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PostKennedy Retirement; Thoughts on the Roberts Court (Istvan Simon, USA, 07/01/18 4:12 am)
I am no Constitutional scholar; I am not even an attorney. Nonetheless I read the Constitution and I believe that its philosophy and intent are sufficiently clear. I will not comment on Justice Kennedy's legacy, I leave that to more qualified people like David Duggan (June 30th). But I will comment on the Supreme Court itself, and its role in American democracy.
The Court has no force of any kind with which to impose its opinions. It therefore depends entirely on the respect it earns from the American public . I am afraid that the Roberts Court is rapidly fettering away that respect with a series of monumentally wrong decisions. In my opinion these did immense damage to the the United States and our democracy, and thereby made us into a less perfect union. Anthony Kennedy was one of the votes for the majority in all of these wrong decisions.
1. In simple language, Citizens United made bribery an accepted part of our government. It must be overturned and I have no doubt that eventually it will. That money is speech is an absurdity that twisted the meaning of the First Amendment beyond recognition.
2. The upholding of the Muslim travel ban by our "president" damaged the First Amendment even further. We are supposed to treat all religions with equal respect and the Muslim ban is another abomination that this Court must atone for.
3. The Gerrymandering decision is the third strike of the Roberts Court. It undermines our democracy and makes a mockery of the fairness of our Congressional representation.
If one is to expect anything from a Supreme Court it is to not interpret the Constitution in ways that undermine our democracy. The Roberts Court and Anthony Kennedy are guilty of doing just that with the decisions I just mentioned. Shame on them.
JE comments: I see no scenario by which Citizens United will be overturned by the post-Kennedy court. Barring a "full-Bork press" from Senate Democrats, Kennedy's replacement will be far to the right of Kennedy. Or might Trump confuse everyone and pick a moderate? This could be the wisest move for him politically, as it would take away the "energize the opposition" factor in the run-up to November.
Was the US Ever Truly Democratic? Jesse Owens and Hitler
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
07/02/18 4:18 AM)
Lately several WAISers have shed tears on the condition of democracy in the US.
But in the US has there ever been a real democracy?
I lived for several years in Mount Prospect (Illinois), a wonderful place, where for sure it was possible to breathe democracy and well-being, but...
For a long time democracy in the US was almost like the democracy of South Africa and Israel, where there was/is democracy but only for a portion of the citizens.
Just remember the great Jesse Owens who in his biography (The story of Jesse Owens, 1970) wrote that in spite of the usual fake news he was well treated by Hitler but not by President Roosevelt.
Jesse remained a friend of his German adversary Luz Long, who suggested to him how to win. After the war Owens went to visit his family in Germany. Luz Long died in Sicily in the Massacre of Biscari, 10-14 July 1943, ordered by the war criminal US captain John Compton.
The German newsman Siegfried Mischner mentioned a handshake between Hitler and Jesse in a back room of the Olympiastadium. It is said that Jesse had a photo of this event, but no one wanted to publish it.
After 1964 we could say that there is democracy in US domestic politics but if a nation wants to be a real democracy, it should be democratic in domestic politics and foreign policy.
For sure, an imperial policy is generally not democratic. Just remember the policy promulgated by Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Yes, but he's our bastard." Such a policy has been continued up to the present.
JE comments: Some sources say that Harry S Truman, not FDR, came up with the "our bastard" quote, in reference to Nicaraguan potentate Anastasio Somoza. My guess is it's apocryphal, but like most invented quotes, it "needed" to be said.
Did anyone see the 2016 film Race, about Owens? One of the subplots is the friendship between Owens and Long.
A final question: at what point in history was the US the most democratic? I'm going to mull this one over but in the meantime, send your thoughts.