I’ve been thinking about something I read in the Globe a while back: Jeff Jacoby wrote that the Mass SJC should throw out the popular Fair Share Amendment, which will raise taxes on the millionaires to pay for public goods like transportation and public education.
At first, I thought–no, it’s not likely that the SJC will do that. Numerous intelligent legal minds have sorted out the wording of the proposed Fair Share Amendment. Besides, Baker’s only been Governor for about three years. Surely the SJC does not have a majority of members appointed by Baker.
But then I checked and what do you know? A majority of SJC justices are Baker appointees. And now I wonder… is a Court dominated by Baker appointees going to be swayed by the right-of-center and rightwing arguments that it is wrong for millionaires to chip in toward the public good?
Court appointments matter: At the national level, the Republican Senate and Republican President are stacking the judiciary with justices and judges who are likely to favor the powerful (see also, Gorsuch and the frozen trucker.)
Baker knows he does not represent our blue Commonwealth’s values. He knows he narrowly won in 2014, and he knows he was cool with the Confederate flag (until people shamed him by pointing out it represents treason in defense of slavery.) He campaigned for undermining public school funding with Question 2. He supports ICE’s brutal campaign against non-violent immigrants, Trump’s signature issue. Baker can’t persuade a majority of the public to go rightwing, but he can undermine the public’s values by appointing judges and justices who favor his ideology.
Because the Fair Share Amendment is popular, it will likely succeed in November. And rightly so, as the T needs fixing (just today the old red line cars were sweltering hot and had to be taken out of service) and UMass Boston (which serves the working class of Massachusetts) is in dire need of funding. So many people’s lives would be better off with this funding. We, the majority, need this Amendment.
So the likely way the conservatives–you know, the people at the influential Pioneer Institute founding by Charlie Baker–can stop it is at the SJC.
Where Charlie Baker has appointed the majority of justices.
I don’t know what the future will bring, but I’m worried that Jeff Jacoby was on to something.