Posts Tagged ‘SCOTUS’

Hillary Clinton Says A Republican President Would ‘Break’ The Supreme Court

In U.S. Politics on January 9, 2016 at 7:15 AM



Clinton said that the court’s composition “could undermine virtually every pillar of the progressive movement.”


The future of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance, and Hillary Clinton wants you to know she’s the one who can save it.

In an op-ed for The Boston Globe published Friday, the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential hopeful explained how the 2016 election marks a “make-or-break moment” for the balance of power on the high court — and what could happen if a Republican is elected president.

“The stakes are clear,” Clinton wrote of the slate of cases now pending before the court. “In a single term, conservative justices could undermine virtually every pillar of the progressive movement.”

It appears that Clinton did her homework, as she delves into the particulars of some of the biggest cases the court has heard in recent months, as well as those it’s about to hear — including cases on affirmative action, immigration, voting rights and the livelihood of public unions.

“Those who care about the fairness of elections, the future of unions, racial disparities in universities, the rights of women, or the future of our planet, should care about who appoints the next justices,” Clinton wrote.

The current demographics of the Supreme Court are what make the coming election such a relevant issue. Clinton noted that three justices on the court — Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia — will all be in their 80s by the time November rolls around, “which is past the court’s average retirement age.”

Clinton appears to be playing catch-up with the field of Republican canididates, many of whom have devoted significant airtime to the issue of who sits on the court. In debates and on the trail, various GOP candidates have spent time discussing the merits and demerits of specific justices.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), whom Clinton singled out by name, is perhaps the most vocal of them all. In November, Cruz told Bloomberg Politics that Republicans have an “abysmal record” picking Supreme Court justices. He has vowed to pick “rock-ribbed conservatives” to the court, and has also said that Chief Justice John Roberts — whom Cruz himself once supported — is actually a bad choice to lead the court because he lacks a “true conservative record.”

Democrats, by contrast, have not once brought up the composition of the Supreme Court during debates, and have only glancingly referred to “litmus tests” for whom they would eventually pick — as both Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have done in reference to the court’s Citizens United decision.

Clinton’s op-ed is also notable in that she argues how Republicans see this election as their chance to “pack the courts with jurists who will turn back the clock” on progress — apparently an acknowledgement that some of the more controversial cases to go before the justices got their start in lower courts that were willing to hear them.

“After years of accusing liberals of judicial activism, conservatives are wholeheartedly relying on Republican-appointed judges to undo progressive achievements,” Clinton wrote. “They’re using radical legal strategies to accomplish through the courts what they’ve failed to do through legislation, like dismembering the Voting Rights Act or attacking unions.”

Maybe this is the beginning of a shift in the Democratic field to remind the base that by voting with the future of the judiciary in mind, they’re voting for many things at once.

Cristian Farias

The Supreme Court’s Set To Hear One Of The Biggest Race Cases In Years. It Has No Business Doing So.

In U.S. Politics on December 2, 2015 at 7:16 AM



Next week, Chief Justice John Roberts will have the chance to achieve one of his longtime dreams — ending affirmative action in university admissions — if he can only obtain the votes of his four fellow conservatives. Since ascending to the Supreme Court, Roberts has made eliminating much of the legal infrastructure intended to address America’s legacy of discrimination a personal mission, and he’s already succeeded in undercutting lawmakers’ ability to fight public school segregation and to cure racial voter suppression. Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case the Roberts Court is hearing for the second time, could easily allow Roberts to stick a knife in race-conscious policies and leave them to die.

Except that, in order to do so, Roberts will need to betray another cause that he advocated with considerable passion prior to joining the bench. The Court’s Standing Doctrine, a doctrine that prevents plaintiffs from using federal courts as a general forum to air their grievances, promotes “a conception that judicial power is properly limited in a democratic society,” according to one of the few scholarly articles Roberts published while still in private practice. Without such a limit on the judiciary’s power, Roberts explained, courts would be forced into “a role for which they are ill-suited both institutionally and as a matter of democratic theory.”

