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High Court Produces a Politics of, by and for Corporations

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Cross-posted from The Nation



The most politically partisan -- and politically activist -- Supreme Court in modern American history has already assumed that, when it comes to electioneering, corporations have pretty much the same rights as human beings. Indeed, the High Court's Citizens United ruling has given corporations unprecedented flexibility to act on their own behalf to influence election campaigns and results.

Yet, the same Court has now said that groups of actual human beings -- trade unions that have organized public-sector workers -- must sacrifice their flexibility in order to meet standards never before demanded of labor organizations.

Do we detect a pattern here?

Of course.

That pattern was on stark display in Thursday's Supreme Court decision to require that public-employee unions get specific permission from employees in workplaces they represent for special assessments that are used to advance political agendas. This high court swipe at the ability of working people to make their voices heard in the political life of communities, states and the nation won't get the attention that will be accorded the Supreme Court's equally politicized ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

But there's a good argument to be made that, by further skewing the Democratic process that was so badly warped by the 2010 Citizens United ruling, the court has done even greater damage to the long-term prospects for renewing the republic.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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