Elizabeth Warren Delivers Dire Warning About the Future of the Supreme Court

elizabeth-warrenSpeaking at the AFL-CIO’s convention yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a sobering speech in which she pointed out exactly how far right and pro-corporate the Roberts Supreme Court has become — and how much worse it will get following their current path. Warren said:

“You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.”

And she’s absolutely right. Doubt her? Just look at the cold hard facts from the cases they’ve decided this year alone. Time after time, the Roberts Court has unapologetically decided in favor of big business and a corporate agenda.

Sure, they’ve tossed a few bones toward the left — striking down DOMA and ruling that Obamacare is Constitutional being two of the biggest. But when looking at the big picture, one can see that the Roberts Court has been anything but friendly to the middle class or the poor, and has steadfastly extended a helping hand to corporations whenever and wherever possible.

Which makes Senator Warren’s warning about the future of the Court that much more urgent. We’re talking about the highest Court in our nation functioning as a “wholly owned subsidiary of big business,” as Warren put it. What ever happened to functioning as a “wholly owned subsidiary” of the will of the people and the Constitution?

Oh, that’s right. The Court got around that as well by deciding for Citizens United — in another 5-4 decision. Go figure, right?

So now corporations “are” people, and therefore since they’re the “people” with the most money and influence in our country today, they deserve “special treatment.” At least according to the Roberts Court, that is.

So anybody who doubts what Senator Warren is saying needs to take a closer look at the facts, and the actual Court rulings which back up her statement. The Roberts Court has shown no interest in ruling against big business, no matter what the circumstances. And unfortunately, as long as this Court stays together, that looks to be the path they’ll continue to pave whenever the opportunity presents itself.

What’s even more sad is that Senator Warren is one of the very few willing to speak out against something this disastrous for our nation. Much time is spent analyzing and debating the decisions President Obama or Congress make, but little attention is paid by the majority of the American people — or the media — to the Supreme Court and their decisions.

Decisions that have a lasting effect on each and every one of us, and a profound effect on how our nation functions as a whole.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said about Warren, “If we could only clone her.”

Or if more of our elected officials had her level of courage and intelligence, and were willing to lend their voices to making this known and pushing for change, we wouldn’t have to.

Thomas Barr

Thomas Barr

Thomas Barr is a writer, editor and activist who's passionate about progressive ideals, with extra attention given to the fight for universal health care, medical marijuana, and saving our nation from decades of devastating trickle-down policies. Thomas is also a dedicated advocate for Type 1 diabetes research and education.
Be sure to check out his archives on Forward Progressives for more of his viewpoints.
Thomas Barr


Facebook comments

  • melloe

    She is a godsend. I fear for her life.

  • ilpleut13

    melloe, i was just thinking the same thing 🙁

  • Cargapalitos

    Yes, we need more of her…we have Wendy Davis coming up in Texas. Will anybody else stand up? I think so.

    • Pipercat

      We also have: Bigus Rickus, Greg “Rickus v2.0” Abbot, John Cornball, David Dewfus and Ted Herring. Ain’t gonna be no cake walk south of the Red river!

    • RC

      texas is forever garbage. 1 wendy davis is not enuff to undo the all the stupid redneck shit that is texas.

  • Mrs_oatmeal

    I will believe corporations are people when Texas executes one of them! Go Elizabeth, the voice of reason!

    • Dan Pierce

      Like the owner of that factory that blew up

  • Terry Hatch

    I wish she was my Senator.

    • Pipercat

      Me too, I’m stuck with Ted Herring and John Cornball…

      • cspatrick

        And I’m stuck with Ted Cruz! 😛

      • Pipercat

        … and John Cornball!

      • Pam Johnson

        Me too. SMH.

    • zobva

      I’m thankful that she’s mine!

  • katherine norton malek

    She and Bernie Sanders – voices of reason in our nation’s capitol which has otherwise become a veritable psyche ward; corruption abounds & they’re trying to sell us a bill of goods that corporations are people. Look on any Sec’y of State web site. Corporations are found under the heading of “Business Entity”. Not under “People”.

  • 31Forever

    Actually, ruling that Obamacare is Constitutional is still a pro-business vote. Remember, we never got an opportunity to even consider single-payer. All this is, is a subsidy to corporate health insurance providers and an extra set of rules. You’re still getting your insurance from “Big” (god, how I hate this euphemism) Insurance.

    It’s not a nod to the left. It’s just more licking of the feet of their corporate masters.

    • John Dion

      Having to spend 80% of what they take in on healthcare costs or offer a refund to consumers isn’t a pro-business vote.

      • 31Forever

        I’m sorry if that’s the way you see it.

        Certain things shouldn’t have a profit motive attached to them, chief among them, things integral to the continuation of life. Medical care, and as healthcare insurance concerns that, should be not for profit.

        If you think that healthcare corporations aren’t going to continue to make a profit, even under the new regulations, then you are mistaken, I’m afraid.

        medical- and healhtcare should be the purview of the government, IMO. Much like they are in every other industrialised nation, with additional care being offered to subsidise the cost of, say, a private hospital room as opposed to a semi-private. Or for orthodontia, etc.

      • haikukitteh

        While it’s true that the AFA is far more pro-business than a single-payer system, realistically, that NEVER would have passed. Look at the ridiculous fight we had just over the AFA!

        And while holding AFA up as constitutional may not exactly be anti-business, striking it down and allowing insurance companies to continue to collect premiums and then drop people just when they finally need to use their insurance for a major health issue would have been far more “pro-business.”

      • 31Forever

        Oh, believe me, I’m not unhappy that I can have ANY insurance, being uninsured right now, or at least until the exchanges begin.

        And it really was a battle. Unfortunately, the death of Teddy Kennedy, when it came, made the implementation of the ACA much more difficult, with newly minted Senator Scott Brown.

        And now, as the pendulum swings ever closer to a 50/50 split in the Senate, the needs of the many are once again pushed into irrelevance in the eyes of the Congress.

        If only LBJ had just pushed for medicare for all in 1964, instead of this 10 year/ 10 year rollback. We wouldn’t have the problems with lack of insurance that we have now.

        Or maybe we would…..

      • heynonnymouse

        On the contrary, John Dion. If they are able to sign up millions more people under the ACA, they are still going to be raking in money from all those premiums being paid. So will all those doctors and for-profit hospitals.

      • John Dion

        That still doesn’t mean it’s a pro business vote. Instead of unlimited profit, they are capped at 20 percent. Why let facts get in the way of propaganda though.

    • William Carr

      John Roberts was set to vote against Obamacare.

      But he realized that Democrats would use it as a rallying cry to win the Election.

      And he realized that Mitt Romney is a WEAK candidate, with nobody really liking him.

      So he turned the issue sideways, voted FOR Obamacare, and thus made the Election about repealing Obamacare instead of electing Romney.

      And suddenly he got the GOP Base all fired up.

      If it hadn’t been for Romney’s 47% flub, the gambit might have worked.

      Republicans KEEP telling themselves they’re the secret majority… that all they have to do to win is get out their Base.

      Fortunately, that isn’t true, and Elections don’t work that way.

      • Ole Man

        Unfortunately, with the GOP controlling so many states, those Govs and legislators are making it increasing hard for Democrats to win.
        That is happening both through voter suppression and through gerrymandering.
        Here in NC a Democrat vote counts as 3/5ths of a republican vote.
        And that’s before the latest round of voter suppression takes hold next year.

      • 31Forever

        Ironic, isn’t it, that North Carolina – a cornerstone state in the Civil War – actually counted slaves to be more of a person (once upon a time) than they count a Democrat……

  • Suzie

    “Let’s go girls”! We need more women in politics, plain and simple. They way I see it, these intelligent, truth speaking, gutsy women, (like Elizabeth), are what our political leaders are supposed to be like. So unlike the lying, corrupt, selfish, greedy, egotistical, self serving SOB’s, that are usually men, that we have in politics now. Women of the country, and we are the majority ………………………. stand up and make your voices heard, every one of you! Vote for every good woman you know that is running for political office in the next elections. We, (women) will have to be the change we want to see in this country. We have been leaving it up to the men (mainly), for centuries now, and look at the mess they have made of things. It is up to us to turn the tide and make this country what it should and can be!!! (By the way, for those of you who think I may be a man-hater, ………………… I am a happily married woman, married to a wonderful man. I grew up in a family with a Dad who thought that women were the most fabulous humans on the planet and he instilled in me that I was just as capable as any man, and I thank him for that).

    • think

      you are an idiot. you’re classifying all bad politicians in a category that means nothing. the bad politicians are called “assholes”. there are lots of good politicians that are out there that just so happen to be men. you can make a good judgement of character of the “assholes” by their actions. however, for some reason a lot of brainless voters like yourself, vote for the wrong people consistantly. based on things that have no bearing on what’s actually going on. you want everyone to vote for a woman next election JUST because she’s a woman? that is the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard. i want to see the fact that they at least don’t wear their ass as a hat like yourself, before i let them hold any kind of power. it’s like driving a car: you want to make sure that a person can handle and function properly on the roadway before giving them a license, rather than checking if they’re a woman or not (thank goodness). the only reason that there isn’t more women in politics is because they need to have a support group just saying “good job” for them to feel confident in what they think they’re doing, because they’re not confident in THEMSELVES!! it’s not a man or woman thing. its a fact of being a decent human being and not being a shit-bag. STOP voting for all the assholes or the people based on color, gender, or religion. START voting for the people who show you that they know what they’re doing, and their history proves that they’re not one of the “assholes”.

      • Suzie

        Ya, I am an idiot, that’s why I have 24 UP VOTES, and you have…….. NONE! 😀 You are a male chauvinist, (just one of millions by the way), and it is the types just like yourself that have screwed things up because of your superior attitude towards women. You seemed to ignore that in my post I said, “that are USUALLY men”, that doesn’t mean ALL men fall into that category. I also said, “vote for every GOOD woman”, that isn’t saying vote for ANY woman. Maybe you need to learn how to read with better comprehension before spewing off at me like you did. We have needed more women in politics, big business, etc. for a long, long time, because women have some very important things to bring to the table that most men would never think of. We don’t need a “support group”, as you say, because YOU think we lack confidence. (Whew, talk about a judgmental statement). Believe me, I was raised to be a confident woman by a very intelligent Dad, and Mom, who taught me how to stand up for myself and not tolerate bullies, (like you), who try to tear me down. Plus, I know what a decent human being is, and I wish we could vote for political candidates that we know for sure are decent human beings. Unfortunately we can only judge them by what they have been/ or are trying to accomplish, and vote accordingly. I would never vote for someone just because she is a woman. I am NO idiot, even though you seem to think so. Believe me, I could care less what you, and others like you think of me. I am a very strong woman, and I wish there were many more strong women out there to represent us. The fact that in 2013, a woman only earns 77 cents to a man’s dollar is proof that this country has a long way to go on equal rights for women, and it will take more STRONG WOMEN to make those positive changes that need to happen. Your types, with all your incorrect judgments of us women, are obviously not helping us to move in the right direction! Oh, and by the way, save yourself some time and aggravation by not reading my future posts please. Oh, and one more thing, your using “think” as your post name on here is kind of ironic, because I get the impression that you don’t “think” much before you speak. 😀

      • Pam Johnson

        Calling someone an idiot does nothing to bolster your “viewpoint”.

  • William Carr

    You realize, of course, that with modern genetic technology, we could take DNA from Wendy Davis, and Elizabeth Warren, and create a genetic Superwoman ?

  • Emily Edwards

    I fear for her life, too, but I hope like hell she’ll run for President one day.

    • 31Forever

      Clinton/Warren ’16

      Clinton/Warren ’20

      Warren/Grayson ’24!!

  • Debi Mitchell

    How can justice be served if the Supreme Court is corrupt?

  • johnbuoy

    Ok, I agree with all of the above. What, exactly, can “we” do about it. These folks are, for some reason, appointed for life. Are they subject to any type of recall? I’m serious, I know this court is out of it’s conservative mind, I just don’t know what can be done about it.

    • haikukitteh

      Unfortunately, not much. But a public outcry certainly wouldn’t hurt. The fact that no one pays attention just makes the harm they’re doing that much easier to get away with.

    • 31Forever

      Sitting Supreme Court judges CAN be impeached, but the number necessary to do so, I believe, is either 60 or 67%. Of BOTH houses.

      Good luck getting ANYwhere close to that number…..

  • Dave Eboch

    I would have to agree 100 percent with this article.

  • Mr B

    She’s not from my state but she will have my vote whenever I have an opportunity! Warren is one elected official that truly stands up for average Americans….

  • On the bright side, I just save $350 by switching my car insurance!

  • muckeypuck

    This is the dumbest article i’ve ever read. Why are liberals so afraid of free speech?

  • Stephanie Vasquez

    This article would have been far more useful to those of us advocating for change if it had enumerated specific examples for us to use in discussion. As it stands it is merely a “yeah! what she said!” piece.

  • Jackmur2012

    70% of the population – the lower 70% on the wealth/income
    scale – they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They’re effectively
    disenfranchised. As you move up the wealth/income ladder, you get a little bit
    more influence on policy. When you get to the top, which is maybe a tenth of
    one percent, people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine the
    policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it’s plutocracy. The
    Supreme Court has made certain that this happens in its Citizens United Law.
    Which I refer to as Citizens Un-united.

    The Republican Party, has abandoned any pretence of being a normal parliamentary party. It’s in lock-step service to the very rich and the corporate sector and has a catechism that everyone hasto chant in unison, kind of like the old Communist Party. Including the chant no tax increases on the rich.

    A distinguished conservative commentator, one of the most
    respected – Norman Ornstein – describes today’s Republican Party as, in his
    words, “a radical insurgency – ideologically extreme, scornful of facts
    and compromise, dismissive of its political opposition” – and a serious
    danger to the society, as he points out.

    The function of Citizens United seems to have has reduced
    the American People to be spectators, not participants in action. The thought
    that the American People are the best judges of their own interests has been
    trampled on. The Supreme Court has now made the intelligent minority of
    responsible men the Plutocracy and the controlling judges and shot callers of
    what will happen in our country.

    It is a very sad commentary…………….

  • Bill Rubin

    SCOTUS got it so wrong by equating corporations as people and equating money with speech. First, corporations do not vote as do people. Second, if one has more money than someone else, does that mean you have the right to more free speech than someone else? Of course not, but that is the obvious corollary to the ridiculous notion that the Supreme Court has endorsed by equating money with speech.

    SCOTUS’s rightwing is destroying the very fabric of our democracy by trying to maintain that corporate rights are equivalent to human rights and by ridiculously equating money and speech. It is the biggest reach yet by conservatives, and it is obviously illogical. Conservatives, of course, decide most things by reaching their conclusion and then backward reasoning to justify it, just as the SCOTUS has done with the decisions above. It is completely nonsensical and obviously in violation of the spirit (and letter) of the US Constitution.

    Voters need to consider the SCOTUS far more often when voting for both the President and their Congressional representatives, especially their Senators. Fortunately, the idiocy of House election gerrymandering has no bearing for Presidential and Senatorial elections, and these are all that bear on the appointment of SCOTUS Justices.

  • LRC

    the supreme court has become just another government disgrace. too many republican nutbags, no influence from the public, self serving government officials with no real threat of ever being unemployed or held accountable for being corrupt….just another day in good ol America