The Rightward Shift of the Supreme Court

Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Elena Kagan

Four female Supreme Court justices: former justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and current justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Elena Kagan. Photo Credit: Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court began its new term today with, for the first time in history, three sitting female justices.  That is dope.

However, from today’s Slate:

Under the stewardship of its boyish chief justice, John Roberts, the court has taken the law for a sharp turn to the ideological right, while at the same time masterfully concealing it. Virtually every empirical study confirms this rightward turn. Yet recent public opinion polls indicate Americans continue to see a bench that is, if anything, a wee bit too liberal.

Needless to say, this is not so dope.  The Slate article is a great piece that is worth reading in its entirety.

To be clear, the concern for civil rights advocates is less the partisan nature of this shift and more the fact that this shift means less concern for the rights of individuals in favor of corporations.  As Doug Kendall and David Ganz of the Constitutional Accountability Center say in their report on the “corporate Court”:

The inalienable, fundamental rights with which individuals are endowed by virtue of their humanity are of an entirely different nature than the state-conferred privileges and protections given to corporations to enhance their chances of economic success and business growth. The Constitution protects these rights in different ways, and equating corporate rights with individual rights can surely threaten the latter, as we will vividly see when large corporations start to tap their treasuries to elect candidates to do their bidding.