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Rule by Fiat
Venezuela Supreme Court Stacks Cards in Maduro’s Favor

The Venezuelan Supreme Court’s loyalty to President Nicolas Maduro was on full display this week. The NYT:

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has consolidated President Nicolás Maduro’s power with a decision that removes budgetary authority from the nation’s Congress, the only institution that is controlled by the opposition.

The ruling late Tuesday came as opponents of the president prepared to gather enough signatures for a recall referendum to force him from office.

The judges’ decision allows the court itself to approve Mr. Maduro’s budget, which he is expected to present by decree on Friday. The move caps a yearlong effort by the leftist government to use the courts, which are controlled by Maduro loyalists, to neutralize the Congress.

By stymying the ability of the opposition to make use of its electoral majority to initiate overdue reforms that would undermine the country’s failed socialist policies, the Supreme Court has been a reliable ally in Maduro’s attempts to save Chavismo—the Supreme Court has undermined the power of the opposition-controlled National Assembly several times before. All this has taken place against the backdrop of a massive economic meltdown. Power outages, food shortages, and the arrests of “food hoarders” had triggered sizable countrywide protests.

The opposition, which has spent the year preparing for a recall referendum on Maduro, appeared buoyed. But one should never underestimate what a determined authoritarian government, with its paws on the various levers of power, can achieve.

Next steps are uncertain. Strains had already begun to appear in the opposition, between those who favor more direct street action and those who wanted to continue to press Maduro through the political process. Maduro and his people will almost certainly do everything they can to deepen those fissures.

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  • JR

    A dictatorial President using the Courts to subvert the will of the People via Legislature. Is it just me or does this sound depressingly familiar to the whole Leftwing “We are gonna control SCOTUS and give ourselves virtually unlimited power” talking point here in the US?

    • ljgude

      Yup that is exactly where I went. 538 had an article yesterday that showed the Republican Senate candidates doing better since Hillary has opened up a clear lead on Trump. And as I filled out my absentee ballot last week I voted with conviction for every Republican downballot candidate on offer for just that reason. Even dogcatcher.

      • JR

        I live in a deep blue state where my vote doesn’t matter but I’m doing the same exact thing. I’m voting for gridlock. Give me more of it please.

  • Bucky Barkingham

    A sneak peek of what will become of SCOTUS if Illary gets to nominate justices.

    • JR

      That was exactly my first thought.

  • Blackbeard

    If Maduro falls all his cronies in the military, the courts, the media and the legislature will face at least prison and quite possibly death. They will never relinquish power, it will have to be taken from them by armed force. As bad as things are in Venezuela they are far, far worse in North Korea and yet the Kims still rule.

    • f1b0nacc1

      You know, I remember hearing this very thing shortly before the Berlin Wall fell. As it happened, the security forces and the various mid-level apparatchiks often decided to risk the populace’s forgiving nature rather than fight to the end, specially when the end was easy to see. There are exceptions of course (Ceausescu comes immediately to mind), but I wonder if you may be overstating the determination of the Maduro stooges.

      • Blackbeard

        You’re right, sometimes these regimes crack unexpectedly but it seems to me for that to happen there has to significant, long-term outside pressure. In the case of Eastern Europe and the USSR there was pressure from NATO, the Reagan arms buildup, the influence of the Catholic Church and the nearby successful example of Western Europe. Sadly, does anyone really care about Venezuela?

        Nevertheless, I hope you’re right.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Lets hope that I am right, but as any stockbroker will tell you, past results don’t guarantee the future (grin). Either way, the situation in Venezuela is ugly at best, and not likely to get better in the near future…

          • Jim__L

            Not likely to get better in the near future — a lot of voices said that in the late 80’s, re: communism.

            Remember the graphic novel Watchmen? It was serialized 1986-1987. The authors portrayed the “most brilliant man in the world” determining that the way to end the Cold War was to *fake an alien invasion of New York, killing millions* because that would bring the world together.

            What happened instead? Hungary opened up its border fence with Austria in May 1989, five months later the Berlin Wall fell, and a little more than two years after that (August 1991) the USSR dissolved.

            If the pace of change really is accelerating, Venezuela should collapse by dinnertime.

          • f1b0nacc1

            If so, that would make it more likely that the Venezuelans would *HAVE* a dinnertime….
            And yes, I did so enjoy Watchmen. I loathe Moore’s politics, but respect his talents…

          • Jim__L

            I couldn’t get past the sheer inanity of the premise. Some of the images were memorable, but what’s the point of making up stories about heroes if they’re not heroic?

            If people want to read about flawed people doing realistic things, won’t they get far more out of reading history?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Well, why are they reading comics in the first place? (grin)….
            Overall, I do agree with you, but the artistry of Moore’s work really does merit praise. Though your broader point is quite valid….who really cares?

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I love Venezuela. It serves as the perfect example of the results of what the Democrats, Socialists, Communists, Marxists, and all other big government supporting Leftists really want. Anyone which is a member of the “Enlightened” Western Culture that created and maintains Modern Civilization, and the free markets, “Rule of Law”, and Reason it exemplifies, need only point a Venezuela to dispute anything the Democrats say.

  • gtwreck

    Glass house dwellers should not throw stones. We have 4 progressive votes guaranteed (Constitution-Bill of Rights evolve. They were written by dead white men). The other 5 are not guaranteed but it would take only a 1 vote shift to make the court progressive. We may not be Venezuela but we are getting there. Remember the story of the Frog and the boiling water. Our progressives are smarter, they threw yer Frog into cold water then brought it to a boil. Benjamin Franklin was asked what the founders had made. His answer “A republic if you can keep it”. CAN WE.

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