Inside the US Supreme Court’s war on science

A new ultraconservative supermajority on the United States’ top court is undermining science’s role in informing public policy. Scholars fear the results could be disastrous for public health, justice and democracy itself.

Jeff Tollefson

Nature | September 14, 2022

Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

In late June, the US Supreme Court issued a trio of landmark decisions that repealed the right to abortion, loosened gun restrictions and curtailed climate regulations. Although the decisions differed in rationale, they share a distinct trait: all three dismissed substantial evidence about how the court’s rulings would affect public health and safety. It is a troubling trend that many scientists fear could undermine the role of scientific evidence in shaping public policy. Now, as the court prepares to consider a landmark case on electoral policies, many worry about the future of American democracy itself.
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U.S.: ‘Whether You’re on the Supreme Court Shouldn’t Depend on How Many People You Give Your Phone Number to’

CounterSpin interview with Adele Stan and Elliot Mincberg on John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court

Janine Jackson revisited CounterSpin‘s July 2005 interview with Adele Stan and Elliot Mincberg about John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court for the July 8, 2022, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Janine Jackson

FAIR | July 14, 2022

Janine Jackson: “The Lonely Chief: How John Roberts Lost Control of the Court.” That was the plaintive headline of Politico’s June 25 report explaining that Roberts, along with his “middle of the road” approach on abortion, would likely be a casualty of the court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling.

In July of 2005, on the occasion of Roberts’ nomination to the court, CounterSpin host Steve Rendall and I spoke with journalist Adele Stan and with People for the American Way’s Elliot Mincberg about what was known then about Roberts’ record and what he might mean for the court. We’re going to start with my introduction.

JJ: Many in the news media seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at the news that George Bush was nominating conservative Washington insider John Roberts to the Supreme Court. And not just the folks you’d expect, like Brit Hume at Fox News, who shared a chuckle with congressional correspondent Brian Wilson and White House reporter Carl Cameron when he noted that Bush had named a white male “just like all of us.”

Well, even while admitting that Roberts’ record is sketchy on some issues, many mainstream reporters seem to emphasize the reassurance that he is not a right wing trench dweller like some others who were thought to be on Bush’s short list of prospective nominees.

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‘Cuban Courts Operate Independently’, Top Court President Says

teleSUR | July 25, 2021

Thousands of people attend a rally in support of the Revolution, Havana, Cuba, Jul. 17, 2021.

Thousands of people attend a rally in support of the Revolution, Havana, Cuba, Jul. 17, 2021. | Photo: EFE

“The recent questioning of the impartiality of our courts is part of the campaign to discredit Cuba,” TSP President Ruben Ferro said.

On Saturday, Cuba’s People’s Supreme Court (TSP) President Ruben Ferro discarded false allegations referring to alleged missing people cases and summary trials on the island due to July 11 protests.

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‘The health of the people should be the supreme law’

Elliot Sperber

Climate and Capitalism| January 25, 2021

While it isn’t clear how many people have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the US (is it under 400,000 still? Over 500,000 yet?) it is more clear than ever that we are experiencing a continent-wide public health catastrophe.

Perhaps this is unsurprising. After all, the US has a health care system designed not for the public good but for the private good, for profit. A fundamental conflict of interests, the generation of profits, by law, prevails over the provision of care, and has resulted in fewer hospital beds over the years, lack of basic equipment, chronic understaffing, and other deprivations of care.Read More »


Victims of Nuclear Bomb Tests on US Soil 75 Years Ago Continue to Seek Justice

Satya Vatti

People’s Dispatch | November 10, 2020

“They thought the world was coming to an end,” Genoveva Peralta Purcella explains.

On July 16, 1945, the first-ever nuclear bomb was tested in New Mexico, in the Southwestern United States. The detonation was code-named “Trinity.” It is the day that would seal the fate of many Americans living in the surrounding areas for generations to come.

Seventy miles from what became known as ground zero—the Trinity test site—Genoveva’s family lived on a ranch just outside the village of Capitan in New Mexico. Genoveva was born the year after the blast. Now 74 years old, she solemnly recalls how her family remembers the day that would change their lives forever.Read More »


“The Number One Demand on the Streets of Colombia is for Justice”

Zoe PC

People’s Dispatch | September 13, 2020

“Who protects me from those who are supposed to protect me” Photo: Javier Jiménez, Colombia Informa

On Wednesday, September 9, a video went viral in Colombia. It depicted a man repeatedly being beaten and tased by the police while he kept pleading “please, no more”. In a few hours, the man, Javier Ordóñez, would be dead and thousands would be on the streets of Bogotá and across the country demanding justice for him.

Ordóñez, a lawyer and father of two, had stepped out with his friends when he was accosted by a group of police officers. As Ordóñez was being tortured, his friends begged the officers to lay off even while capturing their cruelty. The agony of Javier Ordóñez did not end there. According to his family, after he was given more than 10 electric shocks, he was taken to a CAI, a small neighborhood police station. There, according to the forensics report, the police beat him up so severely that his skull was fractured in 9 places. He died shortly after.Read More »


A Few Explanations on Bhabani Shankar Nayak’s Article on Crime, Justice and Capitalism

 Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | July 23, 2020

Countercurrents has posted an article – “Crime, Justice and Capitalism” – by Mister Bhabani Shankar Nayak (Coventry University, UK) on July 12, 2020, which deserves a few explanations.

The spirit and orientation of the article – anti-capitalism – is nice. It joins today’s millions tormented and tortured by capitalism. The voice must be appreciated.

However, a few points raised in the article need a brief explanation as the time is full with confusing ideas appearing anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, but, in essence, fueling bourgeois ideas/concepts, which, in the long-run, will hinder organizing people’s struggles.Read More »


Crime, Justice and Capitalism

 Bhabani Shankar Nayak

Countercurrents | July 12, 2020

The right-wing henchmen and their liberal brethren provide moral justifications for extra judicial deaths during colonial plunders and imperialist wars. From Iraq wars to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, and from honour killings to domestic violence, police encounters, and custodial deaths around the world are part of the same genealogy, that justifies violence on moral grounds. Colonialism as civilising mission, imperialist wars for democracy and human rights are products of unfounded moral discourses shaped by the ruling class propaganda. The moral arguments continue to provide justifications to institutionalise violence and patronise it in the name of nationalism, religion, community and caste honour. The masses fall into such false intellectual narrative and celebrate such extra judicial, structural and institutionalised violence as justice. It has shaped the Orwellian proverbial expression. “Those who live by the sword die by the sword. Those who do not die by the sword die of smelly diseases”. Such a violent social formulation derives its cultural legitimacy from Christian theology.  The Gospel of Matthew echoes it by saying “sword shall perish with the sword”. The patronage of violence is an integral part of most of the world religions. The idea of god and religions will perish without cherishing the ideals of violence and fear in the name of justice. In this way, normalisation and naturalisation of violence as justice derives its legitimacy from religious and moral discourses, which is antithetical to ideals of justice.Read More »

Truth and justice triumph: 187 countries against the U.S. blockade of Cuba


Granma | November 08, 2019

Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

A total of 187 countries yesterday cast their votes in favor of Cuba in the United Nations General Assembly, rejecting the unjust economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States, for almost 60 years, on an unwavering, dignified people, who do not bow down before domination. An ironic coincidence is that the Trump administration has adopted precisely 187 hostile measures to damage our economy and living conditions.

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The Soundtrack of the Sixties Demanded Respect, Justice and Equality

by Michael V. Drake

The Wire | November 07, 2018

The Soundtrack of the Sixties Demanded Respect, Justice and Equality

Bob Dylan. Credit: Xavier Badosa/Flickr CC BY 2.0

When Sly and the Family Stone released Everyday People” at the end of 1968, it was a rallying cry after a tumultuous year of assassinations, civil unrest and a seemingly interminable war.

“We got to live together,” he sang, “I am no better and neither are you.”Read More »