Where were you in 2000 when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) intervened in the election and made George W. Bush president? Do you remember how the decision was split 5-4, with the right-wing justices voting in favor of making Bush president, and the Democratic appointed justices wanting instead for the recount to continue? Did you learn in that moment how important the Supreme Court is for the direction of our country? Did you learn in that moment how political the Supreme Court is? Did you learn in that moment that when it comes to the most important issues we face as a nation, we will often find ourselves at the mercy of an unelected legislative body?
“Citizens United would have never been put into law and America would never have been sold to the highest bidder had Al Gore won in 2000,” says former DNC chair Howard Dean. And speaking of Citizens United, that should have been another wake up moment for America. That should have shocked us into action to be faced by what the radical right can do to our system of justice when Republican presidents make SCOTUS appointments. As Jeffery D. Clements put it..
“The U.S. Supreme Court decided that Americans cannot prevent corporations from spending unlimited money to control elections, politicians, and policy. In Citizens United the court ignored the fact that corporations are creations of state law with government-derived advantages and labeled them, in the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy, ‘voices,’ ‘speakers,’ and yes, a ‘disadvantaged person or class.’ In this Wonderland, corporations are people, corporate money is ‘speech,’ and laws restricting corporate political spending violate the First Amendment.”
Ever since the SCOTUS ruled that women have the right to make their own choices about what happens inside their own bodies, with the Roe V. Wade decision in 1973, the right-wing has been very focused on the Supreme Court. Their focus has led to an increasingly radical and rightward leaning court. Progressives and moderates are beginning to wake up and realize what’s at stake for us if we don’t start focusing on the highest court, and remembering how important it is.
So when we think and talk about the accomplishments of President Obama, we should remember the Supreme Court. Yesterday in Westerville, Ohio, the First Lady reminded us of that…
“Tell people about those two brilliant Supreme Court Justices he appointed – Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. And for the first time in history our daughters and sons watch three women take their seat on our nation’s highest court. Let ‘em know!”
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