RSN June 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Ratigan Writes: "The Supreme Court looms over our political landscape like a giant, immovable object. Americans have traditionally respected the court's purview, believing that it serves justice, dispassionately. Yet the most controversial decision of the last twenty five years - Bush v. Gore - has profoundly shaken that sentiment. And other decisions, like the Citizens United ruling that prevented restrictions on corporation and labor outside expenditures in elections, are inviting further skepticism. Just who does the Court serve?"

Future Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts meets with George W. Bush in the Oval Office, 06/15/05. (photo: Eric Draper)
Future Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts meets with George W. Bush in the Oval Office, 06/15/05. (photo: Eric Draper)



Bought Justice and The Supreme Court

By Dylan Ratigan, Reader Supported News

05 November 11

 

he Supreme Court looms over our political landscape like a giant, immovable object. Americans have traditionally respected the court's purview, believing that it serves justice, dispassionately. Yet the most controversial decision of the last twenty five years - Bush v. Gore - has profoundly shaken that sentiment. And other decisions, like the Citizens United ruling that prevented restrictions on corporation and labor outside expenditures in elections, are inviting further skepticism. Just who does the Court serve? Is this another case of Platinum Citizens getting one set of rules, and everyone else getting another set of rules? And is the Court dominated, like the rest of our government, by money? Do we have a bought Supreme Court?

This is a difficult, and troubling, question. And it doesn't have an obvious answer. One place to look is at the Citizens United decision itself. The most remarkable aspects of the court's decision-making in Citizens United is the Court's attitude towards corruption. The traditional rationale behind campaign finance restrictions is that campaign money can corrupt or create the appearance of corruption. The court found that, unless there was an explicit quid pro quo and donations were coordinated with candidates, money was not a corrupting force. If there ever were a rationale to restrict free speech in the form of campaign spending, corruption was it. But since campaign money doesn't corrupt, the Court found, the Constitution prohibits the government from regulating money in politics.

Most people believe in common sense, that if you give someone money, or spend money on someone's behalf, you will have influence over them. Excessive influence over a politician leads to corruption. Yet the Supreme Court doesn't see it this way. How did the Court come to have such odd ideas on corruption?

This goes back to the subtlety of money in our politics, and in particular, the purchase of ideas. In the 1970s, a think tank called the John Olin Foundation began promoting something called law and economics, a school of thought started at the University of Chicago that linked the incentive-based thinking of economics to legal rule-making. At the time, the ideas that led to the massive deregulatory impulses of the next three decades were first taking shape; the law and economics school was simply the legal offshoot of this well-funded pro-corporate trend. This new legal theory asserted that traditional legal concepts like equity and fairness were not as important as efficiency and incentives. And it expanded its influence quickly over law schools and courts very quickly through, well, gobs of money. According to conservative journalist John Miller, "the foundation sank more than $68 million into law and economics, and because of this it had a big impact on legal scholarship, the training of lawyers, and judicial behavior."

Over the next four decades, the Supreme Court, and the judiciary in general, became far more amenable to analyses that left out concepts like fairness. And this was not simply due to the conservatives on the courts, though they led the charge. The Supreme Court helped get rid of usury caps for credit cards, and then struck down state laws capping penalty fees. These two significant decisions - the Marquette decision in 1978 and Smiley v. Citibank in 1996 - were unanimous. Bankruptcy filings have naturally spiraled upwards. It wasn't just Congress, the regulators, or the President that deregulated our financial system, it was the Supreme Court as well. And if you want to know why bankers haven't been prosecuted for the financial crisis, well just before the crisis, the court upheld a ruling that investment bankers who knowingly structured sham transactions they knew would be used to falsify Enron's financial statements hadn't committed fraud. Last year, the court ruled for Enron ex-CEO Jeff Skilling.

