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VERN’S VIEWS: The sum of the cronies

If you’re going to talk about cronies, you have to start with the ultimate crony system in the United States, the Supreme Court. These people are appointed by the president and confirmed by politicians who are almost always partisan, but somehow almost always approve the selection for the high court.  Things seem to be headed for a new low in jurisprudence.

When I worked for a living I felt obligated to do the best I could and to be as prepared as possible to make important decisions. So, it struck me as weird that Justice Antonin Scalia whined about having to read a 2,700-page Affordable Health Care law before passing judgment on it. Isn’t that what we pay him for? He also likened parts of the law  to being forced to eat broccoli. What?

I recently read where the court ruled in favor of police performing strip searches on people for “suspected” contraband, even if the encounter was for a minor offense such as speeding or running a stop sign. The logic used by Justice Anthony Kennedy was that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was once pulled over for having no license plate on his vehicle.

He also said one of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists was ticketed for speeding two days before the attacks. I struggle to understand how a strip search of McVeigh would have uncovered his van full of fertilizer or discovered a box cutter on a terrorist.

What is happening here is more than hubris and arrogance. Politics has become the issue rather than the thoughtfulness normally associated with jurisprudence. The so-called conservative justices have consistently ruled as a bloc that coincidentally follows Republican Party dogma and ideology. Justice Clarence Thomas remains sphinx-like on the panel, leaving one to wonder if he is a training ground for pigeons, but he always votes in lockstep with Scalia.

This guaranteed cronyism is one thing, being that it is guaranteed by the Constitution, but its abuse by this court is unraveling the Constitution – like the Fourth Amendment.

Then we have the cronies in waiting like Paul Ryan.

Congressman Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has published a budget that destroys those aspects of the New Deal that Americans have cherished for almost 80 years. It fudges numbers so badly while lying about deficit reduction. There can be only one explanation: He wants to be the vice-president nominee this year by kneeling before the Republican hierarchy with this bizarre legislation that closes no tax loopholes while cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy even more.

According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, Ryan’s budget would, by 2022, have to close more than $700 billion in loopholes every year to erase the deficit. Since there are no loopholes addressed, one can only think that Ryan is on the make with the Republican National Convention for special consideration. A crony by any other name….

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at He can be reached by email at