The Supreme court has doubled down on Citizens United. As if in direct reply to the occupy movement -- and the entire national conversation on the disenfranchisement of the 99% -- the right wing 5 to 4 majority on the court struck down a Montana restriction on corporate election spending. At the same time they have imposed a new huge barrier to public worker political action. Members would not only have to agree to dues and contributions to political action (the previous rule), but to affirmatively "opt in" to each political campaign. The high court majority could not be clearer -- public opinion be damned, the 1% will rule as long as we are here, or until a constitutional amendment is passed defining "corporations" separately from "humans".
At the same time the court ruled that Arizona erred in attempting to write its own immigration law. However it left in place the ability of state security forces to demand "papers". This has amounted to legalizing a police state atmosphere in many, especially Latino, communities. Ask yourself -- can you produce "your papers" -- meaning birth certificate or passport -- on demand? Whereupon you and your family may disappear into private detention facilities whose lobbies helped write the repressive legislation that brings them a steady supply of "criminals" (oops, I mean "customers") at the public's expense, of course. Along with this ugly loss of liberty comes the tyrannical rule of latter-day racists and fascists such as Joe Arpaio.
Welcome to the "law" under the corporate dictatorship that the right-wing court majority, and the "Romney coalition", say is the cure for America's ills. They have declared in no uncertain terms -- and repeated themselves in case you misunderstood the Citizens United decision -- democracy does not mean "one man one vote", it means "one dollar one vote". Oh, and prisons -- that's the Arizona legislature's suggestion for a "growth" industry.
For all movements seeking to expand democratic rights for the 99%, for all movements seeking to curtail corporate dictatorship over our society --- the Supreme court right-wing majority has effectively said: "if you want to repeal the corporate dictatorship, you will have to fire us!" That's practically a revolutionary challenge to the people. Moreover, It is hard to see how even recovery from the depression -- which depends in large part on reversing inequality trends -- can take place with a corporate dictatorship in place, protected by both the court and the Republican controlled House of Representatives.
But then -- as if he had a 'bad' dream where the multitudes of working people marched into the Supreme Court and arrested its criminal, right wing clique -- Chief Justice Roberts joins the liberals to (mostly) uphold the Affordable Health Care Act (AHA), president Obama's signature achievement from his first year in office. The law has many flaws-- but it established for the first time in US law the principle of universal health coverage for all Americans. Before this decision, it seemed as if Chief Justice Roberts' had forgotten his promise in his confirmation hearings to steer clear of partisanship. He himself said partisanship on the court would undermine public confidence in the court. Indeed. A great majority of Americans, more every year according to the Gallup Poll, have come to view the Supreme Court unfavorably. Ever since the Bush v. Gore decision in 2000, the court majority has behaved as if it were .simply the property the Republican party.
The health care ruling has one big plus, and two lesser minuses. The big plus is preserving the "mandate" that all Americans participate in funding universal coverage. The form of that mandate in the AHA was a requirement that everyone pay for health insurance or pay a "fine". The court ruled that "fine" was a tax and well within the powers of Congress to enact. This was key since without a mandate that everyone contribute, universal coverage is not possible. Of course the many shortcomings of the AHA with respect to cost controls, and subsidies to numerous private interests (pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, private hospitals, and medical specialists in particular) remain, and still hold contradictions sufficient to undermine public support. Medicare for all, getting the insurance business out of health care, is the key to progress. But the AHA is a key step whose reversal would set back health coverage for years.
The minuses in the court's ruling are a) striking down the particular mandate requiring states to expand Medicaid; and b) not permitting the AHA to exercise its mandate under the "commerce" clause of the constitution, which has been the precedent for upholding every other social insurance program (social security, medicare, etc). This may open the door to further republican attacks on social programs established and upheld under that clause of the constitution.
The Roberts break is the first big and important break in the Republican neo-fascist front. But its no time to let down our guard. Instead, its time to drive a truck through that hole, re-elect the president and send Romney and company packing, dispatch the Republican Congress, impeach the right wing criminals on the court and maybe, indeed, pass a new US law on the rights and responsibilities of corporations.