Standing, in short, is the requirement that federal plaintiffs must have suffered an injury that can actually be fixed by a favorable court decision. As the Supreme Court explained in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, the opinion Roberts praised in his 1993 law review article, a plaintiff must not simply show that they’ve been injured by the party they are suing, they must show that “‘likely,’ as opposed to merely ‘speculative,’ that the injury will be ‘redressed by a favorable decision.’”

Which brings us back to the Fisher case. The attorneys for Abigail Fisher, the sole plaintiff in this attack on affirmative action, failed to take actions other affirmative action plaintiffs took to preserve their right to be in court in the first place — and this may prove their undoing now thatFisher is before the justices once again.

A Case About Nothing

Fisher challenges one part of the University of Texas’s two-tiered admissions program. The majority of UT’s students are admitted through a “Top Ten Percent Plan,” which automatically admits Texas students in the top ten percent of their high school class. This plan effectively leverages housing segregation in Texas to diversify much of the student body, since students in the top ten percent of a public school that almost entirely serves people of color will generally be people of color themselves. At its peak, over eighty percent of students were admitted through the Top Ten Percent Plan, which is not being challenged in Fisher.

The remainder of UT’s class is selected through “holistic review” a process that “looks past class rank to evaluate each applicant as an individual based on his or her achievements and experiences.” Under this process, race, a low-income background and similar factors can give applicants a slight edge over similarly qualified applicants. Ms. Fisher, who is white, claims that the university cannot consider race even in this limited capacity.

Her quest to get the Supreme Court to agree with her has been long, however. She was originally denied admission by UT in 2008 and filed this lawsuit shortly thereafter. Though the Court’s conservative majority was widely expected to rule in Fisher’s favor after they first heard her case in 2012, they instead surprised most court-watchers by sending the case back to the conservative United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. If the conservative justices expected the Fifth Circuit to strike down UT’s admissions policy for them, however, they were disappointed. A divided panel of that court upheld the program again in 2014. It’s now 2015, and Fisher’s college career is over. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 2012.

That, combined with errors by her lawyers, may prove fatal to her case. As UT argues in its brief, Fisher’s request to be admitted in the University of Texas became moot upon her graduation from LSU — she no longer seeks to be admitted into an undergraduate program now that she has a bachelor’s degree. Recall that a plaintiff in not allowed in court unless they’ve experienced an injury that can be “redressed by a favorable decision.” But a favorable decision by the Supreme Court will not allow her to go back in time and attend UT.

Alternatively, Fisher also seeks “monetary damages in the form of refund of application fees and all associated expenses” — specifically, the $100 she paid when she applied to UT. Yet the university also makes a strong case that this injury cannot be addressed by a favorable decision. “While obtaining a $100 damages award might provide some ‘psychic satisfaction,’” to Fisher, UT explains in its brief, the Constitution requires her to show “that the requested relief will redress the alleged injury.” Here, however, the alleged injury is the fact that she was not admitted into the university (or, alternatively, the fact that she was evaluated under an allegedly unconstitutional process), but the $100 fee bears no relationship to this injury. To the contrary, she “would have paid the application fees even if UT had not considered race at all—and even if she had been admitted.”

Lawyers in other major cases challenging affirmative action avoided similar problems by bringing a class action “on behalf of future applicants,” thus allowing them to continue to represent these future applicants even after their original plaintiff graduated. But Fisher’s lawyers failed to jump through this procedural hoop. That leaves them without a client who has experienced a redressable injury.

