Beast of the Month - June 2001
Antonin Scalia, "Gang of Five" Supreme Court Mastermind
"I yam an anti-Christ..."
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
John Paul Stevens, Dissenting Opinion, Bush vs. Gore
On December 12, 2000, the United States Supreme Court handed out its most notorious decision in over 100 years, rivaling Dred Scott and Plessy vs. Ferguson in its contempt for justice. On this day of infamy, the Supremes ruled that the hand counting of votes in the state of Florida (an action which had always been rightfully considered the only accurate way to decide the winner in a close contest) was unconstitutional. The official reasoning? Because each county could determine what constituted a vote by a different interpretation of the legislature's phrase "clear intent of the voter", there was supposed unequal protection in the right to vote by the recount. (Never mind that less accurate vote-counting systems in poorer areas were discriminating in themselves, or that the Florida Supreme Court chose not to define the meaning of "clear intent" based on a ruling by the Supreme Court not to "change the rules".) With distorted non-logic, the Supreme Court effectively overthrew the will of the public of both the country and the state of Florida, by depriving votes for the actual winner of the Presidency, Al Gore, to be counted. The end result was the fraudulent installation of a naked emperor who has waged a cynical and self-serving agenda since his bogus victory. Even more important, one of the most basic ideals of any legitimate government, the right of the people to be accurately and fairly represented, was effectively trampled upon by the court ruling.
In case you believe this last claim is mere hyperbole, here is the Supreme Court's own words in the majority decision: "The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States."
If only the end result of the Supreme Court's phony ruling wasn't so huge, it would be amusing. Imagine the conservative wing of the black-robed judges declaring concern over Fourteenth Amendment equal protection violations in the recount of votes, after years of ignoring real Fourteenth Amendment violations. As The Consortium website noted, "Historically, Supreme Court liberals have used 'equal protection' principles to strike down discrimination against African-Americans and other persecuted minorities." In this case, turning the law upside down on its head, it was used to deprive the counting of votes in African-American areas.
Just as hilarious was the blatant conflict of interest by some of the judges involved. For instance, Justices Antonin Scalia (the right-wing ideologue mastermind of the Supreme Court and The Konformist Beast of the Month) has two sons who worked for firms directly involved with the Shrub side of the case. Meanwhile, Clarence "I Love Long Dong Silver" Thomas' wife coordinated the hiring of Heritage Foundation associates by the Bush transition team. And though Sandra Day O'Connor has no family ties to the case, she was visibly upset when the networks called Florida for Vice President Al Gore on Election Night. "This is terrible," she stated, indicating very strongly that she wanted Bush to win. Some suspect she wanted to retire and be replaced by a fellow conservative, while other believe her motivation was that she has the inside track for Chief Justice. Whatever the motivations, three of the five justices ruling in the majority Bush vs. Gore had good reason to recuse themselves but chose not to in a stunning lack of ethics.
None of this should surprise anyone who has bothered to follow the history of the "Gang of Five" that mocked justice with their decision. The quintet (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas O'Connor and Kennedy) are all the legacy of the Reagan-Bush years, with David Souter being the lone white sheep appointee. Though they were appointed under the supposed mantras of "judicial restraint" and "states' rights", the lack of restraint and lack of respect for states' rights they showed while interfering with a presidential election is pretty hard proof that such buzz words are lies.
Of this right-wing majority, O'Connor and Kennedy are considered the swing "moderate" votes (whatever that means) with Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas being the hard-liners. Still, though Rehnquist is the Chief Justice, it is clear that Scalia is the mouth-foaming intellectual leader of the reactionary wing. It is Scalia who first made the disturbing argument that there is no Constitutional right to vote for President. And it is he who wrote the opinion blocking the counting of votes, claiming that it would cast a cloud upon the legitimacy of the Presidential election (which was true, since it would've officially showed that Bush's supposed victory was based on fraud.) With Thomas as his slug-like sidekick, Antonin has led the court to an even more frightening path that Bush Vs. Gore was merely the most prominent insult.
Indeed, the only time they have shown restraint is when it has come to evading their duty of protecting civil liberties. Meanwhile, attempts to regulate korporate power have been thwarted by this same combine, as they consistently halt these supposed examples of government overstep. The obvious reality is that this reactionary majority does not stand for conservatism, but rather economic, social and political fascism.
