The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. (United States Constitution (1787) Article 3, Section 1.)
The Constitution does not state the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. If Congress wanted to, it could let Scalia’s seat remain vacant indefinitely.
We have entered an era of brazen partisanship on the part of the extreme right-wing, funded and fueled by an oligarchy who have openly declared class warfare on everyone else. The oligarchy controls so much wealth they write the laws that in turn increase their holdings.
Favorable rulings by the Supreme Court allowed them to further tighten their grasp of our government. And, over the years, Republicans have slowly but steadily moved the federal court system to the right, to supporting corporations over people, the rich and powerful over everyone else. Case in point: class action lawsuits are becoming a thing of the past. Odds are, if you have any credit card or cell phone, you have a contract waiving your right to class action lawsuits, and waiving your right to go to court.
That’s right. In far too many instances, you cannot go to court to take on a multinational corporation. Your legal rights have been privatized – you must go to arbitration, an alternative system of justice where the arbitrator’s power may be virtually unlimited – the power to ignore the law, and to ignore the facts. And it’s damn-near impossible to get a court to overturn an arbitrator’s decision. Oh, and you have to pay for the arbitrator. The privatizing of justice, in the civil arena.
In the criminal arena, we already know that we have privatized prisons. The only legal form of slavery in the world.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. (United States Constitution, XIII Amendment, Section 1.)
Private, for profit prisons, where someone could be locked up for life under a “three-strikes” law.
Justice Scalia is dead, but his legacy in the form of decisions he authored, majorities he joined, lives on.
Republicans, within hours of his passing announced that they will not ratify anyone President Obama nominates. That is their right under the Constitution.
The only non-violent recourse We, the People have is to vote Republicans out of power, at every level of government. If we’re to lazy to mobilize and do just that, we get the government we deserve.
[the opinions stated are those of the author and not necessarily that of The Zoo)