the precedents established by prior decisions and not disturb settled legal matters. As the five justices who make up the current court majority demonstrated in their ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, they are perfectly willing to throw a century of settled law and decades-old court precedents on the trash heap if it suits their ideological purposes, in this case to allow corporations to spend freely on elections.

In seeking to distinguish themselves from what they consider abhorrent judicial activism by liberals, they've also long proclaimed the importance of judicial deference, the doctrine that judges should avoid frustrating the will of the legislature when deciding cases. By blocking the distribution of public matching funds to candidates who signed up to run under Arizona's 12-year-old campaign finance law and are actively campaigning under the system's rules, the five who control the high court at present put the full extent of their hypocrisy on display.

All in the interest of keeping politics safe for the rich and powerful.

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