Should We Drug Test the Supreme Court?
Is it time to drug test the Supreme Court? Considering the plethora of recent courts decisions, it’s a fair question to ask.
Ponder Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission (money is speech), Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad (corporations are persons), McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission (aggregate campaign contribution limits are violations of free speech) and the Town of Greece vs. Galloway (religious prayer may be used to open secular legislative sessions).
There is also the recent court decision striking down a Massachusetts law that established a 35 foot buffer around abortion clinics, as well as the “8-1 decision wherein the court held that Fred Phillips and his loathsome Westboro Baptist Church are within their first Amendment rights to protest the private funerals of dead U.S. serviceman.”
But one of the most troubling decisions is the Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby case in which the court ruled that closely held for-profit corporations have the right to deny certain birth control coverage to their employees if said contraceptives are opposed on religious grounds. Needless to say many have taken strong exception to this decision.
One such person was Nebraska Judge, Richard Kopf, an appointee of George H. W. Bush who literally advised the Supreme Court to “STFU”. On his personal blog the judge posted:
“Five male Justices of the Supreme Court, who are all members of the Catholic faith and who each were appointed by a President who hailed from the Republican party, decided that a huge corporation, with thousands of employees and gargantuan revenues, was a ‘person’ entitled to assert a religious objection to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate because that corporation was ‘closely held’ by family members. To the average person, the result looks stupid and smells worse.”
“Next term is the time for the Supreme Court to go quiescent– this term and several past terms has proven that the court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the court has the power to avoid. As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu.
Blackacre strives to be respectful, even when we firmly disagree. We therefore shy away from sinking to the level of those who engage in name calling, extremism or heated rhetoric. After all, the only thing that happens when you wrestle a pig is that you get very dirty and you make the pig very happy.
Nevertheless, while not putting it so bluntly, Judge Kopf is absolutely is right. The above referenced decisions are absurd, petulant, political statements, made by activist judges who twist the law beyond all reason. In so doing, they unduly, perhaps irrevocably divide a nation in urgent need of unification. Our particular objections are as follows:
The Rulings are Bad Law and Absurd on Their Collective Faces: The incredulity of bad decisions is not made reasonable merely because they are rendered on high. Twisted logic, the absence of common sense, smoke and mirrors and pomp and circumstances do not make the irrational rational.
Money is not speech. Money is personal property. And corporations are not persons. Corporations are legal institutions created to facilitate business and economic development. The stated purpose of this or any other for-profit corporation is to make money for the owners and shareholders – not to impose its religious of political views on its employees. As such, Hobby Lobby has no more of a right to the exercise of religion than does a for-profit prison.
The Rulings are Manifestly Hypocritical: In the Hobby Lobby case, the court considered the religious freedom of the corporate owners while completely ignoring the religious beliefs of the employees. Nor did it question the sincerity of the owner’s beliefs even though said beliefs were crucial to the decision. It is difficult to imagine how any court in good conscience could decide a case as important as this without examining all relevant evidence.
Reflect on the fact that prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Hobby Lobby owners covered the very contraceptives they now object to and still invest in the very firms that produce said contraceptives. Contemplate the reality that despite the owners “deeply held religious beliefs” as to certain contraceptives, they cover birth control in the form of sterilization and vasectomies as well as the sex and baby making pill known as Viagra. The last we checked, sterilizations, vasectomies and sex pills are the antithesis of traditional Christian beliefs. Thus, the owner’s position appears to be little more than political antipathy towards the Affordable Care Act rather than sincere religious beliefs.
Moreover, it is inaccurate and misleading to say that the owners of Hobby Lobby or any other corporation pay for their employee’s health care coverage. Rather, said coverage, including the complained of contraceptives is a part of the employees compensation package. The Hobby Lobby employees therefore earned the coverage in question in the same way that they earned their wages, i.e., they worked for them.
As to the buffer zone case, we appreciate the court’s protection of free speech. However, we cannot help but note, that while the court overturned the 35 ft space barrier designed to protect abortion clients and providers; that while it supports the right of a small, virulent, homophobic and anti-Semitic hate group to protest the private funerals of dead soldiers with banners that read “God hates fags”, Thank God for dead soldiers”, “Thank God for 9/11”, “Thank God for IED’s” and Jewish institutions with signs that state “The Jews killed Jesus” , the Supreme Court reserves unto itself a whopping 252 by 98 feet zone of protection.
The federal law that establishes this buffer zone bans the very assemblies, processions and displays that the court preserves for everyone else. This rank hypocrisy may be lost on the brave men and women of the Supreme Court but it in not lost on us.
The Rulings are Blatantly Unfair and Further Shift the Balance of Power to the Powerful, the Wealthy and the Corporate Class: If money is speech then only the wealthy will be heard. If corporations are persons then the humanity of others is surrendered. And if only the Supreme Court is worthy of protection how is the world made safe?
The Rulings Have Dire, Long Term Unintended Consequences: Since corporations are persons within the meaning of the Constitution, then it naturally follows that they are entitled to the full panoply of constitutional rights. In keeping with the First Amendment, they may therefore form their own religions. They may also bear arms and establish corporate armies pursuant to the Second Amendment; vote consistent with the Fifteenth Amendment and claim the rights not enumerated in the Constitution as stated in the Ninth Amendment.
Moreover, what is to stop corporate owners from using their new-found religious freedoms to discriminate against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community based on a deeply held belief that homosexuality is a mortal sin? The same applies to corporations run by members of the Islamic faith or any other religion. The possibilities are horrifically endless and endlessly horrific.
Recent Supreme Court decisions do more than cause disrespect for the law and those who make them, namely the Supreme Court. They constitute a can of pestilent worms; a Pandora’s box that is not so easily closed.
In conclusion, while we generally applaud the holding in Riley vs. California (requiring a warrant to seize a cell phone) and the decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, on the whole the Supreme Court has behaved recklessly and irresponsibly, deciding important issues based not upon the law or the best interest of the country, but on a narrow but obvious political agenda.
By these decisions, the Supreme Court once again demonstrates that the emperor has no clothes. So what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If drug testing is appropriate for welfare recipients, employees and athletes, a policy and practice which the Supreme Court has repeatedly endorsed, then it is also appropriate for the court. After all, given their recent decisions, they must be smoking something.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum