Supreme Court Hostile to Democracy!

When I first was drawn to legal philosophy in the mid 1960s, we were experiencing a Supreme Court of which one could be proud. It had been given its shape by a band of distinguished scholars of law — Holmes, Cardozo, Frankfurter, Douglas, and others drawn to serve  justice with their dispassionate decisions. One did not always agree with them, but critical ones running against the demagogic main stream attitudes of their day shifted the course of the nation from gross violations of persons to liberation from ancient and corrosive prejudices — desegregation at long last of our schools and the attendant civil rights advances of the 1960s, legalization of abortion, support of workers’ rights against greedy corporate leadership, protection of the public in a vast array of areas ranging from environment to drug and safe food regulation.

Our present court has been eroding all of these positive gains by appealing to the grossest of human prejudices once again and step by step sabotaging the democratic process itself! One might have been able to predict its disastrous award of the the presidency to the loser of the election in 2000, but the restoration of the poll tax with its most recent decision to support using the pretext of requiring current state credentials with pictures as a bar to voting goes beyond any expectation that one might have had of court corruption. Lest we forget the U.S. was founded as a republic incorporating slavery, subordinating women and those who did not own significant property to the rule of about 10% of our population — rich white males. My ancestors — particularly the Vermonters by family legend — were rebels against these early perversions of democracy. Read De Tocqueville’s caveat about “tyranny of the majority” in the U.S. of his day (echoed by John Stuart Mill of his Britain). They were not talking about a majority constituted by all citizens, but rather of the relatively small proportion of them allowed to participate in government. Britain in Mill’s day treated women even worse than in the U.S. and so was launched in Britain what was called the Women’s Revolution. They blew up two castles in Scotland one dark night.

Sadly we may need yet another revolution in this country to recapture democracy from the oligarchs who seem to have bought us on the cheap. Never has an election been more important for the survival of our nation as a viable entity. We are both on the verge of national bankruptcy and increasingly cut off from the rest of the world which sees us as a big bully with two many deteriorating weapons on its hands.

Let us hope for the best, but the Court’s most recent intervention may only represent the tip of an iceberg of yet another stolen election.

Beware! This court is manifestly dominated by malcontents hostile to democracy!

………………………..

In a 6-to-3 Vote, Justices Uphold a Voter ID Law
By LINDA GREENHOUSE
The Supreme Court said the challengers to an Indiana law
had failed to prove that the law’s ID requirement was an
unconstitutional burden for voters.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/washington/29scotus.html?th&emc=th


“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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