by John Lawrence
The man who gave us Citizens United and Bush vs Gore is gone from the face of the earth. I for one do not mourn his passing. His decisions have not only contributed to the destruction of the US, but major portions of the world as well, and he was set to destroy the world consensus on climate change which would have destroyed the entire planet.
It was Scalia who said that unlimited corporate campaign spending is something “we should celebrate rather than condemn,” (Citizens United), that vote-counting should be halted for causing “irreparable harm” to the candidate who might lose as a result (Bush v. Gore), that protecting the right to vote is an odious example of “racial entitlements” (comments related to Shelby County v. Holder), and that allowing local anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians amounts to “special treatment of homosexuals” (Romer v. Evans), the 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held for the first time that the Second Amendment protected an individual's right to bear arms just to name a few of the highlights of his ignominious career.
The Supreme Court was all set to doom President Obama's climate deal he made in Paris. That would have meant that the deal established in COP21 would have fallen apart in the rest of the world as well. If the biggest polluter (the US) couldn't uphold its end of the deal, why should any other country?
Scalia and the 4 Conservatives on the Court Decided a Presidential Election
They appointed George W Bush President. This was the most disastrous decision in US history both from the point of view of Bush's Iraq War which destroyed the lives and property of millions of men, women and children and the 2008 financial crisis which almost brought down the economy of the entire world.
In the 2000 Presidential election they chose Bush over Gore even though, if the election had been allowed to proceed, Gore would have won. Not one of the Court’s four moderates agreed with Scalia that the winner of the 2000 presidential election should effectively be chosen by the five most conservative members of the Supreme Court of the United States. If the election had been allowed to proceed, world history would have been radically changed for the better. And the world would be better off in its ability to fight climate change about which Gore was a proponent and an expert. Scalia and his fellow conservatives were all set to destroy Obama's initiative at COP21, the recent Paris summit.
Scalia's decision to railroad Bush into the Presidency was made according to him "for the good of the people." But was it? Look what we got. A President who ignored warnings of Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US in his presidential daily briefings followed shortly by 9/11. Then Bush lied the US into a war in Iraq presumably on the grounds of the existence of weapons of mass destruction that didn't actually exist. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children including both Americans and Iraqis was the consequence of that.
The power vacuum created by the overthrow of Saddam in Iraq was filled by ISIS, the largest terrorist organization the world has ever known. Their attempts to take over real estate in Syria has directly resulted in the Syrian refugee crisis that has overwhelmed Europe as well as the destruction of countless lives and property in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The next horror that Bush presided over was the financial crisis of 2008 which almost inundated the entire world economy, resulted in driving a greater wedge between the 1% and the 99% and increased the inequality gap. The banks got bailed out, and the people got stuck with the bills both as taxpayers and mortgagees. Bush presided over not only the collapse and utter destruction of the middle east but also the collapse of the world economy and the 9/11 debacle.
Between the destruction of lives and real estate in the middle east, the destruction of the world economy and not keeping the US safe from the 9/11 attack (by the way Trump is right about that), Scalia's decision to install George W Bush in the American Presidency was one of the worst in American and world history.
Scalia's death has given the world a reprieve from his terrible decisions among the worst of which was the appointment and installation of George W Bush as President.
Scalia and Supreme Court Conservatives Were Set to Doom Obama's Climate Change Initiative
American leadership on the Paris COP21 deal was and still is paramount and vital. Without it the whole accord would have fallen like a house built on sand in an earthquake. President Obama planned to implement the American part of the deal through an executive order since the Republican Congress has been against everything he stands for from Day 1 and has done everything within its power to humiliate, emasculate, belittle and demean him and turn his Presidency into a complete and utter shambles. Through it all President Obama has acted like a complete and respectful gentleman despite the enormous pressure put upon him. Scalia and his conservatives on the totally politicized and ideologically based Supreme Court decided to put a halt to Obama's climate change plan until they took their good time in getting around to considering and probably defeating it.
Initially, Obama was optimistic about the results of COP21:
He said, "The Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis. It creates the mechanism, the architecture, for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way."
"I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world," Obama said, calling the agreement "the best chance we have to save the one planet that we've got."
The accord achieved one major goal. It limits average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures and strives for a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) if possible.
What Exactly Did Obama Commit the US to in COP21?
President Obama's Clean Power Plan, an Environmental Protection Agency rule designed to cut carbon emissions from power plants, is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate agenda and a major part of the US pledge to reduce emissions as part of the Paris deal.
Power plants will have to cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 32% compared to 2005 levels by 2030. He also committed the US to cutting its emissions from all sources of pollution, including cars and trucks by 26 to 28 percent by 2030, compared to 2005.
Then Republicans and a bunch of southern states set out to doom Obama's climate deal and with it the chances to curtail global warming for the rest of the world. From the New York Times:
Hours after President Obama pledged Tuesday in Paris that the United States would be in the vanguard of nations seeking a global response to climate change, Congress approved two measures aimed at undercutting him.
In a provocative message to more than 100 leaders that the American president does not have the full support of his government on climate policy, the House passed resolutions, already approved by the Senate, to scuttle Environmental Protection Agency rules that would significantly cut heat-trapping carbon emissions from existing and future coal-fired power plants.
The House votes — by 242 to 180 and 235 to 188, mostly along party lines — expanded to a global level the already profound gulf between Mr. Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress on domestic issues, demonstrating that the United States was hardly unified on the issue of climate change even as the president and other leaders sought to project solidarity.
When the EPA published the rule in October 2015, it was met with a wave of lawsuits from states, energy companies and interest groups looking to stop it. Judges declined to issue a temporary hold on the rule before the Paris conference, but if the courts stop it in 2016, Republicans say, that would be a sign to the rest of the world that the U.S. can’t meet its climate commitments.
On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan pending judicial review. It was assumed that whenever the Supremes got around to reviewing it, it would be rejected by them because of the 5-4 Republican majority on the Court. Now because of Scalia's death, there is not a Republican majority on the Court - there is a 4-4 stand-off - and it is likely that Obama's Clean Power Act will prevail.
Scalia was an unvarnished, intemperate and intolerant ideologue. He was intent on undoing every vestige of progressive legislation the Court had approved from time immemorial. His henchmen were the Republican Senate. Together they did their best to thwart Obama at every turn and turn his Presidency into a mish mash of failures. They worked in conjunction with each other to disparage, denigrate and belittle the President. Their agendas were the same as the Koch brothers and other extreme right wingers.
Scalia used his position on the Supreme Court to attempt to destroy a Presidency and everything it stood for. All I can say is Sayonara Scalia, and maybe now some sanity can be restored to the Supreme Court whether by President Obama or the next Democratic President of the United States. It's worth a huge fight to get the right man or woman on this totally politicized Supreme Court. Let's face it; it's more a matter of their progressive or conservative credentials than it is of the brilliance of their legal intellect.