Supreme Court Majority: Tilting the Playing Field To Their Own Side


Posted by Bob Lord

E.J. Dionne’s piece at Truthdig today, The Third Political Branch, captures the reality of this week’s Supreme Court rulings and the true agenda of the Supreme Court’s majority. Yes, the decisions in today’s cases striking down DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 were victories. They were victories over all the neanderthals who seek to deny fundamental rights to gay and lesbian couples. But make no mistake, they were not victories over the Court majority’s political and economic agenda. Dionne explains:

Liberals will still win occasional and sometimes partial victories, as they did Wednesday on same-sex marriage. But on issues directly related to political and economic influence, the court’s conservative majority is operating as a political faction, determined to shape a future in which progressives will find themselves at a disadvantage.

Can you think of a Supreme Court decision during Roberts’ term in which the majority has acted in the interests of economic justice? Has opposed corporate power? Remember, corporate America doesn’t have a dog in the fight over same sex marriage.


Whenever conservatives on the court have had the opportunity to tilt the playing field toward their own side, they have done so. And in other recent cases, the court has weakened the capacity of Americans to take on corporate power. The conservative majority seems determined to bring us back to the Gilded Age of the 1890s.

And on the majority’s judicial activism:

Recall that when conservatives did not have a clear court majority, they railed against “judicial activism.” Now that they have the capacity to impose their will, many of the same conservatives defend extreme acts of judicial activism by claiming they involve legitimate interpretations of the true meaning of the Constitution.

It is an inconsistency that tells us all we need to know. This is not an argument about what the Constitution says. It is a battle for power. And, despite scattered liberal triumphs, it is a battle that conservatives are winning.

[emphasis mine]

Yes, the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions were big, delicious victories, but they’re not game changers in the battle for power to which Dionne refers. In that battle, the battle for economic justice, the corporate elite just had a big, victorious week, piled on top of the many other victories they’ve had in recent years.