Today, this concept is so embedded in the judiciary that imposing rules to allow shareholders power over corporate management is now being struck down on the grounds that it would prevent "efficiency, competition, and capital formation." Law schools now churn out lawyers who understand and believe in law and economics, who can be the Supreme Court clerks and legal functionaries to embed these arguments in every nook and cranny of our legal system. Questions of justice are now becoming questions of how to make the law serve the interests of corporations, rather than fundamental issues of liberty. Powerful groups like investment bankers and CEOs can commit unethical acts with no consequence, but more than one in every hundred American men is now incarcerated, most for low level petty violations.

Some people chalk up the Court's problems to a conservative influence on the judiciary. These people point to both Justice Sam Alito and Justice John Roberts, who both argued they would treasure Court precedent during their nomination hearings. It would be hard to find a more outrageous case of not following precedent than Citizens United; corporate money had been restricted for a century. Even more egregious is the case of Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife took $680,000 of money from the conservative Heritage Foundation, even as he did not disclose the money as required by law on his Federal disclosure forms. Thomas has also helped raise money for the Heritage Foundation. As businessman and ethical advocate Landon Rowland observed, the greatly admired scholar Alexis de Tocqueville distinguished America from corrupt European states by its willingness to subject "the state and its rulers to ordinary courts and the common law." This is no longer the case if a Supreme Court Justice can receive family income from a conservative ideological institution, break the law and not disclose it, and then rule on issues on which that institution has weighed in.

But I think the problem is more fundamental. The bank-friendly cases occurred before these conservatives were on the Court, and they were unanimous decisions. Moreover, just looking at how Democrats responded to these Supreme Court decisions shows that the problem is bipartisan. In response to the Lily Ledbetter decision from the Court on gender-based pay discrimination, Congress passed a statute reversing the Court's mandate. This is good as far as it goes, but where is the grand theory of bringing equity and fairness back to the judicial system? Congress can't, and indeed doesn't, respond every time the court system fails to act in pursuit of justice. The breakdown is becoming so severe that banks can commit rampant foreclosure fraud against debtors and the court system, without consequence. What good is a system of justice that protects the property rights of banks, but not the property rights of anyone else?

Fundamentally, what we need is a new legal theory for the 99%, a new way of looking at corruption. The law and economics school takes a limited approach to the question of justice, but there are seeds of new ways of thinking. Another way of modeling the problem has been pioneered by law professor Zephyr Teachout, who argues there is a structural anti-corruption principle embedded in the Constitution itself in the form of a separation-of-powers. She explores how the founders drafted the Constitution as a response to corruption, and argues that judges need to consider questions of corruption as a Constitutional principle. Other young scholars are remaking our intellectual landscape - telecommunications and cyberdefense specialist Marvin Ammori argues that the First Amendment is a design principle. Public space, he says, is essential for the First Amendment to operate, and judges need to consider that concept. As we see protesters camped out around the country and tussling with public officials over how they can showcase grievances, this seems far more important than more mundane First Amendment questions that typically deal with questions of flag-burning.

The question of money and the courts is not a simple one. Money does corrupt, but in the case of the courts, it isn't illegal to fund intellectual research, nor should it be. What are needed are new ideas and new legal theories to counter the ones that failed. As we watch the torrents of money pour into our politics, it's becoming increasingly impossible to believe that our national institutions are designed to do anything but protect the interest of a very narrow slice of the population. The Supreme Court's power rests on a tradition of integrity and a belief that it will be just in its use of its power to interpret the law. It's based on a belief that the Court's interests are aligned with the rest of us, that we get the choice of pursuing justice when harmed. As this frays, the Court's power will fray as well. This is in no one's interest. We need a system of justice, but a system of justice that serves all of us.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+83 # mwd870 2011-11-05 09:40
Dylan Ratigan, you are one of the best advocates for enlightening the public and working to change the corrupt practices that are ruining our country. Any way your show can be aired in prime time on NBC?

Having said this, I found 'Bought Justice and The Supreme Court' extremely depressing.
 
