Archive for US Supreme Court

Betraying the Oath of Equal Justice

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, culture, freethought, Government, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by chouck017894

this concerns recent U.S. history and it should not be forgotten if we value the principles of true democracy.

Do religious dogmatists or political activists dominate the United States Supreme Court today?  As unlikely as that may sound, there is considerable evidence to support such a suspicion.  It is not prejudice to point out that five of the nine justices on the US Supreme Court are Roman Catholic.  Percentage-wise that certainly does not fairly represent the diverse faiths of the majority of American citizens.  And it is not political bias to point out the fact that all five of those Catholic justices were nominated by Republican presidents, and that many of the Republican members of Congress who confirmed them had used religion as a political lure for voters.  That these five justices routinely formulate their “decisions” as a bloc can be pointed to as supporting evidence in an accusation of willful perversion of justice that is supposed to be made available by them for the protection of people of all diverse faiths.

One’s devotion to a particular faith system is not necessarily a testament of one’s integrity or wisdom. Like love, faith may also be blind to glaring weaknesses in their choice.  In the situation of love, the choice that one makes rarely affects the lives of the masses.  Dogmatic faith, on the other hand, can and has destroyed countless millions of lives through the ages.  Consider how faith caused the slaughter of millions across Europe throughout the church-fueled Dark Ages.  It was a long timeframe in which the corporate-styled Catholic faith system was used for justifying the indulgence in unwarranted imprisonment, torture and slaughter of million of people across Europe.  History records that horror as the “Inquisition.”  Over seven million persons were tortured and killed in the guise of Christian faith in Spain alone!  That tendency of religious injustice and inequality which had once prevailed so long across Europe was a frightening warning to the founding fathers of the United States, which is why they so adamantly insisted upon separation of church and state.

To Chief Justice John G. Roberts credit, early on in his career he had often made known his approval in regard to fundamental First Amendment values (freedom of speech).  And this makes it all the more difficult to understand his leading the court in a 2010 decision to dismantle campaign  finance laws which would allow money-bloated corporations the First Amendment rights that were intended only for private citizens. By this betrayal of the Constitution which declare private citizen rights these five “justices” decreed that corporations were to be regarded as private persons!  It smacked of payback time for the corporate money that had put them in the seats of justice, and it opened the way for corporations to freely distort and corrupt and misrepresent the wishes of true private citizens.  That high court decision was in no way the means of protecting free speech of individual persons.  The opening line of the US Constitution, if those five “justices” would read it, states, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice…”  It does not say, “We the corporations…”

All of the exemptions and benefits for corporations that the bloc of five had railroaded through longstanding democratic safeguards had been a bit too much for President Obama, and in his January 2010 State of the Union address he referred in a straightforward but polite manner to the “justices” legalization of the unethical allowance given to corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to support candidates who would do corporate bidding.  Roberts, with supreme indignation, further shamed the high court by stating publicly that he found the president’s criticism to be “very disturbing!”  Again Roberts ignored that the First Amendment allows everyone the right to question the actions of some governing branch—even the President.  And in a later speech at the University of Alabama, Roberts had the audacity to say that President Obama had “denigrate” the State of the Union into a political pep rally!  Clearly it is Roberts, leader of the disdainful interpretation of the US Constitution, who sank into inappropriate political mud-slinging.  That was more than “very disturbing” conduct by a Supreme Court “justice” who is expected to retain an impartial position in passing any public judgments.

The White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, later pointed out the obvious miscarriage of the Constitution’s declarations by the US Supreme Court, the declaration of equality and democratic justice for each private citizen.  “What is troubling,” the Press Secretary said regarding the president’s rightful concern of the loss of the rights that properly belong to the private citizens, “is that this decision opened the floodgates for corporations and special interests to pour money into elections—drowning out the voices of average Americans.”

The record of the Supreme Court Justices’ decision stands:  These five “justices” overturned a longstanding precedent that prohibited corporations from spending their enormous funds in national elections, and this contemptible decision presents an alarming threat to our democracy.

