The Roberts Court and the Constitution

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The exterior of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty)

From Citizens United to its rulings on the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Laurence Tribe talks about the extent to which the Roberts Court is revising the meaning of our Constitution and digs into the court’s recent rulings. In Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution, written with Joshua Matz, looks at why political gridlock, cultural change, and technological progress mean that the court’s decisions on key topics—including free speech, privacy, voting rights, and presidential power—could be uniquely durable.


Laurence Tribe

Comments [7]

Peter Talbot from Harrison, NJ

Forgotten in the history of the excrescence of corporate personhood entitled to 14th amendment "equal protection" is that the first forty or so judgments to cite this invented (non-Original and anti-founder) construction were made after the Waite court to help "corporations" stave off attempts to redress injustice during reconstruction, and to formulate and solidify the unreconstructed South's determination to keep freed slaves from obtaining the rights intended by this amendment. At NO time in Supreme court history has this been anything but a protection of the whims of the minority against the claims of the disenfranchised. It is a cancer on the Constitution, but it started with Southern Pacific vs. Santa Clara in 1868, has nearly always been of racist purpose and is only being used now as previously by the jingoistic, myopic and right wing activist Roberts court. The combined legacy of Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas shall be salient examples of mugwump proponents of uncritical and extra-legal activism masquerading as jurisprudence. Anyone that concurs or relies for precedent on any of their opinions and decisions should be denied further promotion or placement on any bench in the United States as incompetent not to mention inhumane.

Sep. 02 2014 04:02 PM

The objection to the "corporations are people" idea is not the inconsequential fluff that Tribe affects to dismiss.

The objection is:

Corporations have no inherent stake in moral behavior or society's well-being. They have no stake in our country, no emotional attachment to our country or our neighbors, no children or family members to try to build a better world for, no belief in a higher power, no commitment to, or even inherent knowledge of, ethics or morals whatsoever.

Why should they do anything not in the interest of making money?

In the event of wrongdoing, they do not even stand the risk of personally going to jail.

Thus, there is little incentive or inclination for corporations to do right, or to contribute to the well-being of the rest of society--or at least not damage it. There is no incentive or inclination to do anything, really, except make money--their basic raison d'etre.

If the cost of their doing business is off-loaded onto the rest of society, that's just peachy, smart business.

And if people die directly because of their activities, what happens? Well, they get fined. They don't get jail. It's just the cost of doing business, really.

Why on earth should they be placed on a level equal to actual human beings?

Jun. 05 2014 05:25 PM
khadija Boyd from Brooklyn

Whatever! kinda! I'd be ready to support the argument that corporations are people too, w/ a caveat: put contributions from any corporations/subsidiaries etc... to a shareholder vote. After all, it's our money that enriches the wanna be "masters of the universe". Millions of us are shareholders thru our investments, pensions etc... Sadly, most people do not even respond to their proxies. Agh!!! Shareholders, U can access, thru, who is running which co, slaries, bonus pay, stock options, restricted stock, phanthom stock, re-pricing, and other pesky sruff such as company private jets, fab. appts in NYC and elsewhere, etc.... I better stop here and take my daily run. k

Jun. 05 2014 12:41 PM
Opal from NYC

The argument Mr. Tribe gives in ruling that Corporations are people which the Roberts court has passed, indicates that Mr. Tribe suffers a severe case of sophistry. In other instances as well.

Jun. 05 2014 12:41 PM

If there were any sincerity in Originalists, then they'd agree the Second Amendment has nothing to do with the rights of an individual to own a gun. It's about the requirements of a militia in a country without a standing army. Period. Instead they decide the opposite because of personal preference.

Jun. 05 2014 12:31 PM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

The Constitution, like the Bible, means whatever you want it to.

Jun. 05 2014 12:19 PM

This guy is as dumb as the justices he taught! Their 100% in line with big business decisions is completely in the right wing pocket. I have absolutely no confidence in this court or this congress to oversee the conflicts of interests among the justices like the huge pay outs to some through their wives. Bought and paid for...Scalia, Roberts, etc.

Jun. 05 2014 12:16 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.