(Truthdig) -- An oligarchy, Webster’s dictionary tells us, is “a form of government in which the ruling power belongs to a few persons.” It’s a shame that the Republican majority on the Supreme Court doesn’t know the difference between an oligarchy and a democratic republic.
Yes, I said “the Republican majority,” violating a nicety based on the pretense that when people reach the high court, they forget their party allegiance. We need to stop peddling this fiction.
On cases involving the right of Americans to vote and the ability of a very small number of very rich people to exercise unlimited influence on the political process, Chief Justice John Roberts and his four allies always side with the wealthy, the powerful and the forces that would advance the political party that put them on the court. The ideological overreach that is wrecking our politics is now also wrecking our jurisprudence.
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The court’s latest ruling in McCutcheon et al. v. Federal Election Commission should not be seen in isolation. (The “et al.,” by the way, refers to the Republican National Committee.) It is yet another act of judicial usurpation by five justices who treat the elected branches of our government with contempt, and precedent as meaningless. If Congress tries to contain the power of the rich, the Roberts court will slap it in the face. And if Congress tries to guarantee the voting rights of minorities, the Roberts court will slap it in the face again.