The five Republican-Catholic “justices” who forced this atrocious decision that corporations have private citizen rights upon the real private citizens, if they have any genuine loyalty to this democratic form of government or to the private citizens they are supposed to serve, they would reverse their outrageous decision.  Otherwise, every one of those five “justices” who took the oath to defend and uphold the people’s rights are not patriots and should be impeached.

It was also this John Roberts’ Supreme Courts’ favoritism of profiteering corporations over the nations’ private citizens which, in a later decision, thumbed their collective noses at private citizen rights again by placing severe limitations upon the legal steps that allowed private citizens to join together in class-action law suits against the too frequent wrongdoings of corporations against their employees.  It was the workers—the producers—who brought forth and assured all the advances and productivity in American society, and which fought for the principles of fair exchange among citizens.  Denying the victims of corporations wrongful deeds their day in court (such as the employees) is the first step into a corporate run government of tyranny.  The Supreme Court is not a holy branch of government, and such decisions as reviewed here are reason enough to demand public accountability.

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US Supreme Court and Religious Tampering

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, life, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2011 by chouck017894

Once again the five Catholics dominating the US Supreme Court, which have almost always moved as a bloc, opted against the principles of a democratic society set down by the nation’s forefathers.  In the usual five to four ruling on a recent case (their use of a democratic principle to vote against democratic principles), the  five Catholic “justices”—all Republican nominated, John  Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy—cunningly made it much easier for money to be siphoned from collection of taxes to subsidize private and Christian schools. 

The anti-democratic decision was handed down in considering an Arizona (uh-oh) tuition tax-credit scheme in which tax payers who contributed to the noble-sounding school tuition organization would have an equal amount of their “donation” knocked off their tax obligation.  This scheme for tax benefits, the five guardians of democracy claimed, differed from government support of religious and private schools because the money was given directly from the individuals.  It was hairsplitting practiced as an art form.

The five Catholic “justices” apparently could see no infraction of democratic principles in this scheme to skirt the Constitutional First Amendment provision: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”   For all the brilliant foresight of the founding fathers, they never dreamed they needed to add a protective clause that “the Supreme Court shall not seek to circumvent this provision to gain advantages for their faith system.”  The supreme  “justices” also adroitly did some skirting of their own around their own pronouncement regarding what they termed “donations” by then tossing  out the case for lack of standing.  Thus the gang of five avoided any direct verdict on the constitutionality of Arizona’s tax-credit scheme. 

Arizona legislators drummed up this tax-credit scheme around 1997, and it was designed with the intention of skirting strong state laws barring use of taxpayer funds for religious or private schools.  With the tax-credit scheme, they conspired a way to open the back door for a voucher program that certainly did not benefit the majority of the people.  So, for around fourteen years that program has paid off handsomely for religious schools.  Over those fourteen years $349 million in tax money has been rerouted from the state’s General fund to private and religious schools. 

Screwed royally by the  US Supreme Court decision on the Arizona scheme were  all taxpayers who do not want their tax dollars subsidizing some narrowly defined faith system.  By the Court’s decision the spiritually diverse base of taxpayers are effectively barred from challenging such an obvious religious-friendly scheme.  By declaring that the case had lack of standing, however, the door remains partially ajar, but it allows only non-religious non-profit organizations the democratic freedom to challenge the biased Arizona law.  Unbelievably, the Obama administration actually favored the Arizona scheme!  And the Solicitor General’s Office at the US Department of Justice advocated the denial of taxpayer’s rights to challenge the dirty scheme in court!  We should remember that the Solicitor General is often referred to as the tenth justice of the Supreme Court, because more than any other lawyer in the nation, he or she makes legal arguments before the high court.

Considerably more level-headed were the four Supreme Court Justices, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsburg, who dissented.  Justice Kagan, in her first dissenting opinion on the scheme, stressed the fact that the concept of direct aid under such a ruse as the  Arizona law extended wedged the door open for across-the-board government subsidies for religion—a clear violation of separation of church and state.  The five Catholic “justices” just shrugged.

Justice Kagan wrote: “Cash grants and targeted tax breaks are means of accomplishing the same government objectives.  Taxpayers who oppose state aid for religion have equal reason to protest whether that aid flows from one form of subsidy or the other…”

That is a true democratic right.  The Constitution’s clear guideline is that the government is not to fund religious activities in any way.  That noble document also clearly states that every American citizen has the right to seek justice when that principle of keeping religion out of government is violated.  That has been the law of the land for some 250 years.

