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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Senator John McCain Calls Out Justice Scalia Sarcasm on This American Life

I listened two times to this link to hear Senator John McCain criticize Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for his sarcasm.

Although Senator McCain spoke in the context of how the Supreme Court made scrap paper out of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law, supporting the Citizens United case, the disdain for Justice Scalia came through loud and clear (it's a short quip near the end of the MP3 Bar).

Justice Scalia was singled out by McCain in the radio broadcast.

Both McCain and Feingold spoke candidly on This American Life, about how the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Citizens United, a group that includes right wing political adviser Carl Rove, is among the worst rulings, ever, by the court.

It was also Justice Scalia who said something like (paraphrase) "if the government can make you buy health insurance, can it also make you buy broccoli?". How ridiculously flippant! People who eat broccoli don't pay for the cost of people who don't, as is the case in health care, where the insured now pay for the uninsured (prior to health care reform 2010)

I met Justice Scalia once, at an event in Portland Maine, when he was inappropriately flippant with me. I suspect his sand paper personality uses sarcastic humor as a barrier against rational communications. (I was covering his Maine visit for a Roman Catholic newspaper, when he commanded me not to take his picture!)

But the point of this blog is:  When President Barack Obama cautions the US Supreme Court to pay attention to their overreach of judicial power -he is not speaking like a voice in the wilderness.  He spoke to the court during a State of the Union speech, regarding  "Citizens United"- striking down a bi-partisan law to reform political fund raising. He recently cautioned them, again, in advance of  a potential 5-4 decision to strike down the health care reform insurance mandate, a law passed by both houses of a Democratically elected Congress. President Obama is paraphrasing what others are saying about this partisan court.  Moreover, Justice Scalia brings a negative focus to the court's arrogant decisions with his flippant behavior.

Although the Supreme Court is supposed to rise above politics, the court has appeared to be "all politics all the time", in recent rulings.  It's judicial undue influence of the political process, in my mind.

Using Scalia's "brocolli" analogy, if the Surpeme Court can elect a president, as in Bush vs. Gore, then they might as well have the power to uphold laws requiring people to eat broccoli.

Senator McCain said he attended the court's arguments during the Citizens United case.  His observed that questions asked by the Court's Justices demonstrated they had no understanding, whatsoever, about how political campaigns operate.  But, they ruled in favor of corporations having free speech rights, just like people.

But, it was also the Supreme Court that ruled in favor of slaves being property in the 1857, the Dredd Scott Case. But, more timely, it's the very same Supreme Court that ruled in favor of police strip searching people arrested, even without suspicion - this includes women who may be picked up for drunk driving in the middle of the night.
" 'Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,' Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails."

" 'Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, said the strip-searches the majority allowed were 'a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy' and should be used only when there was good reason to do so."

When President Obama criticizes the US Supreme Court, he echoes a swelling mantra from  Americans who believe the court is loosing it's way, too full of it's own power, too vested in manipulating the political process and too inflated with inappropriate sarcasm from Justice Antonin Scalia.

Thank you, Senator McCain, for your truth to power comments made on This American Life.
I join millions of Americans who are very sorry about the Citizens United decision, as I've previously blogged....we're all experiencing the consequences of that terrible split decision.


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