“The Republican Party Is Becoming Goofy”: Judge Richard Posner Bashes Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling
The American political system is marked by legal corruption in which “wealthy people essential bribe legislators” with campaign contributions, according to one of the nation’s most influential federal judges.
Speaking to foreign educators, Judge Richard Posner told the assembled that the wealthy give lots of money to legislators and that an individual legislator “knows that if he doesn’t promote the interests of the donor,” he won’t get any more money.
Posner is a renowned member of the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He is not only the nation’s most prolific jurist-academic, he is seen by some as the most influential judge outside of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Posner is intellectually fearless and, increasingly, far from the reflexively conservative thinker that he’s been long seen to be. In a recent National Public Radio interview, he spoke of the “real deterioration in conservative thinking” in recent years. “I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy.”
Posner has taken a poke at the high court’s controversial ruling before. But he’s taking his disdain for the decision to a broader audience. His latest comments came at a post-luncheon appearance Thursday before visiting Asian legal academics at the University of Chicago Law School, where he remains a faculty member.
Posner left no doubt about his criticism of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United campaign-finance decision. He said, “Our political system is pervasively corrupt due to our Supreme Court taking away campaign-contribution restrictions on the basis of the First Amendment.”
He also didn’t mind naming some names, in particular that of Justice Antonin Scalia, a onetime member of the law school faculty who lectured and taught at the school in February. Posner brought up the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, affirming the right of individuals to have handguns at home for self-defense.
Posner doesn’t think the Second Amendment has anything to do with an individual’s right to bear arms, a basis of the decision for which Scalia wrote the majority opinion.
“That didn’t slow down Scalia,” Posner told his Asian listeners. “He loves guns. He’s a hunter.”
By: James Warren, The Daily Beast, July 14, 2012
In retrospect, the emergence of a suicide-bomber wing of the Republican Party should’ve seemed obvious.
Why use such an inflammatory term? What I mean by it is this: They would blow up the economy to fulfill a mission of otherworldly righteousness.
Their first attempt to blow up the economy arrived with the defeat TARP. It was a reckless subversion of the leadership of both parties and, at least for a day, brought equity markets to their knees.
With ideological bravado to match their breathtaking economic illiteracy, they positively relished the impact they could have on our national life.
Since then, they’ve become still more emboldened, knocking off an incumbent senator in Utah and propping up a bad joke of a senate candidate in Delaware.
Last year’s wave election infested the party with additional scores of suicide bombers.
In a repeat of the TARP fiasco, the bomber boys and (and, lest we forget bomber-in-chief Michele Bachmann, girls) have, once again, made it impossible for congressional leaders to do the right thing. A grand bargain was in sight—but the itch for destruction overmatched the desire for reasonable compromise.
We may yet stumble toward some cobbled-together agreement that staves off a catastrophe. But the bombers will be emboldened again.
And why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got a cheering section among Washington pundits.
The normally thoughtful Yuval Levin calls this suboptimal state of affairs, in which Republicans will secure far less in deficit reduction than they could have, a “stunning victory.” New York Post columnist Michael Walsh compares the debt ceiling showdown to the Union’s victory at Gettysburg. Most depressing of all is my former hero George Will, who calls the Tea Party “the most welcome political development since the Goldwater insurgency.”
Will is dead wrong: Ronald Reagan’s election—or rather his administration—did not simply bring the “Goldwater impulse” to “fruition.” It signaled that the Goldwater impulse had matured into a governing philosophy—a governing philosophy that could accept compromise, could acknowledge reality.
The Tea Party’s triumph has reversed that process of maturation; a governing philosophy has degraded back into mere impulse.
Enjoy your ascendancy while it lasts, Tea Partyers.
But know this: You are not legislators. You are vandals.
By: Scott Galupo, U. S. News and World Report, July 26, 2011