There is something clearly unhealthy in a setup where five men of one narrow faith system can impose their self-serving religious understanding upon the laws of a nation that draws its strength from its widely diverse people.  Consider the Catholic imbalance of the court’s makeup against the percentage of US citizens who are Catholic: the total amount of Christians in the US, according to the Pew Research Council, is around 83%.  Of that amount only 23% are Catholic; around 53% are Protestant; and the remaining 16% are either of other faiths or no faith.  We should note also, by the end of 2007 the Catholics in the US declined by nearly four hundred thousand.  So the five to four representation in the Supreme Court do not legitimately represent the citizens of the USA.  The spiritual and religious liberty of the majority is being purposely herded toward a cliff of disaster by such rulings that intentionally take away the option to confront in the courts such outrageous government funding tax schemes for select faith system projects. 

Perhaps it is time  to call for the impeachment of at least some of the gang of five that dominates today’s US Supreme Court.

  • related postings: US Supreme Court Set Trap for Democracy, December 2010
  • Mass Distractions, February 2011
  • US Supreme Court Betrays Democracy–Again, April 2011

US Supreme Court Betrays Democracy–Again

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, history, politics, random, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , on April 30, 2011 by chouck017894

The US Supreme Court, dominated five out of nine by Republican nominated Catholic “justices,” has once again favored corporations and big money over the citizens of the nation whom they are supposed to protect.  There is no longer any doubt as to the true allegiance of Chief “Justice” Roberts and his fellow conspirators.

Consumer rights were again fluffed off by the April 27th, 2010 court ruling (5 to 4); citizens’ fragile lines of defense against unscrupulous corporation practices were virtually stripped away, patted down, lewdly shafted and thrown to be meat for the predatory corporations.  Old reliable Justice Scalia indifferently recited the court’s incontestable decision that favored AT&T and actually gave open range ability to corporations to use consumer and employment contracts to strip the citizens of any rights to join class-action lawsuits!  (The case was AT&T v. Concepcion.)

Any consumer has faced corporation “agreements”—too often without even paying attention to the barriers the corporations place in the “agreement” which allows them to sidestep responsibility for irresponsible performances.  Ever arranged needed medical care in a hospital or doctor’s office?  Ever opened a bank account (the same banks that got billions of dollars of bailout from your tax money)?  Ever gotten a mortgage, or refinanced your home? Ever bought a cell phone?  Ever purchased a refrigerator?  Ha!  The “agreement” you signed certainly was not something agreed upon through any negotiation with you.  Think that was to protect your interests?

Almost all corporation “agreement” contracts contain the barely legal inclusion that contain “arbitration clauses,” which gives the false impression that corporations are willing to bother themselves with ironing out any wrinkles of discontent with some individual. 

So buyer beware!  This phony implied offer of arbitration blocks the protection for individuals through traditional trials, even barring mistreated persons the right and ability to gather information from corporate defendants!  Furthermore, the largest “arbitration” firms are notoriously partial to Big Business, not individuals. 

Ahh, but these shady dealings are  just hunky-dory with the carefully stacked US Supreme Court.  The typical corporate indulgences in actual fraud, discrimination, unprofessional conduct, and other practices against groups of consumers and even employees, are but another means of destroying the foundation of democracy.  That is the intent of Right Wing fanatics.  And now, true to form, five of the right-leaning high court “justices” gave their blessing upon corporations by allowing them to force people into arbitration, while those whom the corporations harm are denied the right of assembly with others who are also seeking actual justice in a court of law.

Denying people allowance to confront corporations’ wrongdoings through class action suits for a fair opportunity to obtain rectification is not concerned with genuine justice.  Corporations may now indulge themselves in even more lucrative rip-offs.  Apparently the Catholic dominated US Supreme Court implies divine guidance in allowing corporations to this, which only proves how out of touch with reality that stacked court really is.

