By Dave Kingsley
Dark Money Behind Court Nominations & Amicus Briefs Are Aimed at Deregulation
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave a brilliant presentation at the Senate hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Barrett that is must viewing for advocates concerned about regulation of the nursing home industry and protection of programs for the elderly. I’m uploading the video of his seminar on the flow of dark money into nominations and amicus briefs.
No one knows for certain where all the money flowing into nonprofits presenting amici briefs is originating, but there is considerable evidence that the Koch organization, and other wealthy pro-corporate organizations are providing much of it. Why? The majority on the court has a theocratic, radical free market and pro-corporation ideology. I would define them as a theocratic corporatocracy. They derogate the 1st Amendment separation of church and state while catering to conservative business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and a large number of other such organizations seeking deregulation.
The nursing home lobby fits comfortably into this mélange of business interests seeking restraints on the government’s power to protect customers, patients, communities, and the environment from profiteering predators – the way I would describe most nursing home corporations. Make no mistake about it, liability of operators will be greatly limited when employees and patients suffer due to their neglect. Cases before a theocratic-corporacratic 6 to 3 majority which involve damage to stakeholders will more often than not be decided in favor of corporations.
If you carefully listen to and watch this video, you will hear and see Senator Whitehouse explain that out of eighty cases involving corporate interests, eighty were decided by a 5 to 4 majority in favor corporations rather than in the best interests of citizens. When Barrett joins the court, it will become a 6 to 3 supermajority.
What We Can Expect: Looking Back, The Pattern is Clear
As stated above, the eighty cases analyzed by Senator Whitehouse were all decided in favor of the corporate-religious network by five to four. He has dubbed the five member majority as the “Roberts Five.” These cases fall within four categories: 1. Unlimited dark money in politics, 2. Denigration of the civil jury, which has an obligation to apply the law and not cater to monied interests, 3. Weakening of regulatory agencies, and 4. Voting rights.
No doubt, looking forward, Barrett will be expected to decide in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sibelius ( ACA) and Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage). However, looking back at the pattern of the Roberts Five decisions, all four categories of cases impinge on the ability of advocates and activists to protect patients. Regulatory actions and laws designed to protect vulnerable elderly and disabled patients are likely to be found unconstitutional by the court as it has been reconstituted during the Trump administration. Suppression of voting rights will make it more difficult to elect state legislatures sympathetic to the cause of patients rather than investors.