It is rare that we have the opportunity to watch the destruction of a nation in slow motion, and know the reason.
Similar to the Philippines, the US Supreme Court has been stocked with political ideologues in regal disguise, much as some judges wear no pants under their robes. Most of the time, their renderings reflect a clear reading of the law, for the cases are not political. These are intelligent people, after all, the sharpest legal minds on the planet. They rule according to law.
But once in a while, in landmark cases, they define a nation. They overlay an idea, an ideal, a political ideology, upon the law. In such cases, judges are not simply interpreting the law. They are making a morality, for good and for bad.
In 2010, the US Supreme Court issued such a ruling. The deciding vote was 5 to 4, with the five in favor being the conservative members of the Court:
- Anthony M. Kennedy (author of majority opinion)
- John G. Roberts, Jr. (Chief Justice)
- Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
- Clarence Thomas
- Antonin Scalia
- John Paul Stevens (author of dissenting opinion)
- Steven G. Bryer
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- Sonia Sotomayor
Former President Jimmy Carter labeled the decision the "stupidest decision" ever by a Supreme Court.
What was the decision, and why is it destroying America better than TNT could?
In the words of the NY Times: " . . . a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections."
Note the term "bitterly". The dissenting opinion was 90 pages long, and labeled "passionate" by the NY Times. No matter. One vote made the difference.
Those backing the ruling said they were upholding free speech rights of individuals and associations of individuals. Those against it said that corporate money flooding into elections would corrupt democracy.
Such simple reasoning. Such utter disregard for result.
So if you wonder why the US Congress is such a bitter, divisive place right now, look to the Supreme Court. If you wonder why the US cannot find consensus on how to manage its debt or balance expense cuts with revenue increases, look to the Supreme Court. If you wonder why the Republicans are trying to destroy the President of their country, like so many snipers firing from the congressional pulpits, look to the Supreme Court.
It is because the minority was correct.
Destruction of checks and balances, of fair play, rests squarely with five men who decided that unlimited amounts of money could be held out to politicians who said and did the right things for the VESTED INTERESTS. Not the country.
You want to know why Republicans speak with such a loud voice when they refuse to raise taxes on rich Americans?
You want to know why Democrats are resigning from the Congress in deep and bitter frustration (Barney Frank the latest casualty)?
The morality of money. The intellectual corruption of a Court, and an entire Congress.
That 2010 judicial bomb was more powerful than megatons. It was the angriest bird of all, the insertion of powerful vested interests directly into the political machine.
It was the work of five intelligent men with an ideological agenda disguised, not very well, by the cloaks of justice.
It is rare to be able to identify a point in time when things went horribly wrong.
But there it is. One vote, one fateful decision.