Because of partisan gridlock in Washington, the Supreme Court has become the most powerful and outspoken branch of government – decisions they make shape our democracy’s fate for generations to come. Now, one has only to look at Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, and the Affordable Care Act rulings to understand why some call it a “one-percent Court” — dedicated by majority rule to preserving the power and influence of a minority of wealthy special interests (56:46):
The One-Percent CourtSeptember 14, 2012
Because of partisan gridlock in Washington, the Supreme Court has become the most powerful and outspoken branch of government – decisions they make shape our democracy’s fate for generations to come. Now, one has only to look at Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, and the Affordable Care Act rulings to understand why some call it a “one-percent Court” — dedicated by majority rule to preserving the power and influence of a minority of wealthy special interests.
In this episode, The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and Jamie Raskin, constitutional law professor and Maryland state senator, join Bill to discuss how the uncontested power of the Supreme Court is changing our elections, our country, and our lives. The two joined forces for a special upcoming issue of The Nation entitled “The One Percent Court.”
“We wanted to bring attention to how this court has empowered the 1% at the expense of the 99%,” says vanden Heuvel. “How it is now working for big business, for corporate power against the interests of ordinary citizens in this country.”
Also on the program, Bill talks with Craig Unger, author of Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom of Power, about Rove’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering to once again affect the outcome of a presidential election.
“Most people thought he was a creature of the Bush family,” Unger tells Bill. “I think he’s a force more powerful than that.”
Every now and then, a rightist gets something right.
JUSTICE ALITO, dissenting.
Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case. Petitioner Albert Snyder is not a public figure. He is simply a parent whose son, Marine Lance Corporal Mat-thew Snyder, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Snyder wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such an incalculable loss: to bury his son in peace. But respondents, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, deprived him of that elementary right. They first issued a press release and thus turned Matthew’s funeral into a tumultuous media event. They then appeared at the church,approached as closely as they could without trespassing,and launched a malevolent verbal attack on Matthew and his family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability. As a result, Albert Snyder suffered severe and lasting emotional injury.1 The Court now holds that the First Amendment protected respondents’ right to brutalize Mr. Snyder. I cannot agree.
Breyer praises the dissent, but he’s a center-right democrat, so courage and big thinking isn’t really his bag.
The dissent recognizes that the means used here consist of speech. But it points out that the speech, like an assault, seriously harmed a private individual. Indeed, the state tort of “intentional infliction of emotional distress” forbids only conduct that produces distress “so severe that no reasonable man could be expected to endure it,” and which itself is “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency,and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”
Read the opinion, concurrence, and dissent here (pdf).