Court's blue Monday

Tuesday June 26, 2012

Warming up for Thursday’s anticipated evisceration of the Afford able Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday delivered a mixed bag ruling on Arizona’s egregious immigration law and dealt another blow to efforts to at least slow the deluge of special interest money that is corrupting the political campaign process, and with it, American democracy.

The court let stand the so-called "show me your papers" provision requiring state law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they suspect they might be an illegal immigrant, but three other rulings diluted the impact of a provision that will encourage racial profiling. A provision enabling law enforcement officers to arrest illegal immigrants if they believe that "probable cause" exists was overturned, along with two making it a crime for illegal immigrants to fail to carry registration papers and for illegal immigrants to seek employment. These provisions violated the federal government’s broad powers in setting immigration policy as articulated by the Constitution, and the ruling gave President Obama an opportunity Monday to ask Congress once again to abandon ideology and address immigration reform on a non-partisan basis.

The same five right-wing justices who inflicted America with the Citizens United ruling that led to the creation of superPACs and opened the floodgates of campaign money on Monday struck down in a 5-4 ruling Montana’s century-old law protecting its state from the corrupting influence of political cash. The court made it clear that any effort by a state to level the playing field so candidates backed by deep-pocketed special interest money will not have disproportionate advantages over rivals will be flattened without any regard to judicial precedent.

The challenge to the Montana law came from corporations eager to use the Citizens United ruling to sweep any bothersome state regulations off the books, and the Supreme Court -- or more accurately the court’s five right-wing judicial activists -- was eager to oblige, ignoring Montana’s appeal that the court hear oral arguments before making its ruling. The majority had its mind made up as soon as the case hit the docket. The Supreme Court, said Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, is endorsing "dirty, secret, corporate, foreign money," and that endorsement threatens to corrupt our democracy indefinitely.


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