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Two more bits of Supreme Court vileness - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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June 29th, 2007


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01:14 am - Two more bits of Supreme Court vileness
In some sort of sick effort to make the last three horrible rulings seem less bad in comparison, we now have two more 5-4 rulings of five thoroughly evil Republican men vs. four actual human beings: Striking down an antitrust rule nearly a century old, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that it was not automatically unlawful for manufacturers and distributors to agree on minimum retail prices., in short, price-fixing is once again legal, expect discounts on Amazon to vanish. I'm disgusted with the discussion I've seen on various RPG-industry lists of how many people running RPG companies are overjoyed at this bit of vileness.

Of course, horrid as that decision is, it has difficulty holding a candle to this a bitterly divided Supreme Court declared Thursday that public school systems cannot seek to achieve or maintain integration through measures that take explicit account of a student’s race. In short, anti-discrimination efforts are now effectively illegal and five evil white men have (almost certainly with deliberate intent) done their best to insure that the US has a racially-based underclass. One of the worst parts of this travesty of justice is that busing to achieve desegregation in public schools works exceedingly well, and has now be rendered far more difficult to implement, which is of-course the objective.

At this point, my loathing for the entire Republican party knows little bounds. The Democrats may not be the party of good, but the Republican party is most definitively the party of evil and anyone who votes for them is actively supporting this sort of horrible nonsense and is worthy of the contempt of all right-thinking individuals.
Current Mood: angryangry

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:athenian_abroad
Date:June 29th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
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The decision on resale price maintenance agreements (PMAs) is probably less bad than it sounds. First of all, it's not about "price fixing," which concerns pricing agreements between competitors. Second, it doesn't make all PMAs legal. Instead, it replaces what's called (in the anti-trust biz) a "per se rule" with what's called a "rule of reason." This basically means that, in bringing an anti-trust action, the government is required to show that the particular PMA in question is likely to harm consumers. That is, harm to consumers isn't automatically assumed.

The thing to understand about PMAs is that, most of the time, manufacturers like competition between the retailers to whom they sell. Suppose you sell shampoo wholesale at $1.00 per bottle to a retailer who marks it up to $1.25. Then, along comes a whizzy new high-tech retailer who can re-sell your shampoo for $1.10 a bottle. As far as the end-consumer is concerned, the price of shampoo is lower and (typically) they buy more. Which means that you, the manufacturer get to sell more shampoo at the same $1.00 per bottle wholesale price you were charging before. You win!

(Put another way, book publishers love Amazon.)

Which means that PMAs arise under somewhat odd circumstances. Typically you find them in things like luxury goods (where the price itself and the retail establishment ambience are believed to influence the perception of the brand); goods where retailers typically advertise using the manufacturers brand name (e.g. automobiles); and goods with after-market service requirements (e.g. automobiles again). In these cases, manufacturers might want to protect their retailers from certain kinds of competition -- kinds which involve "free-riding" on the manufacturer's (and other retailers') investments in the product brand.

In such cases, PMAs can have pro-consumer effects (assuming that consumers are affected by things other than the purchase price of an individual transaction). The Supreme Court ruling simply requires that courts examine the facts of the individual case when determining whether a PMA is permissible.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 29th, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
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Fair enough. I suspicious (as I am of any 5-4 ruling made by this court) but it doesn't seen as bad is it first did.
[User Picture]
From:athenian_abroad
Date:June 29th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
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Yep...I think there have been much worse decisions this term. I fear that Gonzales v. Carhart (the "partial birth abortion" case) will turn out to be the worst. Dangerous things are afoot when a Supreme Court decision includes text like the following:
Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child. The Act recognizes this reality as well. Whether to have an abortion requires a difficult and painful moral decision. While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude that some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.
This is a dagger aimed at the heart of Roe, for it comes dangerously close to recognizing a state interest in protecting a woman from her own future regret. I can think of no other arena in which we would entertain the notion of forbidding an adult from undertaking an action merely because he or she might change his/her mind about it -- or simply feel sad about it -- at a later date.

I predict that within the next two years, some state will pass an anti-abortion statute based explicitly on the premise that abortion does irreversible damage to the emotional well-being of the woman. I can't say with any confidence that the current court would overturn such a law.
[User Picture]
From:athenian_abroad
Date:June 29th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
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I can think of no other arena...

Except, now that I think of it, sex re-assignment surgery.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 30th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)
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As a side-note, one of the most worrying things about the ruling about PMAs is the willingness to overturn a 96 year-old precident, which makes me worry that they would also be willing to overturn a 34 year precident. Given that I think that the current administration has essentially failed in its efforts to get the US involved in an attack on Iran, at this point I'm far more worried about the Supreme Court than I am about the president's last year and a half.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 30th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
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Which is, of course, an area where both the law and (the finally, but slowly changing) standards of medical practice are woefully backwards and often far worse than useless.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 30th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
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I completely agree. This court has made some truly vile decisions, but what is far more worrisome is the decisions they may make. Thankfully, no one has brought such a case before them, and I'm very much hoping that before such a case occurs we have a new President and at least one new justice.
[User Picture]
From:athenian_abroad
Date:June 29th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
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In short, anti-discrimination efforts are now effectively illegal and five evil white men have (almost certainly with deliberate intent) done their best to insure that the US has a racially-based underclass.

Four. Four white men.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 29th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
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Dear gods, it's deeply sad to believe I temorarily forgot that fact. Having Thomas be the justice to replace Thurgood Marshall is especially horrid.
[User Picture]
From:queerbychoice
Date:June 29th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
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"five evil white men have (almost certainly with deliberate intent) done their best to insure that the US has a racially-based underclass."

Clarence Thomas isn't white. Though he does make it awfully easy to forget that, and I guess he'd be disturbingly pleased by your forgetting.
[User Picture]
From:talonstrike
Date:June 29th, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
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One of the worst parts of this travesty of justice is that busing to achieve discrimination in public schools works exceedingly well, and has now be rendered far more difficult to implement, which is of-course the objective.

Is there a typo here, or am I horribly misreading this? I seem to just be failing to parse this sentence into something that makes sense to me.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 29th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
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What I mean is that reducing discrimination is now considerably more difficult and that I am betting that this was the deliberate intent of most or all of the justices who voted for this decision.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 29th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
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Ah, now I see the problem - I meant, to achieve desegregation

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