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(DV) Random: The Activist Court & the Neoconservative Agenda







The Activist Court & the Neoconservative Agenda
by Jack Random
November 4, 2005

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The remaking of the United States Supreme Court has been framed by the most extreme ideologues in modern political history as a battle between strict constructionists in white hats and their counterparts in moral darkness: the judicial activists. 

In keeping with the Orwellian nature of the neoconservative culture, whose programmed indifference is delivered in the name of compassion, whose evisceration of individual rights is coaxed in the name of justice, and whose wars are prosecuted in the name of peace, the real judicial activists are the very same champions of neoconservative federalism. 

It is ludicrous to suggest that either John Roberts or Samuel Alito do not have an agenda. For all of their professional lives, they have been devoted to a rightwing cause of judicial activism.  That their cause is regressive hardly negates its blatant activism.  Far from ruling passively on the merits of the law in a given case, both men have pressed the cause of federalism to the detriment of individual rights. 

Federalism, with its roots extending backwards to the anti-democratic, pro-aristocracy sector of our founders, is yet another Orwellian term for it is dedicated to undermining, limiting and ultimately reducing federal authority to a military function.  The federalists elevate states rights to the detriment of federal authority because it is only the federal authority that can protect civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights, worker rights, the right to privacy and the right to dissent. 

In the federalist stratosphere of elites, corporate rights reign supreme and the states form a barrier to federal interference.  Far from ideological intransigence, when states step out of line (as Florida did in the 2000 election), the federalists close ranks and conspire to restrict them. The true goal of the Federalist Society is the creation of a permanent ruling class with an unfettered corporate elite to sponsor it in perpetuity. 

At its very core, the federalists equate democracy with mob rule and anarchy. They will go to the ends of the earth and beyond to prevent the manifestation of a free and democratic society. 

It is encouraging that a significant number of Democrats are rising to their obligation as a party of opposition, finally questioning the war and raising serious objections to the nomination of Judge Alito.  On the matter of the Supreme Court, however, as they are well aware, the battle is lost.  Whether it is Alito or some subsequent nomination that prevails, the federalists will rule the court of John Roberts and, unless time works its wonders of transformation (as it has before in judicial history), Lady Liberty will rue the day for years and generations to come. 

That we have lost the court, however, does not mean that we must surrender the war. Rather, we must find new battlegrounds on which to press our own cause: the cause of individual freedom and democracy. 

First, we must exploit the battleground our enemies have exploited so well: statewide referendum. Since we can no longer rely on federal authority to secure our rights and liberties, we must do so on a state-by-state basis. Given a lengthy history of deference to state authority, the Roberts court will be reluctant to abandon precedent. When we attack the excesses of corporate power, however, they will quickly shed their reluctance and stand exposed as the judicial activists they are and have always been. 

Second, we must begin the long and difficult process of amending a constitution that falls short of its greater purpose: the establishment of an enlightened democracy. 

1. The Right to Vote. The inherent right of all citizens to vote in free and fair elections shall not be infringed by any act of government or its authorized agents. 

In the aftermath of the last two presidential elections, it came as a shock to many of us that the citizens of this nation do not possess a constitutional right to vote. It is past time that deficiency was corrected. 

2. The Right to Privacy. The right to privacy in one’s person, thoughts and possessions shall not be infringed without compelling interests established in due process of law. 

It has become something of a judicial conundrum that the right of privacy is only implied in the constitution. Let us make it explicit. 

3. Military Conscription. No citizen shall be compelled to military service against his or her expressed will. 

There is general if not bipartisan consensus that military conscription is a crime against humanity.  Let us lead all nations in banning forever this barbaric remnant of despotic rule.  If there are not sufficient soldiers to fight a war of their own free will, that war should not be fought. 

4. Equal Rights Amendment. Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. 

This common sense amendment, authored by Alice Paul in 1923, in its revised version of 1972, was ratified by thirty-five of the required thirty-eight states. It is time it had a second run. 

These four amendments are only a beginning to the process of achieving  enlightened democracy. Others include securing an independent media, distinguishing individual rights from the presumed rights of corporations, and the right of labor to organize on the principle of majority rule. 

All is predicated on a favorable outcome in congressional elections. 

As Tom Paine said in the first American Crisis, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” 

It will not be easy. 

The battle lines have been drawn. We have witnessed an American insurgency, a revolution, a takeover of all three branches of government by the most repressive elements in our society.  We have seen what they have wrought and we have glimpsed the darkness they have promised.  We have never had greater reason to fight. 

The counter-revolution begins next November.

Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the Albion Monitor, Buzzle, Dissident Voice and others. Visit his website: Random Jack.

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