The Third International after Lenin

Sunday, February 14, 2016

SCOTUS - a Marxist view

...."Supreme Court rulings, however, are not determined by a judge's record but by shifts in the class struggle and prevailing social attitudes. "
....A look at the record of the Supreme Court shows that its racial and gender makeup has had no effect on how that body rules on issues of race or class justice, any more than has the ratio of “conservative” judges to “liberal” judges. That body’s decisions are made strictly on what it perceives is in the interests of the billionaire families it serves at any given time.

It was in 1973, under the administration of Richard Nixon, that the Supreme Court overturned laws outlawing abortion. This followed the civil rights battles by Blacks in the 1950s and early 1960s that had a profound impact on other oppressed layers of the population, from Puerto Ricans and Chicanos to women.

As more women entered the work force and achieved a measure of economic independence, their self-confidence grew and barriers to their full emancipation—such as laws criminalizing abortion—became increasingly intolerable. The needs of the expanding capitalist system for more workers also required that women have more flexibility to decide when, or if, to have children. Although the high court has since taken steps to restrict abortion rights, the relationship of class forces is what holds it back from overturning its 1973 decision today.


....Bork came to national attention in 1987, when his nomination by then-president Reagan for the Supreme Court went down to defeat in the face of widespread reaction against his right-wing views. During confirmation hearings in the senate, Bork had argued against abortion rights, affirmative action measures, and free-speech protections.

Four years later, when Thomas, a nominee with similar views, came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he and his supporters in the administration of George Bush took a different tack. Thomas dodged most questions on his reactionary political positions during five days of hearings....

....[Clarence] Thomas noted he and other "active citizens" are "often subject to truly vile attacks; they are branded as mean-spirited, racist, Uncle Tom, homophobic, sexist, etc.," such as when he spoke out in December 1980 against "affirmative action, welfare, school busing--policies that I felt were not well serving their intended beneficiaries."

Thomas attributed these responses to "brutes," rather than the fact that progressive changes in laws have been won as a by-product of mass social movements--including the battles to forge the industrial union movement, for Black and women's rights, and for expansion of democratic rights. These gains are not easily pushed back as the assaults upon them meet resistance from working people.

To justify Supreme Court decisions that erode gains won in earlier struggles, Thomas said he strictly interprets the constitution when issuing a judicial opinion. "The Constitution means what the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention and of the state ratifying conventions understood it to mean," he said. Pretending the court stands above the class struggle and the relationship of forces between the wealthy rulers and working people, he claimed judges should be "impartial referees who defend constitutional principles from attempts by particular interests (or even the people as a whole) to overwhelm them."

The Militant - March 5, 2001 -- Clarence Thomas speaks on 'cultural war'


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