In another 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court eliminated the overall contribution limits in federal elections and further cemented the conservative majority’s goal to enshrine corporate and moneyed interests in every branch of government.    Coming on the heels of Citizen’s United, the infamous 2010 decision that instituted unlimited corporate expenditures in elections, the McCutcheon v. FEC case is no surprise. Using the First Amendment as cover for his rationale, Justice Robert’s struck the contribution cap with the feel good line that “[t]here is no right in our democracy more basic than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”

But when it comes to basic rights guaranteed by our Constitution that impact the pocketbooks of the same corporate interests that Judge Roberts seems so keen to protect, he and his gang of five suffer from collective amnesia. One of our Bills Of Right is the VII Amendment, the right to trial by jury. This right is fundamental to our system of checks and balances. An independent judiciary with an independent jury is meant to act as a check on unfettered power exercised by either the executive or legislative branch.  Yet, when employees or consumers attempt to hold corporate interests accountable in a court of law, the only branch of government where their voices can be heard without being drowned out by the flood of money that determines elections, the Roberts’ Court has the corporate back on this one too.

You see, when corporations insert small print, forced arbitration clauses into your employment manual or into your terms of service, the same 5-4 majority that permits unfettered corporate political power also bars you from asserting any rights in court.  Instead of a jury, you are forced to bring your claim in an arbitration forum selected by the corporation, paid for by the corporation and determined under rules set by the corporation.  Under the Roberts’ Court, checks and balances, supported by fundamental constitutional rights, do not form the genius of our political system. To the contrary, they are something to be loathed.  Checks are something to be written by corporations, and balances are mechanisms to weigh the cash.