Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, June 25, 2012

Today In Your Judicial Coup D'Etat

Welcome to John C. Calhoun's world.

Fallows hit on something when he called what we are going through now a "coup d'etat".

Today the Court furthered the insanity of Citizens United by ruling against Montana's campaign finance laws, enacted precisely because the uncontrolled spending of mining companies in Montana corrupted that state.  In other words, in the 19th century - in a Citizens United world - we had a laboratory for unregulated campaign finance.  It was so bad, the state decided to regulate it.  It got less bad.  Enter the Roberts Court.  I'm guessing the bad old days are coming back.

Also, too, in Arizona, the Court held against most of the "papieren bitte" "papers please" immigration law.  They did leave in place the idea that someone arrested for, say, drunk and disorderly could have their immigration status checked.  But you can't randomly stop dusky hued people on the street and check their papers.  While the Court left open the possibility that even checking the status of those under arrest could be unconstitutional, the fact is the worst part of the law was struck down.

Reading Scalia's bat-shit insane dissent is a mind into the twisted legal mindset of the Judicial Activist Right.

But there has come to pass, and is with us today, the specter that Arizona and the States that support it predicted: A Federal Govern­ment that does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States’ borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude. So the issue is a stark one. Are the sovereign States at the mercy of the Federal Executive’s refusal to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws?
A good way of answering that question is to ask: Would the States conceivably have entered into the Union if the Constitution itself contained the Court’s holding? Today’s judgment surely fails that test. [...] If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.

Let's leave aside the fact that the federal government has actually done a great job in decreasing illegal immigration recently.  That's a fact, so we can't have that, can we Precious.  In reading the rest, I can't help but think that Scalia has the historical literacy of a 7 year old.

First, he is advancing the Compact Theory of Union that was so dearly held by John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis.  I guess poor old Arizona has no other choice but to secede!

Secondly, how did Arizona become a state?  Well, first it was a territory.  Before that it was part of Mexico.  It could have become a state sooner than it did, but it had all these Catholic Mexicans living there already ("The NERVE!")  and the US waited until a sufficient number of melanin deprived Protestants moved into the territory before granting it statehood.  The same thing happened in New Mexico.  Sort of the same thing happened in Utah, but that was not about dark skinned Messicans, it was about polygamy.

And now, the mean old 5 judge majority has ruled that Arizona - which was stolen fair and square from Mexico - cannot discriminate against people of Mexican descent.

The sheer number of five judge decisions is frightening as hell.  For all the talk of Earl Warren's unprecedented "judicial activism", Brown was 9-0, Griswold was 7-2, Gideon was 9-0, Engel v Vitale was 6-1 and Baker v Carr was 6-2.  Now there were reasons for this, including the long dominance of the Democratic party over the White House.  But Warren was appointed by Dwight Eisenhower.

Thursday is apparently the day when ACA gets overturned, gutted, partly gutted or preserved.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

Will the five conservatives on the Court rule for the insurance companies and retain the mandate?  Or will the rule for the Tea Party and strike a perfectly legitimate law from the books for nakedly partisan reasons?

The sad thing is, we know three judges will simply rule against it out of pique.

Rule by fiat rather than rule of law.

That's where we're headed.  And if you think it doesn't matter who wins this election, you're an idiot.

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