War is peace, freedom is slavery, and the Supreme Court is an impartial and impartial branch of government – this is the Orwellian fable that Justice Amy Coney Barrett now asks Americans to believe.
And Barrett asks us to believe him not only after the court’s overwhelmingly partisan abortion right ruling, but also just months after promoting climate denial to a national audience and refusing to recuse himself while ‘she was helping secure a legal victory for the fossil fuel giant. who employed his father for decades.
This is not only a story of cartoonish hypocrisy, but also deception – a frantic attempt to prevent more of the country from realizing that the court is a corporate star chamber that has become one. the most powerful partisan weapons in American politics.
First, the blatant hypocrisy: In an event that seems ripped off the pages of The Onion, Barrett appeared this weekend with Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at a celebration of an institution at the University of Louisville which he named after himself. After being introduced by the most partisan Senate Leader in American history, Barrett said the Supreme Court – which now includes three people who worked directly on the Republican campaign to steal the 2000 election – “is not made up of a bunch of partisan hacks. “
If that wasn’t absurd enough, Barrett then said judges need to be “hyper vigilant to make sure they don’t let personal biases creep into their decisions because judges are people too.”
This demand for ethical vigilance came less than four months after Barrett rejected his own past challenge list and chose to participate in the arbitration of a major climate case against Shell Oil – the fossil fuel giant that employed its father for almost three decades. Barrett refused to recuse himself even though an amicus dossier was filed in the case by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobby group his father helped lead – and even though a prominent supporter of the case has said his father could be subpoenaed for a deposition because of his potential “first-hand knowledge and operational involvement in how Shell has handled climate threats”.
But no challenge came – and, with Barrett’s help, the Supreme Court sided with Shell and other fossil fuel giants, delivering a big procedural victory for the oil and gas industry.
Barrett’s involvement in this case followed her Senate confirmation hearing, in which she refused to acknowledge the undisputed science of climate change (and in which flabby Democrats decided not to bother pushing her to the challenge). She presented her position as an attempt to avoid having opinions on the matter, but of course refusing to state basic scientific facts is the opposite of being impartial. It is an ideological and partisan expression of republican orthodoxy totally disconnected from empirical data.
And in case you thought that Barrett’s fanaticism, hypocrisy, and conflicts of interest only concern one isolated instance, remember that in the years to come, the fossil fuel industry will almost certainly demand to the High Court to protect her from the legal consequences of her climate crimes.
Barrett’s motives here, however, aren’t just about war, peace, his path through his own ridiculously obvious conflicts of interest. She also tries to preserve the court’s image as a transcendent source of apolitical morality at a time when more and more Americans may finally realize – belatedly – that the panel is, in fact, made up of hackers.
As the Daily Poster has reported for some time, the panel has become the most conservative Supreme Court in modern history. This is a group of judges who now faithfully endorse legal demands from the United States Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that fund politicians and nominate campaigns that install appointees. right in court. The judges have become so politically brazen that they are now quietly rendering historic decisions in complete secrecy through a so-called shadow case.
Despite this, the corporate media have generally portrayed the court as a moderating force above politics, and even supposedly liberal or centrist pundits have periodically touted some of the more right-wing judges.
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However, that is a six point drop from last year – suggesting that more of the country is starting to realize that a foul form of corporatism and partisanship is quietly rotting the justice system in the country. inside.
Barrett rightly feels that this awareness threatens the perceived legitimacy of the justice system, and could therefore create momentum for real reform – whether it be term limits for Supreme Court justices or a enlargement of the Court.
Each of these reforms is a threat to his power and the power of all corporate forces who have bought positions of high jurisdiction for right-wing judges. So she’s trying to do whatever she can to stop America from realizing just how bad the Supreme Court has become.
That is really the point of his speech – and we shouldn’t be mistaken. We should embolden ourselves behind the cause of the definitive repair of a starry chamber that is doing so much harm across the country and the world.
David Sirota is a US Guardian columnist and investigative journalist. He is editor-in-chief of Le Jacobin and founder of the Daily Poster. He was the writer of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign speech
This article originally appeared in the Daily Poster, a grassroots investigative media outlet.