When the US Supreme Court blew it

This is a continuation of the last blog about the root problem in representative democracies.

In representative democracies the people have no executive power; all they can do is elect the politicians, the politicians are the executive power.

Excessive power in the hands of politicians has also given interest groups a more powerful motivation to lobby them; it is far easier to lobby a few hundred politicians and governments than to persuade millions of voters that the interests of the corporation, or of the pressure group, coincide with the interests of the majority of citizens.

In this way politicians help the lobbies with laws and policies that may mean billions to those who the paid lobbyist represents, even if they go against the interests of the majority of citizens.

In direct democracy it is the other way around; the people have more power than the executive, the legislative and the Supreme Court or Constitutional Court of the country. The result is lobbies know it makes no sense to lobby politicians if the people have more executive power than the politicians. The result is far less influential lobbies.

However, in the US in particular, a terrible ruling by the US Supreme Court has given lobbies and rich people the means to “lobby” the people; more on this further down.

In direct democracy the people directly decide if laws and regulations passed by the elected representatives will go ahead or die. They also decide on large expenses; the government can not just go and say: “We believe the Olympics will be great for our country, therefore, we decide to support our great city of … (fill the blanks for your country) to host the 20xx Summer Olympic Games and will invest x billions in infrastructure”. They can not do that in a direct democracy country.

With respect to the judiciary, under direct democracy there is no “supreme court” to deal with constitutional issues; the people decide constitutional issues, the people “are” the Supreme Court,

The “returns” to lobbies can be protected markets, professional associations who control how many people enter a profession, government subsidies, etc.

To make matters worse, in the US, the US Supreme Court made in 2010 one decision which makes representative to democracy even les representative.

It dit it when it decided a corporation, a professional association, an organized religion, a union or a rich person, spending millions of dollars in a political advertising campaign supporting or attacking a politician or a party, is merely exercising its right to free speech.

They can spend hundreds of millions to sway voters, and they do. This is not free speech, this is a massive tool to influence free speech; it is not far from controlling speech.

The decision did not say: “Corporations, other organizations, churches, rich people, etc., have the right to say: “our organization endorses or is against such and such candidate”; that would be reasonable.

The Court went far beyond. With this “Super PAC” approval the US Supreme court made it practically impossible to have “government with the people, for the people, by the people”.

In his dissenting opinion, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens argued in 2010 that the Court’s ruling represented “a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government”, well said.

If the Supreme Court rejects common sense it is worse than not having Supreme Court at all.

Many lobbies have also learned to contribute to the campaigns of politicians of the major parties. They do it as an “insurance policy”; no matter who wins, they win. The lobbies are “bipartisan”, even “polypartisan”.

This is why both parties, for example, support immigration of cheaper foreign professionals of non-organized professions; computer programmers, for example. But they do not do that with strong organized professions who also know how to lobby.

Either way, lobbying is bad for the majority of citizens because it distorts democracy, the will of the majority of the people, and their interests, get pushed aside.

So, if you want to retake democracy for ordinary citizens and ordinary workers you have to push for direct democracy; you pay, you decide.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments