Far Right Supreme Court Decisions Not Seen Since 1931; and ALEC: A Decade Of Government Influence

Far Right Supreme Court Decisions Not Seen Since 1931

During its last term, the Supreme Court demonstrated that it is the most right-wing court since 1931. In cases involving reproductive rights, entanglement of church and state, the right to carry guns, and the ability of congressionally-mandated administrative agencies to regulate climate change, the high courts conservative members handed down reactionary rulings. The court has agreed to hear a case next term that could radically change our electoral system.

Guest – Stephen Rohde is an author and social justice advocate who practiced civil rights and constitutional law for more than 45 years, including representing two men on Californias death row. He is the former chair of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and former national chair of Bend the Arc, a Jewish Partnership for Justice. He is also a board member of Death Penalty Focus.


ALEC: A Decade Of Government Influence

The United States underwent a public interest revolution in the 1960s and early 1970s. In the first half of the 60s, Congress passed precedent-setting environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Water Quality Act. And in just three years, from 1969 to 1972, the federal government adopted a raft of new environmental, public health, workplace and consumer protections and established new agencies to administer them, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

That revolution sparked a counterrevolution that is still reverberating today. Wealthy conservatives, corporations and libertarian foundations poured money into new think tanks and advocacy groups, including the Heritage Foundation and Charles Kochs Cato Institute. A less-well-known group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, was founded around the same time. It goes by its acronym, ALEC.

Unlike Heritage and Cato, ALEC”a network of nearly 300 corporations, trade groups, law firms, and libertarian foundations”operates at the state level. The group provides state legislators with a variety of ready-made bills that, among other things, roll back voting rights, thwart efforts to address climate change, and bolster corporate profits.

State lawmakers introduced nearly 2,900 bills based on ALECs recommendations from 2010 through 2018, according to an investigation by USA Today, the Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. More than 600 of them became law.

Lately ALEC has been coaching state legislators on how to spin the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. ALEC has also been working behind the scenes to amplify the false GOP narrative on voter fraud. Writer Elliott Negin has been following ALEC off and on for the last decade, and he recently posted an essay that explains in detail how ALEC turns disinformation into law. We are fortunate to have Elliott as our guest today.

Guest – Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national science advocacy organization. Prior to joining UCS in 2007, he was the Washington communications director for the Natural Resource Defense Council, a former news editor at National Public Radio, the managing editor of American Journalism Review, and the editor of Nuclear Times and Public Citizen magazines.

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