“Does Chief Justice John Roberts show a certain casualness about the truth?”
Each week I get an email from Slate telling me what the latest articles are there, this one caught my attention; Richard Posner on Roberts” For those of you who may not know, Richard Posner writes articles on the economy; but, he is also an 7th District Appeals Court Justice. The 7th District is the same district handling Scott Walker’s election snafu except the justice in that appeal is Frank Easterbrook.
What I find interesting about this article is Justice Posner is talking about SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts and seemingly questioning McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. Here is an abbreviated take on what is being said by Justice Posner:
“Which brings me to Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the decision in April that, in the name of free speech, further diminished Congress’ power to limit spending on political campaigns. The opinion states that Congress may target only a specific type of corruption—quid pro quo corruption—that is, an agreement between donor and candidate that in exchange for the donation the candidate will support policies that will provide financial or other benefits to the donor. If there is no agreement, the opinion states, the donation must be allowed because ‘constituents have the right to support candidates who share their views and concerns. Representatives are not to follow constituent orders, but can be expected to be cognizant of and responsive to those concerns. Such responsiveness is key to the very concept of self-governance through elected officials.
Can so naive-seeming a conception of the political process reflect the actual beliefs of the intellectually sophisticated chief justice? Maybe so, but one is entitled to be skeptical. Obviously, wealthy businessmen and large corporations often make substantial political contributions in the hope (often fulfilled) that by doing so they will be buying the support of politicians for policies that yield financial benefits to the donors. The legislator who does not honor the implicit deal is unlikely to receive similar donations in the future. By honoring the deal he is not just being ‘responsive’ to the political ‘views and concerns’ of constituents; he is buying their financial support with currency consisting of votes for legislation valuable to his benefactors. Isn’t this obviously a form of corruption?'”
Mind you, I have not see a lower level judge question a higher level judge’s viewpoint and legal opinion. So this is rather unusual for me having been through all of the court levels. This comes outside of the realm of an appeal which would change a lower court’s ruling if a justice found a lower court’s ruling in error or not to their interpretation. Maybe other readers such as JackD and Bev can offer a better opinion than mine.
Old fashioned bribery is no longer the only problem in governance, and probably not the worst. You might call the real problem “affinity bribery” or something like that.
If the candidate has proven that he falls in with the interests of the wealthy, and is willing to repeat the misleading arguments supporting policies that serve them, then he need not accept envelopes of cash in return. In fact, cash is legally dangerous and liable to evaporate as the economy is manipulated.
Much more useful to him is the certain knowledge that if he is voted out, or grows tired of public office, the class he has served will find work for him and his friends and family, positions on boards of directors, and other favourable considerations that cannot be called “bribery” and so cannot be prosecuted. Their very unspoken nature ensures their beneficiary will be safe from inflation and opprobrium.
If the decision does not appear to reflect either the weighted beliefs of the sitting judges and/or the accumulated jurisprudence, then you have to ask what it does reflect, and how the justices came to publish such a decision. Who is directly aligning the personal interests of the judges with their own personal interests rather than just their generalized political interests?
There’s nothing improper about a judge, like Posner, criticizing a Supreme Court opinion. Back in the day, he argued publicly in favor of Bush v.Gore. He has always been outspoken and has a reputation as a loose cannon on the 7th Circuit.
Posner has had the singular virtue of somewhat admitting that his batshit crazy ideas based on the law and economics trend may have been wrong. Something you can’t imagine Scalia doing.
The more important question to me is how Roberts gets away with making up his own facts so often. Stunning.
Roberts also makes interesting distinctions such as nice little old ladies who just want to counsel with poor confused dears going into abortion clinics aren’t the same as protesters.
Noni Mausa: AGREED!!!