I’ve followed closely the composition, actions, and opinions of the US Supreme Court since the late 1960s when I took an undergraduate course that focused on the politics of the court. Never in my lifetime, and likely not since the infamous Dred Scott decision has the court disgraced itself, the US Constitution, and the American people as it has today with a decision that in effect puts the majority of US citizens back under the yolk of religious intolerance not seen since our forefathers ran from the rule of King George III and the Church of England.
There have been bigots, dunces, demagogues and swines sitting on the Court, perhaps until now the most infamous of those being Willis Van Devanter and James McReynolds,
In 2010, the most conservative court in our history declared that a corporation, a legal fiction created as a means of financing and controlling a business enterprise while at the same time limiting the personal liabilities of its investors, was a person and possesses first amendment rights of free speech that include contributing unlimited funds to election campaigns. That same court, a court that is “led” by the least intellectual majority in its
|history, has today said that such businesses may also possess religious beliefs, and that such businesses my impose those beliefs on their employees.
Justice Alito in his opinion made many totally unsupportable presumptions, including writing that
The facts are that 90% of US businesses fall within the purview of the type of businesses to which Alito’s opinion today gave religions rights, and 52% of the US workforce is employed by such businesses. Companies that specifically would fit into the family-held business description described by Alito would be Koch Industries and ToysRUs.
The dissent written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg includes may astute points that clearly demonstrate the lunacy and danger inherent in Alito’s decision. Among her wise and revealing words, are the following:
“Although the court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations,… its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private.” … Corporations could now object to “health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage, or according women equal pay for substantially similar work.”
Alito also wrote the majority opinion in today’s decision in Harris v Quinn, and on another day, it would be front and center. That decision begins the process so long sought by right
Today’s decision legitimized a new category of worker, the “partial public employee”, who works for a private individual but who is paid for that work by a governmental entity. The partial public employee, according to Alito, cannot be required to pay the equivalent of union dues despite receiving the same benefits union members derive from union activities, such as collective bargaining and thus increased wages and benefits. The unstated next step, in a case not yet filed but to be herded by right wing handlers to the Supreme Court, will seek to extend that ruling to all government employees. Alito cannot wait to write that opinion.