 
+116 # Barbara K 2011-11-05 09:59
Our Supreme Court was the last stop for fair trials and decisions. Clarence Thomas and Anthony Scalia destroyed that belief. It is no better than the dirt on the bottom of our shoes. They need to be impeached or just plain thrown out. They shame the robes they wear and the seats they hold; and they made a mockery of our Supreme Court, which was once revered, and now is scorned.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!
 
 
-8 # RLF 2011-11-06 04:48
Vote for Obama who put in people like himself with no balls to fight these pricks.

And what is with this Chicago U...? It just seems evil! Nothing but sham intellectualism comes from there...all pushed by the 1%. Time to boycott that crap school!
 
 
+6 # Karlus58 2011-11-07 09:05
I see many negative dislikes to your poignant post sir.....and wondering why? What you've said is absolute truth...and we must accept and provide "change" accordingly. I keep asking myself why as well...why has he brought to his side....those who've obviously been a huge part of this problem...
 
 
+47 # wantrealdemocracy 2011-11-05 10:10
The question of corruption in the Supreme Court is a secondary concern. Our democracy is failing due to the corruption in our Congress. Congress approves the members of the Supreme Court. Congress writes or deletes the laws of the land that makes the onerous behavior of the banksters perfectly legal. Congress is not upholding the Constitution by allowing and funding the endless wars and demanding austerity on the people while they pour tax funds on the banksters and do not write a fair tax code.

Congress is corrupt. We need to vote NO on all incumbents. The members of Congress do not represent the people of this nation. Never mind if they put a little D or an R after their name. If they are in Congress now, they are CORRUPT and need to be replaced. We need a clean sweep and a new start.
 
 
+26 # maddave 2011-11-05 12:34
Whoa! Whoa! You are locked onto the symptom rather than the ill. What do you suppose is corrupting those lawmakers? Smiles? Handshakes? Well, maybe those, too, the root of the problem is MONEY and power (synonymous terms) . . . and the problemis that nobody in Congress will cut-off the Corporate American spigot and - except for the Supreme Court - nobody can.

Sure there are candidates who will promise to "change finance law", but once they are elected and they discover how long & wide the gravy train really is, they sing a different tune.

We are stuck with Citizens United and its corrupting influence until . . . forever? Looks like that from here.
 
 
+17 # chick 2011-11-05 20:07
Sure go ahead, better said than done.

But I will see you voting in some real nice "Republicans"

I go along with Barbara K Never vote Republican and you will slowly see our democracy coming back to our country.
 
 
+14 # readerz 2011-11-05 23:38
It takes a 2/3 majority to ratify members of the SC, other justices, Cabinet members, and bring some bills to the floor. Senate rules are very limiting, but this nation does not have an even population distribution of Senators. So if 1/3 of the Senate is very small states that should have only small representation, and these are mostly Repubs, and then requires a 2/3 majority to ratify etc., that is why there is corruption. The Constitution was written for a much smaller country with 1/4 of the states; the Senate was not at much skewed then, and certainly not skewed along ideological lines. It is time to amend the Constitution for a fairer Senate and Electoral College (for starters).
 
 
+57 # bobby t. 2011-11-05 10:33
yes to the above. everyone but al franken and bernie sanders.
 
 
+47 # Mouna 2011-11-05 11:07
and Dennis Kucinich.
 
 
+36 # Regina 2011-11-05 11:07
Keep the strong Democratic women!!! Even the Maine Republicans, who try very hard to keep from being swept into their party's slop. Yes, the rest of the Republican women should be swept out, beginning with Bachmann. Hutchinson tries, but she caves.
 
 
+35 # mwd870 2011-11-05 11:08
Don't forget Dennis Kucinich and possibly a few others. I also like Jan Schakowsky.
 
 
+24 # maddave 2011-11-05 12:35
Agreed. You might ass in Barney Frank. But they can't do it alone.
 
