Two June 2010 decisions show the workings of a right wing High Court, with five Federalist Society members - Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, and Samuel Alito.
Once confirmed, Elana Kagan will solidify their control when the Court reconvenes in October - her record exposing extremist positions, including outlandish anti-terrorism practices, unconstitutional federal litigation, and "love (for) the Federalist Society," affirming her endorsement of an organization supporting rolling back civil liberties; defiling human rights; ending New Deal social policies; opposing reproductive choice, government regulations, labor rights, and environmental protections; subverting justice in defense of privilege; and as Solicitor General, arguing against First Amendment rights without which all others are at risk - an ideology the Court endorses, one protecting privilege against the rule of law.
Rolling Back First Amendment Protections
In his same day article, New York Times writer, Adam Liptak, headlined, "Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror (despite no tie whatever), saying:
"In a case pitting free speech against the national security, the Supreme Court....upheld (in a 6 - 3 decision) a federal law that makes it a crime to provide 'material support' to foreign terrorist organizations, even if (it entails) training for peacefully resolving conflicts."
Affirming a bogus terrorist threat, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:
"At bottom, plaintiffs (supporting free speech) simply disagree with the considered judgment of Congress and the executive that providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization - even seemingly benign support - bolsters the terrorist activities of that organization."
US Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113B, 2339A, defines "Providing material support to terrorists" as:
(1) "....any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (and) transportation, except medicine or religious materials;
(2) the term 'training' means instruction or teaching designed to impart a specific skill, as opposed to general knowledge; and
(3) the term 'expert advice or assistance' means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge."
As Solicitor General, Elena Kagan agued the case in February, Justice Roberts at the time contradicting himself saying "The government is wrong that the only thing actually at issue in this litigation is conduct," not protected speech, then adding that combatting terrorism takes precedence over First Amendment rights, Justices Breyer, Ginsberg and Sotomayor disagreeing in their decision.
So did Center for Constitutional Rights plaintiff David C. Cole saying:
"We are deeply disappointed. The Supreme Court has ruled that human rights advocates, providing training and assistance in the nonviolent resolution of disputes, can be prosecuted as terrorists. (This decision says) that the First Amendment permits Congress to make human rights advocacy and peacemaking a crime. That is wrong."
It also criminalizes opponents of US laws in violation of constitutional protections, the Patriot Act and others post-9/11 most prominent, ones making America a police state, supported by High Court complicity. In addition, charity is now a crime, when given to bogusly designated terrorist organizations or any individuals or groups against American imperialism, making them enemies of the state, the Dallas-based Holy Land Foundation Charity (HLF) an example, the largest US Muslim charity until the Bush administration shut it down.
On December 4, 2001, the Treasury Department declared HLF a terrorist group, froze its assets, falsely claimed they were used to funnel millions of dollars to Hamas, when, in fact, they provided vital aid to needy, impoverished families in Occupied Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Bosnia, Albania, Checknya, Turkey, and US cities, HLF explaining:
-- books, not bombs;
-- bread, not bullets;
-- smiles, not scars;
-- toys, not tanks;
-- peace, not terror;
-- liberty, not poverty;
-- hope, not despair;
-- love, not hate; (and)
-- life, not death."
It got its five principles long prison terms, the daughter of former CEO Shukri Abu-Baker, Zaira, interviewed on the Progressive Radio News Hour on June 13, this writer now exchanging emails with her father at Terre Haute federal prison's Communications Management Unit, segregating Muslims from the general prison population, treating them more harshly, no matter that most there are innocent, Shukri one of the most prominent and honorable.
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Press Release on the High Court Decision
On June 21, CCR headlined "Supreme Court Ruling Criminalizes Speech in Material Support Law Case," saying:
In Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the first case against the Patriot Act, supporting free speech rights over bogus national security concerns, the Court ruling criminalizes "many groups and individuals providing peaceful advocacy....including President Carter for training all parties in fair election practices in Lebanon." He submitted an amicus brief opposing Holder's position.
