Dees Illustration

Stephen Lendman
Activist Post

It’s no surprise. Michael Parenti calls America’s High Court its “autocratic branch.”

It’s notoriously pro-business. It’s longstanding. In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railway (1886), it granted corporations legal personhood.

More recently, in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes et al (June 2011), it denied longstanding sexual discrimination class action redress. It overruled a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision doing so.

In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (April 2011), it did so two months earlier. It blocked class action redress claiming fraud. The company’s wireless subsidiary charged sales tax on cellphones it advertised as free. Two California courts rules for plaintiffs. The High Court overruled them.

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled for money power over democratic governance. One dollar = one vote.

Corporations and PACs can spend all they want. Doing so more than ever lets them control US elections. Voters are effectively disenfranchised. They have no say whatever.

Numerous other rulings show America’s High Court is supremely pro-business. The Roberts Court is more so than previous ones. Even The New York Times noticed.

On May 4, it headlined “Corporations Find a Friend in the Supreme Court.” It rejected an anti-trust class action suit against Comcast. Subscribers sought to prove unfair competition and overcharges. Wrongdoing was dismissed 5 – 4. It didn’t surprise. It’s consistently pro-business. Doing so facilitates corporate empowerment, discriminatory practices, willful fraud, and products harming human health.
Bowman v. Monsanto again showed where America’s High Court stands. Justice again was denied. Corporate interests alone matter. In 2007, Monsanto sued Vernon Bowman. He’s an Indiana farmer. At issue was alleged patent infringement.

He bought mixed soybean seeds. He did so from a grain elevator. He planted them a second time. He supplemented them with soybeans bought from the same source.

Monsanto’s licensing agreement forbids second plantings. It wants seeds sold used only once. It wants farmers to pay each time they plant.

Bowman claimed no patent infringement. It expired on what he first bought. He supplemented with commodity soybeans. They’re usually used for feed.

He said they naturally “self-replicate or sprout unless stored in a controlled manner.” In other words, he planted soybeans, not new seeds. He violated no law.

Justice Elena Kagan delivered the court opinion. She didn’t surprise. She and other justices spurn judicial fairness. They do so in defense of privilege. She rejected what she called “that blame-the-bean defense.”

Bowman had no chance. He was no match against Monsanto. He was ordered to pay nearly $85,000 in damages. He’s a small farmer. Doing so may bankrupt him. Longstanding agribusiness plans call for greater consolidation at the expense of small competitors.

Bowman lost at the district, appellate and High Court levels. They ruled one way. They claimed patent exhaustion doesn’t permit farmers to replant seeds and harvest them without patent holder’s permission.

Generic drug companies freely do it. The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act permits it. Once patents expire, holders no longer have exclusive rights.

In 2014, the last of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready US patents will expire. Monsanto’s supposed to lose exclusivity. At issue is will or won’t it happen?

Expect Monsanto to press hard to keep it. Earlier it said it wants international regulatory Roundup Ready soybeans support until 2021. It’s unclear if other companies will be able to sell generic versions. Monsanto won’t make it easy to do so.

On May 13, Food Democracy Now (FDN) denounced the Supreme Court ruling. Executive director Dave Murphy accused Washington of complicity in permitting the “corporate takeover of (America’s) food supply.”

“Today,” he said, “the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the corporate takeover of our food supply, in a huge win for Monsanto, and a major loss for America’s farmers and consumers.”

Monsanto has long engaged in an effort to subvert family farmers that do not use their genetically-engineered seeds, and the Court has now handed corporations even more control over what our families eat.

Currently, Food Democracy Now! is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit in the District Court of Appeals, Organic Seed Associations et Al. v Monsanto to protect America’s farmers from unwanted contamination of their crops by Monsanto’s patented genetically-engineered plants.

Our nation’s family farmers grow our food on farms where cross-pollination between organic, non-GMO crops and Monsanto’s genetically-engineered patented crops is regular and naturally-occurring process.

The Court’s decision to give Monsanto the power to control the future harvest of America’s family farmers and our county’s food supply is deeply troubling, immoral and a very bad sign for the future of our nation’s food.

In March 2013, Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act.It’s the Farmer Assurance Provision rider in HR 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013. Monsanto lawyers wrote it.

It permits circumventing judicial decisions. If courts rule GMOs unsafe, Monsanto’s free to ignore them. So can the Secretary of Agriculture.

He’s free to ignore food safety. He can let hazardous GMOs poison America’s food supply. Obama’s complicit with giant corporate interests. He’s their man in Washington. He’s beholden to monied interests. They own him.

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