Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. emerged as a canny strategist at the Supreme Court this term, laying the groundwork for bold changes that could take the court to the right even as the recent elections moved the nation to the left … voting rights, employment discrimination, criminal procedure and campaign finance … the chief justice’s fingerprints were on all of them, and he left clues that the court is only one decision away from fundamental change in many areas of the law.
“Fundamental change?” Sounds a bit “activist” to me. That’s not all.
Indeed, the court appears poised to move to the right in the Obama era. (If) Chief Justice Roberts … reasoning takes root in future cases, the law will move in a conservative direction … The two newest justices, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., both appointed by President George W. Bush, agreed 92 percent of time, the highest rate for any pair of justices. But Justice Alito … may well now be the court’s most conservative member. “Alito is staking out some room to the right of the chief justice,” said Pamela Harris, the executive director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown University Law Center, “and you would have thought there is no such room.”That’s right, Alito is even further right than Roberts. Would that make him a conservative “activist” Justice yet? There’s more.
At the Supreme Court, though, voting alignments are so predictable that “liberal” and “conservative” are as much shorthand as principle. The court reversed lower courts about three-quarters of the time, up from two-thirds in the last term.Now that sounds like an “activist” Supreme Court, right? Not yet you say. One last decision:
In scheduling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission for re-argument in September, Chief Justice Roberts appeared to be setting the stage for an overhaul of the law governing campaign spending by corporations.Justice Roberts would allow pseudo political documentaries critical of election candidates (like “Hillary” the movie) to run unabated, depending of course how deep the backers pockets were. This would take campaigns completely out of the hands of the people, and cede control to corporate power.
But then for many, corporations have “person hood.” Argue in support of that one kiddies.