Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts To Become The New Balance On The Future Supreme Court?

Chief Justice John Roberts has been on the Court for 13 years now, and he is generally perceived as a conservative.

But he has surprised some conservatives, as when he kept ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) alive in 2012.

Also, Roberts has often stated by the doctrine of “Stare Decisis”–to stand by things decided”–although he has not been consistent on this over the years.

The odds of Roberts siding with the liberals on the Court for the image of the Court named after him as Chief Justice, is a thin measure of what kind of balance he might present on the future Supreme Court.

It seems likely that on balance, he will be “number 5”, in the middle, but that middle will be much farther to the Right than Anthony Kennedy or Sandra Day O’Connor represented.

But then again, Justices have surprised their Republican Presidents who appointed them, as with Earl Warren and William Brennan under Dwight D. Eisenhower; Harry Blackmun under Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens under Gerald Ford; O’Connor and Kennedy under Ronald Reagan; and David Souter under George H. W. Bush.

The best estimate is that no one should count on John Roberts avoiding “his” Court from being regarded as the most right wing, conservative Court since the time of Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover nine decades ago, before the Great Depression and New Deal began the transformation of constitutional law.

50 Years Of The Voting Rights Act, And Reluctance To Enforce It By Supreme Court And Many States Now A Sad Reality!

On August 6, it will be 50 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, overcoming a near century of the denial of the right to vote to African Americans, despite the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

The Southern states denied African Americans the right to vote through all kinds of methods for three quarters of a century, but finally it was a Southern President and many Congressional Republicans joining with Democrats that caused that denial of democracy to be overcome, finally.

And Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, all Republicans, continued to endorse, promote, hail, and extend the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

But then the Supreme Court majority under Chief Justice John Roberts weakened enforcement in a Supreme Court decision in 2013 (Shelby County, Alabama V. Holder), effectively giving license to states run by Republican governors and legislatures to pass new restrictions on voting, that would not only hurt African Americans, but also Hispanics, poor whites, the elderly, college students—all being required to make onerous efforts to meet the new restrictions on voting rights, when there was no earlier evidence of voting fraud.

This sad reality has pained John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the movement for voting rights in Alabama (the Selma-Montgomery March), and was seriously beaten, along with others who were killed, fighting peacefully for the basic right to vote.

So while we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this path breaking legislation, we have to hope that the Supreme Court will revisit what it has done by a 5-4 vote in the next term, with the hope that they will reconsider what they have done, based on the discrimination now being practiced in many states across the nation.

Gay Marriage Case Likely On Way To Supreme Court For Ruling One Year From Now!

The issue of gay marriage is likely on its way to the Supreme Court, and almost certainly will be decided a year from now, in the most blockbuster case of 2015!

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has declared gay marriage to be a basic right, and that means marriages can move ahead in the near future in Utah, which brought the case, along with Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and New Mexico!

There is a temporary hold, but it is a major step forward, and insures, almost certainly, that the case will go to the Supreme Court this fall.

And it is ALMOST certain that we will have a Loving V. Virginia (interracial marriage) case result next year, allowing gay marriage everywhere in America, whether religious right wingers like it or not! One must realize that no church or other religious establishment would have to promote it, but civil marriage would move forward.

The belief is that there are four certain supporters of gay marriage on the Court—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

Additionally, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the one who decided the path breaking case of Lawrence V. Texas, which greatly expanded the gay rights movement in 2003!

And it is possible to believe that Chief Justice John Roberts could also add his vote, making the vote next June 6-3!

Historic Year For Supreme Court, With Eyes On Chief Justice John Roberts!

The new term of the Supreme Court will be an extremely crucial one, just months after Chief Justice John Roberts shocked the world by siding with the liberals, and backing the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as “ObamaCare”!

The question that arises is will Roberts be continuing his tilt toward the center, or go back to the right wing view that he and the majority of Court have been following?

Crucial cases are coming up on such issues as affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act, and gay marriage, and the split could be 5-4, but with Roberts and or Justice Anthony Kennedy being the decisive vote on these hot issues.

And it reminds us about the odds of one to four new Supreme Court Justices in the next four years, and who will be selecting them, and how the Senate will be constituted after the elections, is going to be an issue that needs to be emphasized by President Obama in this last month of the campaign, as it is this precise matter which will have a greater effect on the future than anything else in domestic or foreign policy!

The Supreme Court, 2011-2012 Term: Likely To Be Momentous, Historic, Path Breaking!

The US Supreme Court begins its new term tomorrow with expectations of major decisions likely to be issued on the Obama Health Care Plan, illegal immigration laws, gay rights and gay marriage, and affirmative action, among other cases.

Rarely has a term opened with such potential major impact on the future of many hot button issues, expected to occur by June of 2012 at the latest!

What seems more likely than anything else is that Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, and with a reputation as a “swing vote” on the evenly divided Court, will be the decisive fifth vote on many cases!

To imagine that one man should have such great influence, more than the other eight, including the Chief Justice John Roberts, is an indication of how tenuous constitutional law is in the age of a Court dominated until recently by conservative appointments of Reagan and both Presidents Bush.

As always, the Court, while seemingly trying to avoid politics, in actual fact plays politics, and will have a decisive role in what happens in the Presidential Election of 2012.

And what many forget is that IF a Republican President is elected in 2012, the Court will be turned more hard Right than it is right now, and that will have a destructive, deleterious effect on constitutional law for at least a generation!

It is the most important impact of the Presidential election, something many ill informed voters do not recognize, but which has a long range effect on their lives!

Progressives will be on tenterhooks wondering if Justice Kennedy will side with the left side of the Court, or the right side of the Court. For the advancement of America, let’s hope he swings to the left on these important issues mentioned above!

Senator Arlen Specter’s Farewell Speech: Condemnation Of Chief Justice John Roberts And Associate Justice Samuel Alito On Judicial Activism, And Of Right Wing Republicans! :(

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is retiring after a distinguished 30 year career, plus having served in local government, and on the staff of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy almost a half century ago.

Specter, often seen as a difficult man to work with, and possessing a large ego, lost his Senate nomination race to Joe Sestak after switching back to the Democratic Party that he had long ago been a member of, until he converted for a long time to the Republican Party.

Specter was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearings for the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and today he denounced both Justices for violating their testimony during the hearings, which indicated they believed in precedent (stare decisis), but then proceeding to use judicial activism and violating the separation of powers doctrine, particularly in the Citizens United Case in January of this year, allowing unlimited spending by corporations after nearly a century of strict regulation by Congress of such actions.

So Specter joined the criticism of President Obama, enunciated by the President in his State of the Union Address, which annoyed both Roberts and Alito, with Roberts making a clearcut statement of dissent, amid hints that neither Justice might attend future State of the Union Addresses, which if actually done, would be highly inappropriate.

Specter also condemned right wing Republicans such as Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who worked against moderate Republicans in a number of states, causing the loss of seats for the party.

One thing about Specter–he does not worry what others think of him, and his leaving Congress will make it a less interesting and principled place for sure!

The Supreme Court Crisis: All For The Rich And Corporations!

The conservative Supreme Court majority, a true model of an “activist” Court that supposedly conservatives and Republicans condemn, is at it again, as they continue to promote the ability of the rich and the corporations to have no limits at all on their activities in politics and elections!

On Tuesday, the Court ruled that public funding in Arizona was not allowed to be matched against wealthy candidates who spend their own money! This, on top of the Citizens United Case in January, which allows corporation unlimited rights to spend on politics, because corporations are defined as “persons”, is leading us back to the GILDED AGE mentality of the late 19th century! πŸ™

It is as if the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society never occurred! We are moving backward, instead of forward, destroying the whole idea of a level “playing field”! πŸ™

This is a year where obscene amounts of money are being spent by multimillionaires and billionaires, with just a few examples being Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in California, and Rick Scott and Jeff Greene in Florida!

It seems more likely than ever that the Obama Administration and the Democratic majority in Congress are on a collision course with the Supreme Court, with the first shot being Obama’s criticism, to their faces, of the Court’s Citizens United decision in his State of the Union Address in January, and Chief Justice John Roberts’ public criticism of Obama’s statement!

This may be the most confrontational time since FDR in the 1930s, who along with Lincoln in the Civil War years and Jefferson in the early 19th century, saw major times of conflict between the courts and the Presidency!

Chief Justice John Roberts, The Supreme Court, And Barack Obama

In an unusual move, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts criticized the atmosphere at the State of the Union Address, when President Obama, in the presence of most of the members of the Court, openly criticized the Justices majority for allowing corporate influence in political campaigns to become unregulated, after a century of control of corporate spending since the time of Theodore Roosevelt.

