Roberts’ Court

It’s become quite apparent that the Roberts’ court has activist intentions

By Mike Jopek

It’s hard to imagine that a pair of rulings last month from the U.S. Supreme Court won’t have an impact on upcoming elections. Voters are likely to take notice of the Chief Justice John Roberts’ courtroom ideology.

The Roberts court ruled – notably from its own 250-foot buffer zone – that certain 35-foot buffer zones protecting women’s clinics from harassment were unconstitutional. The court then said that some corporations have the religious freedom to ban contraceptives from workers’ health insurance.

Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh disliked the decisions. Of the latter ruling, Tester said that, “The Supreme Court got it wrong.” Walsh said, “Today’s ruling means women could pay hundreds of dollars more per month because their bosses get to determine the type of health care they receive.”

Nominated by former President George W. Bush, Roberts has set the agenda since 2005. Over that time the court has returned startling decisions affecting the nation.

The Roberts’ court promoted the notion that money is speech and corporations have the right of personhood as it pertains to politics. These kinds of ruling put secret money to work during campaign season. It rejected reforms of regulated campaign finance laws from the era of former President Richard Nixon.

The Roberts’ court also removed the ban on political contributions, which helped limit corruption. Roberts wrote the opinion that removed the $123,200 cap an individual could contribute to all federal candidates, political action groups and parties.

Some Republicans like the Roberts’ court decisions. It’s become quite apparent that the Roberts’ court has activist intentions. It appears as if it wants to ideologically change the politics of the nation and cater to corporate personhood with religious rights.

The justices of the Supreme Court serve life terms. Four of the justices are well over the age of 70. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is over 80, while Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia are all quickly approaching that milestone.

It’s not hard to imagine that the next and 114th Congress will confirm another Supreme Court Justice to replace a retiring member. What candidate is nominated and confirmed depends largely on the political makeup of the Senate.

If Republicans boot Walsh from the long-held Democratic Senate seat, the next justice would undoubtable be more ideologically conservative. But furthering any ideology that promotes more secret money in politics and corporate rights over women’s rights is not good for the middle class.

Democrats should wise up, midterm elections matter. Voter turnout is a key determining factor of who wins races like the Montana Senate. If young voters refuse to cast a ballot, the next Supreme Court Justice will certainly be more ideologically conservative that the five men who ruled that woman workers have no rights to contraceptive insurance coverage from some corporate bosses.

It’s easy to be apathetic about politics. Voter perception of the three federal branches of government is low, with the Supreme Court polling at a meager 30 percent confidence. In politics the middle class values of decency, honesty and hard work have taken the backseat to an ever more corporate and ideological agenda.

The ideological men of the high court appear emboldened. It’s easy to see that court decisions will move ever more ideologically right unless voters say enough.

Elections matter. Democrats should care less about polls and D.C. consultants, and put boots on the ground in Montana to assure that base and young voters turnout. In midterm elections, the single largest decider on who wins is voter turnout.

Young or women voters may stay at home, disenfranchised and disengaged from politics. But ignoring the ballot assures a justice system even more ideologically conservative than the Roberts court. And so far, it hasn’t much sided with everyday Montanans.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.