Supreme Court Appointments

POLS 1000
Worksheet: Chapter 7, pt. 2

Instructions. Please follow the guidelines used for all other worksheet assignments.

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1. In the section titled, “Supreme Court Appointments,” Domhoff argues that the people appointed to the Supreme Court are important to the power elite since the Court’s decisions matter; this, in turn, means that the power elite also care a lot about elections since the electoral victors (i.e., the president and the senate) get to choose the people who will sit on the Court. Obviously, the power elite want to have justices who reflect the “range of acceptable opinion within the corporate community on the issues of concern to it.” Domhoff then goes on to provide background on a number of justices and concludes that almost all have a background as corporate lawyers and that many are clearly “pro-business.”

For this question, I want you to critically examine Domhoff’s position with regard to the most recent appointments under President Trump: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and (just last week), Amy Comey Barrett by answering three separate questions.

(a) First, are Trump’s three picks clearly “pro-business”? To answer this question, enter the search phrase “are trump’s supreme court picks pro-business” into Google or another search engine (of course, you can also modify the phrase or search each justice individually).

(b) Second, although Domhoff does not directly answer in the following question, why is a “pro-business” Supreme Court a problem from Domhoff’s perspective?

(c) Third, do you agree or disagree with Domhoff’s concern about the pro-business bias of the Supreme Court? Explain.

2. (a) In the section titled, “The Liberal-Labor Alliance and Congress,” Domhoff’s asserts that between 1939 and 2012 (when the 7th edition of his book was published), “the alliance’s effort to introduce new economic initiative and defend union rights met with little or no success.” He does, however, list a few victories. What are these victories?

(b) One of the “victories” discussed by Domhoff (the one related to medical coverage), however, ended up being a boon to the corporate sector. How so? Explain.

(c) Domhoff writes, “It perhaps goes without saying that the liberal-labor alliance had no success … during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.” At the same time, it would be natural to assume at least some victories under Clinton and Obama, two strong Democratic presidents. But Domhoff argues this didn’t happen. Why? NOTE. In answering this question, you must provide details from Domhoff’s discussion.

3. In the section titled, “Corporate complaints of impotence: their real fears,” Domhoff examines the claim, often made by the corporate community, that the government is far more responsive to organized labor, environmentalists, and consumers than it is to business. Domhoff argues that these claims have no basis in reality. If true, why do corporate leaders complain so much about a government they dominate?

4. What key points does Domhoff make in the final section of the chapter, “The Limits of Corporate Domination”? For more information on Supreme Court Appointments visit:

Supreme Court Appointments


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