Tag Archives: John Roberts

a message from Rashad Robinson – In Memory of NRBG


“I didn’t want to be right, but sadly I am.”-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her first interview since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Right Act.1

In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg predicted a wave of attacks on our freedom to vote. States have rushed to implement discriminatory voting laws now that the VRA can no longer block them. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory — who by his own admission has not even read the bill yet — is about to sign the “most sweeping anti-voter law in decades,” eliminating same day registration, cutting back on early voting, implementing a strict Voter ID requirement that does not allow student IDs, and even ending a statewide civics class that pre-registered high school students.2

Fight back against right-wing attacks on our freedom to vote. Support a constitutional amendment at FreeToVote.org

Below is the email we sent the day the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. As I said on that day, “This is no ordinary campaign, but one that will require years of hard work to win.” Please join me and the more than 274,000 others in demanding a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the freedom to vote. Take the first step at FreeToVote.org.

Thanks and Peace,

–Rashad   August 2nd, 2013

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1. “Ginsburg Says Push for Voter ID Laws Predictable,” Associated Press, 7-26-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2843?t=5&akid=3057.1174326.MLufFl?

2. “North Carolina Passes the Country’s Worst Voter Suppression Law,” The Nation, 7-26-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2844?t=7&akid=3057.1174326.MLufFl

The Roberts Corporate Court Strikes Again

By  CAP Action War Room

The Powerful Over the People

Yesterday, we celebrated two landmark Supreme Court rulings advancing LGBT rights, but a closer look at the rest of the Supreme Court term reveals a wide variety of troubling rulings. These rulings may be on different issues, but they all have a common theme: whenever possible the High Court’s conservative wing puts the interests of the powerful above those of the people. This term the Supreme Court has issued rulings attacking voting rights, consumer rights, workers’ rights, and more.

In particular, the Roberts Court chooses to side with powerful corporations at almost every possible opportunity. Even conservative-leaning Supreme Courts in the past have not sided with corporations as often. For example, in cases where the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce intervened, they won barely more than half the time under Chief Justice Rehnquist. Since Chief Justice Roberts and Alito joined the court in 2006, the Chamber has won 70 percent of its cases. Over the past two terms alone, the Chamber has prevailed in a whopping 88 percent of its cases. In fact, the Roberts Court is the most pro-corporate Supreme Court in more than six decades.

Here’s a few of the areas where the court trampled on the people at the expense of the powerful:

  • Voting Rights: Just this week, the Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. As a result, six states are already moving forward with voter suppression laws that previously would’ve been held up or blocked entirely. If individuals cannot vote, they of course cannot vote for politicians who support progressive or populist policies or vote against those who are the tools of corporate special interests like polluters, insurance companies, and Wall Street banks.
  • Workers’ Rights: In two decisions also handed down this week, the Court made it much harder for victims of workplace discrimination to seek justice. The first case severely limited the definition who counts as a supervisor, making it much easier for people to be intimidated out of taking action against harassment by their bosses. A second decision issued the same day made it much easier for corporations or supervisors to retaliate against individuals who complain about discrimination.
  • Human Rights: In April, the Court severely limited a 200 year-old law that allowed individuals to use the U.S. civil court system to seek recourse for human rights violations committed abroad. Chief Justice John Roberts led a splintered court in ruling that several Nigerians alleging an oil company aided an abetted torture, arbitrary killings, and indefinite detention could not sue, because the corporate conduct occurred outside the United States. It is now essentially impossible to hold anyone accountable for such conduct.
  • Consumer Rights: The Roberts Court has made a habit of issuing rulings that limit the ability of individuals to file class action lawsuits and/or seek justice outside the arbitration system that heavily favors corporations. The Court issued several such rulings this term, making it harder for individuals or even millions of individuals impacted by wrongdoing or some other harm to take on powerful corporations.

In addition, the Court ruled in favor of pharmaceutical companies, authorized what should be unconstitutionally intrusive police collection of DNA, undermined the rights of indigent defendants, and sided with big developers and trampled on “local community rights,” among other unfortunate decisions.

Based on the cases the Court has agreed to hear next term, it appears we may be in for more of the same. The Court will hear cases on abortion rights, housing discrimination, the separation of church and state, the ability of the president to fill executive vacancies in the face of Senate obstruction, affirmative action, and environmental laws, just to name a few potentially explosive decisions.

When the Court managed to rule against corporate interests and the powerful, it almost always came over the objections of Chief Justice Roberts and the other members of the Court’s conservative wing.

BOTTOM LINE: In spite of some bullets dodged and landmark victories, the Roberts Corporate Court continued to distinguish itself by overwhelmingly favoring corporate interests and the powerful over the rights and interests of individuals and the American people.

