The Supreme Court doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about you and me.
Republicans in the Senate sent a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to President Obama’s desk – and President Obama vetoed it today.
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After all, despite claims from Republicans and Big Oil, the pipeline wouldn’t create US jobs, wouldn’t lower fuel prices and wouldn’t make the United States more energy secure.
Instead, as renowned climate scientist James Hansen famously pointed out in a New York Times op-ed, the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would be, “game over for the climate.”
Of course, President Obama’s veto doesn’t mean the fight is over.
The State Department still has to rule on the pipeline, and theoretically, the pipeline battle could find its way to the Supreme Court.
And, if it does end up in the Supreme Court, we almost certainly know how the conservative justices of the court will rule.
Last year, a group of five teenagers and two nonprofit organizations representing thousands of young Americans, filed a federal lawsuit at the Supreme Court.
In the lawsuit, the youth of the United States sought to require the government “to immediately plan for national climate recovery according to the scientific prescription of Dr. James Hansen and other leading international climate scientists that will restore our atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 by the end of the century and avoid the disastrous scenarios of 2°C of warming.”
The lawsuit was relying on a legal principle from the Public Trust Doctrine, which says that our government must do everything in its power to protect and maintain survival resources for future generations.
Unfortunately, this past December, the Supreme Court announced that it would not be hearing the case brought up by thousands of young Americans who want to save their planet.
While that decision was a blow to the climate change fight, it really didn’t come as much of a surprise.
That’s because today’s Supreme Court is all about protecting the rights of the wealthy elite and protecting the rights of giant corporations to do business without interference from the government.
In US society, we’re told that the Supreme Court is a neutral body, free from influences of the other branches of government, which makes well thought-out legal decisions.
While that may have been the intentions our founders had for the Supreme Court when they wrote the Constitution, that’s simply not the case anymore.
Ever since their infamous Citizens United decision, the conservative justices of the Supreme Court have decided in favor of wealthy billionaires and corporations, while leaving the rights of the average American in the dust.
Speaking about Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative Roberts Court, legal analyst and scholar Jeffrey Toobin once said that, “In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth chief justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.”
And, a study by the Minnesota Law Review which looked at nearly 2,000 Supreme Court cases and rulings between 1946 and 2011 found that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were the most corporate-friendly justices on the bench during that period.
The conservative justices of today’s Supreme Court are simply not concerned about the rights of you, me, young Americans, the planet or anything that doesn’t have money written all over it.
In an 1807 letter to John Wayles Eppes, Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “The original error [was in] establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will.”
Today’s Supreme Court has turned its guns on the US people, our country and even our planet.
Thomas Jefferson’s worst nightmare has become reality.