 
+6 # maddave 2011-11-05 23:47
Overlook typo, above. "ass" ought to have v been "add"
 
 
+5 # readerz 2011-11-05 23:41
There are a few more than Al Franken, Sanders, Kucinich, etc. My own Representative is O.K. usually. But wait: both she and Kucinich were eliminated by a combination of gerrymandering and loss of jobs and people from northeast Ohio. One of my Senators is O.K. too, and should be re-elected.
 
 
+66 # MainStreetMentor 2011-11-05 10:47
This article is outstanding. The conservative “seeding” of the current supreme court membership was the result of the kakistocracy that was the Bush/Cheney regime. Clarence Thomas most definitely needs to be removed from the bench, and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may help create a pathway that might include that very thing with the potential proposal of upcoming legislation. When Dr. Elizabeth Warren becomes the Senator from Massachusetts, Senator Sanders will have a strong ally in such future efforts.
 
 
+34 # Adoregon 2011-11-05 10:49
Money is not "free speech." Money acts as an amplifier of free speech. The more money available, the more powerful the amplifier.

Money is seductive. I am continually surprised by how little money it takes to seduce most people and render them unethical sycophants.

Corruption is an integral part of the U.S. [rigged] system. Consider this quotation from the movie "Syriana."

Danny D.:
"Corruption charges. Corruption? Corruption ain't nothing more than government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. That's Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are here in the white-hot center of things instead of fighting each other for scraps of meat out there in the streets.

Corruption... is how we win."

Read that through a few times and think about it. The system is rigged from the git go. Always has been.

WTFU
 
 
+1 # readerz 2011-11-05 23:43
Look up the next generation of Milton Friedman's family.
 
 
+11 # RLF 2011-11-06 04:50
"Money is seductive. I am continually surprised by how little money it takes to seduce most people and render them unethical sycophants."

The more desparate a population gets...the easier it is to buy them.
 
 
+54 # artful 2011-11-05 10:55
Yes, it is sad. The Supreme Court was literally the court of last resort for honest folk. Thomas and Scalia, and their other friends on the court have torn apart that simple axiom.
 
 
+23 # Gnome de Pluehm 2011-11-05 10:57
This is social darwinism multiplied by financial darwinism
 
 
+23 # billybookworm 2011-11-05 11:42
Quoting Gnome de Pluehm:
This is social darwinism multiplied by financial darwinism

We agree, of course, with Mr. Justice Holmes that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment **1083 ‘does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's Social Statics' (Lochner v. People of State of New York, 198 U.S. 45, 75, 25 S.Ct. 539, 546, 49 L.Ed. 937).

William O. Douglas in the case widely seen as ending the Social Darwinism that led to the Great Depression. Ironically a century later we have a supreme court majority who do not see a lesson in that experience.
 
 
+40 # Bill Clements 2011-11-05 11:06
Bravo, Dylan Ratigan! This is an excellent, informative article that not only gets to the nub of the problem we have: a lack of equity and fairness in our judicial system, but also proposes a much-needed solution: a new legal theory for the 99%.

As I see it, our system of governance is broken, and that also clearly includes the Court.
 
 
+24 # Lindy81 2011-11-05 14:16
A more expedient solution would be to get conservatives off the SCOTUS now.
 
 
+12 # Bill Clements 2011-11-05 17:45
Absolutely agree!
 
 
+40 # BettyFaas 2011-11-05 11:18
Nothing good will happen by "voting the rascals" all out. Without changing the funding of elections, the same corrupting sources will continue. All new politicians would weaken the system further. If you don't think it makes a difference whether Democrats or Republicans are elected, simply look at the make-up of the Supreme Court. As out of whack as things are, if we vote in a Republican president, a majority congress and majority senate, there will be further massive dismantling of fairness in our country
 
 
+17 # ABen 2011-11-05 16:35
Well said Betty! For confirmation of the ill effects of this knee-jerk reaction, one need look no further than what happened in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Florida. Think before you vote, and then vote Democratic!
 
 
+28 # Vardoz 2011-11-05 11:22
What ever happened to beyond a reasonable doubt? Was it beyond a resonable doubt that money does not and could never have a corrupting affect on our political process? If there was a reasonable doubt why was that ignored? And how can they justify fraudulent transactions and give those who commit fraud immunity from prosecution? It sees that that any sense of right and wrong have been totally abandon and has now fallen in total favor of corporate interests. I knew that the children of some of the Supreme Courts justices also worked for the Bush campaign and Thomas used to work for Monsanto. So to me corruption has permeated the Supreme Court so much so that it no longer protects our constitution that was meant to serve the people's safety and interests. To say that the Citizens United could or would never lead to the corruption of our political system was over looked on purpose. For such a significant ruling to be passed without proving its total efficacy and that there was no chance it would damage our political system beyond a reasonable doubt is, in my opinion, corrupt in and of itself. All that the Supreme Court is engaging in has resulted in hurting our political system and the health, safey and welfare of the people of the nation.
 
 
+33 # billybookworm 2011-11-05 11:39
It is unfortunate that the breadth of the system changes this court has wrought cannot be known to the population as a whole. Bush v. Gore showed a willingness to become involved in political questions traditionally left to the other branches of government. Citizen's United (In which the four dissenters in Caperton v. Massey Coal were able to lure Kennedy into joining, marked a departure from the concept of judicial restraint and deference to congress. The lead decision demonstrates a contempt for both precedent and intellectual honesty. I challenge anyone to read each of the cases cited for the proposition that "the court has long recognized that corporations have the right to free expression under the first amendment" without concluding: that's a stretch.
These are just small windows into the court's activism. From refusing to decide cases to ignoring traditional restraints on the court they are fundamentally reshaping constitutional jurisprudence, commercial law, state's rights, the police power, interstate commerce, government accountability and any number of other areas of the social contract.
People get it, it a broad and perhaps intuitive sense. The playing field is now near vertical for 99%. But they really don't know the extent to which this court has changed the law of the land and how completely in favor of monied interests and totalitarian government.
 
 
+24 # John Locke 2011-11-05 11:50
The reality, if we lose our democracy it will be from the judiciary... and a sad commentary, we have already lost it...
 
 
+38 # dorianb@fuse.net 2011-11-05 11:58
Clarence Thomas is a bad man and a bad judge. His sexual harassment trial in the case of Anita Hill should have been more than enough to keep him from ever becoming a member of the Supreme Court. The fact that he is being ethically challenged does not surprise me at all. Thomas has withheld information about his finances on a federal disclosure form and demonstrated his conservative bias not only on the bench but by raising money for an ultra conservative foundation. Clarence Thomas is the antithesis of what we expect and need in a Judge, particularly one who makes decisions on the Supreme Court.
 
 
+21 # motamanx 2011-11-05 12:33
His sexual harassment trial in the case of Anita Hill should have been more than enough to keep him from ever becoming a member of the Supreme Court.

But he was approved, it must be sadly admitted, by a Democratic Congress. No one (rather too few) had the courage to go against the "negro vote".
 
 
+18 # basilissa 2011-11-05 22:08
There was no "sexual harassment trial." It was Anita Hill who was put on trial. The senators on both sides of the aisle did everything they could to protect Thomas, including preventing other women from testifying who would have told of their own harassment by Thomas.
 
 
0 # Bill Clements 2011-11-08 22:37
Again, spineless Democrats at work.
 
 
+12 # chick 2011-11-05 20:16
All with the help of the Republican party.

Vote Democrat.
 
 
+2 # Cassandra2012 2011-11-06 15:48
ACTUALLY, ALL WITH THE HELP OF AN ALL-MALE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE!
 
 
+25 # maddave 2011-11-05 12:10
The first rule of ALL politics was best stated by Molly Ivans:
You gotta dance with the one that brung ya'.

And now the Supremes have made it official, 5 - 4: The regulatees are hiring and firing the regulators - just like Al Capone did with Chicago Politicians during prohibition.
 
