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Who’ll win the Belmont Stakes, the U.S. Open, the World Series – or, the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice David Souter?
The establishment media is covering all of these premier “sporting” events with about equal depth, breathlessly speculating on who appears to be up or down, offering a blizzard of statistics and odds, doing profiles of major contenders, and generally feeding the voracious maw of conventional wisdom. While the champions of horseracing, golf, and baseball are important to many of us, let’s just say for the sake of sport, that perhaps the winner of the Supreme Court seat might have a larger impact on our society. So, shouldn’t the coverage of this “competition” be just a bit more informative and probe a little deeper than the obvious?
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But, no. The prime-time focus is on whether President Obama will nominate a woman, an African-American, perhaps a Puerto Rican, or maybe even an Asian-American. And, wilder yet, what if he chooses a gay person? The media outlets throb with excitement over this guessing game.
Are there no matters of substance at play in deciding who gets a Supreme Court seat? Well, of course, spew assorted pundits! Abortion rights are in the balance, gay marriage, and other hot-button social issues. Will Obama choose a liberal for the court, a conservative, or a moderate, they ask?
Meanwhile, there’s no discussion about the most central role played by Supreme Court justices: expanding or restricting the grasping power that arrogant and avaricious corporations have over all of us. What the court lacks is not social liberals, but populists – judges who’ll extend economic and political democracy to ordinary folks who’re being run over by the corporate powers in our country.
The issue is not what prospective court nominees look like or how “liberal” they are, but what’s in their gut – who’s side are they on? Ours, or the corporate powers?
“Choosing a New Justice,” www.nytimes.com, May 8, 2009.