MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The Hobby Lobby ruling is just one of an avalanche of Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions in which the right wing has legislated from the bench. Forget about the largely fictional concept of a "liberal activist bench"; if you can find such an ongoing entity, please respond in the comments section.
The reality is that the 5-4 right-wing, pro-corporate-personhood SCOTUS is masterful at defying Congress and the White House and rewriting laws to suit a partisan agenda, including socially conservative goals. BuzzFlash posted a commentary a few days ago about the absurdity of bestowing religious beliefs on a company, for example.
To put this in context, when Antonin Scalia argued for striking down provisions in the Voting Rights Act (which had just been overwhelmingly reapproved by both houses of Congress), he declared in 2013: "This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress." What he means, of course, is that a 5-4 majority on SCOTUS has turned it into a de facto legislative body that determines US law by a total of five votes, on behalf of a nation of more than 300 million people.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is joining other Democratic senators in support of the Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act. In an email, Warren described the bill:
The bill reverses the Supreme Court's decision by making it clear that employers cannot deny access to any of the health benefits required by the ACA – not immunizations, not blood transfusions, not HIV treatments, and not birth control – while preserving reasonable accommodations for religiously exempt employers [that would mean actual religions, such as the Catholic Church].
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Udall introduced the bill on Wednesday, asserting:
“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women's access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,”said Senator Murray. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period. I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care and their own bodies.”
"The U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives. Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical health services,"said Senator Udall.
Whatever the outcome of , the usurpation of legislative and executive branch authority by five partisan hacks on the Supreme Court has violated the Constitutional balance of powers.
It is sadly ironic for democracy that the branch of government that is supposed to ensure that the Constitution is upheld is undermining it by legislating from the bench, selectively choosing cases to grant powers to right-wing financial and socially regressive forces.
Terrorists are considered to be those people who create explosions that destroy lives; the 5-4 paper-thin majority on the Supreme Court, similarly, is conducting an ongoing demolition of democracy.
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