Chief Justice John Roberts, the man who appointed ALL of the judges to the FISA court
Even before this session the Supreme Court, the Roberts “Citizens United” Court had already demonstrated an frightening willingness to rule on the behalf of corporations whenever possible.
Senator Elizabeth Warren recently noted the 70% win rate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — America’s largest business lobby — with the Roberts Court and said, “Follow this pro-business trend to its obvious conclusion and you will end up with a Supreme Court that’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce.”
But until Roberts wrote the wholly nonsensical and offensive opinion gutting the Voting Rights Act, most Americans probably didn’t sense what a radical activist Roberts is.
In 2006, a Republican House, Senate and President renewed the Voting Rights Act for 25 years, a law that was the cornerstone of the civil rights movement and included provisions for the jurisdictions to opt out of pre-clearance for changes to the voting laws with the Department of Justice — if they were “clean” of voting rights violations for 10 years.
Roberts invalidated the formula that determines which jurisdictions are covered by the law and thus pre-clearance is no longer allowed until this Congress, which can barely name post offices, passes a replacement formula.
In the days since his decision, laws designed specifically to suppress minority voters have flooded out of North Carolina, where much of the state was covered under the old formula.
You need to know that destroying the Voting Rights Act has been Roberts’ goal for most of his adult life, notes The Nation‘s Ari Berman:
Justice Roberts has been opposed to the VRA for three decades, ever since he was a young lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department. His sweeping and radical decision yesterday was more about ideology than the law, constitutional principles or congressional deference be damned.
Now that he’s outed himself as an ideologue, it’s especially important to note a fact that hasn’t gotten much attention since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the massive scope of surveillance by the U.S. government. All of that surveillance has been approved by one body — the FISA court.
Guess who appoints every member of that court? Chief Justice John Roberts
All 11 judges — 10 Republicans and 1 Democrat — were appointed by Roberts. And his choices to not require approval by Congress — or anyone.
This is how we ended up with a FISA court that approves 99.9% of the government’s spying requests. Only 10 out of 20,909 were rejected. Another 1,000 of the approved requests required modification. 26 were withdrawn by the government.
“That’s a startling win rate for the government,” writes Ezra Klein.
But not so startling when you recognize that it all comes from decisions made by one man: Chief Justice John Roberts.