Demonstrating how the malignancy known as Conservatism has repeatedly poisoned the Supreme Court of the United States, “Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted” by Ian Millhiser (ISBN: 9781568584560) is detailed, horrific, and important.
Millhiser has done the United States a great service with his book about the appalling history of bad decisions from the highest court in the land. As a plus, “Injustices” has one of the most spot-on sub-titles in all of modern non-fiction: “The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted.”
In many of the cases discussed in the book, Millhiser describes how the malicious rulings affected the men, women, and children who were faced with “miserly paychecks, deteriorating health, potentially deadly working conditions, and systematic efforts to render them powerless against their employers.” Time after time, the Court ignored the plight of the people and voted in favor of the trusts, the corporations, and the wealthy landowners.
Again and again, dreadful conditions were ignored or made worse by the nine black-robed injustices. “Sweatshops enjoyed the blessing of the courts. Children labored from dusk until dawn in the deadliest of factories.” Many of the details are shocking, revolting, and difficult to read. As one example, take the case of Carrie Buck, in which the Court allowed the State to mutilate her body. Yes, in these United States, land of the free and home of the brave, there is a horrible history of Conservative “thought” leading to stunningly stupid judicial action.
Good News, Bad News and More Bad News
True, there have been a few bright spots in the history of the Court. Obviously, humanity is better off because of the results in cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (ending school segregation) and Roe v. Wade (affirming women’s reproductive rights). So, too, the populace is better served by National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and King v. Burwell (both of which upheld provisions of the Affordable Care Act). And certainly the nationwide celebration was justified after Obergefell v. Hodges (in favor of marriage equality).
As good as those rulings were, they pale in comparison with the litany of evil decisions that Conservatives on the court have delivered in its history:
Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) — affirming racism
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) — in favor of segregation
Lochner v. New York (1905) — against worker safety
Adkins v. Children’s Hospital (1923) — against minimum wages for women and children
Buck v. Bell (1927) — legitimized eugenic sterilization laws
Korematsu v. United States (1944) — supported xenophobia and racism
Buckley v. Valeo (1976) — allowed more money to influence the political process
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973) — against proper funding for public schools
Bush v. Gore (2000) — illegally elected George W. Bush
Circuit City v. Adams (2001) — against worker rights
Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) — in favor of gerrymandering
Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007) — against worker rights
Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008) — against voter rights
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) — injected vast wads of money into the political process
AT&T v. Concepcion (2011) — against worker rights
PLIVA v. Mensing (2011) — against consumer protection from dangerous pharmaceuticals
Shelby County v. Holder (2013) — shredded voter rights
Vance v. Ball State University (2013) — against worker rights
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) — favoring religiosity freaks over people
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (2014) — injected enormous wads of money into the political process
From backing racism to trampling on the rights of women, children, and workers, the SCOTUS has a dismal record. As Millhiser writes in his Introduction, “Few institutions have inflicted greater suffering on more Americans than the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Things Remain the Same
It’s odd how the perfidy of Conservatism has remained a constant in this country. Their cretinism is continually exposed but vast numbers of Americans refuse to acknowledge it. At one point in the book, Millhiser writes about Cons denouncing the President “as either a communist or a fascist, or sometimes both in the exact same sentence.” No, this was not about Obama — in this case the President was Franklin Roosevelt.
Let’s try this again. Here’s a statement from the time when the RWNJs were embracing such human turds as Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, Jr.:
At least in the South, however, white supremacists did not need to control the Supreme Court in order to control their state’s policies — or the votes that their senators and representatives would cast in Congress. Democracy, it turns out, does not mean much at all if many of the voters cannot vote.
Yeah, sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Here is what has happened with the RWNJ turds on today’s Court:
Once George W. Bush was declared the winner of the 2000 election, however, and after Bush placed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court in 2005 and 2006, respectively, the Court’s concern for the “equal weight accorded to each vote and the equal dignity owed to each voter” vanished. With Roberts at the helm, the Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. It welcomed a flood of major campaign donations seeking to reshape American elections. And it aided what may be the most aggressive voter suppression campaign since the Jim Crow era.
“Injustices” is a blazing spotlight on some of the ways Conservatives continually cock things up.
In the end, the only practical solution to bad Supreme Court justices is good Supreme Court justices. And the only way to ensure that new justices will not repeat the Supreme Court’s past is to elect presidents who are committed to a very different future.
If you value justice, decency, logic, and humanity, keep this in mind: Do not vote for Conservative candidates. Not ever.
VIDEO (YouTube) – Ian Millhiser on Sam Seder’s Majority Report:
For Further Information:
“Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted” by Ian Millhiser; Nation Books (Public Affairs), Hardcover, 368 pages, ISBN: 9781568584560, $27.99, 2015.
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