The Supreme Court Has Betrayed You (Thom Hartmann Interview)
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The Supreme Court Has Betrayed You (Thom Hartmann Interview)

October 10, 2019

It’s great to welcome to the program today,
Tom Hartman, who is host of the Tom Hartman program and also author of the new book out
today, the hidden history jury of the Supreme court and the betrayal
of America. Very timely, a release. Tom. So great to have you today. Hey David, it’s always a pleasure to be on
your program. Thank you. So just to start with, what’s your process
when you do a new book because you’ve done a number of them. I I would guess more than
20 at this point, although I don’t have the full list in front of me. Does the, do you
get an idea and then you start to do some initial research? What’s the sort of process
that you go through when you work on a new book project? Um, I’ve always likened it to pregnancy. I
get, I get, uh, fertilized essentially with an idea. And then the case of this book, it
was back in the probably 97 98, right around 2000, um, Louise and I bought a house in Vermont
and in the attic of over the carriage house, there was an old water stained essentially
ruined collection of the 1909 publication the first time that Thomas Jefferson’s complete
works had ever been published. And I spent the next year and a half reading that and
kept finding his just raving ranting references to John Marshall on the Supreme court and
the Marbury decision. So that was the beginning of it. And then, you know, it kinda just dates
over the, over the years I wrote parts of this into a unequal protection of book I published
in 2000. But, um, uh, you know, when, when, uh, we came up with this idea for a series
of relatively small and short books, um, I really wanted to go back and do a deep dive
on this topic. And so that’s, and as I started writing, it just became more and more urgent.
And so finally it was like, Oh my God, I gotta get this thing out. And the book is now out
and it’s, it’s pretty wide ranging and I think there’s some real shockers and odds in those
books for people. Yeah. I mean, just in thinking of, if this
was first an idea, um, years ago, the way in which the Supreme court has changed over
the period of time that you’ve been thinking about this book. And the way that it’s now
affecting day to day, uh, the lives of day to day Americans has changed pretty drastically
in a sense. I mean, what w if we go back to the very beginning, what was the initial purpose
of the Supreme court envisioned to be? Well, it’s the constitution lays it out and
as you can read and Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention, um, the court basically
had two purposes. One was to have primary jurisdiction and there was to be the first
court that you go to for things like disputes between the States and just speed, speed disputes
between the United States, uh, from the federal government and individuals, States, uh, disputes
between the federal government and foreign countries and certain parts of maritime law.
Um, and then secondly, it had appellate jurisdiction. In other words, it’s the court that you things
to a as basically where the buck stops, the final court of appeals. So, you know, if two
people get into a legal dispute and one wins with the other appeals and then they win and
the other appeals and goes back and forth and back and forth. The Buck’s got to stop
somewhere. And the whole point of that was the Supreme court in article three, section
two, make that pretty clear. And how has that become very different from
the purpose or the position that the Supreme court has today? Well, there’s this thing called judicial review,
which is the ability of the court, in this case, the Supreme court to determine that
a law is or is not in compliance with the constitution, which is the Supreme law of
the land. And, um, if you read, uh, Hamilton’s notes, you know, Hamilton’s, uh, the, the
Federalist papers, you know, the, the articles that they’ve published in 1788 trying to sell
like new constitution and American people, um, in several of his, uh, there’s, I believe
four of them, but he wrote about the, about the court system and this for Supreme court
specifically. And in several of them, he just comes right out and says, you know, the Supreme
court will not have the power to strike down laws. You know, not quite those words, but
you know, it’s fairly clear. But in another place in one, let me, he says, well, maybe
they will. And, uh, there was no consensus among the
founders on those or among the framers of the constitution. Uh, there was a lot of debate
about it and it was never resolved. And so, uh, from 1797 when the constitution was ratified,
or 1787, excuse me, uh, 17 nine when, when, you know, we officially became what we are
now until 1803, uh, there was basically, you know, the, the court was seen as simply the
court of final appeals. And then in 1803 in the Marbury versus Madison Case, um, John
Marshall, the chief justice who John Adams put on the court that day that he locked office
as a, as a slap in the face of Thomas Jefferson. Marsha was Jefferson’s third cousin and they
hated each other and he was a high Federalist. Um, so Adams and Adams at that point hated
Jefferson and vice versa. So anyhow, John Marshall was said, you know, I’m going to
strike down parts of the judiciary act of 1797. And, uh, Jefferson went nuts. You know, he
said, you know, if this decision stands, then the constitution has become a thing of wax
to be molded in the hands of the judiciary. And, uh, under the, uh, construction, the
constitution has become a fellow to say, which is Latin for a suicidal act. And, uh, this,
this decision makes the court, the Supreme court, the most despotic of the three branches,
whereas Hamilton in the Federalist papers and said that the Supreme court was the least
likely to offend, they have neither the power of the purse, which is the legislature nor
the power of the sword, which is the executive branch, the presidency. And so it really flipped
American jurisprudence on its head. It created such a firestorm and Jefferson was so outraged
that the court basically didn’t do this again for another 40 years, 50 years in, that’d
be three years. It was an 1856. Um, the second time that the
Supreme court in a, in a big way used judicial review, uh, to when Roger Tawny was the chief
justice, when he decided that he would once and for all settle the slavery issue in a
decision called Dred Scott. And that decision, of course, led us right into the civil war.
So those were the only two times that the Supreme court in the first 60, 70 years of
America, uh, 80 years of America and the history used this power. Now, the Supreme court uses
it in almost every single decision. It’s a, and so they really have, you know, we flipped
from being basically a democratic, uh, constitutional constitutional democracy to essentially a
constitutional monarchy, uh, which is what Jefferson pointed out back in the day, but
where the monarchs are the on, uh, on elected, uh, lifetime appointed members of the Supreme
court. So can we, I mean, so to think about some
of the decisions that were made, uh, by judicial review. So if we think about Brown V board
of education, Roe V Wade, the 2015, uh, gay marriage decision to sort of like a modern,
uh, left winger who casually follows politics, you might see those decisions and say, I like
the outcomes. So therefore maybe this judicial review thing isn’t quite so bad. The two questions
I have on that are, number one, should we be evaluating this on the basis of particular
decisions that we do or don’t like? And then number two, are those maybe good decisions
from the point of view of a modern American leftist outweighed by other bad decisions? Right. Well, first of all, uh, there’ve been
far more bad decisions than good decisions from the point of view of a leftist from,
from destroying union rights to destroying civil rights to destroying voting rights.
Uh, the Supreme court has consistently for, um, you know, are largely since the 1880s,
uh, the 1870s, you know, reconstruction was falling apart almost always with the exception
of a short period after Franklin Roosevelt administration, uh, during and after, um,
has, has ruled on the side of corporations and very, very wealthy individuals. And it’s
just very straight forward. Um, in terms of the decisions that you mentioned, um, it just
to take Roe V Wade for example, because there’s a chapter about that in my book and people
like to point to that. In 1961, the birth control pill was legalized. It was, you know,
uh, the FDA approved it. Um, by 65, the birth control pill was in widespread use across
the United States as where other methods of birth control. And in the Griswold V Connecticut decision,
the Supreme court struck down the Connecticut state law against even married couples having
any kind of birth control, including condoms in their house. It was illegal in Connecticut
up until 1965. And, um, so, and then, you know, birth control became very, very widespread.
New devices were coming out. And so by the 19, early 1970s, the women’s movement was
really, really picking up steam, uh, women’s rights in the workplace, women’s rights, uh,
the women, the right of women to control their own reproductive, uh, functions, you know,
their bodily functions and whatnot. And so what the Roe decision did. Um, and then the
subsequent to planned Parenthood V Casey where they came up with the whole three trimester
idea, which is really something that the legislature should do. What the Roe decision did is public
opinion was rapidly moving in the direction of abortion being legal and had grown up in
decided the way it was. There’s a pretty broad consensus and I’ve
had this conversation with a number of uh, you know, fairly high profile feminists, people
whose names you recognize. I mean they’re, you can find them on our website. Um, there
was fairly broad consensus that within a decade or so abortion would be legalized, at least
in most States across the United States. And the pressure would build eventually that by
short circuiting that in 73 with the road decision, you can make the argument. And I,
and I think I do well on the book, that really what that decision did is it created a reactionary
backlash. Um, and that reactionary backlash has led to the death of a number of abortion
doctors. Uh, you know, the general harassment of women all across the country shutting down
abortion facilities. Now shutting down planned Parenthood facilities don’t even offer abortion.
As a result, we’re seeing rates of cervical and uterine cancer start to increase in these
States where this is happening. Um, had it been through the legislative process,
there wouldn’t have been a dispute about it to legitimacy. Um, you know, I would say there
was a similar trend with Brown in 1954 now you could make the case in both cases in 54
with African Americans and in 73 with women that had the Supreme court not decided in
that way. And if it didn’t take another decade or so for public opinion to catch up to the
point where everything got decided that a lot of people would’ve gotten hurt. And I
would agree with that. But I think that the consequence of the court intervening in these
ways is, is broadly not helpful. That’s interesting. So with to take the Roe
V Wade examples specifically, the idea is if instead of a Supreme court decision in
1973 legalizing abortion, you saw States do it individually from the period starting in
73 and ending in 83 just to pick a 10 year period or right. So it actually started earlier
in a sense, but so there was a 10 year period there that you would have ended up with very
similar, uh, legalization, but with less political controversy that might’ve avoided much of
the anti choice activism of the 40 years that followed. That’s correct. Because the, the, the main
claim of the, of the forced pregnancy crowd is we got screwed by the Supreme court. Um,
you know, the Kings and Queens made a decision and we had no say in it. And that’s a legitimate
complaint, frankly. And I would say that the legitimate complaint for people like you and
made us say, you know, the Supreme court gutted the voting rights act that passed the Senate
unanimously. Right. Now, if you zoom out a little bit, you mentioned
corporations versus individuals. If you had to summarize the gist of how the Supreme court
has decided over the last 50 years, is that the most notable way that you would categorize
it in favor of a large corporation versus in favor of the individual? Or is there some
other lens that is maybe even more relevant or precise? Well, the court has, has typically been on
the side of, of property and, and power. And to a certain extent that’s a result of the,
the, uh, you know, it’s basically a conservative institution. I don’t mean in the political
sense. I mean in the, you know, slow motion quashes although some of these decisions,
uh, you know, uh, over trying to sit in the voting rights act for example, are pretty
radical. But, um, and you could argue Brown and Rohwer as well. But, uh, you know, the
Supreme court is basically that, not number one, number two, at the time that the constitution
was constructed, the hot new things in the, in the landscape of the enlightenment thinkers
and certainly the founders and framers were on the tail end of the enlightenment, which
arguably started a hundred years earlier. When John Locke wrote two treatises on government,
um, and said people should have the right to life, Liberty and private property. Private property was a relatively new thing,
at least for commoners. I mean, it still wasn’t a thing for women or people of color. In fact,
it wasn’t a thing for women until the 1970s in the United States in 1973, I had to co-sign
my wife’s application for a credit card cause women were not allowed to have them in their
own names without their husbands or fathers permission. But, um, you know, in, in any
case for white men, property rights was a big deal in the 16 hundreds. The, you know,
the, the King no longer own your underwear and your wife and your house and everything
else. And um, by the 17 hundreds, by the 1770s, property rights were pretty much accepted.
But like it was the new thing that, and, and human rights, civil rights, which is what
the bill of rights was. But there was no consideration of the rights of the environment because the
environment seemed to be vast and limitless. Some, you know, who cares how much junk goes
into the rivers, it doesn’t matter. And that’s one of the problems that we have to, uh, to
address right now. And it is being addressed in part by this Giuliana case before the Supreme
court, which, which is also mentioned in the book. And if I could just close the loop on
our earlier conversation about a judicial review, um, after, uh, uh, after Jefferson
went nuts about the Marbury decision, uh, one of his friends, and I’m, I’m, I’d have
to look in my own book and see who wrote the letter to him. I think I might’ve been John,
uh, it might’ve been, um, Mr. Mason, but in any one of his friends were going to let her
say, if, if you don’t think that the Supreme court should be the arbiter of what is constitutional
and what is not constitutional, who shouldn’t be. And Jefferson wrote back and said the people
themselves and, and then, and then he explained, and by the way, that phrase is the title of
a book by Larry Kramer, the former Dean of the Stanford law school. That is a brilliant
critique of judicial review. Um, the point and people will say to me, well what if Congress
passed a law saying that if you, if you, uh, speak ill of the president, he can put you
in prison. Isn’t that a clear violation of first amendment rights and free speech? And
shouldn’t the Supreme court intervene immediately? And my answer is the same as Jefferson’s answer
was in 1804, um, is that in 1798, John Adams passed just that law, the alien and sedition
act. And the day that he signed that law, he’d put Ben Franklin’s grandson Benjamin
Franklin Bach, who published a newspaper in Massachusetts called the Aurora, put him in
prison and in prison for writing an op ed in which Benjamin Franklin box said that John
Adams was quote, or there’s a paraphrase, but it’s close to an exact quote. Old toothless, Coriolis and balding a fellow
by the name fella, fellow by the name of, uh, Luther. Luther Baldwin was sitting in
a bar in Newark, New Jersey when John Adams and his wife Abigail, came through town in
their carriage. And they had mandated that whenever they came through a town, the military
had to come out and do a 21 gun salute. And a Baldwin said to the bartender, there are
guards, president Adams, they’re shooting academies. I hope they shoot him in the RS.
And he didn’t know that the bar owner was a Federalist who turned them into John Adams.
John Adams had him thrown in prison. I mean, you know, 20 newspapers were shut down. Um,
uh, Matthew Lyon on the floor of the house of representatives, uh, got in a fight with
Roger Griswell, but Connecticut as a representative over this issue. And, and John Adams had him
shipped off to it unheated jail cell for, for Vermont for two years. He ran for reelection on the, the election
of 1,801 in seatback. The Supreme court never intervened. What killed the alien and sedition
act, this insanely unconstitutional law. The, the thing that created the schism between
Jefferson and Adams, that was so great. I mean, Jefferson left town the day it was signed
and literally never talked. The Adamson person again. Um, the thing that fixed that was the
election of 1800. It was the people themselves. So ultimately either, and this is what Jefferson
was arguing, either we believe in democracy or we don’t. If we want to try and create
a constitutional monarchy, then yeah, make, make the monarchs, the Supreme court justices.
It’s better than a hereditary family and give them final say over everything. But if you
want to have an actual constitutional democracy, then the people have to be the ones who make
the decisions. The book is out today. It’s called the hidden
history of the Supreme court and the betrayal of America. I was lucky enough to get an early [inaudible] copy. We’ve been speaking with the book’s
author, Tom Hartman. Tom, so great to have you on today. Thank you David. Great talking

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  1. Could you please comment on the US diplomat's who's wife killed a boy in a hit and run, fled back to the USA claiming diplomatic immunity. Now that corruption

  2. The same Supreme Court that aproved Gay mariagge and Roe vs Wade ? You can't support the Supreme Court only when you win and dismmis it when you lose.

  3. Thom Hartmann is one very smart man! I enjoy his show daily on FSTV. I've shared Thom's knowledge for over 10 years. Thanks David!

  4. Sorry, it's a flawed premise and a flawed conclusion. The people still have the ability to rewrite the Constitution through the Constitutional amendment process. Supreme Court decisions are overruled all the time through new legislation.

    There is tyranny of the court and there is tyranny of the mob. We have a pretty good balance between the two now, although the balance has been eroded over time by the influence of the powerful and the wealthy.

    Sadly, today as ever, you get as much justice as you can afford.

  5. I don't get how they didn't anticipate judicial review. Did they just think unconstitutional laws wouldn't happen? If an unconstitutional policy did happen how would they reverse it?


    Either he misspoke/misremembered or he doesn't really know about Casey; it abandoned the trimester framework set out in Roe and instead created the undue burden analysis.

  7. I disagree with the author's hypothesis that abortion would have become legal anyway with more time, just look at the Equal Rights Amendment.

  8. At the end: let the people decide.The problem with this is the age old tyranny of the majority. There must be a gate keeper for the rights of the minority. The real question is, how do we keep the gate keeper is check?

  9. Hamilton unequivocally favored judicial review of the constitutionality of federal laws of the U.S. Supreme Court. He also argued that state courts did not have such power.

    In Federalist #78, Alexander Hamilton writes in favor of judicial review:
    [T]he courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.

    Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental. …

    [A]ccordingly, whenever a particular statute contravenes the Constitution, it will be the duty of the Judicial tribunals to adhere to the latter and disregard the former. …

    [T]he courts of justice are to be considered as the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments.

    In Federalist # 80, Hamilton did not reverse his position on judicial review. He merely rejected the idea that state courts had the power decide the constitutionality of an act of Congress, In Federalist #80 he writes: "The mere necessity of uniformity in the interpretation of the national laws, decides the question. Thirteen independent courts of final jurisdiction over the same causes, arising upon the same laws, is a hydra in government, from which nothing but contradiction and confusion can proceed."

    Consistent with the need for uniformity in interpretation of the Constitution, Hamilton explained in Federalist #82 that the Supreme Court has authority to hear appeals from the state courts in cases relating to the Constitution.

    The Anti-federalists uniformly believed that the Constitution empowered the Supreme Court to exercise judicial review, but argued that the Constitution should not be ratified for that reason, among others. Americans at the time of ratification overwhelmingly believed that the Constitution placed the Supreme Court in the role of constitutional arbiter. Half the country thought this was a good idea, and half thought it a bad idea.

  10. Guys don’t give up. Let’s elect Bernie and the Justice System can be solved afterwards. I’d suggest we look south to Mexico’s Amlo. He’s managing to get all corrupt supreme judges with no power above them to quit due to releases in them accepting bribes, enriching themselves from neoliberalism, following the money, filing charges, letting the nation know, and they will quit on their own due to fear of the people. There’s difference’s but very Interesting and encouraging. Don’t give up👍🏼

  11. Interesting. I don't think our fore fathers imagined the power of the internet, public relations firms, advertising agencies and the total lack of ethics on the part of republicans and their willingness to do anything to manipulate, pay off, exclude, Gerrymander the general populace in order to steal from the people.

  12. Without judicial review, we would not have a constitutional republic and the Bill of Rights would not be worth the ink it's written in. Imagine: Congress can totally ignore all the restrictions placed on it by the Constitution and pass any damn bill it wants. The president can ignore the constitution and sign any bill into law. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. The people have no protection. It is precisely the mechanism of judicial review that saves us from tyranny.

    Does the Court always make the right decision? Of course not! But do you think Congress and the president are going to do a better job? Have you seen Congress and the president?? The argument made in this video is one of the most dangerous ideas out there. If you value your freedom even a little bit, be very, very skeptical.

  13. While we're here, I suggest that all David Pakman and Kyle Kulinski fans go over and subscribe to The Thom Hartmann show. He is seriously unsubscribed and has a great program.

  14. Thom is the man who converted me from a right leaning independent into a progressive. I've been listening to his show since 2004, learned so much from him!

  15. A very interesting discussion, Thom Hartmann really knows his stuff – except 1 thing. He clearly does NOT understand, what a constitutional monarchy is. Im from Denmark. We're a constitutional monarchy. We're also a constitutional democracy, indeed we measure as more democratic than the US on every metric. What hes talking about is an autocratic monarchy, something that hasnt existed here in 150+ years.
    In an autocratic monarchy, the monarch has all the power, just like hes talking about Adams and others behaving. In a constitutional monarchy, the monarch has no power, the monarch is simply a figurehead, a representative of the country. Our Queen represent our country. She entertains foreign heads of state, but she has no say in who is invited. She, or our crown prince, goes abroad, whether on state visits or as part of a delegation for commercial forums or the like, but she is merely there to represent the interests of the country, as decided by the government. She is prohibited by law to do or say anything political. The government, elected in a representative democracy, not in that screwy undemocratic way of the US, has all the power.
    That is a fundamental misunderstanding of Americans in general. U simply do not understand the difference between autocratic and constitutional monarchy. Our Queen, who was dealt (indeed the entire country) a huge insult by Trump, when he cancelled his official state visit on short notice, coz we refused to sell him Greenland (!!!), invited Trump on this highest diplomatic visit, but she had no choice. Trump had asked the Danish government for an invitation, the government "requested", that the Queen extend such an invitation, and she did, coz shes required to do it. Just like the British Queen was required to invite him earlier this year. A constitutional monarch doesnt have ANY power, not even to demand a 21 gun salute. Our Queen is widely loved and respected, coz she follows the rules of our constitution, if she tried to force her will on anything, anything at all, that would likely be the end of the monarchy.
    And for those saying, that its a waste of money for a bunch of "do-nothings" to have a royal family, they dont know economics. Most of the money allocated to the Queen is spent maintaining royal properties etc, which really belongs to the Danish ppl, meaning if we didnt give the Queen the money to maintain them, we'd have to do it anyway, and spent of diplomatic efforts, such as state visits, expenses we would also have otherwise. And marketing wise, having a royal family, especially when they work as hard our Queen and our crown prince, is worth way way WAY more than some elected president with equally no power, like they have in places like Germany. There is just no marketing equivalent to having a member of the royal family of the oldest kingdom in the world promoting ur interests. And I say that as an economist. Even if u dont like the principle, practically, economically speaking, u would be an idiot not to support it.

