President Obama's choice to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is one of the most important decisions he'll ever make.
That's because the current Supreme Court—packed with right-wing Republican appointments—is threatening our democracy by dramatically expanding the power of big corporations.
For instance, earlier this year in the case known as Citizens United, they decided that corporations have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.1
If corporations have more influence, they're going to continue to rig the system to create even larger profits for their CEOs at the expense of taxpayers, the environment, and human rights.
But some Democrats are urging President Obama to try to avoid a fight with Republicans and pick someone with no real track record at all.2 So we're launching a petition to urge President Obama not to back down. Clicking here will add your name to the petition:
The petition says, "President Obama: Choose a Supreme Court nominee who has a track record of standing up for everyday Americans and who will oppose efforts by right-wing justices to expand the power of corporations." We'll share the petition with your senators as well.The current Supreme Court includes some of the most conservative justices in American history, including Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice John Roberts.3 They have taken appalling stands on a wide range of key issues, including their desire to overturn Roe v. Wade and repeal a woman's right to an abortion.4
But one of their most dangerous beliefs is a radical legal theory that says corporations should be treated the same as people under the U.S. Constitution and that money is the same as free speech.5 Together, these extreme ideas would massively expand the power of big corporations like Exxon-Mobil and give Wall Street even more influence.
Under the current conservative majority, the courts have broadened the power of corporations by striking down important campaign finance laws.6 They've even struck down laws to protect the environment, workers rights, and food safety, because, they say, such protections violate the constitutional rights of corporations.7 And more far-reaching cases are coming up this year.8
Enough is enough. We need to make sure President Obama appoints a justice who will champion the rights of people, not corporations.
But with Republicans ready to fight almost any Obama nominee, we need to show President Obama that there's grassroots support for nominee with a track record of fighting for people against big corporations. Click here to add your name to the petition:
Thanks for all you do.
–Steven, Lenore, Kat, Wes, and the rest of the team
1. "Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit," The New York Times, January 21, 2010
2. "Stevens's Retirement is a Political Test for Obama," The New York Times, April 9, 2010
3. "Ranking the Politics of Supreme Court Justices," U.S. News and World Report, May 12, 2008
4. Carhart v. Gonzales, Supreme Court of the United States, April 18, 2007
5. "Analysis: The Personhood of Corporations," SCOTUS Blog, January 21, 2010
"Buckley v. Valeo," Oyez.org, accessed April 12, 2010
6. "Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life," Oyez.org, accessed April 12, 2010
7. "When Silence is Not Golden: Negative Free Speech and Human Rights for Corporations," Reclaim Democracy, July 1, 2003
8. "Will the U.S. Supreme Court Let Corporate America Judge Itself?" Public Citizen, March 26, 2010
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