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The Quiet Revolution | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

The Quiet Revolution

Over the past quarter century, an increasingly influential legal movement on the far right has been working stealthily to impose a narrow social agenda on the broader body politic. The basic idea is to get judges appointed to the federal bench who will shred popular laws protecting workers, consumers and public health while expanding executive power--at the expense of basic civil liberties.

"If they succeed," says University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, "we will, without really seeing it happen, end up with a very different country--one that's both less free and less equal."

This story is succinctly exposed in a new, short documentary (The Quiet Revolution) produced by the Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association working to oppose reactionary court appointments, to strengthen the public interest legal community's influence on public policy, and to foster the next generation of progressive legal advocates.

As the visionary Nan Aron, president and founder of AFJ, explained to a Nation editorial meeting recently, the failed nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987 forced a change in tactics as the right learned that being open and honest about its views--as Bork had been during his confirmation hearings--would trigger widespread opposition to its nominees. So the fictitious "liberal activist judges" became the enemy and rightwing nominees learned how to duck, charm and dissemble--a strategy perfected last year by the ultra-smooth John Roberts.

As Aron explained on the Huffington Post on October 12, "most people would never buy the far right agenda if it were clearly labeled. Most people want the government to protect public health and safety, our environment, our civil rights and our reproductive freedom. So the right relies on stealth marketing behind the smokescreen of abortion, gay marriage and other hot-button issues. That's how George W. Bush was able to appoint two Supreme Court Justices with only token resistance from Senate Democrats."

The AFJ's film is one attempt to blow away this smokescreen. Narrated by actor Bradley Whitford of West Wing fame, The Quiet Revolution traces the growth of the far right legal community's development and exposes extremist hopes for reshaping American law and life around a narrow agenda alien to much of the American citizenry.

What You Can Do:
Watch Quiet Revolution online by clicking here. Better yet, order a free copy and share it with your friends and neighbors. Write letters to your local newspaper, comment on blogs, and call talk radio shows to explain how court decisions affect our daily lives.

If you are a student or a professor, click here to find out how to arrange an event on your campus.

If you're not a student, please consider contributing just $20 to Alliance for Justice to help distribute the film to schools, libraries, student groups, nonprofit organizations and activist groups all over the country, as well as to ordinary Americans nationwide.

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