The Way Out

If a majority of the Court decides that Fisher no longer has standing to pursue her case, that could delay a Supreme Court decision on the merits of affirmative action for at least another year while opponents of such admissions programs work to bring another case up to the justices. It’s an open question whether Roberts will care enough about the “conception that judicial power is properly limited in a democratic society” to delay resolution of a major racial issue for this long — and, indeed, he’s previously indicated that he will not. The question of whether Fisher proves to be a major case or a minor jurisdictional hiccup, however, may not be up to Roberts.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is very conservative on race, but he has shown more capacity for nuance on this topic than his four fellow conservative justices. Last June, for example, Kennedy surprised many Court watchers by casting the key fifth vote to save longstanding protections against housing discrimination. Kennedy also dissented in Grutter v. Bollinger, the 2003 Supreme Court decision preserving affirmation action, so he remains a very likely vote to kill race conscious admissions programs in Fisher. Nevertheless, he’s shown some trepidation about actually handing down a majority decision cutting off admissions programs like the one at UT.

During the Court’s 2012 term, the last time that Fisher’s case was before the justices, the Court initially voted 5-3 in favor of Fisher (with Justice Elena Kagan recused), according to Joan Biskupic’s book Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice. After Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned a blistering dissent, however, Kennedy agreed to a compromise that sent the case back down to the Fifth Circuit. “Kennedy,” Biskupic says, “wanted to lower the temperature among the justices and he was open to a position that would draw as many justices as possible to an opinion.” Eventually, he got that wish. Seven of the eight justices hearing Fisher I joined the compromise opinion.

Fisher graduated from LSU shortly before her case reached the Supreme Court the first time, and the Court was not moved by the argument that she lacked standing in Fisher I. Nevertheless, if Kennedy still wishes to avoid a hot war among his colleagues, the standing argument gives him a way out. He wouldn’t even have to depart from the Court’s previous standing precedents in order to take it.



SCOTUS Be D*mned – Bobby Jindal Says No Earthly Court Can Redefine Marriage

In U.S. Politics on November 8, 2015 at 8:00 AM



Appearing yesterday at Kevin “Kill the Gays” Swanson’s Iowa conference of haters, Bobby Jindal joined Mike Huckabee in pretending neither the United States Constitution nor the Supreme Court exist, by stating that “No earthly court can change the definition of marriage.”

He is about as wrong as a person can be, because United States Constitution. The Constitution is the law of the land of course, not the Bible. The Founding Fathers conveniently set it up that way because they liked the idea of freedom of religion. People like Jindal and Huckabee, to name just two, can’t seem to get that through their heads.

Jindal was introduced by Swanson, who told his fellow haters,

“Let’s acknowledge right now that Jesus Christ is king over the president of the United States, whether he recognizes it or not. Jesus Christ is king over the Supreme Court of the United States, whether they recognize it or not!”

Watch courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

Jindal said the government is “coming after those of us who want to live our lives according to our Christian faith” but that’s a lie. Jindal doesn’t want to live his Christian faith. And he can already do that. He is doing it because he absolutely does not have that right.

But that’s not the issue. The issue is that Jindal insists on the right to force the rest of us to live his Christian faith.

The United States Constitution flat out forbids it. Between the First Amendment and the No Religious Test Clause of Article VI, Jindal is flat out of luck.

He was out of luck too when he insisted that “No earthly court can change the definition of marriage; no federal government, no ACLU should be able to take away our religious liberty rights. We were given those by God almighty.”

Of course, they have their religious liberty rights. Nobody is taking those away. they are free to continue to marry as they have always done. What IS happening is that they have lost their right to force everybody else to live the way they want us to live, which does protect OUR religious liberty rights.

What makes the whole line of argument more ridiculous is that what Carson is fighting for – something called “traditional marriage” – is nowhere to be found in the Bible he is privileging over our Constitution. It is just one of many forms of marriage found in the Old Testament, including a Religious Right bogeyman: polygamy.

In the end, it is a strange species of religious liberty that gives it to one religion and takes it away from all others. But that’s what these Republican candidates insist upon: the right of morally corrupt politicians like Bobby Jindal to take away YOUR religious liberty in favor of their own, giving them control over your life while you have none.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Supreme Court rules against clerk in gay marriage case

In U.S. Politics on September 1, 2015 at 8:57 AM
Rowan County, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis shows emotion as she is cheered by a gathering of supporters during a rally on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort Ky. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, ruled against Davis, who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Photo: Timothy D. Easley – AP


The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and the clerk will arrive at work Tuesday morning to face her moment of truth.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will have to choose whether to issue marriage licenses, defying her Christian conviction, or continue to refuse them, defying a federal judge who could pummel her with fines or order that she be hauled off to jail.

“She’s going to have to think and pray about her decision overnight. She certainly understands the consequences either way,” Mat Staver, founder of the law firm representing Davis, said on Monday, hours before a court-ordered delay in the case expired. “She’ll report to work tomorrow, and face whatever she has to face.”

A line of couples, turned away by her office again and again in the two months since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the nation, plan to meet her at the courthouse door.

“Wow, wow, wow, I can’t believe it, we might finally be able to get a license tomorrow,” April Miller said Monday night, shortly after the court’s decision. She has been denied twice to marry her partner of more than a decade.

Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses in the days after the landmark decision. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, arguing that she must fulfill her duties as an elected official despite her personal religious faith. A federal judge ordered her to issue the licenses, and an appeals court upheld that decision. Her lawyers with the Liberty Counsel filed a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court on Friday, asking that they grant her “asylum for her conscience.”

Justice Elena Kagan, who oversees the 6th district, referred Davis’ request to the full court, which denied the stay without comment. Kagan joined the majority in June when the court legalized gay marriage across the nation.

If Davis continues to turn them away, the couples’ attorneys can ask a judge to hold her in contempt of court, which can carry steep fines or jail time.

Dan Canon, an attorney representing the couples, said he hopes Davis will simply hand his clients licenses on Tuesday, and the controversy will end. Davis behind bars is not an outcome they are hoping for, he said.

“But if she continues to defy the court’s order, we cannot let that continue unaddressed,” he said Monday night. “It all depends on what happens tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, a couple that had been turned away went to Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins to ask that she be charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor defined by state law as a public official who “refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office.” The crime is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Watkins cited a conflict of interest and forwarded the complaint to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, whose office will decide whether to appoint a special prosecutor, generally a county attorney from a surrounding jurisdiction, who would decide whether to file charges.

As the clock wound down for Davis on Monday, the tension intensified between dueling groups of protesters outside her office window on the courthouse lawn.

Hexie Mefford has stood on the lawn waving a flag nearly every day for more than two months. The flag is fashioned after Old Glory, but with a rainbow instead of the red and white bars.

Mike Reynolds, protesting in Davis’ defense, shouted at her that he found the flag offensive: He is an Army veteran, he said, and they had desecrated the American flag. The two groups roared at each other. Davis’ supporters called on the activists to repent; the activists countered that their God loves all.

It was a marked difference from the cordial protests that unfolded there every day since Davis declared she would issue no licenses.

Rachelle Bombe has sat there every day, wearing rainbow colors and carrying signs that demand marriage equality. One particularly hot day, Davis, the woman she was there to protest against, worried Bombe would get overheated and offered her a cold drink. In turn, Bombe said she’s checked in on Davis, whose lawyer says she’s received death threats and hate mail, to make sure she’s holding up despite the difficult circumstances.

“She’s a very nice lady, I like her a lot,” Bombe said of Davis. “We’re on the opposite sides of this, but it’s not personal.”

On Monday, Davis’ supporters stood on the grass and sang “I am a Child of God.”

The marriage equality activists chimed in after each refrain: “So are we.”


The Supreme Court Is Less Popular Than It Has Been In Decades

In U.S. Politics on July 30, 2015 at 6:41 AM


Don’t let the cheering crowds outside the Supreme Court fool you. The largest share of Americans in 30 years has a negative view of the Supreme Court, according to a July survey by the Pew Research Center.

The Pew survey, released Thursday, found that 43 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the Supreme Court, compared with 48 percent of Americans who have a favorable opinion of it.

Supreme Court’s Image Declines

The increase in unfavorable views of the Supreme Court was driven by a rise in unfavorable views among Republicans. The percentage of Republicans who said they have an unfavorable opinion of the court went from 40 percent in March to 61 percent in the new survey. 

The Pew survey results could have been driven by dissatisfaction with recent Supreme Court decisions. The Supreme Court issued rulings in late June legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide and upholding the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for buying insurance on state-run exchanges, both of which rankled conservatives. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents opposed to same-sex marriage, and 58 percent of respondents opposed to the Affordable Care Act, have an unfavorable opinion of the Supreme Court.

Views of the Supreme Court Strongly Linked to Opinions about SSM, ACA

Support for the court increased among Democrats over the same period, however. From March to July, the percentage of Democrats with a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court went from 54 percent to 62 percent.

The survey results will come as no surprise to Republican presidential candidates, who have elicited applause for attacking the Supreme Court in their stump speeches. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has gone furthest in his criticism, arguing that the Supreme Court justices should be elected.

Pew surveyed 2,002 adults between July 14 and 20, using live interviewers to reach both landlines and cell phones.


Two Major Voting Rights Victories From The Supreme Court’s Last Day

In U.S. Politics on June 29, 2015 at 4:00 PM



On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to uphold the right of states to set up independent, non-partisan committees to draw the district maps that determine seats in Congress. Writing the opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said allowing voters to choose how the maps are created follows “the animat­ing principle of our Constitution that the people them­selves are the originating source of all the powers of government.”

She added that “nonpartisan and bipartisan commissions generally draw their maps in a timely fashion and create districts both more competitive and more likely to survive legal challenge,” and noted that “conflict of interest is inherent when legislators dra[w] district lines that they ultimately have to run in.”

Because of that conflict of interest, a growing number of states, including Arizona and California, have set up independent map-drawing bodies to combat the scourge of self-interested gerrymandering, in which the party in control of the state legislature draws the maps to keep as many seats as possible “safe” for their lawmakers.

Pamela Goodman, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, told ThinkProgress that the ruling gives her hope as they fight an ongoing battle against gerrymandering in the Sunshine State.

“Voters should have a voice in their elections,” she said. “What gerrymandering does is allow lawmakers to draw districts that protect their position. It’s the fox guarding the hen house. Voters are not choosing their representatives. Representatives are choosing their voters.”

Advocates are currently waiting for a ruling from the Florida Supreme Court on whether the maps drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature, which include odd-shaped, snake-like districtsthat wrap around disparate minority-heavy neighborhoods — making the surrounding districts majority white. Florida voters passed measures in 2010 requiring redistricting to not favor any political party or water down the influence of racial or language minority groups — a process upheld by today’s Supreme Court ruling. But Goodman says enforcement is still a problem. “Unfortunately, our lawmakers did not adhere to the mandate and we have been in litigation ever since then,” she said.

Had the high court ruled the other way, it could have allowed a third of all the congressional districts in the country to be impacted, potentially causing an entrenchment of Republican power in Congress after future elections. Now, voting rights advocates are hoping more states, especiallyhighly gerrymandered North Carolina, adopt the non-partisan process backed by the Supreme Court.

“We’re hopeful that citizens and legislators alike in other states will push politics aside and create independent bodies to draw truly representative districts after the 2020 census,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.

On Monday, the Court also handed a victory to voting rights advocates by rejecting an attempt by Kansas and Arizona to add a proof of citizenship requirement to federal voter registration forms. The forms already require voters to swear under penalty of perjury that they are citizens.

Leading the charge has been Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who told ThinkProgress in February that he has found “plenty of cases” of non-citizens registering to vote in his state, “sometimes unwittingly.”

Yet recent reports of non-citizen voting have been soundly debunked, while past investigations inFlorida, Arizona, Colorado and Ohio turned up only a tiny handful of cases — less than one-thousandth of a percent.

Civil rights groups like the Election Protection Network say adding a proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration would actually hurt all voters, especially “traditionally disenfranchised groups like poor, minority and elderly voters,” who may lack the proper documents. In Kobach’s own state, the policy prevented thousands of eligible citizens fromcasting a ballot in this past election.

Voting rights advocates are lamenting, however, that the Supreme Court’s rejection of Kobach’s crusade only impacts federal election registration, and he is still free to impose additional requirements for state and local elections.



In U.S. Politics on June 26, 2015 at 1:51 PM

The Huffington Post- 6-26-15

The Huffington Post

SCALIA EXPLODES… All 4 Dissenters Write… OBAMA: Justice ‘Arrives Like A Thunderbolt… We Are All More Free’… Andrew Sullivan Breaks His Silence… PHOTOS: Celebration At The Court…

10 things you need to know today: June 26, 2015

In U.S. Politics on June 26, 2015 at 12:00 PM

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin


1. Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare subsidies
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday that Americans could receive ObamaCare subsidies all across the nation, including in states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. Opponents of the law had argued that the Affordable Care Act only allowed for premium tax credits for people purchasing insurance through exchanges set up by states, so those shopping for coverage in the 34 states using the federal marketplace were not eligible. Eight million people could have lost subsidies if the case had gone the other way.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, CNN

2. Suspected Islamists attack gas plant in France
Attackers, one reportedly waving an Islamic State flag, stormed a French factory on Friday, killing at least one person. The apparent terrorist attack near Lyon, France, began when a car carrying two people drove onto the grounds of an industrial-gas plant operated by the U.S. company Air Products, and set off an explosion. News outlets reported that a decapitated body was found at the scene. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls ordered “reinforced vigilance” at “sensitive” sites in the region. One of the suspects was reportedly killed by a firefighter; the other was arrested.

Source: The New York Times, The State

3. Funerals begin for victims of Charleston church massacre
Mourners honored Emanuel AME Church victims Ethel Lance and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton on Thursday in the first funerals for the nine people killed in last week’s shooting at the historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Hundreds of people showed up to pay their respects. President Obama travels to Charleston on Friday to deliver a eulogy at the funeral for state Sen. Clementa Pinckney (D), the church’s pastor. Pinckney was leading a Bible study group when a white gunman allegedly opened fire.

Source: New York Daily News, The State

4. National Park Service bans items with Confederate flag from gift shops
The National Park Service announced Thursday that it was pulling items emblazoned with the rebel flag from its gift shops. The decision applied at the national monument at Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began. The fort guarded the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, the South Carolina city where a white gunman last week killed nine people in a storied black church. Apple also joined the growing backlash against the flag, which is embraced by white supremacists, by removing games in which the banner appears from its App Store.

Source: Post and Courier, CNN

5. Univision dumps Miss Universe pageant over Trump remarks
Spanish-language television network Univision announced Thursdaythat it would not air the July 12 Miss Universe pageant on Thursdaybecause of offensive remarks Donald Trump, part owner of the pageant, made about Mexican immigrants. In a speech announcing his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination last week, Trump said Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” Trump’s lawyer said the real estate magnate planned to sue Univision for dropping the pageant.

Source: Reuters

6. State Department says 15 emails missing from records Hillary Clinton turned over 
The State Department said Thursday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not turn over all of her emails related to Libya. Longtime Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal gave the House committee investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi nine emails that the State Department said are not among emails Clinton handed over last year, and six other emails were not complete. A spokesman for Clinton said that she gave the State Department “over 55,000 pages of materials,” including “all emails in her possession from Mr. Blumenthal.”

Source: The New York Times

7. Fire at black church in North Carolina ruled arson
Investigators concluded Thursday that a fire at a predominantly black church in Charlotte, North Carolina, was caused by arson. It took 75 firefighters an hour to bring the Wednesday blaze at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church under control. Two of the firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries. “This was intentionally set,” Charlotte Fire Department Senior Investigator David Williams said. “Now we’re asking the public to call us if they have any more information about the fire.”