 
+23 # maddave 2011-11-05 12:21
P. S. Barbara K is right! DO NOT vote for a republican president in 2012, because one - & maybe two - new justices will certainly be appointed over the next five years . . . most likely Breyer & Ginsburg. It's 5/4 against us now, and if one of the current crop of GOP mental midgets gets elected, you can look forward to seeing that numbers shift to an assured negative 6/3 or a 7/2 . . . for the next decade or two.

Any questions?
 
 
+18 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-05 12:28
Strange thing to watch now is the Republicans gutting their own. I guess since Cain is Black it is Okay. Hopefully this many wakes up and leaves the GOP uses what intelligence he has for better cause.

Most of the Republicans many Dems seem to have this Power Play that Rape, Pillage and Plunder is okay...time they are reminded that they will undo themselves by their own misconduct.
It is coming time for the Judgement Day...People are getting ready for the Winter of our Discontent to come to an end We are making changes, they will feel them one by one.

Changing banks, Boycotting States Republican Corporation Products, Put money away less spending on anything but American Made. We can change the World, on step at a time, one product at a time.
We can stop the show, but we have to work together....tha t is the only way a Revolution Works. Team Work, Solidarity....A dios Republicans, Adios Banks, Adios Corporations who harm their workers, the towns they are in. The Corporations who make billions, pretend to want to help Americans with generic/bad drugs for cheap but do not support their own workers...Adios , we are goin to stop shopping with you....
American Made or nothing. Organically Grown. Credit Unions. JOBS for Americans Adios to Foreign Trade...send it back.
 
 
+23 # motamanx 2011-11-05 12:29
Clarence Thomas and Scalia were made Supreme Court justices by the Bushes who demanded (and received) the promise that they always vote for whatever the Bush agenda called for.
 
 
+20 # hectormaria 2011-11-05 12:35
Originalist in the Supreme Court like to think they are adhering to the intent of the founding fathers’ wishes when interpreting the Constitution, yet in the preamble to the Constitutions it clearly states that it is THE PEOPLE of the United States who ordained and established the Constitution not corporate America; nowhere are corporations recognized or mentioned within the Constitution's original body nor in the Bill of Rights (the Bill of Rights was added to protect the RIGHTS of INDIVIDUAL citizens not corporations). So why did Scalia and Thomas vote in the affirmative to, in effect, consider corporations as people? Isn't it against their juridical philosophy? I guess even the judges have a price.
 
 
+12 # guidoS 2011-11-05 13:11
What most people don't realize--becaus e of the "dumbing down" process of government controlled schools and the politically- correct propaganda of the news media "presstitutes"- -is that for the last 140 years, since the Act of 1871 that created the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CORPORATION, the de jure Republic which the Founding Fathers painstakingly conceived has been replaced by a corporate democracy, which they adamantly abhorred. The is why the "just-a-piece-o f-paper" Republic Constitution is ignored: It does not apply to the current de facto regime in Washington DC nor to anyone who is a 14th Amendment citizen of the UNITED STATES CORPORATION. Under the US Corp. you have not rights, only privileges and benefits which can be taken away at any time. For more information about this great fraud and abut those who are doing something about it, go to http://dev.republicoftheunitedstates.org/ and click on "What is the Republic" for a history lesson. For more info on the two constitutions, go to http://presscore.ca/2011/?p=4448
 
 
+14 # hectormaria 2011-11-05 13:13
Originalist in the Supreme Court like to think they are adhering to the intent of the founding fathers’ wishes when interpreting the Constitution, yet in the preamble to the Constitutions it clearly states that it is THE PEOPLE of the United States who ordained and established the Constitution not corporate America; nowhere are corporations recognized or mentioned within the Constitution's original body nor in the Bill of Rights (the Bill of Rights was added to protect the RIGHTS of INDIVIDUAL citizens not corporations). So why did Scalia and Thomas vote in the affirmative to, in effect, consider corporations as people? Isn't it against their judicial philosophy? I guess even the judges have a price.
 
 
+21 # rradiof 2011-11-05 14:01
The University of Chicago is the most dangerous institution on the face of the earth. Founded by John D. Rockefeller, this university has done more damage to the globe than any totalitarian regime. When Milton Friedman called for the privatization of public education in 1954, he was rightfully called a "lunatic', by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 22 years later he was rewarded for his neoliberal ideas with the Nobel Prize. At the time, the dictator Pinochet was employing Friedman's ideas in fascist Chile. The Rockfellers funded Catholic University in Chile, which embedded University of Chicago-trained economists in their faculty. Soon after, Pinochet privatized most of public education in Chile. Today thousands of students in Chile have occupied schools in an attempt to roll back Friedman's fascist ideals. As an attorney, I had the opportunity to argue cases in the 7th Circuit with Chicago boys like Posner and Easterbrook, who knelt down to the ideas of Friedman, and a more sinister Chicagoan, who unfortunately is ignored in the consideration of the Midway's destruction of the globe. His name is Gary Becker, another Nobel laureate (1992) As a partner with Richard Posner, he is more responsible for the Court's direction towards efficiency and away from equity than any other person. Becker's "cost benefit analysis" has destroyed the concept of justice. TY Ratigan.
 
 
+19 # ckosuda 2011-11-05 16:38
this whole "rule of law" thing is a sham - practiced "law" for 20 years in NJ - it is a pure sham - in Workers Compensation courts, for example, the "judges" are "appointed" by the Governor - most of them are pure idiots / racist/ sexist/ elitist - openly and without shame - they dismiss cases right and left , except if a business owner comes into court -
let's not believe this "law" crap any more -
it is merely a tool to intimidate the masses.
 
 
+10 # in deo veritas 2011-11-05 17:22
In truth as enemies of democracy they serve no one but themselves.They will not rule forever as none of them are immortal and the time will come when they die or have to retire because of poor health. Then we will be rid of them and hopefully have people in the White House and Congress that will replace them with decent human beings. Only road block is we have to survive until that time comes. They will do everything in their corrupt power to see that we do not.
 
 
+15 # spenel334 2011-11-05 19:42
Great comments, all of them. Though I do believe that somehow, someway, things will eventually get better, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime, Unfortunately the only true solution lies in changing to public financing of elections. and that is not, apparently, the American way.
 
 
0 # Tee 2011-11-05 21:10
All three branches of our political system is bought by the oligarch's. Unfortunately we can't even look to the media to balance things out PBS, CNN, and NPR are also Zionist tools. MSNBC at least have Dylan Ratigan and a few others willing to tell the truth.

the bottom line as Dylan has been telling us for years is to go www.getthemoneyout.com. This is a first step in fighting against our bought political system.
 
 
+2 # mwd870 2011-11-06 03:36
Where does Zionism come into this debate? You are talking like a bigot and Tea-Party infiltrator.

Just fyi, I am a midwestern Catholic, so don't bother calling me a zionist.
 
 
0 # m... 2011-11-05 22:26
Hello Music Lovers. I'm trying to write words for my Current State Of American Affairs Song. It might be sung to the tune of YELLOW SUBMARINE
I have already completed the refrain---
'WE ALL LIVE IN A CORPORATACRCY, A CORORATACRACY, A COPRORATACRACY'
WE ALL LIVE IN A CORPORATACRACY, A CORPORATACRY, A CORPORATACRACY'
Maybe the rest of you can help me with some great lyrics describing things like Our current U.S Congress of Corporate Facilitations or Our Supreme Court for Corporate Considerations. Or maybe even about our Great Orator CEO President Chief Corporate Commander. Or, even perhaps some lines about the Corporate Red Elephant People and the Corporate who-do-they-thi nk-they're-kidd ing Blue Donkey People. Maybe even somethings about The Kochy Brothers Big American Republic Fire Sale. Or even about how great taking America Global has been for a few super rich people we like to read about in The National 'I-hate-governm ent-of the-people-and- I-hope-I-can-be -a-kingly-rich- global-corporat e-jerk-who-pays -no-taxes-while -complaining-ab out-the-illusio n-of-a-high-tax -rate-one-day' Magazine.., And lets not forget the Big TEAple Party..!
I'm sure, together, we can come up with a great song to sing along on Our Future camping trips to Wall St., Washington St., Newz Rooms St., Big Banker St., Supreme Court St., Mudoch St., etc.
 