The two-faced nature of the Supreme Court majority came into play last month, when the Court ruled in the case of U.S. vs. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. At issue was whether the feds could close down an Oakland marijuana co-op, following a state voter-approved initiative (Proposition 215) legalized the usage of medical marijuana in California. Again, the Supremes threw out concepts like States' Rights and judicial restraint when they became inconvenient. On the surface, the 8-0 overruling of a 1999 appeals court decision appears decisive in favor of the Federal government (Breyer, showing ethics Scalia, Thomas and O'Connor lack, recused himself because his brother originally presided over the case.) However, there is more than meets the eye here: the Supreme Court (as decisively proven last December) is a political animal, and neither side was confident that they had the votes on the bigger issue: if medical necessity could overrule federal law in a case involving individual patients (rather than organized distribution groups.) The Scalia-Thomas-Rehnquist wing apparently were scared that either O'Connor or Kennedy wouldn't go along with such an argument, so they crafted a decision that would punt the bigger issue. In the majority opinion, however, Thomas (a former lawyer for Monsanto, a noted money recipient in the War Against Marijuana) took some time off from watching porn videos and bluntly declared:
"In this case, the Court of Appeals erred by considering relevant the evidence that some people have 'serious medical conditions for whom the use of cannabis is necessary in order to treat or alleviate those conditions of their symptoms,' that these people 'will suffer serious harm if they are denied cannabis,' and that 'there is no legal alternative to cannabis for the effective treatment of their medical conditions.'... It is clear from the text of the act that Congress has made a determination that marijuana has no medical benefits worthy of an exception."
In other words, because Congress has stated marijuana has no medical benefits, it has no medical benefits. (Two plus two equals five.)
His decision, unsurprisingly, was signed on only by Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy and Scalia. "It's not a rational decision," stated Keith Stroup of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "It reminds me of the Flat Earth Society." "It's as if the government was saying the world was flat," concurred OCBC director Jeff Jones. Then, echoing correctly the analysis of Bush Vs. Gore, Jones added, "I liken it to the Dred Scott decision."
Proving the pure hypocrisy of their stance (and indicating their decisions really only serve establishment big business interests), the same five judges ruled in March 2000 that the FDA couldn't regulate tobacco as a drug, arguing that the FDA had overstep its supposed bounds by such actions. The decision, of course, was 5-4. Breyer, in his dissenting opinion, noted "Far more than most, this particular drug and device risks the life-threatening harms that administrative regulation seeks to rectify." He then added with sarcasm, "The upshot is that the court today holds that a regulatory statute aimed at unsafe drugs and devices does not authorize regulation of a drug (nicotine) and a device (a cigarette) that the court itself finds unsafe."
Of course, such distorted logic should be expected from Scalia and co. In 1990, he led a right-wing majority into ruling that states could forbid Native Americans from using peyote for religious purposes. In his decision, Scalia stated that as a nation, "we cannot afford the luxury" of striking down laws simply because they limit someone's religious practices. That's correct: according to Scalia, the Freedom of Religion is a "luxury."
Sorry Antonin, it isn't a luxury: it's a basic, natural right, a legal and ethical concept you apparently don't understand. And though you and your cohorts may reject such values, you merely prove your lack of legitimacy by stating such profoundly alien viewpoints.
So what does the future hold? It looks rather bleak: after all, "president" Bush has declared Scalia to be the kind of Justice he plans to appoint. The only hope lies in the Democratic Party blocking such frightening appointments. Considering modern history, this seems doubtful: with the lone exception of Robert Bork, the Donkey Party has failed to deny any of the Reagan-Bush nominees. In fact, Scalia himself was confirmed unanimously, including, fitting enough, a vote from Al Gore himself.
In any case, we salute Antonin Scalia as Beast of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Antonin!!!
U.S. Supreme Court: FDA Cannot Regulate Tobacco as Drug
Associated Press, March 21, 2000
Various Articles, The Consortium
Supreme Court Rejects Medical Pot
May 15, 2001
The "Gore Exception," Mark Levine
Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency, Jake Tapper
Bandits in Black Robes, Jamin Raskin
March 18, 2001
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