Source: The Washington Post

8. EU agrees to relocate 40,000 migrants
European Union leaders agreed to relocate and shelter 40,000 refugees from north and eastern Africa who have arrived in Italy and Greece. The EU dropped a proposal for a mandatory quota system after several countries objected, and instead will count on host countries to accept the refugees over the next two years on a voluntary basis. European leaders began scrambling for a solution after at least 700 people died when a boat attempting to cross the Mediterranean capsized off Libya in April.

Source: Bloomberg

9. Nine die when sightseeing plane hits Alaska mountain
Nine people were killed Thursday when a sightseeing floatplane crashed into a rock face on a remote part of the southeastern Alaskan coastline. Rain and wind delayed the effort to recover the bodies. Authorities did not immediately identify the victims, other than to confirm that they included a pilot and eight passengers who were tourists on a week-long Holland America cruise that departed from Seattle on Saturday. The tourists were on an excursion to see Alaska’s Misty Fjords National Monument.

Source: The Washington Post

10. Timberwolves pick Karl-Anthony Towns at No. 1 in NBA draft
The Minnesota Timberwolves kicked off the NBA draft on Thursdayby taking 6-foot-11 Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns as the No. 1 pick. The Los Angeles Lakers shook things up by passing up Duke center Jahlil Okafor and grabbing D’Angelo Russell, an Ohio State guard considered a big scoring threat. Okafor went in the third pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks picked Kristaps Porzingis, a 7-foot-1 forward from Latvia, at No. 4. The pool of players was considered to be as talented as any in recent memory.

Source: USA Today, The New York Times

Harold Maass

The Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision, in one sentence

In SCOTUS on June 25, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Win McNamee/Getty Images


You can read all of Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion upholding health insurance subsidies for the 34 states with federal Obamacare exchanges here. But you can also understand it by reading this one sentence:

— Jordan Weissmann (@JHWeissmann) June 25, 2015

It’s a simple argument: the point of Obamacare is to make health insurance markets work better and cover more people. To change the law so as to make them work worse, Roberts concluded, is to betray its clear intent.

Read more about the case in our card stack here:

Elizabeth Warren Calls Supreme Court Right-Wing, ‘Pro-Corporate’

In Elizabeth Warren on September 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM
elizabeth warren supreme court

BOSTON – SEPTEMBER 2: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at the annual Labor Council breakfast in Boston, Sept. 2, 2013. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In  my opinion Senator Warren is the smartest and bravest politician in Washington…

The Huffington Post

In a speech at an AFL-CIO convention on Sunday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) criticized the Supreme Court for being too right-wing and serving the interests of Big Business over the needs of Americans.

In voicing her support for the labor movement and promoting an agenda aimed at defending working families, Warren warned of conservative-leaning justices and a “corporate capture of the federal courts.”

“You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of big business,” Warren said.

Warren said that Wall Street and major corporations are making it difficult for labor leaders to enact financial reform.

“The big banks and their army of lobbyists have fought every step of the way to delay, water down, block or strike down regulations,” Warren said. “When a new approach is proposed -– like my bill with John McCain, Angus King and Maria Cantwell to bring back Glass-Steagall -– you know what happens. They throw everything they’ve got against it.”

“I believe that if people would be opposed to a particular trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not happen,” she said.

Warren was citing a bipartisan bill aimed at separating lending and trading.

“Despite the progress we’ve made since 2008, the biggest banks continue to threaten the economy,” Warren said in a written statement defending the bill. “The four biggest banks are now 30 percent larger than they were just five years ago, and they have continued to engage in dangerous, high-risk practices that could once again put our economy at risk.”

After Warren concluded her speech, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praised the senator, saying, “Ah, if we could only clone her.”


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