Monday, June 30, 2014


The Supreme Court of the United States
        There has been so much going on in our nation and the world about which I should like to have been commenting, but I have resisted the urge, having resolved to complete my current series of articles reflecting on the continuing experience of grieving the loss of my wife Margie, who died of leukemia eight months ago today.
        Although I have more to share on that deeply personal subject, I cannot help departing briefly from that resolution in order to comment on today’s decisions by the United States Supreme Court, coming so soon after some of their other disturbing rulings. I used to have such great respect for that august body, that had always symbolized for me the highest principles of impartial justice. But the Court’s actions today reflect once again the political partisanship and ultra-conservatism of the majority of the Justices.
        The Court voted five to four to permit business owners on religious grounds to deny their female employees coverage for birth control, coverage that is included in the Affordable Care Act. It is significant to note that the three female Justices —Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor—  along with Justice Stephen Breyer dissented.
        The ruling evoked strong negative reactions from most women’s groups, who see it as
discriminatory against women. It certainly sets a dangerous precedent that could lead business owners to deny other benefits that offend their religious beliefs. Opinion surveys indicate that most Americans believe that health insurance plans should cover birth control.
        The Court also ruled that non-union state employees should not have to pay any dues to State employee unions. The partial dues paid by non-union employees in the past traditionally have been considered to be their “fair share” of the cost of the benefits they have received from the work of the unions. Labor supporters see this ruling as another example of the growing anti-union attitude of conservatives.
        Right-wing Republicans are glowing about the Court’s decisions, which they see as a blow to Obamacare and to the President’s union support base. I wonder how much their hatred of Barack Obama influences the conservative Republicans on the Supreme Court. It is frightening how many Americans can’t see through the hypocrisy and the inconsistency of the Obama bashers. The President’s approval ratings reflect how many Americans believe the lies being spread about the President by his extremist opponents, who are always quoting him out of context, impugning his intentions, misrepresenting his beliefs, and ignoring the facts. Their actions betray the implicit racism in their hatred.
        Not all Republicans agree with their extremist colleagues. Yet to hold on to their seats they can’t stray too far from the views of their tedcruzian constituents. So they choose their persona to suit the occasion. Progressive thinkers are fearful that a Republican-controlled Senate would be disastrous for our nation. To prevent that from happening Democrats are doing their best to encourage their constituents to vote in the forthcoming mid-term elections, as there is so much at stake. They are trying to raise money from their grass roots constituents to prevent the Koch brothers and their billionaire counterparts from buying the election.
        It’s a tough challenge.

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