Mitch McConnell understands that if he can place Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, his party can lose the presidential election, but still win the GOP’s long-term battle to shift policy to the hard right. You don’t have to believe me on that — as GOP strategist Patrick Ruffini said over the weekend, “Confirming (Barrett) is probably worth more than winning the election.”
That is because Barrett would fortify the Supreme Court as the government’s most powerful rubber stamp for corporate interests’ long-term agenda. While the confirmation fight has mostly focused on important social issues, the court deals more often with business and economic issues.
As I review in my new Guardian column, the big money interests lining up behind Barrett’s nomination — and airing ads in support of her — want her on the court not just because of her position on abortion or religious liberty, but also because of her corporate fealty.
The question remains: Will Democrats in Congress use their power to try to stop this nomination? Read the entire Guardian column below to really understand what is at stake in the Barrett confirmation battle.
An Amy Coney Barrett court will push the US to new levels of pro-business cronyism
By David Sirota
If you get your news from the political press and television ads, you might think the US supreme court is a forum that only adjudicates disputes over the most hot-button religious and civil rights issues. What you would not know is that while the court does periodically rule on those important matters, it spends as much or more of its time using business-related cases to help billionaires and corporations rig the economy against ordinary Americans.
In light of that, Amy Coney Barrett’s US supreme court nomination must be understood as the culmination of cynical tactics that Republicans have perfected over the last two decades. The strategy is straightforward: they nominate plutocrat-compliant judges knowing that the corporate-owned media and political system will make sure confirmation battles focus on partisan wrangling and high-profile social issues – but not also on the economic issues that justices often decide.
In other words: Republican politicians rely on conflagrations over political process and social issues to mobilize their religious base in service of Republican donors’ real objective – smuggling corporate cronies on to the highest court in the land. And if Barrett is confirmed, those Republican donors will not just get another business-friendly judge – in advance of the 2020 election, they will also get a third justice who worked directly on the legal team that convinced the US supreme court to hand Republicans the presidency in 2000.
To be sure, Barrett’s record on social issues is extreme and worthy of scrutiny, criticism and organized opposition, especially at a time when crucial precedents may be on the line. She signed an ad criticizing Roe v Wade and she has suggested that a more conservative court could accept state restrictions on abortion clinics. As a judge, she has also written dissenting opinions against limits on gun rights and in favor of a Trump administration rule to try to make it harder for low-income immigrants to enter the United States.
Those issues, however, are almost certainly not what is motivating big donors to funnel millions of dollars into groups like the Judicial Crisis Network, the oil magnate Charles Koch’s network and the US Chamber of Commerce in support of Barrett’s nomination. Those groups’ ads and lobbying campaigns may try to focus the public debate on religion and court precedent, but such enormous sums of cash flood into judicial campaigns with one underlying goal: enriching the corporations and plutocrats that are making the donations.
These organizations know the supreme court is the place to do exactly that – and they have been wildly successful in stacking the court since 2005.
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