  16. Thom is wrong on this, and more than a little obtuse. If recent political history in the United States teaches us anything, it is that absent the rule of law, elections can easily be subverted by those in power. That means it is impossible to secure the constitutional arrangements by relying on the people to vote out offenders. Therefore relying on "the people themselves" amounts to relying on the power of rebellion. But that is even more fraught. In history, popular rebellions typically fail, and never represent the will of the majority (although sometimes the majority will accept them if they succeed). A secure constitutional democracy can therefore only be established by establishing a chief court that adjudicates on the meaning of the constitution. Where the US Constitution went wrong was by allowing appointments to that court to be political. It should have required all appointments to be made by the President with the affirmative assent of three quarters of the Senate – ie, that the President's nomination be rejected unless 75% of all Senators vote in favour of it. Had that been the law, then only middle of the road appointments could be made and the current crisis in confidence in the Supreme Court would not exist (and likely neither would the Trump presidency).

    As an aside, the principle of the rule of law requires also that nobody be immune from the law – including the President. The notion that the President cannot be indicted (other than by impeachment) is both unconstitutional and a subversion of a fundamental necessity for democracy to exist.

  17. When he said, " I bought an old house in Vermont and in the attic there was"….my mind immediately filled in, "Bernie Sanders"

  18. Tom is amazing human being! Very knowledgeable, diplomatic, political expert and very well manner, it is delightful to hear and learn from this man! He is a treasure!

  19. Very much enjoy these 20ish minute reviews with people who can point to their evidence and tell us something new.

  20. Hartmann's claim that abortion rights would have just danced merrily along and become universal, but for Roe v. Wade, is pure speculation and belied by subsequent developments. There was and always will be massive opposition to it from religious quarters in the US and Hartmann underestimates their power. His argument amounts to the suggestion that by keeping quiet, no one would have even noticed abortion, but the Supreme Court had to go make everyone upset about it. It only seemed to Hartmann (or others) that no one cared because he is so far removed from those communities.

  21. Constitutional "originalism" is a gaslighting judicial philosophy. Tell others that they are revisionists while being the ultimate revisionist yourself.

  22. I'm very surprised that Hartmann's faith in the "the people" has not been shaken by events that have unfolded since the last part of Obama's presidency. If Republicans continue to succeed in their voter suppression and gerrymandering and foreign interference ways, you can't assume that "the people" will be able to overcome and strike down terrible laws through elections.

  23. You should interview Thom again and ask about his views on free trade I'd love to hear you two debate! I've always been on the fence for the arguments of both sides and would love to see a debate from the two most convincing youtubers on both sides.

  24. Tom has always been a proponet of tarifs and his predictions of a coming depression have been way off base. Plus he is a shill for beet juice and gold.

  25. The court has no power of enforcement. Cherokee Nation v State of Georgia. Not much has changed. as we are clearly seeing today.

  26. Replacing a partly functional Supreme Court with wishful thinking is a great idea. The judicial system cannot be better than the political system which controls its composition. I remember the Anita Hill testifying before the Committee and the Dems unable to strike down Judge Thomas because some senators had their own dirty past but were elected due to name and money. As long as people do not have the intelligence to elect honest and intelligent representatives on each level but prefer lies and 30 sec soundbites nothing good is to be expected.

  27. The UK has a fairly new Supreme court, it's job is to rule on whether things are lawful/follow the unwritten constitution of the UK (using legislation and past president to establish whether the law is being followed correctly). It just ruled Boris Johnson unlawfully shut down Parliament (and therefore lied to the Queen. A crime historically would have resulted in his head being chopped off and put on display at the Tower of London). The justices are lawyers with vast experience of the law. I'm not sure how they're appointed but they certainly aren't the choice of the Prime Minister (that seems to be an obvious conflict of interest).

  28. I am torn on Supream Court and Judicial Review. I like the idea that there is some body that goes, there is this law, and there is the constitution, and the constitution wins. I dont like how the interpretation of the contitution changes over time. It is nice that is it flexible to morph into the local needs, but is frustrating that practical interpretaion comes down to 5v4 decissions. The fate of millions of people comes down to a best of 9 rock paper scissors contest, mostly depending on which president the last couple of retirements or deaths were.

