The Supreme Court’s Shameless War on American Democracy

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By now, unless you live under a rock or in a cave, you have heard of the Supreme Court’s attack on Americans by ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, stating unequivocally that corporations can not only have religion, but religious freedom that is, apparently, superior to that possessed by actual, living, breathing, human beings – in particular, women.

As Americans United for Separation of Church and State has said of the SCOTUS ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, “This is a dark day for true religious freedom in America,” and the ACLU is certainly correct when it warns, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling gives some companies the ability to use religion as a license to discriminate.” In the words of People for the American Way: “The Supreme Court just ruled 5-4 that CORPORATIONS have a ‘religious’ right to discriminate against their employees.”

President Obama made clear where he stands: with American women in the 21st century, rather than with religious conservatives in the 13th. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday that, “Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies. We believe that a company should not be able to assert their views to deny employees federally mandated coverage.”

The consequences are potentially devastating for Americans:

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Republicans have taken heart and are rallying once more to the cry that Obamacare itself is a failure:

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Democrats are justifiably outraged. So, unsurprisingly, are those most affected by this decision: women. And women have a right to be outraged. The decision to give corporations more rights than women was made by five men who will not be affected by their own decision.

“A stifling decision for American women,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “It’s a decision that blocks women from being able to make their own healthcare decisions. Not just reproductive healthcare decisions, but healthcare decisions in general.”

Unsurprisingly, public confidence in the Supreme Court is at an all time low, according to Gallup (not that any branch of government is faring well at the moment).

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You think you’re shocked? Imagine how poor Rip Van Winkle would feel to wake up and find out that corporations are more fully realized human beings than he is himself.

The Founding Fathers, in 1787, gave us the secular United States Constitution, a carefully crafted document that established a system of government new to the world, the modern liberal democracy. In so doing, they rejected the Old World paradigm that power derives from the divine right of kings or from God directly, establishing instead the principal that political power derives from the consent of the governed – not to put too fine a point upon it – the people.

In their wisdom, they banned the establishment of state religion and religious tests for public office, thus ensuring (they hoped) that, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, writing in his autobiography of the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, “to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

That is what Religious Freedom meant to the Founding Fathers. Actual Freedom for all religions. Not freedom for one religion to persecute all others.

They never expected, you can be certain, that the very Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) that they established under Article III of the Constitution, would one day trample the document over which they had labored so hard through a hot Philadelphia summer:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

What then can the American people do now?

The Founding Fathers were perfect neither in deeds nor foresight, with the result that the Constitution itself is imperfect. In the Federalist Papers No. 81, Alexander Hamilton answered the charge that “the errors and usurpations of the Supreme Court of the United States will be uncontrollable and remediless,” by arguing that “there will be no less reason to fear that the pestilential breath of faction may poison the fountains of justice. The habit of being continually marshalled on opposite sides will be too apt to stifle the voice both of law and equity.”

Then again, Hamilton also thought there was no need for a Bill of Rights (Federalist No. 84).

The White House pointed a finger Monday at Congress to “take action to solve [the] problem” created by the Supreme Court ruling. For the odds of that happening…well, suffice it to say it won’t. Republicans are no more eager to help American women than they are to do anything the president wants to do – about anything.

The result is that, currently, the people of the United States are getting the worst of both worlds, “errors and usurpations” by the Supreme Court and the “pestilential breath of faction” from Congress, with the result that there is, in effect, no remedy available. There is a reason American approval of this Congress is just north of the plague.

The Supreme Court ought to be protecting democracy. Like the other branches of the government, it answers to the people, after all. Instead, at the behest of those who find obtaining the consent of the governed inconvenient to their aims of self-aggrandizement, the Supreme Court is leading the charge against democracy, and against the very Constitution that established it.

Under these conditions, government of the people, by the people, for the people, is effectively dead in America and all those soldiers at Gettysburg who, in Lincoln’s words, gave the last full measure of devotion “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” gave it in vain.

The only recourse available to the American people is change, a popular expression of will by the governed, a rejection of the soul- and body-destroying agenda of the forces of conservative reaction, and against the corporate coup that would usurp our lawful powers as guaranteed by the Constitution.

And let’s face it: getting Hilary Clinton elected would be a good start, and a delicious and endlessly satisfying slap in the face of those who would steal our rights, and the rights of women in particular.

Photo from International Business Times

20 Replies to “The Supreme Court’s Shameless War on American Democracy”

  1. Once again the rethugs and fake christians have actually lost more then their closed little brains will ever understand. They have ensured that we the actual people of this country with souls and a mind know that this has to stop. The corporate owned so called supreme court will only be held accountable when all women and men who actually really care about this country vote to stop the fake christians and geopigs from their continued destruction of our great country.

  2. This Hobby Lobby case wasn’t about their beliefs. It is a step towards corporations becoming tax free, non regulated entities in the name of religion. There will be a plethora of suits now by various corporations on varying grounds to strip away any thing they want. All rubber stamped by SCOTUS.

    The only way to stop this nonsense is to vote in every election. Throw out these RW nut cases. Do it in convincing fashion. We know that all they have left is gerrymandering, lies, deception, and voter suppression We must show up in indisputable numbers.