Initiated in 1998, plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of laws making it a crime to provide "material support" to designated terrorist groups, CCR's Senior Attorney Shayana Kadidal explaining that:
"The Court's decision confirms the extraordinary scope of the material support statute's criminalization of speech. But it also notes that the scope of the prohibitions may not be clear in every application, and that remains the case for the many difficult questions raised at argument but dodged by today's opinion, including whether publishing an op-ed or submitting an amicus brief in court arguing that a group does not belong on the list is a criminal act."
CCR called the ruling "one of a very few times that the Supreme Court has upheld a criminal prohibition of speech under strict scrutiny, and the first time it has permitted the government to make it a crime to advocate lawful, nonviolent activity."
Given extremist right wing governance under both parties, (Eric Holder the new John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, or Michael Mukasey; Obama the new Bush) no longer do constitutional protections apply. As a result, anyone may be prosecuted for supporting human rights, civil liberties, democratic freedom, writing articles like this one, or airing populist views on programs like the Progressive Radio News Hour.
High Court Lifts Ban on GMO Alfalfa in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms
On June 21, The New York Times published Greenwire writer Jennifer Koons' article, headlined, "Supreme Court Lifts Ban on Planting GM Alfalfa," saying:
"In its first ruling on genetically engineered crops, the Supreme Court today overturned a lower court's decision prohibiting Monsanto Co. from selling pesticide-resistant alfalfa seeds until the government completes an environmental impact study."
In 2006, environmental groups, farmers and consumers sued the USDA, forcing it to rescind its 2005 approval, arguing that cross-pollination could contaminate farmland, and that overusing Monsanto's Roundup herbicide would harm soil and groundwater, creating "Roundup-resistant 'super weeds.' "
After the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban, Monsanto appealed to the Supreme Court, winning 7 - 1, Justice Stephen Breyer abstaining because his brother, US District Court Judge Charles Breyer, ruled against the USDA in 2007.
Another case is now affected, "involving Monsanto's breed of pesticide-resistant sugar beets, US District Court Judge Jeffrey White allow(ing) plantings of the modified crops to continue this year but warned that he might block use of Monsanto's seeds in future seasons while an environmental review takes place."
Environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, and National Resources Defense Council filed an amicus brief against the ruling, arguing that it will limit their ability to rely on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) protections "to ensure a meaningful consideration by federal agencies of the impacts of their actions on the environment, and particularly wildlife and plants."
California, Oregon and Massachusetts Attorneys General also filed briefs for their "states' interests in protecting their natural resources and their citizens' rights to be informed about the environmental impacts of federal actions."
Monsanto supporters included the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, CropLife America (favoring pesticide proliferation), and the National Association of Home Builders, filing their own brief, advocating no restraints on the right to pollute and plunder, even at the expense of human health, the usual position they endorse.
Alfalfa is America's fourth largest crop, grown on about 23 million acres, according to Monsanto.
Harmful GMO Seeds and Foods
In 2003, Jeffrey's Smith's "Seeds of Deception" exposed the dangers of GM foods and ingredients, independent tests showing them harmful to human health. For example, rats fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, damaged immune systems, and structural changes in their white blood cells, making them vulnerable to infection, disease and early deaths - compared to other rats fed non-GM potatoes.
In addition, after 10 days of testing (the human equivalent of 10 years), thymus and spleen damage, enlarged tissues, liver atrophy, and significant proliferation of stomach and intestines cells (a sign of future cancer risk) showed up.
Yet despite the known risks, GM foods and ingredients saturate our diet, over 80% of processed ones containing them as well as corn, rice, soybeans and soy products, sauces, ice cream, salad dressings, vegetable oils, peanut butter, meat, other animal products, eggs, even infant formula, making everyone consuming them lab rats in an uncontrolled, unregulated mass human experiment, involving risks too late to reverse once enough of them are consumed - no authority representing the public welfare to stop it, corporate interests are all that matter.
In their ruthless pursuit of profit, Monsanto and other agribusiness giants freely contaminate US farmlands (and vast areas globally), making most foods consumed harmful to human health, and organic ones increasingly compromised, because winds carry GM seeds to most other crop acreage, the High Court sanctioning much more once GM alfalfa plantings proliferate.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.