 
+2 # Blast Dorrough 2011-11-05 22:58
In his letter of June 19, 1792 to Thomas Paine,Thomas Jefferson recognized that the evil Corporatecrafte rs united with demonic Christiancrafte rs were attempting to re-usurp their lost political power:

"Would you believe it posible that in this country there should be high & important characters who need your lessons in republicanism, & who do not heed them? It is but too true that we have a sect [of Christiancrafte rs united with Corporatecrafte rs] preaching up & pouting after an English constitution of king, lords, & commons, & whose heads are itching for crowns, coronets & mitres. But our people, my good friend, are firm and unanimous in their principles of republicanism & there is no better proof of it than that they love what you write [in Rights of Man]and read it with delight."

Paine's "Rights of Man",both Part I and II, is available as one volume as is "The Age of Reason---The Complete Edition. I'm like Abe Lincoln who said: "I never tire of reading Paine." Paine had the most influence on all Founders from all walks of life. His influence is seen in the "Declaration of Independence", clearly a deistic document by the references to "Nature's God" as the "Creator" of the natural order of things. The Founders clearly rejected all consideration of man-invented religious dogma in governmental and civil matters.
 
 
+3 # Blast Dorrough 2011-11-05 23:10
Applicable today is the apparent well-informed Populist Party of 1892 in recognition that corporate "[c]orruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress and touches even the rmine of the bench. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind, and the possessors of these in turn despise the Republic and endanger liberty."
 
 
+11 # unitedwestand 2011-11-06 01:20
The fact that Thomas did not claim such a huge amount of income should be automatic grounds for dismissal. I don't really care wether "he didn't know" he was supposed to claim it, or blatantly cheated, he is a Supreme Court Judge, he shouldn't be able to get away with either reason.

Clarence Thomas needs to be impeached. Scalia should as well. Alito and Roberts for lying during their nominating hearings.
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2011-11-06 09:58
Not to mention the appalling defense and approval of "Corporate Personhood" which really showed them for what they are and their true colors -Green ($) and Blue (Repug')!
And that utterly unspeakable mockery of the entire judiciary "Uncle" Thomas could have saved Troy Davis' life. -If nothing else, I'll never forgive him for that alone apart form his other crimes of corruption!
And you're stuck with 'em for life!
 
 
+2 # elmont 2011-11-06 18:22
I'm getting a real charge out of the railings against my alma mater, the University of Chicago. When I was an undergrad there, it was assumed by one and all that I must therefore have been a radical leftist. Now, even though our current president was a law professor there, I am now presumed to be some tool of the far right wing because I am a U of C alum. [After all, Scalia was also associated with the U of C.] You wanna gripe about the errors of the Chicago school of economic thought, suit yourself, calling the U of C "the most dangerous institution on earth" is something of a stretch. Many progressives went there too.

BTW, I enjoyed the article. Interesting to hear an update about Zephyr Teachout, who was deeply involved in Howard Dean's campaign for president in 2003 and 2004.
 
 
+2 # tm7devils 2011-11-06 22:59
As far as I am concerned, in the 2000 Bush v Gore case, 5 of the 9 justices (and I use the term loosely) had committed treason by stopping the vote recounting in Florida...and thereby electing the president...an action, by them, which is not allowed by our constitution. And what did the American public do - NOTHING!(Pogo was correct!)
Personally, I think all federal judges should be Independents and Atheists. That would help take religion and right or left politics out of the picture when making decisions for our secular governmental system.
Meanwhile, we watch human nature, minus reason and morality, take us to the depths.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN