The Supreme Court Crowns a King, Immunizing Future Criminal Acts Under Project 2025 – a Right Wing Manifesto

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 2, 2024 ~

King TrumpIn the span of two business days, six of the nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have radically altered American democracy. On Friday, those six right-wing justices gutted the ability of federal government agencies to protect the waters Americans drink, the air they breathe, their ability to impose food and drug safety rules and  worker protections. On Monday, the same six effectively crowned the President of the United States a king by immunizing the President from criminal prosecution for any conduct that can be construed as official acts.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a scathing dissent. (Scroll down to her dissent at this link.) To drive home the hubris of the majority’s decision, she read her dissent aloud in the courtroom, boldly enunciating her weightiest words. In her dissent, which was joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson (who also wrote her own dissent), Sotomayor wrote:

“Today’s decision to grant former Presidents criminal immunity reshapes the institution of the Presidency. It makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of Government, that no man is above the law. Relying on little more than its own misguided wisdom about the need for ‘bold and unhesitating action’ by the President, ante, at 3, 13, the Court gives former President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more. Because our Constitution does not shield a former President from answering for criminal and treasonous acts, I dissent.”

Sotomayor adds that “There is a twisted irony in saying, as the majority does, that the person charged with ‘tak[ing] Care that the Laws be faithfully executed’ can break them with impunity.” She underscores her point with this: “The relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

The majority’s fixation with a President’s need for “bold and unhesitating action” comes on the heels of a right-wing manifesto called Project 2025, which maps out a radical agenda for the next president’s first 180 days in office. Project 2025 is a coalition of dozens of nonprofit front groups funded by billionaire money. The Project is proposing to replace tens of thousands of veteran federal agency personnel with political appointees; gutting climate change research and neutering the rule-making and enforcement powers of federal agencies – exactly what the Supreme Court accomplished last Friday.

Melissa Gira Grant, writing at The New Republic, calls Project 2025 “a remarkably detailed guide to turning the United States into a fascist’s paradise.”

Project 2025, also known as the 2025 Presidential Transition Project, is being spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation. That’s the right-wing nonprofit that secretly paid Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, over $1 million in compensation from 1999 through 2007. Clarence Thomas was required to disclose those Heritage payments on his annual financial disclosure forms. He did not do that until January of 2011, when he filed an amended financial disclosure form after watchdog groups blew the whistle on the payments.

Charles Koch and his late brother, David Koch, and foundations and trusts tied to them, have donated millions of dollars to Heritage over the years.

Another of the nonprofits listed as a “coalition partner” to Project 2025 is the Heartland Institute. That is one of the leading climate denier groups in the country which has also received heavy funding in the past from Koch-related entities. (Charles Koch is the Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, a fossil fuels conglomerate that hides behind front groups to gut environmental protections.)

In 2012, the New York Times published documents which had been leaked from The Heartland Institute. The documents showed that the organization was planning a tailored curriculum for high schools to spread skepticism about climate change. The documents also indicated that the Charles Koch Foundation had contributed $25,000 in 2011 and was anticipated to contribute $200,000 in 2012. The Heartland Institute has also received more than $26 million from two Koch-related dark-money groups, Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust, according to the Conservative Transparency Project, which obtained the data from publicly available 990 IRS tax filings.

Charles Koch is now effectively functioning as a puppet master in Washington, pulling levers here and there and everywhere. With a net worth that Forbes puts at $59.2 billion, that’s a lot of levers that he can pull.

Senator Bernie Sanders saw the Koch threat more than a decade ago. The video below shows how Senator Sanders warned Americans from the Senate floor about the threat to democracy coming from the Koch brothers and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to billionaires to control U.S. elections through unlimited campaign funding. (Also see our exclusive report from 2011 on the slimy background details involving Charles Koch, Justice Clarence Thomas and the Citizens United decision.)

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