The US Supreme Court Has Opened the Door for a Fascist American King


  • July 5, 2024
  • (0 Comments)
  • 146 Views

The Court has exposed itself as a nakedly political—and reactionary—institution, and the existential dangers it poses must be met by mass mobilization and fierce resistance.

 

By VINCE WARREN

Jul 03, 2024

 

“The president is not above the law,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts before ruling that President Trump is above the law.

 

In a Monday decision both shocking and unsurprising, the Supreme Court’s reactionary six-member majority ruled that the president of the United States has “absolute immunity” from criminal prosecution for acts relating to “core constitutional duties.” An elementary school civics student taught that ours, supposedly, is a “government of laws and not of men,” would recognize the dangers of this ruling.

 

Theft, plunder, embezzlement, extortion, abduction, assassination, or, to state the obvious—attempted election interference or a coup: presidents could now be shielded from criminal prosecution for these acts and, for the first time in history, may feel empowered to commit them without fear of legal consequences, confident they can claim they are “core” duties and even basic “official” acts.

 

At every turn, this Court defers to power, Trumpian or corporate, at the expense of pluralism, individual freedom, and democracy.

 

The dangers are not hypothetical. This ruling ensures that President Trump will not stand trial for his involvement in the January 6 attack on the Capitol before the election. And if he wins election in November, acting on his pledge to become a “dictator for one day,” he will have at his disposal this authoritarian decision by the authoritarian court majority he created. With this ruling, we can see how the mechanisms of dictatorship merge into something realistic and profoundly dangerous.

 

The rise of presidential impunity, however, predates Trump. After 9/11, when the Bush administration launched an illegal invasion of Iraq and systematically committed war crimes, including torture, the courts barely pushed back, and, later, President Obama chose to “look forward, not backward,” further cementing that impunity.

 

When Center for Constitutional Rights, the organization I lead, sought to impose civil liability against high level executive branch officials, days from Trump’s inauguration, the Court gave officials carte blanche to violate the Constitution as long as they claimed their violations were undertaken pursuant to a policy. An expanded, overly powerful, unaccountable presidency was waiting for Trump in 2016—and now a cravenly political Supreme Court has affirmed it.

 

Under this Court’s cruel and retrograde jurisprudence, a president cannot regulate carbon emissions or forgive student loans but might face no consequences for politically motivated killings or mass murder.

 

Yet this Court limits executive power when it suits its political ends, as it just did when it undercut the ability of federal agencies to enact environmental regulations, or earlier, to forgive student loans. The common baseline of these decisions is hostility to democracy and its aspiration for the collective good.

 

Under this Court’s cruel and retrograde jurisprudence, a president cannot regulate carbon emissions or forgive student loans but might face no consequences for politically motivated killings or mass murder. The president is free to commit crimes to protect his craven self-interest, but women cannot protect their own bodies; indeed the president has immunity for bona fide crimes against the republic, while women can be criminalized for their personal choices. It is a jurisprudence that elevates wanton machine gun killings as a legal right over voting, equality, and public health.

 

At every turn, this Court defers to power, Trumpian or corporate, at the expense of pluralism, individual freedom, and democracy. It has exposed itself as a nakedly political—and reactionary—institution, and the existential dangers it poses must be met by political limitations on its recklessness and continued mass mobilization that resists fascism in every corridor of power.

 


 

Vince Warren is the Executive Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

This article is republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license.

Read the original article.

 

 

Share this
Leave a Comment