Monday, June 30, 2014
Editorial: Who's to Blame for SCOTUS? Democrats
Amongst the reactions was the ever-present theory that these decisions were perfect examples of how the two parties are not the same and that this is why we have to vote for a Democratic candidate for President.
I’ve been hearing this for a while now and ranks up there with the “Nader cost Gore the election” parroting that still continues to this day. So I decided to actually take a deeper look at this Supreme Court and see if I could draw any conclusions that are similar to “that’s why we have to vote for a Democrat for President.”
We have 9 justices: Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. The first 5 are the ones responsible for the decisions everyone is upset about. So, who is responsible for the make-up of the court who could rule in such a shitty manner? Well, let’s see…
Presidents get to nominate candidates for the Supreme Court, but it’s the Senate that has to confirm them. So there’s an equal responsibility here.
In 2005, GW Bush nominated Chief Justice Roberts. If you’re anything close to a humanist, you probably think Roberts is a tool. Well, 22 Democrats voted to confirm him. Now, if all those D’s voted against, he still would have gotten his seat, but this is an indicator that not all the hallowed Democrats were willing to stand up to this Republican President’s nomination.
Justice Alito was nominated and confirmed in 2006, again under GWB. Only 3 Democrats voted for this guy and he was confirmed 58 – 42. So we’ll say this went along party lines. Well done, Democrats.
Now the fun really begins. Justice Kennedy. Ronald Reagan nominated him with a Democratic majority in the Senate. He was confirmed 97-0. Whoops!
Not done yet… it’s so hard to decide which one is the whopper.
Shitlord Antonin Scalia (OK, I stole the Shitlord reference) was also nominated by Ronald Reagan and while there was a Republican majority in the Senate, he was confirmed 98-0. Let that one sink in for a minute. Not a single Democrat opposed this turd.
But the Pièce de résistance is Justice Pube-on-a-Coke-Can. Remember that one? Clarence Thomas, who was nominated by HW Bush in 1991, was confirmed 52-48. By a Senate that had a Democratic majority. Ten Democrats voted for him.
To recap: the Democratic Party had at least 2 chance to stop these two decisions today but chose to, instead, confirm Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas when they had the majority in the Senate. They also decided to show how much they care about women and workers by unanimously voting in Shitlord Scalia and giving 22 votes to Chief Shitlord Roberts.
Some may say this is old news, we have to think about the “now”. Let me show you another great example of how the Democratic Party sticks to it’s principles.
As Bruce Dixon points out, Congressman John Conyers has introduced a reparations bill in the last dozen Congresses, EXCEPT, the two where Democrats have had the majority in the House.
There were two years where the Democrats held the White House, Congress and Senate and no major legislation was passed during that time. Now, whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry for the 111th Congress may disagree, but it is my contention that very little legislation there truly affected the systemic issues our country faces. (OK...none of them. Bring on the ACA rationalization.)
All of this, combined with the unrestrained contributions to both parties, is why I draw the conclusion that the systemic inequality that is embedded in this country will never be touched until people are willing to abandon the two corporate parties. Say they’re the same, say they are different. But they’ve both been in power for a long, long time and the scraps we get when the Democrats are the figureheads are not worth it.
And it is with that last phrase that I take this opportunity to acknowledge that my perspective is one of almost every imaginable privilege there is and that it is easy for me to draw my conclusions and willingness to sacrifice because I am a white, straight, cisgender male. I realize that my conclusions may not be relevant to some. But I still contend that despite the crumbs people are given by the Democrats, it is still nowhere near what we deserve and that it is people of privilege who perpetuate this system - those in the 1% and many in the 99%.