Archive for SCOTUS

Thank God

It’s Constitutional, bi—…blessed:

The Supreme Court says prayers that open town council meetings do not violate the Constitution even if they routinely stress Christianity.

The court said in 5-4 decision Monday that the content of the prayers is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion.

The ruling was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester.

In 1983, the court upheld an opening prayer in the Nebraska legislature and said that prayer is part of the nation’s fabric, not a violation of the First Amendment. Monday’s ruling was consistent with the earlier one.

Raised by a pair of atheists (one nominally Christian, one nominally Jewish), I was occasionally made uncomfortable by public prayer. So the [bleep] what? I lived, I got over it. In fact, I’m a little jealous of those with a religious upbringing. Faith is the one thing I find hard to fake.

Comments

Wise (Ass) Latina

Sonia Sotomayor bringing “the richness of her experience” to bear:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.”

In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.

That argument may have had its day, but does it never change? We’re 50 years into the Civil Rights era, and we’re still talking about “applying” the Constitution toward a predetermined outcome rather than interpreting it with regard to a law under discussion?

Scalia was having none of it:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia faulted Justice Sonia Sotomayor for making what he regards as a “shameful” suggestion that the Michigan voters who decided to ban affirmative action in college admissions were motivated by racism.

Scalia wrote a concurring opinion upholding a 2006 ballot initiative that amended Michigan’s constitution to ban affirmative action.

“As Justice Harlan observed over a century ago, ‘[o]ur Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,’” Scalia concluded, quoting the dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson. “The people of Michigan wish the same for their governing charter. It would be shameful for us to stand in their way.”

And then, the Parthian shot: “And doubly shameful to equate ‘the majority’ behind [the constitutional amendment] with ‘the majority’ responsible for Jim Crow,” he added in a final footnote, citing the first two pages of Sotomayor’s dissent.

Jim Crow?! Why didn’t she bring up the dance marathons or swallowing goldfish? Either would have been more topical.

I used to support affirmative action, or at least understand its purpose. But we’re two generations removed from the situation she laments. Even she would barely remember it. If the implication is that decades of “laws of the land” have barely made a dent in the institutional racism of the United States, include me out. In fact, I take offense.

This time, chica, you have your head up your culo.

Comments

It’s Constitutional, Bitches!

The First Amendment, I mean.

Isn’t that how one traditionally announces SCOTUS verdicts?

The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections.

The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision frees the nation’s wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections.

The decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission marks the latest round in the bitter national debate over the role of money in American politics. It’s the most important campaign-finance ruling since the high court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts independently to influence elections.

The case pitted the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech – which the justices previously have equated with spending money in elections – against the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.

And the First Amendment won. Imagine that.

From the opinion:

Roberts said the aggregate contribution limits do little, if anything, to address the permissible objective of battling corruption, “while seriously restricting participation in the democratic process.”

“Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects,” Roberts said in his opinion.

The Left keeps challenging the Bill of Rights. Let’s hope they keep losing.

Comments (1)

It’s Constitutional, Bitches

Not ObamaCare (obviously).

The Constitution!

The infamously liberal Federal Ninth Circuit Court of appeals has struck down a California law practically banning people from carry a gun in public for self defense in the Peruta v. San Diego case. The decision struck down requirements of “need” or “cause” to carry a handgun in public based on violent threats to a person as unconstitutional. In other words, the State cannot restrict an individual from carrying a firearm because a government official doesn’t think they face enough threats to justify doing so and affirms carrying a gun in public for self defense is in fact a protected right under the Second Amendment.

So, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” means what it says? I’ll be damned.

From the decision:

The Second Amendment secures the right not only to “keep” arms but also to “bear” them—the verb whose original meaning is key in this case. Saving us the trouble of pulling the eighteenth-century dictionaries ourselves, the Court already has supplied the word’s plain meaning: “At the time of the founding, as now, to ‘bear’ meant to ‘carry.’” Heller, 554 U.S. at 584.3 Yet, not “carry” in the ordinary sense of “convey[ing] or transport[ing]” an object, as one might carry groceries to the check-out counter or garments to the laundromat, but “carry for a particular purpose—confrontation.”

It’ll have to go to the Supremes for sorting out, but what a kick in the nads to the gun control crowd. That alone makes this a happy day—and I had to drive in and shovel out from a blizzard.

Comments

Once the Party of the Klan, Always the Party of the Klan

Yes, I’m aware the speaker is black.

But you explain this to me any other way:

Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, just said on House floor that he doesn’t like Clarence Thomas because “he’s married to a white woman.”

Great moments in representative Democracy. What’s it been, fifty years since such a sentiment was bleated in Congress? Half a century of progress up in the smoke of a burning cross.

I’ve got nothing left to say. Maybe you all do.

Comments

It’s a Penalty! It’s a Fee! It’s a Payment!

First, the cultural reference:

Now, the pathetic truth. It’s anything but a tax:

The state and federal health insurance exchanges are using all manner of humor and happy talk to sell the Affordable Care Act’s products. But the one part of the new system that they are not quick to trumpet is the financial penalty that Americans will face if they fail to buy insurance.

On state exchange websites, mention of the penalty is typically tucked away under “frequently asked questions,” if it appears at all. Television and print ads usually skip the issue, and operators of exchange telephone banks are instructed to discuss it only if asked. The federal website, now infamous for its glitches, mentions the penalty but also calls it a fee, or an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment. …

State exchange operators say that they are not trying to hide the penalty, but that their market research has taught them that, at least in the initial phase, consumers will be more receptive to soothing messages and appeals to their sense of collective responsibility than to threats of punishment.

To be fair, the regime has been clear from the beginning they reject the notion of the individual mandate as a tax—even if that’s the only way to interpret it as Constitutional (bitches):

The White House argued on Friday that the individual mandate at the heart of Obamacare is a penalty, not a tax, contradicting the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling a day earlier upholding the historic health care law. But if it is a tax, blame Mitt Romney, spokesman Jay Carney suggested.

“It’s a penalty, because you have a choice. You don’t have a choice to pay your taxes, right?”

Roberts wrote that the law “makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income.”

Many of us on the right wondered how Roberts could so prostrate himself before Obama to misrepresent the law as he did. Any American, left or right, should quiver in fear at such logic. What, then, could the government not do, Mr. Chief Justice? Especially a government that immediately rejected your narrow rationale in order to interpret the law as please them?

Many have wondered, but few have spoken:

Many of us have asked ourselves why Roberts switched his vote on ObamaCare at the last minute, as reported by CBS, and did so, so late that the Conservative Justices were forced to rewrite their majority opinion to be minority dissent. These facts may answer that question.

In 2000 Justice Roberts and his wife Jane adopted two children. Initially it was apparent that the adoptions were “from a Latin American country”, but over time it has become apparent that the adopted children were not Latin American, but were Irish. Why this matters will become evident.

Irish law 1) prohibits the adoption of Children to non-residents, and 2) also does not permit private adoptions, but rather has all adoptions go through a public agency.

This would explain the children’s origin from a “Latin American country”, so as to circumvent Irish law.

Evidently Roberts arranged for this adoption through some sort of trafficking agency, that got the children out of Ireland and into that Latin American country, from which they were adopted, thereby circumventing two Irish laws — entirely illegal, but perhaps quasi-legitimized by the birth mothers (two) transporting the children out of Ireland.

The NY Times began poking into Roberts’ personal life when George Bush nominated him in 2005. How likely, if this story is true, that they would have shared their insights, or at least their suspicions, with the Obama occupied White House? How hard would it be for a regime that used the NSA, the FEC, and the IRS to its political ends to unearth this information on its own? And how likely that a Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court would self-corrupt legal philosophy so save his family and his reputation?

I leave it to each of you to answer that to your own satisfaction. I became aware of this story only about ten days ago, but it’s been out there for a while. I (even I) might not have believed it several months ago. But after the revelations of recent months, I find it the most plausible of explanations.

As Aggie was first to observe, we’ve been a banana republic for quite some time now.

Comments (2)

Didja Hear the One About the “Symbolic” Jew and the “Metaphoric” Hitler?

It’ll kill ya:

A contributor for the MSNBC news television network sparked controversy after saying that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s vote with the majority overturning a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 betrayed the black community in a way similar to a Jew who would have aided the Nazis during World War II.

Contributor Michael Eric Dyson. a Georgetown professor, called the Supreme Court Justice “a symbolic Jew [who] has invited a metaphoric Hitler to commit Holocaust and genocide upon his own people” for striking down the Voting Rights Act.

He lamented that the “very success that [black community's] vigilance has won us has been used against us.”

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the remarks as “outrageous and shocking.”

“As we have said repeatedly, there is no place for comparisons between social or political issues in the 21st century and the genocidal actions of Hitler and the Nazis, whose crimes against humanity and role in the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others were unique in history and should be respected as such. It is particularly painful when Mr. Dyson references the pernicious notion of a Jew who turns on his own people,” [Abraham Foxman] said.

I guess Clarence Thomas is the “symbolic Jew” in this scenario—one treasonous to his own kind, in Dyson’s mind—but who’s the “metaphoric Hitler”? I think that’s you and me.

For yet again do we learn that the Left does not allow for differences of opinion. It’s Good (them) vs. Evil (you and me). The facts do not matter. Massachusetts has a higher discrepancy between black and white voter registration than Mississippi, but Mississippi is Mississippi, and must be held to account. To disagree, to observe that the Voting Rights Act succeeded, and that the situation nearly a half-century later has changed—for the better—is to unleash the “metaphoric Hitler” (whoever he, she, they may be). “The Holocaust against African Americans will begin shortly. Thank you for you patience.”

But while we’re on the subject of “symbolic Jews”:

The Elder of Ziyon pro-Israel blogger delivered the petition to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International urging them to condemn the “Khaybar” mini-series, set to air during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The show will be on when most Egyptian families are staying at home for Ramadan doing nothing but watching TV,” Mina Rezkalla, a U.S.-based Egyptian activist told The Wall Street Journal. “The goal is completely outward anti-Semitism.”

The petition has already acquired over 1200 signatures from 47 countries.

The human rights groups “have publicly stated that anti-Semitism is a human rights issue, yet they have not once condemned the endemic and virulent Arab anti-Semitism that is seen daily by millions in the Arab media,” the petition states.

“However, the writer and director of the series make no secret of the fact that the point of the series is to demonize Jews from the time of Moses to today,” the petition continues. “In other words, the series is meant to incite Arabs to hate Jews. This is a quintessentially human rights issue and it is outrageous that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty have ignored this, as well as many other anti-Semitic broadcasts in Arabic-language media.

“Their condemnation can show the Arab broadcasters that such hatred is not acceptable and that Arab nations must be held to the same human rights standards as every other nation on Earth,” the petition adds.

Good luck with that, Elder.

Ordinarily, our stance would be that the best answer to offensive speech is more speech, but not here. Arab states do not typically allow for free speech; there is no open market of ideas. Incitement to hatred—which this most certainly is—deserves little protection and much condemnation. I doubt we’ll get that; more likely the reverse.

Comments

Jim Crow is Alive and Well, and Living in Massachusetts

With Auntie Zeituni and Uncle Omar perhaps?

Hooray for the Voting Rights Act—now bugger off:

The Supreme Court did itself proud on Tuesday when it struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. That is the provision of the law containing the formula that determined which jurisdictions should be kept in the penalty box for suspected discrimination—even after nearly half a century of dramatic and heartening racial progress. While passage of the 1965 act marked the death knell of the Jim Crow South, the elimination of one of the act’s obsolete provisions this week reflects the progress since.

In theory, Congress could just use the original formula and update it with data from the 2012 elections. The problem: Members of Congress would not like the result.

In 2012, no state in the Union had a total voter turnout rate, for whites or minorities, under 50%—a figure that was the heart of the old formula. The turnout in the six states covered entirely by Section 5 was well above the national average. Mississippi, once the worst of the Jim Crow states, had the highest total turnout rate in the nation.

Cue John Roberts in oral arguments:

Do you know which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African-American voter turnout? Massachusetts. Do you know what has the best, where African-American turnout actually exceeds white turnout? Mississippi.

Politifact, whence this comes, judges Roberts’ claim as half true: Mississippi is completely in the clear; the data for Massachusetts is insufficient or inconclusive (but not encouraging). If America is beset by racial inequality, it is in the bastions of Democratic politics.

And the consequences are dire:

The court’s ruling Tuesday will benefit black America. Enforcement of the statute—including the imposition of “safe” black (and Hispanic) legislative seats as a remedy for discrimination—has herded black voters into what even North Carolina Democrat and Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Mel Watt once called “racial ghettos.” Rep. Watt was referring to race-based districts that have generally rewarded minority politicians who campaign (and win) by making the sort of overt racial appeals that are the staple of invidious identity politics.

The black candidates who ran in such enclaves never acquired the skills to venture into the world of competitive politics in majority-white settings. They were thus thrust to the sidelines of American political life—which is precisely what the statute did not intend. In this sense the law became a brake on minority political aspirations.

If that sounds paternalistic—black politicians are coddled, leaving them unable to thrive in a white-dominated world—remember it is the same criticism of affirmative action. Minority candidates are placed in positions for which they are not fully qualified (their race being the determinative factor for their admission or hiring). Disappointment and even failure too often ensue.

Government intervention can correct an inequity—saints be praised, it has—but then it’s time to move on. Like every other government intervention, it’s only a matter of time before things turn to crap.

Comments

It’s Unconstitutional, B*tches

As a supporter of marriage, both gay and, you know, marriage, I am both pleased and troubled by this decision:

This went 5-4, with Kennedy joining the majority. Scalia and Roberts wrote the dissent. The majority relied on the equal-protection argument. The opinion is now posted.

Update: From the conclusion of Kennedy’s opinion:

The liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause contains within it the prohibition against denying to any person the equal protection of the laws. See Bolling, 347 U. S., at 499–500; Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, 515 U. S. 200, 217–218 (1995). While the Fifth Amendment itself withdraws from Government the power to degrade or demean in the way this law does, the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment makes that Fifth Amendment right all the more specific and all the better understood and preserved.

The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.

Again, it is only my opinion, but I find marriages between two men or two women as valid (or invalid) as the more traditional kind. But I am still a little troubled at the State’s acknowledgment of any arrangement it deems lawful as marriage. I’m just not ready to recognize polygamy as marriage, for example. That doesn’t mean I want to discriminate against homosexuals; I just want to discriminate against polygamists. And now I don’t think I can anymore. Constitutionally.

Oh well, I can’t have a big soda in New York City or bottled water in Concord, MA, either. Learn to do without, I guess.

PS: And doesn’t the Court contradict itself in letting Prop 8, a state law, be struck from the books?

Comments (1)

Best SCOTUS Whinge Evah!

Some of these you’ve already seen—Al Sharpton, Uncle Tom, etc.—but this is the best (i.e, shallowest, emptiest) kvetch about the Voting Rights decision:

Melissa Harris-Perry @MHarrisPerry

Damn, that citizenship thing was so great for awhile.

You remember Missy. She was the one who said children should be raised by the collective, or some such. Then she was the one who compared Gitmo detainees to American slaves (implying Obama was a modern day Jefferson Davis).

And she’s even the one who said of the Marathon bombers… well, let her tell it:

“Given that they’re Chechen, given that they are literally Caucasian, our very sense of connection to them is this framed up notion of, like, Islam making them into something that is non-[unintelligible],”

Exactly.

Wait, what?

Not a bad looking lady—wouldn’t mind being marooned on a desert island with her, provided I could sneak away on a bamboo raft before morning—but about as sentient as a stalk of asparagus.

PS: If I had to choose a second favorite over-the-top tantrum to the decision, it would be this:

It will be viewed by future scholars on a par with the Court’s odious Dred Scott and Plessy decisions and other utterly lamentable expressions of judicial indifference to the ugly realities of racial life in America.

Says someone named Andrew Cohen—he who is intimately acquainted with the “ugly realities of racial life in America”!

Just breathe into a paper bag, people, and the panic attack will pass. I personally welcome Texas, Mississippi, etc. back into the fold of states free of the stain of racism or even its suspicion.

Comments

Civil Rights Finally Achieved! [UPDATED] [UPPER-DATED!]

What a great moment for the country!

A deeply divided Supreme Court has limited use of a key provision in the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, in effect invalidating the key enforcement provision that applies to all or parts of 15 states with past history of voter discrimination.

The case involved Section 5, which gives federal authorities open-ended oversight of states and localities with a history of voter discrimination. Any changes in voting laws and procedures in the covered areas — which include all or parts of 16 states — must be “pre-cleared” with Washington.

After the provision was reauthorized by Congress in 2006 for another 25 years, counties in Alabama and North Carolina filed suit, saying the monitoring was burdensome and unwarranted.

Slavery was enshrined in te Constitution, much to our shame. It was abolished in 1863, but only through massive bloodshed, much to our credit. Separate but equal persisted for another century, much to our shame. The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the mid-60s changed all that, much to our credit.

The Supreme Court agreed today, much to its credit. America is one.

And the sanctimonious howling will begin in three… two… one…

UPDATE
I don’t want to crow, but…

“What they just done is really revoked a lot of what Dr. King’s dream was all about,” Sharpton said. “We built a monument to Dr. King and part of — at least half of what Dr. King’s dream was about was voter rights, ’65. They just revoked that. They just cancelled the dream and the children of the dream are not going to sit by and allow that to happen.”

He just made my point. Dr. King died (was assassinated) in 1968. Crimes of 40 and 50 years ago should not be —legally cannot be—visited upon the children and grandchildren of the perpetrators. The Voting Rights Act was a resounding success; minorities register and vote in numbers equal to whites. Declare victory and go home.

UPPERDATE
The caterwauling continues!

Attorney General Eric Holder warned states against going too far. He said the Justice Department would not hesitate to take “swift” action against states looking to “take advantage” of the ruling.

He, like President Obama, said he was “deeply disappointed” in the decision, saying discriminatory practices live on and need to be addressed.

“These problems have not been consigned to history,” Holder said.

Holder and Obama urged Congress to create a new formula.

“Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent,” Obama said.

Key word, Prez—”historically”! We’re not dumping tea in the harbor up here anymore. Apaches aren’t scalping settlers. The South is no longer a Jim Crow theme park. (Look to Detroit for that today.) To slander them so is unbecoming of this nation’s leader.

Comments (1)

The War on Women Rages Apace

Et tu, Ruthie?

One of the most liberal members of the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could be expected to give a rousing defense of Roe v. Wade in reflecting on the landmark vote 40 years after it established a nationwide right to abortion.

Instead, Ginsburg told an audience Saturday at the University of Chicago Law School that while she supports a woman’s right to choose, she feels the ruling by her predecessors on the court was too sweeping and gave abortion opponents a symbol to target. Ever since, she said, the momentum has been on the other side, with anger over Roe fueling a state-by-state campaign that has placed more restrictions on abortion.

“That was my concern, that the court had given opponents of access to abortion a target to aim at relentlessly,” she told a crowd of students.” … My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change.”

The ruling is also a disappointment to a degree, Ginsburg said, because it was not argued in weighty terms of advancing women’s rights. Rather, the Roe opinion, written by Justice Harry Blackmun, centered on the right to privacy and asserted that it extended to a woman’s decision on whether to end a pregnancy.

Ginsburg would have rather seen the justices make a narrower decision that struck down only the Texas law that brought the matter before the court. That law allowed abortions only to save a mother’s life.

Okay, Justice Ginsburg isn’t exactly dispatching pregnant teenagers to back alleys (are there front alleys?). But anyone who has questioned Roe in the past—merely as bad law—has been treated like a Manson family member. With leprosy. And bad breath.

With respect, however, I think she misstates the case. We “opponents of access to abortion” have not targeted Roe, per se, but abortion itself. And speaking only for myself, I am not opposed to “access to abortion”, but to abortion itself. It may be “murder” or it may be a “women’s health procedure” (like calcium tablets!), but I think it should be safe, legal, and rare. What say you, proponents of “access to abortion”? It’s your language; will you say it with me? Safe, legal, and r-r-r-r…

Oh, so close!

Comments

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »