It has been forgotten by many, but "the New Deal" legislation was brazenly opposed and successfully undermined by a small but determined minority of individuals. Those individuals were nicknamed, The Four Horsemen
by the press - a direct, and poignant reference to the the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
. So, who were these master manipulators? A bloc of ultra-conservatives, who just happened to control the Supreme Court of the United States.
It is hard to remember just how bad things were then. A string of corrupt Republicans had run the world economy into the ditch pursuing economic policies that were detached from empirical processes, millions were starving, Communists were to blame for everything while totalitarians were lauded for their decisiveness. The Supreme Court had been under the thumb of a cabal of judicial activists for nearly 40 years, willing to strike down any law, State or federal, that threatened corporate hegemony. The "Lochner era"
is looked at as the nadir of judicial thought, "a cautionary tale of judicial overreaching" criticized on both the left and the right. It was a period when
American judges steeped in laissez-faire economic theory, who identified with the nation’s capitalist class and harbored contempt for any effort to redistribute wealth or otherwise meddle with the private marketplace, acted on their own economic and political biases to strike down legislation that threatened to burden corporations or disturb the existing economic hierarchy. In order to mask this fit of legally unjustified, intellectually dishonest judicial activism, the progressive interpretation runs, judges invented novel economic “rights” — most notably “substantive due process” and “liberty of contract” — that they engrafted upon the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
It's back now, with a vengeance, and abetted by perhaps the most venal, corrupt Congress the United States has yet endured. With the anti-constitutional usurpation of the appointment power, Mitch McConnell has almost single-handedly destroyed its legitimacy, and burdened the nation with a new Four Horsemen, who have unabashedly attacked the very foundations of judicial precedent and established ever more creative and flimsy pretexts for imposing their personal biases and warped views on a reeling nation.
Like their forebears who nearly destroyed a country in the throes of its worst economic crisis, this Court is poised to do even more radical violence to our constitutional foundations and the nation at large, and their work has hardly begun. They took a big step yesterday. It took decades to recover the last time, and this group is far worse. If you thought Citizens United
was bad, you're in for some eye-opening terror. If we survive it at all - and that is a legitimate if - this will be seen as worse than the Lochner Era. Buckle up.