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The 1% of AMERICA
— by Hugh Morris Hugh Morris
Once again, history rhymes. One of the Court’s greatest blunders was the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which legitimized the spread of slavery through all the territories destined for future statehood, thwarting expectations that “the peculiar institution” was on a gradual road to extinction. Outrage at the prospect of permanent dominance by the Slave Power spurred the election of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. It is no exaggeration to say that Citizens United creates the threat of our subjugation to a Money Power, against which democracy must struggle for its very life.

This is why the arbitrary and uncontested power of the Supreme Court is the subject of this special issue of The Nation. The moral: Elections matter. Does anyone think Barry Goldwater would have chosen Thurgood Marshall for the Supreme Court? Or John Kerry, Samuel Alito?

But the battle is on many fronts, and will be won not only by voters on election day but by citizens engaged at every level of democracy and in every peaceful form of protest. The nation imagined by its founders—those authors of “We the People,” who clearly intended this experience in self-government to include the many, not just the privileged few—is under siege by extraordinary concentrations of corporate power and private wealth, aided and abetted by an autocratic judiciary. There can be only one response to this usurpation of democracy: defiance.