Black Robed Criminals : No Longer Supreme Court : Writing of Vincent Bugliosi shared by Good Works On Earth

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by Vincent Bugliosi

In the December 12 ruling by the US Supreme Court handing the election to
George Bush, the Court committed the unpardonable sin of being a knowing
surrogate for the Republican Party instead of being an impartial arbiter
of the law. If you doubt this, try to imagine Al Gore's and George Bush's
roles being reversed and ask yourself if you can conceive of Justice
Antonin Scalia and his four conservative brethren issuing an emergency
order on December 9 stopping the counting of ballots (at a time when
Gore's lead had shrunk to 154 votes) on the grounds that if it continued,
Gore could suffer 'irreparable harm,' and then subsequently, on December
12, bequeathing the election to Gore on equal protection grounds. If you
can, then I suppose you can also imagine seeing a man jumping away from
his own shadow, Frenchmen no longer drinking wine.

From the beginning, Bush desperately sought, as it were, to prevent the
opening of the door, the looking into the box--unmistakable signs that he
feared the truth. In a nation that prides itself on openness, instead of
the Supreme Court doing everything within its power to find a legal way to
open the door and box, they did the precise opposite in grasping,
stretching and searching mightily for a way, any way at all, to aid their
choice for President, Bush, in the suppression of the truth, finally
settling, in their judicial coup d'état, on the untenable argument that
there was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection
clause--the Court asserting that because of the various standards of
determining the voter's intent in the Florida counties, voters were
treated unequally, since a vote disqualified in one county (the so-called
undervotes, which the voting machines did not pick up) may have been
counted in another county, and vice versa. Accordingly, the Court reversed
the Florida Supreme Court's order that the undervotes be counted,
effectively delivering the presidency to Bush. ...

The Court majority, after knowingly transforming the votes of 50 million
Americans into nothing and throwing out all of the Florida undervotes
(around 60,000), actually wrote that their ruling was intended to preserve
'the fundamental right' to vote. This elevates audacity to symphonic and
operatic levels. The Court went on to say, after stealing the election
from the American people, 'None are more conscious of the vital limits on
its judicial authority than are the members of this Court, and none stand
more in admiration of the Constitution's design to leave the selection of
the President to the people.' Can you imagine that? As they say, 'It's
enough to drive you to drink.'

Varying methods to cast and count votes have been going on in every state
of the union for the past two centuries, and the Supreme Court has been as
silent as a church mouse on the matter, never even hinting that there
might be a right under the equal protection clause that was being
violated. Georgetown University law professor David Cole said, '[The
Court] created a new right out of whole cloth and made sure it ultimately
protected only one person--George Bush.' The simple fact is that the five
conservative Justices did not have a judicial leg to stand on in their
blatantly partisan decision. In a feeble, desperate effort to support
their decision, the Court cited four of its previous cases as legal
precedent, but not one of them bears even the slightest resemblance to
Bush v. Gore ....

Other than the unprecedented and outrageous nature of what the Court did,
nothing surprises me more than how it is being viewed by the legal
scholars and pundits who have criticized the opinion. As far as I can
determine, most have correctly assailed the Court for issuing a ruling
that was clearly political. As the December 25 Time capsulized it, 'A
sizable number of critics, from law professors to some of the Court's own '
members, have attacked the ruling as...politically motivated.' A sampling
from a few law professors: Vanderbilt professor Suzanna Sherry said, '
"There is really very little way to reconcile this opinion other than that
they wanted Bush to win." Yale's Amar lamented that "for Supreme Court
watchers this case will be like BC and AD. For many of my colleagues, this
was like the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Many of us [had]
thought that courts do not act in an openly political fashion." Harvard
law professor Randall Kennedy called the decision "outrageous." ...

If, indeed, the Court, as the critics say, made a politically motivated
ruling (which it unquestionably did), this is tantamount to saying, and
can only mean, that the Court did not base its ruling on the law. And if
this is so (which again, it unquestionably is), this means that these five
Justices deliberately and knowingly decided to nullify the votes of the 50
million Americans who voted for Al Gore and to steal the election for
Bush. Of course, nothing could possibly be more serious in its enormous
ramifications. The stark reality, and I say this with every fiber of my
being, is that the institution Americans trust the most to protect its
freedoms and principles committed one of the biggest and most serious
crimes this nation has ever seen--pure and simple, the theft of the
presidency. And by definition, the perpetrators of this crime have to be
denominated criminals.

Since the notion of five Supreme Court Justices being criminals is so
alien to our sensibilities and previously held beliefs, and since, for the
most part, people see and hear, as Thoreau said, what they expect to see
and hear, most readers will find my characterization of these Justices to
be intellectually incongruous. But make no mistake about it, I think my
background in the criminal law is sufficient to inform you that Scalia,
Thomas et al. are criminals in the very truest sense of the word. ...

The New York Times observed that the Court gave the appearance by the stay
of 'racing to beat the clock before an unwelcome truth would come out.'
Terrance Sandalow, former dean of the University of Michigan Law School
and a judicial conservative who opposed Roe v. Wade and supported the
nomination to the Court of right-wing icon Robert Bork, said that 'the
balance of harms so unmistakably were on the side of Gore' that the
granting of the stay was 'incomprehensible,' going on to call the stay 'an
unmistakably partisan decision without any foundation in law.'

As Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in opposing the stay, Bush 'failed to
carry the heavy burden' of showing a likelihood of irreparable harm if the
recount continued. In other words, the Court never even had the legal
right to grant the stay. 'Counting every legally cast vote cannot
constitute irreparable harm,' Stevens said. 'On the other hand, there is a
danger that a stay may cause irreparable harm to the respondent [Gore]
and, more importantly, the public at large because of the risk that the
entry of the stay would be tantamount to a decision on the merits in favor
of the applicant. Preventing the recount from being completed will
inevitably cast a cloud on the legitimacy of the election.' Stevens added
what even the felonious five knew but decided to ignore: that it is a
'basic principle inherent in our Constitution that every legal vote should
be counted.' From the wrongful granting of the stay alone, the handwriting
was on the wall. Gore was about as safe as a cow in a Chicago stockyard.

In yet another piece of incriminating circumstantial evidence, Scalia, in
granting Bush's application for the stay, wrote that 'the issuance of the
stay suggests that a majority of the Court, while not deciding the issues
presented, believe that the petitioner [Bush] has a substantial
probability of success.' But Antonin, why would you believe this when
neither side had submitted written briefs yet (they were due the following
day, Sunday, by 4 pm), nor had there even been oral arguments (set for 11
am on Monday)? It wouldn't be because you had already made up your mind on
what you were determined to do, come hell or high water, would it?
Antonin, take it from an experienced prosecutor--you're as guilty as sin.
In my prosecutorial days, I've had some worthy opponents. You wouldn't be
one of them. Your guilt is so obvious that if I thought more of you I'd
feel constrained to blush for you. ...

Why, one may ask, have I written this article? I'll tell you why. I'd like
to think, like most people, that I have a sense of justice. In my mind's
eye, these five Justices have gotten away with murder, and I want to do
whatever I can to make sure that they pay dearly for their crime. Though
they can't be prosecuted, I want them to know that there's at least one
American out there (and hopefully many more because of this article) who
knows (not thinks, but knows) precisely who they are. I want these five
Justices to know that because of this article, which I intend to send to
each one of them by registered mail, there's the exponential possibility
that when many Americans look at them in the future, they'll be saying,
'Why are these people in robes seated above me? They all belong behind
bars.' I want these five Justices to know that this is America, not a
banana republic, and in the United States of America, you simply cannot
get away with things like this.

At a minimum, I believe that the Court's inexcusable ruling will severely
stain its reputation for years to come, perhaps decades. This is very
unfortunate. As Justice Stevens wrote in his dissent: 'Although we may
never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this
year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly
clear. It is the nation's confidence in [this Court] as an impartial
guardian of the rule of law.' Considering the criminal intention behind
the decision, legal scholars and historians should place this ruling above
the Dred Scott case (Scott v. Sandford) and Plessy v. Ferguson in
egregious sins of the Court. The right of every American citizen to have
his or her vote counted, and for Americans (not five unelected Justices)
to choose their President was callously and I say criminally jettisoned by
the Court's majority to further its own political ideology. If there is
such a thing as a judicial hell, these five Justices won't have to worry
about heating bills in their future. Scalia and Thomas in particular are
not only a disgrace to the judiciary but to the legal profession, for
years being nothing more than transparent shills for the right wing of the
Republican Party. If the softest pillow is a clear conscience, these five
Justices are in for some hard nights. But if they aren't troubled by what
they did, then we're dealing with judicial sociopaths, people even more
frightening than they already appear to be.

The Republican Party had a good candidate for President, John McCain.
Instead, it nominated perhaps the most unqualified person ever to become
President, and with the muscular, thuggish help of the Court, forced Bush
down the throats of more than half the nation's voters. As Linda
Greenhouse wrote in the New York Times, when Rehnquist administers the
presidential oath of office to Bush on January 20, for the first time in
our nation's history the Chief Justice will not just be a prop in the
majestic ceremony but a player. Rehnquist will be swearing in someone he
made sure would be President.
Obscenity has its place in a free and open society, but it's in the seedy,
neon-light part of town, not on the steps of the nation's Capitol being
viewed by millions of Americans on television screens throughout the land.

That an election for an American President can be stolen by the highest
court in the land under the deliberate pretext of an inapplicable
constitutional provision has got to be one of the most frightening and
dangerous events ever to have occurred in this country. Until this act  --
which is treasonous, though again not technically, in its sweeping
implications -- is somehow rectified (and I do not know how this can be
done), can we be serene about continuing to place the adjective 'great'
before the name of this country?

The above writings are dated: January 18, 2001

About  Vincent Bugliosi
Vincent Bugliosi successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials
as a Los Angeles deputy district attorney, including twenty-one murder
convictions without a single loss. His prosecution of Charles Manson was
the basis for his true-crime bestseller, Helter Skelter (Bantam). He is
also the author of Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away
With Murder (Island). Copyright © Vincent Bugliosi, January 3, 2001.



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We share the writings of Vincent Bugliosi regarding the no longer supreme court, and their crimes.

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