  3. This has got to be the most obsequious, toadying, knee pad wearing servile Supreme Court there ever was. They are on a horse marching ass backwards and taking us back to the 19th century, to the era of robber barons & no rights at all for the workers.

  4. I have always enjoyed your articles, Mr. Haraldsson, but this is one of the best you have written. Thank you.

  5. It seems to me! All people that have given their lives for democracy, all died in vain or for hobby lobby b
    Benefit.

  6. @JoeB, well I hate to disillusion you but I worked for that wretched company for a short while. The $14 an hour is for full time employees working 40 hours per week. Guess what, nobody works 40 hours except a select few who kiss a**. Nobody gets benefits either unless they’re full time.

    Their break room is filled with religious pamphlets that you are “encouraged” to read. It helps with your scheduling of hours. Religious posters on the wall, etc. It’s a cult.

    Even though the sign on the door says that employees don’t work Sundays so they can worship. That’s a lie too. During holidays working Sunday is mandatory to stock shelves etc. That is where my demise came with HL. I refused to work on Sunday. Though I am an atheist I felt I was allowed to take Sunday off. I was summarily fired.
    The godly store intentionally marks up merchandise, then marks it down. For perceived deal.

    All those new stores they want to open. Better hold that thought. They are going to lose a lot….

  7. Great post. So you know first hand what HL is all about. Typical hypocrites. Thanks for the “true” info.

  8. at this point in time i cry and feel truly sorry for all women of child bearing age. for those women who want children but are just not ready or in a secure position to have them. and for women who choose not to have children.
    it’s a well known fact that if a woman does not ever want children she if forced to either remain celibate or forced to use chemicals to not have them. she can not elect to undergo sterilization because doctors refuse to perform the surgery. yet a man can walk into a doctors office and get a vasectomy with no problem because “he” chooses not to have children.
    now to make a woman’s choice even harder or to cut into a big part of that ability to choose how to not get pregnant??? all because a corporations so called religious beliefs???
    if hobby lobby and any other corporations health care allows and pays for vasectomies, viagra or penis pumps? they should by “law”, offer paid contraceptives and/or hysterectomies to women.

  9. I too want to thank you Mr. Haraldsson for writing such an excellent article as well as all the other writers on Politicus; one of the best political websites on the Internet!

  10. Joe, guess what? You seem like a fairly intelligent crotch watcher at arms, but, Ya’ Don’t have a clue. You may want to be better informed of what this screwball decision really means to other Americans and our women sir. Just sayin’. Scalia & Thomas at a Koch sponsored Teapublican rally in the desert? Go figure.

  11. I can see why the teabillies don’t care for birth control. They like their women barefoot and pregnant. Their idea of the perfect day is strapping their AK47 on their back. Put the wifey and 9 kids in the back of the pickup and heading for Target to get that new paint for the single wide.

    More kids equal more federal dollars coming to their red states. They go for quantity not quality.

  12. Idiot JoeB let me explain this LAW that passed is one that many Brothers,sisters,uncle,aunts gave there life’s for by the way. It only does apply to women and it’s the longest war ever to control woman.WOW it that so hard to get?

  13. Wrongo. If your place of work offers insurance you cant get ACA.
    Looking elsewhere in this day and age may be far and few between.
    hysterectomies are paid for by almost any insurance.

    You should be scared to death of the HL decision because it can well effect you as well as BD and women. You apparently have no idea what the decision means beyond birth control. You should either do some research or stop being coy

  14. JoeB is too freaking blind to see that the decisions since 1980 by the supreme idiots have chipped away at his freedoms. These last 2 especially gave us the path to a theocratic oligarcy because of the religious decision and the decision to further hamper union rights. And the Greece V Galloway and Hosanna-tabor decision basically put right wing Christians in control of everything.

  15. The interpretation of the bible is open to interpretation. The U.S. Constitution is not.

    “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” — Theodore Roosevelt

  16. What I don’t understand is why the SCOTS is allowing religious beliefs to have any bearing on their decisions. Religion, especially Judea Christian beliefs, should not be a part of our political system in ANY way. Furthermore 9 out of 10 of these companies or individuals that claim some law violates their beliefs are simply using that as an excuse to further their own agenda. And religion is just the type of excuse that most Americans will swallow whole and stand behind simply because they are too afraid or too ignorant to think for themselves.

  17. What if the woman doesn’t have a boyfriend or husband but uses contraception because of other health conditions having nothing to do with preventing pregnancy?

    Should we remove other preventative drugs from requiring no copay as well? Why can’t someone pay for their high blood pressure medicine, or their cholesterol lowering drugs? Why can a man ask his wife or girlfriend to help out with paying for Viagra?

    Also, you need to move beyond “birth control” and see this decision for what it really is. Too many people are missing the larger point because they’re getting caught up in the “birth control” argument.

    Go beyond that narrow view and see this decision laid bare.

  18. If these Supremes are so religious why the Hell didn’t they become preachers instead of lawyers and maybe then so much pain would not be inflicted on others. Separation of Church and State. They sure did not believe in that one. A plague should descend on the male Supremes who voted for this. The Greens,well they are just going to the one place they dread,Hell. Sorry but the Bible says you are not saved. Can’t wait to see Scalia in his “costume with his funny little hat ” in Hell. Jesus told me that’s where these fakers are going. Buh bye all you ill gotten liars.

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