Sunday, February 14, 2016

Does the Fate of the World Hang on the November Presidential Election?

Last week the United States Supreme Court kicked Obama's emissions reduction policy to the curb. That was one of the final decisions taken by justice Antonin Scalia.

The US Supreme Court is deeply politicized. That is a form of corruption, plain and simple. Law is supposed to be above politics not in thrall to it. When courts serve political interests they cannot serve their people and their nation. Perhaps nothing illustrates that better than the court's decision in Citizens United in which it held corporations had political rights and were free to throw money into buying elections.

Until yesterday the court was split, 5-4. The political Right was faithfully represented by Chief Justice Roberts, and justices Antonin Scalia, Sammy Alito, "Silent Clarence" Thomas and the sometimes unreliable Anthony Kennedy. That gang has been opposed by Democratic appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Now with Scalia gone the court would appear deadlocked. Presumably the Right will dig their feet in as long as they can.

Congressional Republicans intend to prevent Obama from appointing Scalia's replacement and they might prevail. That means the next president may have to reformulate the US Supreme Court. Breyer and Bader Ginsburg have said they have no intention of retiring but, like Scalia, they're at that age where the decision won't necessarily be their own.

I think the point is that if the world is to have much chance at all of addressing global warming it's going to need the full commitment of the United States, something that's in real doubt if the country remains under the thumb of a partisan, ideological court in the coming years.

The fate of the world shouldn't hinge on who wins the White House in November. It shouldn't but it does.

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