The Chief Justice certainly had the same right before a university audience to speak up, as the President did before a joint session of Congress.

But the fact that the Chief Justice sees no problem with the radical right turn of the Court under his stewardship, by the bare majority of 5-4 when Justice Anthony Kennedy joins the conservative majority, is troubling, as supposedly the conservatives believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. The Court is becoming a “political football” by its own actions, although Roberts claims it is the fault of the other branches rather than his.

But the Court has not been keeping to the strict interpretation, and Chief Justice Roberts can be seen as a disappointing leader, who worships Justice Scalia too much, and has been a divisive leader of the Court. Leaving the impression in his hearings in 2005 that he was a moderate centrist turns out to have been a mirage, bordering on dishonesty, although of course no Justice can be held accountable legally for his actions on the Court.

But right now, the Roberts Court can be compared with the early New Deal Court, trying to push America backwards, and creating what may be a real constitutional conflict with the President and Congress in a time of deep recession, much as they did in the Great Depression years.

That is not good for the nation, and the conflict is not bound to dissipate in the near future, but the importance of Barack Obama selecting the best people to replace retiring Justices that may occur in his time in the Presidency cannot be overemphasized!

The Supreme Court’s Return To The Gilded Age: A Blow Against Democracy!

The Supreme Court on Thursday dealt a major blow to democracy, which will reverberate throughout the American political system for a long time, unless somehow the Congress can overcome the decision by legislation, which is highly unlikely, certainly in the short run! πŸ™

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the five member conservative Court majority of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice John Roberts radically reversed one hundred years of campaign law, including the more recent McCain-Feingold legislation, and allowed corporations unfettered access to involve themselves in any way they wish and in any amount of funding they wish to invest in electoral politics in America.

The Gilded Age of 1868-1896 was infamous for the corruption that was endemic with corporate support of politicians who backed corporate monopoly. This is what led to the Progressive Era, New Deal, Great Society and more recent efforts to restrict corporate ability to affect the American political system.

Now, in one fell swoop, the political system goes back to the late 19th century mentality, and highly benefits conservatives and Republicans over liberals and progressives and Democrats. At a time when it is obvious that there is too much coziness as it is between corporate America, conservatives and Republicans, the majority Republican court picked by Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes now has the capacity to dominate the future of American politics, and defeat Democrats, liberals, and progressives attempting to equalize opportunity for those people and classes that have never had a fair shake in our country, and have seen brief bursts of reform followed by constant retrenchment once the conservative forces regained supremacy.

The chances of real change and reform now under President Obama are greatly restricted by this Court decision, and it makes a mockery of the idea that the Scalia influenced Court majority that is supposedly “originalist” and believers in limited powers, is pursuing that, as this marks another example of the radicalism and activism of the Court, as was the case in the infamous Bush v Gore case on the 2000 presidential election.

Now conservatives talk through both sides of their mouth, about limited government while establishing more activist government in favor of the rich and the powerful over the masses of Americans who are not rich and powerful.

Now the corporations with their unlimited treasuries can blackmail politicians to do their bidding or they will be defeated by funding campaigns that will make past spending look like a minor investment! To call this case free speech is a mockery of the First Amendment, as how can corporations be considered “people”? It is similar to the Gilded Age period when the Supreme Court corruptly used the 14th Amendment, originally passed to promote “due process” and “equal protection” for African Americans and other minorities, to protect corporations’ rights to develop into monopolies!

Have we come through a whole century of working toward electoral reform to see it destroyed by this radical Court majority that shows it has no principle but its own aggrandizement? πŸ™ Chief Justice Roberts has been a sore disappointment, as he pledged a limited Court approach during his confirmation hearings in 2005, but now has been dazzled by the “activist conservative” approach of Antonin Scalia, who has “twins” named Thomas and Alito to copy him as if he is a deity! And Justice Kennedy, who occasionally swings to the left, unfortunately two thirds of the time swings to the right and seems more than ever to be the only hope for those on the left, but less and less often as each case arrives and he, more than ever, goes to the right!

More than ever, it is essential somehow to convince Justice Kennedy to reconsider his move to the right or else some other way gain a fifth vote to reverse the damage to democracy this horrible case has wrought! πŸ™

Certainly, this is one of the very worst decisions of the Supreme Court in recent times, and really, in all the history of the Supreme Court. The Court majority should be condemned openly for what they have done, working against our democratic system! πŸ™