Day: July 1, 2012

1937: “Four Horsemen Of The Apocalpse! 2012: “Three Horsemen Of The Apocalypse” On The Supreme Court!

In 1937, at the height of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, four members of the United States Supreme Court resisted any part of the programs to deal with the Great Depression, and came to be known derisively as the “Four Men Of The Apocalpyse!.

These four Justices, seen as overly right wing conservatives were:

Willis Van Devanter (1911-1937)
James McReynolds (1914-1941)
Pierce Butler (1922-1938)
George Sutherland (1923-1939)

Today, 75 years later, it is clear that three Supreme Court Justices are united in their opposition to the agenda and programs of Barack Obama, as he tries to deal with many of the same economic problems that we had in the Great Depression.

These men are:

Antonin Scalia (1986-)
Clarence Thomas (1991-)
Samuel Alito (2006-)

It would seem appropriate to call them the “Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse”!

In 1937, we had two moderate centrists on the Court, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Associate Justice Owen Roberts, while today we have somewhat equivalent conditions with Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy!

Hopefully, Barack Obama will have much of the same fortune that FDR had, the ability in the second term to replace, in FDR’s case, three of the four “Horsemen of the Apocalypse” with replacement appointments with a more open minded, progressive attitude, which had a dramatic effect on the future of the nation!

Despite Health Care Ruling, Supreme Court Is Still Out Of Control, And Presidential Election Will Decide If It Regains Confidence Of The American People!

The Supreme Court came through by the barest of margins on the issue of “ObamaCare” last week, but when one looks at the Court’s radical swing to the right in so many other ways, it is clear that the future reputation of the Court and the long term future of the nation requires the victory of Barack Obama for a second term as President.

By confirming their Citizens United decision again in a case involving Montana state law, and by actions against labor unions and their rights in another case, and in the solidity most of the time of the Republican appointees in rejecting past precedent and tradition, the Court has gained an image of being extremist and confrontational, and lost American public opinion and respect, which is dangerous for our democracy.

Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush effectively moved the Court away from the political center to the extreme right, and we are suffering the effects of this extremist rightward tilt.

We cannot afford to base the future on Anthony Kennedy SOMETIMES going with the liberal side of the Court, or Chief Justice John Roberts seemingly being concerned about the reputation of the Court. Neither is reliable to keep the Court in the political center, and protect the rights of the powerless.

The only answer is to insure that when the older members of the Supreme Court retire or die while in service on the Court, that we replace them with Justices who have a vision of the country more in line with the reality of the 21st century than the 19th century Gilded Age!

With Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy to be over 80 before the next Presidential term ends, the likelihood is that whoever is President in the next four years will have a transformative effect on the Supreme Court and constitutional law.

The thought of Mitt Romney making those choices is truly terrifying, and will make the Court a right wing extremist influence into the 2040s, totally unacceptable!

Barack Obama will be able to make the Court shift more into the mainstream, preserving the brilliant times of the Warren Court in the 1950s and 1960s, when America advanced constitutionally in so many ways!