“First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.”
We’re still in shock here in the U.S. In just a matter of weeks, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court undid decade’s worth of progressive social reforms. The reversal of Roe vs. Wade last month garnered the most attention, but they didn’t stop with that.
In Vega vs. Tekoh, the High Court ruled that a violation of Miranda rights doesn’t provide a basis for civil damages. The original Miranda vs. Arizona decision ensured people accused of criminal behavior have the right to legal counsel and to remain silent in the face of police interrogation. Miranda was decided in line with the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which had already established certain guidelines for addressing criminal procedures. The Vega ruling now ensures that law enforcement can act with impunity. I suspect it’s a response to the vitriolic reactions to high-profile police killings over the past…well, several decades; the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests and all that. In Vega, the SCOTUS majority noted that, if the original Miranda court intended to create a constitutional right versus a prophylactic rule, it would have definitively declared that immediately upon deciding Miranda. The 1966 Court knew how to use its words, the current Court essentially declared, and those words used were not “constitutional right.” See how verbiage can be twisted so easily by academics?
In West Virginia vs. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court undercut the latter’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases. SCOTUS agreed with Republican-led states and energy companies that the 1970 Clean Air Act gave the EPA too much power over carbon emissions. The decision was also a strike back against the 2015 Clean Power Plan – an Obama-era policy that targeted adverse climate change. To environmentalists, it wasn’t surprising that energy conglomerates were adamant in reversing the CPP, as well as the CAA. But the West Virginia ruling falls in line with the belief of conservatives that climate change is a hoax. That’s why energy companies overwhelmingly support Republican candidates. I have to note West Virginia is a top coal producer. It also ranks as one of the poorest states in the union.
In his statement regarding the Dobbs ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the Court should revisit other high-profile rulings, including Griswold vs. Connecticut, which declared the legal usage of contraceptives; Lawrence vs. Texas, which struck down anti-sodomy laws; and Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage. Curiously, he didn’t call for a review of Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, which declared that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional or Loving vs. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage. I guess this is because overturning these decisions would impact Thomas, a Negro married to a White chick. It’s amazing how some people have no problems enacting laws that wouldn’t affect them personally.
In the 1983 film “The Star Chamber”, Michael Douglas portrays a relatively young judge who becomes engaged with a group of other jurists who find the legal system has gone awry in favor of criminals and decide to enact vigilante justice to right those perceived wrongs. They hire assassins to kill certain criminals who have escaped incarceration. The movie is replete with scenes where highly articulate lawyers help defendants get out of trouble. In one early scene, Hal Holbrook’s character tells Douglas, “Someone has hidden justice inside the law.” It’s an attempt to justify the group’s brutal actions.
That’s how I often view the legal system. Charismatic lawyers prancing around even the most heinous of crimes with carefully-crafted verbiage; a kind of Tolkien-style language only they understand, but something the rest of us have to deal with toiling away in the trenches of reality. I certainly don’t recommend assassination as a viable resolution to our nation’s political ills. That’s where the treasured right of voting comes into play. People need to take their voting rights seriously and understand the significance of not voting. We’ve seen the fruits of voter apathy in my home state of Texas. In recent years, the right to vote has come under fire from conservatives. As with many other rights, this isn’t a surprise. Conservatives have always tried to suppress voting. You know…the way totalitarian regimes like Russia have. I’ve noted more than once that the (fair and legitimate) elections of Barack Obama prompted (mostly White) conservatives to launch their assault on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. During their convention last month, the Texas Republican Party called for repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which guarantees the right to vote regardless of race. They did this because…well, because that’s what conservatives do – at least here in the U.S. They were quick to abolish fascism in Europe during World War II, but weren’t so eager to do the same at home.
With this in mind, I wonder if many conservative queers who voted for the likes of George W. Bush and Ted Cruz are satisfied with their decisions. Along with many mainstream right-wingers, some are ecstatic that Roe was overturned. But now, I hate to see their reactions at the thought of reversing Lawrence or Obergefell. But the neo-Nazi clowns who have targeted the so-called “liberal agenda” for years are coming for their faggot asses next! I just hope they’ll be happy sitting in their designer closets polishing their Ronald Reagan Glee Club pins.
If anyone in the U.S. believes democracy is functioning just perfectly and nothing is wrong, they need to consider this: five of the current justices on the Supreme Court were chosen by presidents who did NOT win the popular vote. George W. Bush didn’t really win the 2000 presidential election and he barely won the 2004 election; yet he was able to appoint two justices – Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Donald Trump certainly didn’t win the 2016 presidential election (perhaps the most corrupt in U.S. history), but he was able to appoint three justices to the Court: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney-Barrett. Gorsuch’s selection came because Republicans refused to grant President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, the decency of a hearing upon the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016; claiming it was an election year and the next president should choose the nominee. However, Barrett’s nomination came after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2020. The same band of Republicans who denied Garland a hearing rammed through Barrett’s confirmation without hesitation.
I don’t know if most Americans fully comprehend the significance of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe. It could lead to much worse. But this is what happens when people don’t bother to vote in even the most mundane of elections. Liberals seem especially reticent to take local races seriously. I can only recommend everyone concerned about our democracy to make that concerted effort to vote. I understand how many people feel their votes don’t count, particularly after the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections and all the corruption involved in both.
Yet, democracy is not a natural form of governing. Humanity is more likely to construct an oligarchy-style system. In worse case settings, totalitarianism can take root, as it almost did with Donald Trump in the White House. People need to be wary of the current U.S. Supreme Court and its fascist leanings, disguised as social conservatism. (Then again, fascism and conservatism are pretty much the same ideology.)
It’s starting with the Roe reversal. Unless we place more moderates into public office, it will only get worse.
Bottom image: Michael de Adder
Stupid Quote of the Week #1
“Now, I don’t think that’s attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”
– Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, during oral arguments about the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the Act because of a lawsuit brought by Shelby County, Alabama. Attorneys for Shelby County claim that the Act has essentially worn out its welcome because the nation has a biracial president and plenty of non-Caucasians in positions of power. If it isn’t for the fact that the state of Alabama has a vitriolic history of voter suppression and intimidation, the lawsuit might have some validity. But, the images of White police officers beating Black people protesting for their right to vote keeps swinging through my mind. Despite the election of Obama, some Republican-dominated districts have made an attempt in recent years to reconfigure some areas that could ensure GOP wins. Many of these areas are in the Southeastern U.S. where – if anyone has done their research – racial discrimination was more entrenched just a half century ago. Selma, Alabama is the site of one of the most vicious attacks on unarmed citizens by police in U.S. history.
It doesn’t surprise me that Scalia would make such a statement. As far as I know, he’s never experienced firsthand the feeling of a water hose against his face just because he wanted to be treated as a human being. Then again, neither have I. But, the Voting Rights Act and its predecessor, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, were meant to ensure that. I guess Scalia – sitting up on his ivory throne – still hasn’t figured that out.
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Tagged as 1965 Voting Rights Act, Antonin Scalia, stupid comments, U.S. Supreme Court