If there are any members of Congress that are actually honorable and truly have any loyalty to the democratic principles put in place by this nation’s founding fathers, then get down to some real work and reintroduce and enact the Arbitration Fairness Act that got shelved.  The nation was not founded upon we the corporations treachery—a fact that the stacked Supreme Court has self-servingly forgotten.

U.S. Supreme Court Set Trap for Democracy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, culture, freethought, Government, history, humanity, life, lifestyle, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by chouck017894

In the closing chapter of Time Frames and Taboo Data a speculative scenario of the future for democracy was ventured.  Forgive this intrusion of a book quote:  In the corporate empire that is being hard-pressed upon the world, the dispensing of “justice” would be a mockery, for the courts would do only what corporate bigwigs instructed.   Further on it continues: In a corporate (run) empire all major media would be owned or manipulated by corporate outfits, much as  it is in the US today, with the only “news” given prominence being the happenings that affected corporate investments (page 474).

Flashback:  The founding fathers of the United States, after enduring the war for national independence, labored long and hard to set up a form of government that would be controllable by citizen majority consent.  As safeguards against abuse of citizen power, the organizing of the governing process was  wisely structured with three divisions to provide as much insurance of stability as possible for the citizens against future tyrannical assaults upon the concept of a democratic government.  Those three branches of democratic govern ment—the executive, the legislative, and the judicial—were also intentionally shielded from religious authoritarianism through cautionary provisions to keep church and state separate.  This avoidance of doubtful claims of supernatural “guidance” provided the foundation that made the United States the  most diverse, accommodating and powerful nation in history.  National strength was proven through succeeding centuries with those unique democratic principles working miracles, not from other-worldliness but achieved from the unity of diverse and liberal-minded individuals

Flash forward, early 21st century, USA:  Corporate greed has recently virtually emasculated true democracy in the United States, and religious fanatics continue to lust to downgrade democracy into a theocracy.  Using the Bible as a governing tool would open to them the means for a few to inflict biblical-approved inhumane treatment on any “unbelievers,” “infidels,” or non-believers which the in-crowd chose to believe was sanctioned by God.  We saw how far and how fast the consequences of that type of mentality could go during the god-inspired  GWB administration.  For an example of governing by some “revealed word” text, simply observe the divine condition of Iran today. 

On January 21, 2010, five of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices (John G. Roberts, Samuel A. Alito, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas) decided to overrule TWO long-standing central precedents about the First Amendment Rights and bestowed upon corporations the equivalent of citizen rights which the nation’s forefathers intended only for individuals.  Thus was opened the means for corporations to pour multibillion of dollars into voting advertisements!  Is it merely coincidence that each of the five favoring Justices, who are supposed to be guardians of the people’s rights, happened to be appointed through Republican recommendation?  Is it coincidence that all five also happen to be Catholic? This colossal imbalance certainly does not reflect the overall spiritual/financial composition of the nation’s citizens whom they are supposed to shield from abuse of power.  Whatever their personal beliefs may be, they each took an oath, hands upon a Bible, and swore the following:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the  poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties  incumbent upon me as (a Supreme Court Justice) under the Constitution and laws of the United States.  So help me God.  

Giving corporations citizen rights is not democracy.  Corporations are not meant to have free speech rights.  Big Oil, big pharmacy, CIGNA, Merrill Lynch, insurance companies, AT&T, and all the rest of the for-pay conglomerates are not individual citizens and should never have been given the unconstitutional right to manipulate the democratic voting process.  In the elections of 2007-2008 the amount for all 468 congressional races and the presidential race combined totaled $5.2 BILLION.  As an example, even without the Supreme Court attack on citizens’ Constitutional rights,  AT&T alone contributed the legal maximum to both Bush-Cheney national election campaigns, and AT&T also contributed the legally permissible amount for John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid.  The grand prize that the US got for that multibillion dollar expenditure was the profound political intellect of Sarah Palin.

As another example of the inequity in this Supreme Court subversion of constitutional order, the corporation that is Exxon Oil could alone chalk off all that 5.2 billion dollars as a mere dribble in their  $85 billion profits for one year.  Clearly, the  five Republican-placed justices on the US Supreme Court who gave corporations free pass into national election processes were not concerned that the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights could not possibly apply to the multi-rich-for-profit corporations.  The decision was a sharp, vicious doctrinal shift of law interpretation.  As Justice John Paul Stevens wisely observed in his dissent, “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.”  Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor were in accord.  Even so, deliberate undermining of citizen rights seems to have been the intent of the five other justices. 

