Three Essays on the One Percent Court

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This week on the program, Bill spoke with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, and Jamie Raskin, an American University law professor and Democratic state senator from Maryland who wrote one of the essays appearing in this week’s special issue of The Nation. Titled “The One Percent Court,” the issue exposes favoritism the Roberts Court has shown toward big business.

Here at BillMoyers.com, we’re excited to publish three of the essays that appear in “The One Percent Court.” The introduction to the issue was co-authored by Bill and historian Bernard Weisberger, and traces the Supreme Court’s consolidation of power from the institution’s beginning until today, when, as Bill and Weisberger write, SCOTUS has become “the most powerful branch of government, and one at the center of a controversy whose outcome may shape the course of democracy for generations to come.”

A major contributing factor to that controversy is the Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision (2010), the ruling that established corporations as people with the freedom to express their political opinions (by spending huge sums promoting or attacking political candidates). In his essay, “Citizens United’ on the Corporate Court,” Jamie Raskin explains what the “Citizen’s United era” means for America.

This legal era may, however, be a short-lived one. The next president will likely have the chance to pick at least one new Justice. If that appointee is a progressive, it could tip the ideological 5-4 balance away from big business. And as PAC-funded political ads grow nastier (and sillier), support is growing for a constitutional amendment limiting the legal definition of personhood to human beings. In her essay for The Nation, titled “The Way Forward,” legal scholar Nan Aron outlines a progressive battle plan for taking back the Court. Aron writes:

Clearly, the story hasn’t ended. The ideological pendulum can swing back. But some things need to change first. The way forward requires a new way of thinking about the courts, new tactics for shaping the public debate and a lot more energy from the left.

The entire special issue of The Nation, “The One Percent Court,” will be available on Sept. 19 at thenation.com.

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  • MaryGH

    Thank you for your informative and educational programs and for your dedication and energy in addressing these vip issues. Grateful thanks too to Katrina and Jamie for their research, their wisdom and their passion in pursuing on our behalf these very concerning issues regarding our democracy. It is people like you, Bill and your guests that inspire us and gives us hope. Keep up the good work and we will stay tuned!