Ayn Rand and the United States Court of Elitism: A strange symbiosis (Part 2).

Date01 March 2023
AuthorNormey, Rob

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Part two of this two-part series looks at 'Randian approaches to law and justice' by the United States Supreme Court, including when it comes to voting rights and environmental protection laws and policies.

OPINION | The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

Part Two: Contemporary Erosion of "The Public Good"

Looking at the current workings of the U.S. Supreme Court, we can see remarkable support for pro-business laws and fierce opposition to laws protecting workers' rights, including rights of association and the creation of unions. Some have described the current Court as the most pro-business court since the 1920s, when laissez faire economics were in their heyday.

During his term, President Donald Trump appointed two justices to the Supreme Court, the result of a questionably unfair process. This means six of the nine justices are hard right in their political orientation. Of these six, five are likely to approach justice in the same way as two senior associate justices on the Court: Clarence Thomas (age 74) and Samuel Alito (age 72).

Justice Thomas has spoken openly of his admiration for Ayn Rand's work. While Alito has not spoken of literary influences on his judicial philosophy, he clearly shares many of Thomas' views on key issues that have come before the Court. The two justices might be likened to Midas Mulligan--the resolute pro-business, anti-government regulation banker and belligerent right-winger in Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged.

In part one of this series, I set the stage by looking at the main characters of two of Rand's most famous novels--The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In this second part, I will look at what I call 'Randian approaches to law and justice' in today's legal landscape. I will examine two key issues before the Court this year or next and offer commentary on what a Randian approach might look like. The two issues that illustrate the elitist views of Rand in their purest form are voting rights and environmental protection laws and policies.

Tilting the electoral process further towards the wealthy

In Atlas Shrugged, the narrator ridicules a passenger on a train hurtling toward a major crash by pouring cold water on the notion that a right to vote is vital. The narrator displays an icy contempt for ordinary folk who lack the creative spark of the tycoons and makes it clear that the deceased in the fiery crash have serious defects in their character. In the Randian...

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