Yesterday, Chief Justice Roberts embraced a ludicrous, Tea Party reading of the two key provisions of the Constitution, tossing out nearly two centuries of established law in the process. Yet, after he also refused to join a deeply partisan decision tossing out President Obama’s signature accomplishment — agreeing with several leading conservative judges in the process — the right-wing did not waste any time drawing its knives upon him. In just 24 hours, he was accused of everything from caving to non-existent “bullying” to being mentally unfit for duty.
It’s tough to imagine a more flagrant display of ungratefulness than the pushback Roberts is now receiving from his fellow conservatives. The reality is that Roberts consistently advanced the right’s agenda from the moment he joined the Court:
1) Corporate Money In Elections: Roberts jonied the majority in Citizens United, holding that wealthy corporations should have a nearly unlimited power to buy and sell American elections. Roberts also voted to undermine public financing laws in a way that severely undermines candidates without well-moneyed backers’ ability to compete in elections.
2) Judges For Sale: Roberts wrote a dissent in Caperton v. Massey that would have allowed a wealthy coal CEO to pay $3 million to put a sympathetic supreme court justice on that court. The same justice would then go on to $50 million verdict against the big spender’s company.
3) Corporate-Owned Courts: Roberts consistently votes to give corporations a nearly unlimited power to force workers and consumers into a privatized, corporate-run arbitration system that overwhelming favors corporations.
4) Dividing And Conquering Ordinary Americans: Roberts voted in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion to allow corporations to strip their workers and consumers of their ability to bring class action lawsuits. Because of this decision, corporations now have a nearly unlimited power to cheat the people who do business with them — so long as they only do it a few dollars at a time.
5) Corporate Immunity To The Law: Roberts voted to give generic drug makers immunity to key state laws after one of their drugs caused a condition called tardive dyskinesia in many of the people who took it. Tardive dyskinesia is an horrific neurological condition that causes sometimes crippling, uncontrollable bodily movements, often in the face:
6) Abortion: Roberts also joined the Court’s decision restricting reproductive freedom in Gonzales v. Carhart, which reasoned that a woman’s right to choose must be cut back because “it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained.”
7) Race: Roberts has also consistently resisted attempts to eradicate the legacy of racism in America. Most notably, in Parents Involved v. Seattle School District No. 1, he claimed that a plan to desegregate public schools violates Brown v. Board of Education.
9) Unequal Pay For Women: Roberts joined the Court’s discredited decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire rolling back women’s right to receive equal pay for equal work.
10) Older Workers: Roberts also joined the Court’s 5-4 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services limiting older workers’ ability to be free from age discrimination in the workplace.