Posted by: JanF | January 12, 2012

Why I Vote For Democrats: The Supreme Court (Fair Elections)

On January 21, 2010, the Roberts Supreme Court took a whack at small “d” democracy when they ruled 5-4 to ignore nearly 100 years of precedent and give corporate money an expanded role in federal elections.


Can you find the 5?

Democrats retaining the power to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court is why I Vote For Democrats and why you should too.

For those of us without lobbyists and pockets full of cash to buy access in Washington, our only power comes from our ability to vote in fair and honest elections. From Bush v Gore to Citizens United to redistricting challenges and voter id laws, the Supreme Court has been and will continue to be the final arbiter of voter rights and election laws and even the elections themselves.

How important are voting rights to our democracy?

Here is President Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat) discussing that right in his speech on March 15, 1965 outlining the Voters Rights Bill he planned to introduce to Congress:

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose.

The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: “All men are created equal.” “Government by consent of the governed.” “Give me liberty or give me death.” And those are not just clever words, and those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty risking their lives. Those words are promised to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in a man’s possessions. It cannot be found in his power or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom. He shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being.

To apply any other test, to deny a man his hopes because of his color or race or his religion or the place of his birth is not only to do injustice, it is to deny Americans and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom. Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish it must be rooted in democracy. This most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country in large measure is the history of expansion of the right to all of our people.

~

The politics of hatred of The Other, which is enshrined in Republican Party values, and the shifting demographics that is shrinking The Them, require that the GOP contract rather than expand those rights. Their only hope to win elections is to disenfranchise more and more of those groups who vote consistently for Democrats. Congress can pass all the laws they want to make elections fair and to expand the vote and limit the ability of those with money to influence our elections. But a radical Supreme Court can choose to ignore precedent and issue rulings based on their personal ideology or for those whom they wish to curry favor with.

One Translation: “I really don’t care”

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President Barack Obama appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor to replace the vacancy created when Justice Souter retired and Justice Elena Kagan to replace Justice Stevens on his retirement.

A very good start

If there were another Supreme Court vacancy, who would you like to be choosing that next justice?


The Next Supreme Court Justice

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I want a Democratic president to make that choice. That is why I Vote For Democrats. And why I will work to support the re-election of our Democratic president.

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