  29. I am annoyed of how bady Andrew Jackson treated the indians (the whole trail of tears death march), and the Supreem Court told Jackson he was violating the rights of the indian, and Jackson was "They made their rulling, now let them enforce it". So really if the presidency and congress want to team up and blow off the supream court they can?

  30. This is going into my shopping cart. Is it terrible that I trust neither the Supreme Court nor the American people? Intelligence and justice are not our strengths as a people.

  31. I can think of at least four major problems with solving problems with elections: 1- you have to make it to the next election, 2- the election must be fair, 3- spoiler votes can easily derail campaigns of otherwise clearly favored candidates and 4- since every candidate is a package of things you agree and disagree with, your choice often ultimately boils down to the lesser of however many evils.

    Instead of voting for people and hope they push your issues to get bills passed and survive challenges in the supreme court, major nation-wide stakes should be settled by referendum / ballot initiatives to hopefully punt them beyond the reach of lobbyists, corrupt politicians and courts.

  32. So many things to be terrified about these days (it's no wonder people are drawn to escapism):

    Environmental destruction
    Food ingredients
    Healthcare/financial ruin
    Human trafficking
    Litigation/financial ruin
    Mass shootings
    Polluted air/disease
    Polluted water/disease
    Rape/sexual assault

    So upsetting and tragic, that humans would even consider doing anything to contribute to the above

  33. I just finished his book yesterday, it is short but so worth it. It is a must read and a great verification of why we should all vote.

  34. If men keep pushing control over a woman's right to choose then women need to start pushing to ban boner pills. See how men like that.

  35. Hartman seems to forget in his comments regarding the Court siding with Corporations, most of the time, that thanks to gerrymandering a majority of the States are dominated by Conservative Legislatures, who support Corporate interests while at the same time passing voter suppression and anti-abortion laws.

    So the question needs to be asked, regardless of whether or not we like particular decisions, what good is a Constitution if there is no Judicial review to ensure the laws comport with that document?

    You can be an idealist and say "oh public opinion will eventually come around." That's hopelessly naive tbh. We still have defacto school segregation today, imagine what it would be like without Brown v Board? I could raise many another example but so long as you have money in politics the idea that the laws will just sort themselves out, which is essentially the view voiced here is great for a class in college on what an ideal system may look like but it's not one for what actually works.

  36. Over the last few years, I have tried to find the TRUTH of our history. One of the first things I found out is that our school history books were butchered, filled with at best half-truths. I have felt for some time now that our worship of our founding fathers was a LITTLE BIT misguided. In fact, the more I read about them as individuals, the more I realized they NOT at all what we learned about in school. I am looking forward to reading this book as it coincides with what I have read until now.

    WE the PEOPLE make America and it is WE the people who will decide if we truly become a nation, we can OR even SHOULD be proud of. Sorry, but as of today, I am NOT proud of what we have become.

  37. Fascinating topic. Is there room for a constitutional amendment that could address this?

    (that's pretty hypothetical of course…I'm not confident either party cares to limit the SC's power)

  38. The gop have destroyed the SC for decades to come you guys are so fucked its not real decades to fix it decades folks

  39. Really thought provoking discussion. Given our penchant for wealthy and majority rule on personal rights it would scare me a bit to rid ourselves of judicial review but it's hard to say it's democratic when 9 unelected people can decide the rules that govern our lives.

  40. So at this moment in time we're not a democracy nor a republic but a constitutional monarchy due to our supreme court justices having lifetime appointments and the final say on laws. Damn. This was eye opening. We need term limits for supreme court and the positions should be voted on by the public. With better medicine than our forefathers, a lifetime appointment is just too long and too much power and with the partisan shenanigans in choosing of justices depending on who's president there's just too much possibility for a corrupt judge to make it into the appointment pool.

  41. Judicial review simply has to exist. No other branch of government is capable of determining whether laws conform to the Constitution or not or whether state laws conflict with one another. I agree with Thom that corporate rights are far too highly valued by the Supreme Court. We have had too many corporate attorneys and conservative judges on the Court over time. And Jefferson is simply wrong that the people should decide whether a law is Constitutional or not. They don't have the capacity to do so. That's a simplistic viewpoint. We can't afford to wait for a vote to overturn bad law.

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