Supreme Court Madness

Image by Sarah Penney.

If you are a millionaire or billionaire, the United States in 2024 is a dream nation. Super rich Americans have converted the country from a permanent war “middle class” society to a permanent war oligarchy with monarchical greed and ambition.

The Supreme Court favors the metamorphosis of the more or less democratic United States to a billionaire oligarchy. Its recent ruling overthrowing the Chevron deference standard, is the icing on the cake. Now lobbyists will keep suing agencies to weaken the already weak human and environmental protection laws and regulations. If there’s a real or fake ambiguity in a regulation disliked by petroleum, pesticides, chemical, medical, car, animal farm, and any other industry, the Supreme Court decision will make judges the decision makers about scientific issues they know little if anything. The Chevron deference, in such cases, sent the problem to the experts of federal agencies. No more.

If former President Donald Trump, a convicted felon, returns to the White House, alas for America and its political and environmental institutions. The country will degenerate to the eighteenth century of slaves and slave-owners. Trump may even become the first king of America. With the Supreme Court in his pocket, and already doing his dirty work, he will most likely shut down the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupation, Safety, and Health Administration.

The practical implications of King Trump or President Trump-Supreme Court will be dire. Farmers hooked on neurotoxic and carcinogenic pesticides will use more and spray their crops freely. More Americans will die of cancer and more wildlife will also die from the toxic crops and the deleterious natural world. Greenhouse gases will increase with the inevitable consequence of higher temperatures and the biological effects of climate chaos.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned us, June 5, 2024, that pushing global temperature from the now hovering 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius temperature higher the pre-industrial level will unleash planetary catastrophe. The Greenland and Antarctica Ice Sheets will melt and overwhelm small islands and coastal areas all over the world. The Atlantic current will be disrupted and the climate effects on Europe will be severe. Tropical corals will die, and 300 million people will suffer the consequences.

But even if President Biden wins reelection, the behavior of the Supreme Court, its mania for serving billionaires, will have lasting effects. Suddenly, these unelected lawyers-kings-queens felt secure to undo more than 60 years of human and environmental protection in the United States. They should know their ruling is illegal, ignorant, unethical, undemocratic, and dangerous. Don’t they see newspaper headlines on climate chaos or they, like many Republicans, think that climate change is a hoax? Only tyrants disregard human rights of health and security. If they are literate, they should know climate danger is a scientific fact and entirely anthropogenic. Furthermore, their ruling, if it is taken seriously, will exacerbate climate chaos. Petroleum companies and their lobbyists will swarm the courts to wipe out the timid beginnings of federal regulation of fossil fuels setting the planet on fire.

My hope is that Biden stays in the White House. He and his Justice Department ought to come up with a plan to either reform the Supreme Court or abolish it. A reform could propose electing these judges for no more than 5 years. Don’t call them justices. And the court itself might be called National High Court.

The decisions of the so-called conservative judges of the Supreme Court demonstrate how easy it is to make a citizen into a tyrant. Besides, these judges have no supervisor because they are supreme. And with money temptations always invisible but real, the judges dive into corruption, knowing they have the title of justices who will never face Justice. They are unelected monarchs.

Aristotle said no citizen should have a life-long tenured job and no person or institution in a democratic polis should have the title of supreme.

Evaggelos Vallianatos, Ph.D., studied history and biology at the University of Illinois; earned his Ph.D. in Greek and European history at the University of Wisconsin; did postdoctoral studies in the history of science at Harvard. He worked on Capitol Hill and the US EPA; taught at several universities and authored several books, including The Antikythera Mechanism: The Story Behind the Genius of the Greek Computer and its Demise.