Multiple decisions issued by our nation’s highest judicial body were released over the past weeks. Forecasting how the majority would rule wasn’t successful if based on political party affiliation. Sorting through the decisions in search of a common thread gives rise to perhaps only one perceptible conclusion.
White guys rule.
Not that white guys sit in all of the seats of power. They don’t clearly. But instead white guys and the money that they control influence those who wear the robes.
I sincerely like white guys. Some of my best friends are white guys. And I am glad when things go well for them.
But activists who carry a 60s mold date and celebrate the Court’s ruling regarding same-sex marriage seem to be silent on rulings that were issued that should have caused an outcry from those who champion equal representation and value before the law.
In brief, here is a summation of some majority decisions:
The Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that kept southern states – key offenders historically – under special scrutiny.
They struck down an affirmative action policy in education, instead supporting a race-neutral approach in admissions.
They shielded corporations from human rights violations committed beyond our borders.
They reduced protection against corporate retaliation for employees who report racial discrimination.
Pharmaceutical companies who manufacture generic drugs have additional protection from lawsuits.
Corporations were granted new protections via arbitration clauses even if they have broken the law.
Law enforcement can take swab samples (from oral cavities for now…) without consent from those arrested but not convicted.
The Court limited the reach of the Miranda Rights procedure, allowing prosecutors to report to juries when a suspect refused to answer, thus implying guilt by silence.
They substantially limited the expansion of Obamacare into Medicaid while narrowly reaffirming healthcare reform with a 5-4 vote.
They struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional because it denied equality.
The only ruling from that list that appears to be not like the others, one that doesn’t belong, is the last. But I would suggest that it would need to be included as the same as the others because it has much to do about money.
Cases filed leading to the terminal review began with access to financial resources being denied. Those who lobby for the courts to re-examine issues need significant financial resources. And the wealthiest households per capita are those that include two white males with no children.
Don’t read more into what I am suggesting. This is all about money, who has it, and what is done with it. I am discussing where financial resources rest that can be used in transformative advocacy. Without resources, there is less chance that your rights will be championed successfully and upheld.
Corporations have done well. Employees have not.
Institutional powers have done well. Those who depend on them have not.
Poor people never do well.
Kids don’t produce wealth in the economy and can’t vote. Gay households statistically have fewer children and are thus less economically impacted by the issues surrounding children. Women earn less than men per capita even after adjustments for controllable variables, so birth control pills have been paid out of pocket while Viagra has been insured. And racial minorities still have fewer opportunities than all due to the strongholds that still remain entrenched: Race driving geography – driving access to quality public education – driving access to higher education – driving economic opportunity – driving earnings – driving geography…
Looking at the most recent decisions of the Supreme Court demonstrates one consistent theme: Those who have resources will have the ear and the gavel.
To those who were heard and affirmed, look in the rear view mirror and mourn the roadkill.
NEXT TIME: The Return of the Twinkie
Picture of the U.S. Supreme Court, courtesy of NPR.org.