The only thing in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights that may be legitimately extended to corporations has to do with the freedom of the press.  No persons that genuinely loves this democratic nation could have so deliberately spurned  the “We the People” principles upon which the United States was founded and upon which it grew to world power.

It is alarmingly clear that steps must be taken to correct the abuse of  power and the mockery of justice that was handed down by the third branch of government, the U.S. Supreme Court, that spurned distinction of what makes for individual rights.  The high Court’s overturning of longstanding individual rights amounts to an attack on everyone’s personal freedom and a denial of genuine justice.  Isn’t that ruling only a heartbeat away from treason?

Sinning Against Democratic Principles

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, Government, history, humanity, Inspiration, naturalism, politics, random, religion, secularism, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by chouck017894

Genuine freedom for everyone, as the US Constitution proclaims, certainly is not being served by persons who seek to bring down the Founding Fathers’ ideals of governing, which wisely stressed separation of church and state.  Nor should the right of free speech be twisted into a perverse interpretation that it is a license to proselytize to captive audiences of school students as the overly vocal bloc of Christian radicals, such as the noble-sounding Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), have chosen to interpret it.  This Christian rightwing legal affiliation has trained more than nine hundred lawyers in the art of sidestepping tolerance and compassion for any who may live or believe differently than they.

 If the idea that religious fanatics can influence the US Supreme Court sounds impossible, think again.  Since 1995 the Supreme Court has been leaning more and more toward passing judgments that threaten to undermine the safeguard of separation of church and state as championed by our nations’ Founding Fathers.

It all began with the landmark case Rosenberger vs. the Regents of the University of Virginia.  The charge brought forth by the so-called Alliance Defense Fund was that secular clubs were funded through student activity fees, but the fees were not available to fund religious student groups.  This shameless jargon used by the ADF to cause the Supreme Court to deviate from the Establishment Clause* was due to the fact that the university could not by law appear to endorse any particular religion—thus the ADF howled “viewpoint discrimination”!  (*Establishment Clause: one of two “religion clauses” of the First Amendment.)

 Since the religious radicals got their foot through the door, the Catholic dominated Supreme Court has bowed to the mythology of those claiming to be “victimized Christians,” and the  court has continued to deviate from earlier and wiser precedence and has leaned toward the “reasoning” that if secular clubs were funded but not religious proselytizing groups, then discrimination was present!

The irony of the very ones who so actively and loudly promoted discrimination against diverse lifestyles standing up and claiming to be victims of discrimination would be amusing if it wasn’t such a dangerous act of hatred and psychic terrorism.  They hide behind the trumped up claim that they are “biblically compelled” to condemn various groups; homosexuals, for example.  They like to use the Bible as their permission from god to indulge themselves in orgiastic hatred and intolerance.  In regard to same-sex appeal, discrimination is stirred up by using a half sentence verse of Romans (1:27); “…And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

 First, let us note that, as it is stated, woman was regarded as nothing more than an outlet to be used for man’s sexual release.  The line in question was not a religious directive and not reallly spiritual condemnation so much as simply reflecting the social etiquette of Rome c.100 CE, the time of the book of Romans‘ composing, the authorship of which has never been satisfactorily determined.  In addition, endless translations of “holy word” have not insured accuracy of what the verse-twisters like to allege.

Diversity is highly respected in the energy-mechanism of Creation, for it is only through an unlimited spectrum of life expression that the Source is made absolute and omniscient.  To pretend otherwise, as radical religionists do, is true irreverence, for such hostile opposition to the natural diversity expressed in life in the guise of religious superiority is not reflected anywhere else in Nature or the universe.  That odious pretense of favoritism radiates chiefly around the endless parade of self-appointed mouthpieces of god.  They may build their earthly power structures and influence by fanning indulgence in bigotry, but it remains highly unlikely that the ladder to Heaven is outfitted with rungs of hatred.