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Have You Benefited from the Health Care Law? …Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

National Women's Law Center
Join Our Story Blog
                Tell us how the health care law is helping you by sharing your story on our story blog today.
Share Your Story

Eighty-six million. That’s the number of people who have received at least one preventive health care service without having to pay a deductible or co-pay in the last year. That’s 54 million people with private insurance and over 32 million Medicare recipients who are already benefiting from the health care law.
Who are these people? It’s a mother who didn’t have to pay a co-pay for her last mammogram, a child who received a flu shot without her parents having to pay a deductible, and millions of people like you who had pap smears, prenatal screenings, or diabetes counseling without having to open their wallets.
Are you one of the millions of people who have benefited from the new health care law? We want to hear from you — join hundreds of others on our story blog and tell us your story.
The story blog is an open forum where people can upload their photos and write about how the law is helping them. On the story blog we’ve heard from people with children under age 26 who, instead of falling among the uninsured, were able to stay on their parents’ health plan. We’ve heard from people on Medicare who are paying less for prescription medication, saving them from having to choose between buying medicine or groceries. We’ve heard from people who would have bumped up against their insurance company’s lifetime limit for coverage but now, thanks to the new health care law, are able to focus on their illness instead of worrying about medical bills.
And, later this year, even more people will benefit from the health care law. That’s when millions of women will have access to birth control and other preventive care services without paying deductibles or co-pays for the first time. Join our story blog today and tell us how you are gaining from this critical law.
Thank you for all you do to ensure women and their families get the health care they need.

Judy Waxman Judy Waxman Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights National Women’s Law Center   

P.S. Your generous support allows us to keep the health care law strong and do other critical work on behalf of women and their families. Please consider making a contribution today.

Supreme Court: The Chamber’s Genie

Ever since Chief Justice Roberts joined the Supreme Court, corporate America has treated his Court as its personal genie, and Roberts has been eager to grant even many of their most outlandish wishes. As soon as Roberts and his fellow conservative Justice Alito joined the high Court, the Chamber of Commerce’s win rate before the justices spiked eight percentage points above its already very high levels under his conservative predecessor William Rehnquist. Nor is Roberts alone in his willingness to go the extra mile for wealthy corporations. A recent study found that every single justice is more likely to side with the Chamber than the just ice who held the seat 25 years ago. As one of the Chamber’s top Supreme Court litigators bragged, “except for the solicitor general representing the United States, no single entity has more influence on what cases the Supreme Court decides and how it decides them than the National Chamber Litigation Center.” This week, corporate America made three especially large wishes to the justices, and the Court’s conservatives once again appear eager to grant them.

ELECTIONS FOR SALE: The best way for big business to push its agenda is to ensure that elected officials throughout the country owe wealthy corporations their jobs — and the Supreme Court took a big step towards making this vision a reality with its infamous Citizens United decision. In the wake of Citizens United, the Chamber pledged to spend a massive $75 million to elect corporate-aligned conservatives, and the Chamber’s right-wing allies kicked in hundreds of millions of dollars more. Yet Citizens United is merely one part of a much larger campaign to cement big money’s control over American elections. On Monday, the justices moved on to the next stage of this effort. Public financing laws provide one of the strongest defenses against the corrupting influence of big money in politics, but public financing schemes only work if they allow candidates who opt into them to remain competitive. To defend against this problem, Arizona developed a two-tiered public financing system. Candidates receive additional funds if their opponent or corporate interest groups overwhelm them with attack ads, and thus candidates who are determined not to be tainted by the corrupting influence of major donors are n ot left defenseless . Yet, in a case called McComish v. Bennett, the Court’s five conservatives appear poised to strike this two-tiered system down. If they do so, it could be the death knell for public financing, since no candidate is safe from massive infusions of corporate money after Citizens United.

SLAMMING COURTHOUSE DOORS: Many of the Court’s most corporate-friendly decisions create complicated and arcane procedural barriers to Americans seeking justice. The Court’s discredited Ledbetter decision didn’t literally take away women’s right to equal work for equal pay. It just created a procedural rule that made it impossible for women to vindicate their rights if they didn’t learn that they were paid less than their male colleagues until a short time after the discrimination began. In Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the Supreme Court will decide whether to shut off another opportunity f or women in the workplace to seek relief — class actions. Class action lawsuits are brought by groups of plaintiffs who share a common injury with each other. These suits are essential to allow ordinary Americans, who often lack the resources to hire lawyers capable of taking on a major corporation on their own, to pool their resources in order to hire counsel that are capable of facing off against someone like Wal-Mart. There is substantial evidence that women who work for Wal-Mart stores shared the same experience of systematic pay and promotion discrimination and thus should be able to bring a class action. If the Supreme Court denies them this right — which it seems likely to do — many of them will be left powerless before Wal-Mart’s legal team.

IMMUNITY TO THE LAW: Procedural victories are all well and good, but there’s nothing corporate America loves more than actual immunity from the law. Past Supreme Court decisions gave sweeping legal immunity to medical device manufacturers and health insurers, and even gave the thumbs up to a biased system of corporate-owned courts that overwhelmingly rule against consumers and employees. In a case called PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, the justices will now decide whether to give sweeping im munity to the makers of generic prescription drugs. If the Court sides with the drug makers in this case, two women could be left with no recourse after a prescription drug caused them to develop a horrific neurological disorder resulting in “grotesque involuntary movements of the mouth, tongue, lips, and extremities, involuntary chewing movements, and a general sense of agitation.” And thousands of other Americans could be left similarly defenseless against the powerful pharmaceutical industry.