Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

The Supreme Court

Recent polls indicate the U. S. Supreme Court has suffered a great decline in public confidence. In my opinion it is because of several different rulings that are out of step with the opinions of the American public. The reason is linked to three recent rulings.

There are other rulings, however, that seem to not fit with how things are in today’s world. One of the worst decisions of the current Republican Supreme Court has to do with the voting rights of American citizens. The Court found that it was no longer necessary for the Justice Department to oversee the allocation of representative districts in states for Congress. It announced things had improved so much in American relations since the passage of the Civil Rights Voting Act it was no longer necessary to have a review by the U.S. Justice Department. Unfortunately, as soon as this ruling took effect, several states, particularly in the South have taken advantage of redistricting where minorities participation is difficult, if not, impossible. Alabama is a shining example. Its population is one-fourth minority and yet the state legislature provides only one district in which minorities can have a serious impact on who represents them in the U.S. Congress or their state legislature.

Probably the worst decision made by the Supreme Court in recent years, however, is inappropriately named Citizens United. In this decision the Supreme Court decided that money is speech, that corporations are people, there can be no real limit on money or a revelation of its source. While I believe it is certainly important that we know how much money is given in order to play in the game of politics, it is even more important to know its source. A recent speaker of the House of Representatives in Washington said, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” We could all make better judgements if we knew which cow the milk came from.

Would you feel confident that you got a fair a trial if you learned the judge presiding over your case had recently received $100,000 contribution from your opponent? Would you protest if your child was playing on a high school sport’s team and discovered the umpire was the brother of the opposition coach? The Supreme Court reasoned wrongly that money was simply a way to communicate and that it amounted to speech which could not be curtailed because of the U. S. Constitution. If money is speech, the Supreme Court has unfortunately rewarded some people with a microphone and loud speaker while others can barely be heard.

There is currently a bill pending before the Congress which would not cure all that is wrong with this situation but it would go a long way in assisting us to have better understanding of how we should vote. Democracy depends on participation of each and every one of us and now is an opportune time to take advantage of that privilege awarded to us by the United States Constitution.


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