High Court Produces a Politics Of, By and For Corporations | Common Dreams
Though all political eyes and ears await an upcoming decision by the US Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act, likely to be handed down next week, a new study released on Thursday suggests that many Americans, while awaiting one decision or another, are missing a larger trend pervading the Robert's court. The report, released by the Constitution Accountability Center, found that in every case before the court this term, the majority has found in favor of the position taken by the US Chamber of Commerce, a conservative lobbying group.
This trend, in which the Chamber has scored seven consecutive victories, bolsters arguments made by many observers who note that the Supreme Court in recent years has taken decidedly favorable positions for business interests while siding against the arguments of consumer advocates, labor unions, and the public interest.
The Nation's John Nichols, responding to Thursday's SCOTUS decision that will now require public-employee unions to get specific permission from employees in workplaces they represent for special assessments before making political campaign expenditures, said the pattern of corporate interests winning out over the interests of "real human beings" is quite clear.
"The Court-ordered shift creates an incredible bureaucratic nightmare for organizations that represent hundreds of thousands of workers," contends Nichols. "And," he adds,"It was entirely unnecessary, as key unions have indicated that they would be willing not just to maintain their “opt-out” clauses but to refund special assessment money to any member or represented nonmember who might object to a political initiative."
Writing the dissenting for the opinion was Justice Stephen Breyer who was joined only by Justice Kagan in opposing the majority. “The debate about public unions’ collective bargaining rights is currently intense,” Breyer wrote. “The question of how a nonmember indicates a desire not to pay constitutes an important part of this debate.… There is no good reason for this court suddenly to enter the debate, much less now to decide that the Constitution resolves it.”
If both history and legal precedent are being written at the Supreme Court, the tale seems to be that big business has a court quite willing to take its side in arguments. For many, the more troubling development is the manner in which the court has gone out of its way to make life that much harder for those who seek to put the reigns on corporate power.
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