Citizens of the USA are prone to repeat what they have heard, namely that their “system” is full of “checks and balances”. It’s not like Iran, where progressives are prevented to run for office by the theocrats (instead in the USA, progressives are prevented to be elected for office, by the plutocrats).
Question: The Supreme Court Of The USA (SCOTUS) acts as a Constitutional Court (that was not its initial mission). What checks and balances are exerted on it? Answer: none. The French Republic has a Constitutional Court (“Court Constitutionelle“, and not “Constitutional Council” as Wikipedia has it!). It has checks and balances.
A few year back, Mr. Roland Dumas, head of the court, was accused of conflict of interest, he had to resign. More precisely: accused in the Elf affair, Dumas resigned from the Presidency of the Constitutional Court in January 1999. Dumas’ conviction for criticising a public prosecutor in his book was found unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010, by five votes to two.
In May 2007, Dumas received a 12-month jail sentence (suspended) for funds he mis-appropriated acting as executor of the will of the widow of Alberto Giacometti.
The New York Times censored all my comments on “Justice” Scalia, so far. And also on other “Justices”. I guess, the idea is that one should not saw through the branch on which US plutocracy is perched. The US Supreme Court is above any suspicion. I did mention the corruption of the Court in some of these comments, both philosophically, and in some explicit detail. Now, February 26, AFTER my essay of February 25th was published, and after my sedate comments were read, and censored, the New York Times mentioned part of what I called its attention on February 26, 2016, in “Scalia Took Dozens of Trips Funded by Private Sponsors“. It’s not just that: the trips were paid by clients the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) judged. The same situation as in 2001, when the SCOTUS decided who would be president (several “Justices” had closest family involved with the Bush campaign, so they gave the presidency to the one (Bush) they were entangled with, business-wise).
New York Times (after it read and blocked my comments on the subject):
“WASHINGTON — Antonin Scalia was the longest-tenured justice on the current Supreme Court and the country’s most prominent constitutionalist. But another quality also set him apart: Among the court’s members, he was the most frequent traveler, to spots around the globe, on trips paid for by private sponsors.
When Justice Scalia died two weeks ago, he was staying, again for free, at a West Texas hunting lodge owned by a businessman whose company had recently had a matter before the Supreme Court.
Though that trip has brought new attention to the justice’s penchant for travel, it was in addition to the 258 subsidized trips that he took from 2004 to 2014. Justice Scalia went on at least 23 privately funded trips in 2014 alone to places like Hawaii, Ireland and Switzerland, giving speeches, participating in moot court events or teaching classes. Just a few weeks before his death, he was in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Many of the justices are frequent expenses-paid travelers, a practice that some court scholars say is a minor matter, given that many of the trips involve public talks that help demystify the court. But others argue that the trips could potentially create the appearance of a conflict of interest, particularly when the organizations are known for their conservative or liberal views. Some groups at times use the presence of a Supreme Court justice as a way to pull in members or other paying guests.”
It is getting known, by now, that the health care system of the USA is highly non-performing. However, it is 50% more expensive, relative to GDP, than the most expensive health care systems in the world, located in Europe, which happen to be universal, and single payer for life-saving health care. Why is the US health care system so expensive? Corruption.
The prison system of the USA is the world most extensive, relative to the population, the most expensive, and the only one with private companies, for profit, which one can buy and sell on Wall Street. Why? Corruption.
Politics in the USA is, arguably, the most corrupt. Certainly the most expensive. Why? Corruption. Much of it legal, and that is even worse.
Now we see American “Justice” is rotting by the head.
See a pattern? The leading nation is leading the world in corruption.
New York Times:
“John Poindexter, who invited Justice Scalia to stay at his West Texas ranch… is the owner of J. B. Poindexter & Co., a manufacturing firm based in Houston with more than 4,000 employees. One of his companies, the Mic Group, was a defendant in an age discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee who unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court for a review last year.
Mr. Poindexter, according to a former general manager at the ranch, is also a leader in a group known as the International Order of St. Hubertus, a worldwide organization of hunters, as, apparently, were several other guests during Justice Scalia’s visit. The Washington Post first reported the guests’ ties to the hunting group.”
But this is all OK, says the New York Times, because, as long as it happens in the USA, it’s not corruption:
…”legal experts said they saw nothing wrong with Mr. Scalia’s accepting a free room at Mr. Poindexter’s lodge. While the Ethics in Government Act, adopted after Watergate, requires high-level federal employees, including judges, to fill out disclosure reports for reimbursements worth more than $335, the visit to the ranch might not have required a formal disclosure, because accommodations provided by a private individual are exempt under current rules.”
What would plutocracy do, without rules? Although Scalia was a rogue, as a world citizen, he was not a rogue, as a member of the Supreme Court. Luxury and corruption are the rule there. Plutocracy is all about rule. Who rules who. New York Times:
“After Justice Scalia, the second most active traveler on the current court is Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who took 185 privately paid trips from 2004 to 2014, according to a database built by the Center for Responsive Politics, based on individual reports filed by the justices.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., based on a yearly average, had the fewest of these privately funded trips — a total of 48 from 2005 to 2014, the last year for which records are available. Over all, Supreme Court members disclosed 1,009 paid trips between 2004 and 2014.
The destinations often are luxurious, including the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic, where Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was listed as a speaker for an event last February, or Zürich, where Justice Scalia traveled at least three times on privately funded trips.
In 2011, a liberal advocacy group, Common Cause, questioned whether Justice Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas should have disqualified themselves from participating in the landmark Citizens United case on campaign finance because they had attended a political retreat in Palm Springs, Calif., sponsored by the conservative financier Charles G. Koch. Mr. Koch funds groups that could benefit from the ruling.
The disclosure report filed by Justice Thomas made no mention of the retreat. It said only that he had taken a trip, funded by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, to Palm Springs to give a speech.”
Plutocratic justice is nothing, if not rendered by liars.
But relax! Plutocracy is all about celebrities. The famous plutocrats who rule over you, shall fill your hearts with desire and possibility. You shall live through them. And the New York Times to conclude, indeed:
“Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, said that society could benefit when justices — who are paid about $250,000 a year, far less than they would earn in private practice — leave Washington to speak about how the court works… Dr. Hasen also found that in part through their travel, justices have increasingly gained a celebrity status, with websites like SCOTUS Map tracking their trips, based on public announcements, long before they show up in any disclosure report.
“Justice Sonia Sotomayor runs into Hillary Clinton at a Costco, and that makes national news,” Dr. Hasen said. “Now they are celebrities, so we just hear about them more.”
So don’t worry. Learn to live through celebrities, and you will feel good about yourself. The USA? With the present mindset? Leading us down the abyss. Learn to live as a bottom feeder.
And what should progressives do? Work at changing the national mindset. The world will follow, as it often does.