Friday, April 11, 2014

Demonizing SCOTUS

My article in the April 10, 2014 issue of FrontPage magazine:

Demonizing SCOTUS

By Matthew Vadum

Left-wing activists and U.S. senators have launched a pressure campaign targeting the more conservative members of the Supreme Court in hopes of forcing them to abandon First Amendment protections in the Constitution.

In the Left’s view, Americans and the corporations they use to make money can’t be allowed to freely express themselves politically by giving money to candidates for public office because that might halt the country’s ongoing slide into leftist chaos. 

American leftists have long believed that if they can’t get what they want through the ballot box, they’ll get it through the judicial system. If they can’t get what they want from the judges, they’ll smear and intimidate those judges, Hugo Chavez-style, until they give in. 

Get ready for Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and others to be viciously attacked and demonized by the Left using the techniques of Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky.

In the manner of Soviet era propagandists, these neo-Marxist activists are planning to depict the nation’s highest court as a tool of the wealthy powers-that-be that conspire against middle-class families. Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has taken to the floor of the Senate to denounce wealthy libertarian donors Charles and David Koch, who underwrite many right-leaning causes.

Some strategists on the Left picture the new movement as a left-wing answer to the “Impeach Earl Warren” movement of the 1960s, which they say set the stage for the high court to become more conservative later on.

According to The Hill newspaper, 
“Democrats say the present-day court lacks the experience to understand the corrupting influence of money in politics, because none of its members have held publicly elected office. Warren served as governor of California before presiding as chief justice from 1953-1969, when the court issued landmark rulings celebrated by liberals in Brown v. Board of Education and Miranda v. Arizona.”
But the current Supreme Court wishes “to dismantle all limits on giving, piece by piece, until we are back to the days of the robber barons, when anyone or anything could give unlimited money, undisclosed, and make our political system seem so rigged that everyone will lose interest in our democracy,” said Senate Rules Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Schumer, incidentally, laid out a blueprint to destroy the Tea Party movement at the Center for American Progress Action Fund earlier this year.

An added bonus to this new effort to influence the high court is that the Left’s agitation may help to pump up voter turnout in the November midterm elections by energizing the Democrats’ extremist electoral base.

Sixties radical Robert Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, said the Left’s “legal groups will be doing a full-fledged, increasingly severe critique of the court as a court for plutocrats.”
Carrying their message of hatred and class warfare, activists and Democratic senators are accusing the conservative-leaning justices of acting out of political bias to further the Republican Party’s agenda. 

These radicals have it exactly backwards. 

The jurists deemed conservative don’t vote reliably as a bloc — but when they do they tend to be acting as originalists trying to faithfully interpret the Constitution without glomming a political agenda onto the plain meaning of the words. They are enforcing the great national charter, not rewriting it as the Left would prefer they do.

These increasingly obnoxious groups are taking cues from President Obama who scolded the assembled Supreme Court justices at the 2010 State of the Union address for upholding the First Amendment. In that speech the former part-time adjunct constitutional law lecturer misrepresented the landmark Citizens United v. FEC decision when he claimed it “reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.” In response, Justice Samuel Alito was famously caught on camera mouthing the words “not true.” 

Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy Barnett offered a sports analogy to describe what these groups are now doing to the Supreme Court.

“The Left clearly tried to work the refs on the Affordable Care Act,” Barnett said. “They worked the refs after Citizens United, which helped set things up for the Affordable Care Act challenge. If it seems to work, why not continue? It’s unfortunate, I think, that they’ve been encouraged in this behavior by its apparent success.”

Democrats are also backing this campaign to distract from the Obama administration’s many failures, especially the bungled Affordable Care Act that has already taken health care insurance away from millions of Americans.

“This very well likely is also about finding an issue other than health care and the economy in 2014,” Barnett said. “This is like attacking the Koch brothers from the floor of the Senate every other day. It’s another way of trying to gin up the base of the Democratic Party.”

In 2010 elected Democrats did chastise and attempt to embarrass Supreme Court justices during speeches in Congress after political spending provisions were circumscribed in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

One popular rumor floating around the nation’s capital is that Chief Justice John Roberts infamously voted to uphold Obamacare in 2012 because he was stung by criticism and sought to prevent a similar blow-up from happening following the rendering of that decision.

One of the groups trying to strong-arm the Supreme Court is the Progressive Change Campaign Committee which is running online ads encouraging supporters to back legislation that would fund political candidates with tax dollars.

PCCC boasts that the far-left Nation magazine gave it an award for “Most Valuable Campaign” of 2011 and that MSNBC’s unhinged talk show host Ed Schultz has called PCCC “the top progressive group in the country.”

Founded in 2009, the grassroots-funded PCCC reacted in horror April 2 when in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission the Supreme Court struck down some of the limits on how much individuals can donate to electoral campaigns. 

“With those limits gone, it will be even harder for everyday people to have their voices heard in Washington. In response, PCCC is launching ads in Washington to make clear that not only should Congress pass a Constitutional Amendment to counteract the power of money in politics — it needs to pass the Government by the People Act, which would fit within recent Supreme Court rulings and would match small-dollar donations with public funds.”

The creepy corporatist legislation to which PCCC refers really ought to be called the Perpetuation of Big Government Forever Act. The measure would create a massive campaign contribution subsidy scheme paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

Specifically, it would form a Freedom from Influence Fund to match contributions of up to $150 to participating candidates 6-to-1 or more. It would provide a $25 refundable tax credit for small contributions and matching funds in the final 60 days of a general election for candidates in high-cost races. It would also create People PACs, or small donor committees, that aggregate the donations of individuals.

According to their official website biographies, PCCC was founded by left-wing activists Stephanie Taylor and Adam Green. 

Taylor, currently a Ph.D. candidate in American history at Georgetown University, is a veteran union organizer “and a pioneer in the area of scalable field, using technology and field to achieve results.” Green, who has a law degree from the University of Virginia, worked four years as Director of Strategic Campaigns and Civic Communications Director for MoveOn. Green was also press secretary for Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-S.D.) 2002 re-election campaign. 

PCCC and its allies are gearing up in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. The court is expected to determine whether the federal mandate on employers to offer birth control coverage violates the Constitution.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Schumer plan to conduct hearings on the McCutcheon decision, according to The Hill newspaper.
After the ruling was released, Leahy said, “five justices once again have decided to rule on the side of moneyed interests and against the American people.”

It’s been said in political circles that personnel is policy. If that’s true, Americans should be very concerned about Leahy’s senior counsel at the Judiciary Committee. That lawyer is the race-obsessed radical Debo Adegbile who recently lost his fight to become the Justice Department’s top civil rights enforcer. The Senate rejected Adegbile’s nomination after conservative groups pointed out his support for unrepentant cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. A staunch affirmative action supporter, Adegbile, formerly head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, doesn’t appear to believe that white Americans are entitled to civil rights protection.

Meanwhile, the Left is essentially threatening to riot if the Supreme Court strikes down the Obamacare mandate forcing employers to provide birth control options in their employee’s health care insurance packages.

Democrat Shenna Bellows, who is challenging moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R- Maine), participated in a rally outside the Supreme Court to put pressure on the justices to leave the mandate alone.

If the ruling comes down the way the Left fears, with any luck the unrest caused by progressives will happen soon before the November election, just in time to disgust conservative and middle-of-the-road voters.

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