Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (2nd L), Democrat of Massachusetts, speaks alongside fellow members of Congress and Supreme Court advocates as they introduce a bill in Congress to expand the number of seats on the court from nine to 13, in Washington, D.C., April 15, 2021. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (2nd L), Democrat of Massachusetts, speaks alongside fellow members of Congress and Supreme Court advocates as they introduce a bill in Congress to expand the number of seats on the court from nine to 13, in Washington, D.C., April 15, 2021. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

As SCOTUS Takes Up NRA-Backed Gun Case, Calls Grow for Dems to 'Expand the Court'

"The choice has never been so clear. And the stakes can be measured in human lives."

Jessica Corbett

Capping off a month that has already featured more than 40 mass shootings across the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a National Rifle Association-backed challenge to a New York state gun control law—triggering new calls for Democrats to urgently "expand the court."

Slate staff writer Mark Joseph Stern, who covers courts and the law, pointed out in a series of tweets Monday that "this case is likely to pave the way to the Supreme Court declaring a constitutional right to concealed public carry, overriding many state and local restrictions on the ability to bear concealed arms in public."

"Congress and the White House can prioritize court expansion, adding liberal justices to prevent the current six–three majority from eradicating gun safety laws. Or they can watch as the majority exacerbates the nation's epidemic of gun violence by imposing a vision of the Second Amendment that data has indicated leads to more handgun-related homicides," Stern added in an article Monday. "The choice has never been so clear. And the stakes can be measured in human lives."

The potentially landmark case, according to SCOTUSblog, "will be argued in the fall, with a decision expected sometime next year."

The justices' decision to take up the case comes just weeks after President Joe Biden announced six initial actions to begin tackling the nation's "gun violence public health epidemic" and signed an executive order to establish a 36-member commission that will analyze arguments for and against reforming the high court.

Shortly after Biden's move to create a commission—which controversially includes George Mason University Law School professor and Federalist Society contributor Adam White—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) joined with Reps. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) to introduce a bill to expand the court by four seats, bringing the total to 13. If passed, the Judiciary Act of 2021 would allow Biden to restore a left-leaning majority, depending on his appointments.

After the court's announcement about the gun case, progressives reiterated support for expanding the nation's top court.

Referencing recent shootings and demands for stricter gun laws at the federal level, Elie Mystal, The Nation's justice correspondent, wrote in late March that "regardless of the outcome in Congress, the conservative-controlled Supreme Court will not allow us to have commonsense gun regulation, let alone any ambitious, progressive legislation to get guns off the streets, like they do in other countries that don't have mass shootings every other day."

Mystal continued:

Democrats (and Americans who don't want to be shot to death) lost the gun battle when [then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky] stole a seat on the court in 2016. They lost the war when [U.S. Supreme Court Justice] Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may her memory be a blessing, didn't live until January 20, 2021. There is no new gun regulation or reform that can survive six bloodthirsty conservatives on the Supreme Court, just like there is no way to "win" a game of Russian roulette when there are six bullets in the revolver.

In fact, far from upholding whatever newly passed law that's ineffectual enough to survive a filibuster (you know, the same filibuster Democrats refuse to kill), the Supreme Court is poised to go in the other direction and dismantle what gun regulations we already have.

Sharing the piece in a pair of tweets Monday, Mystal wrote that "Democrats COULD put 10 more justices on the court to STOP THIS MADNESS... but nooo, Democrats want to pass gun reform *legislation* as if there a chance in hell this Supreme Court would uphold anything coming out of the Biden administration."

Noting the impact of Biden's predecessor appointing three justices in his single term, Demand Justice executive director Brian Fallon issued a warning to policymakers on Monday: "Expand the court or let [former President] Donald Trump's justices make our mass shooting epidemic even worse."

This case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett, will address whether the state's denial of two men's applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment. New York state law requires anyone who wants a license to carry a handgun outside their home to show a "proper cause."

"California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have similar laws," reported the New York Times, citing gun rights groups. "Federal appeals courts have generally rejected challenges to such restrictions," including the 2nd Circuit in this case, prompting the appeal to the Supreme Court.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·


'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·


'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·


Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·


New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo