Tag Archives: Supreme Court of the United States
I have no doubt that the actual chalkboard at a GOP strategy session looks much like the one depicted above. It is clear enough to anyone that’s been following the right’s clown show that Republicans have no desire to govern for the next three years. It’s all about obstructing and dismantling and what they can’t get done at the federal level, they’ll try to implement at the state level. They’ve already accomplished much with voter suppression and anti-choice laws in red states…but here’s a bit of good news breaking out of Texas.
A federal judge in Texas on Monday blocked an important part of the state’s restrictive new abortion law, which would have required doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The decision, one day before the provision was to take effect, prevented a major disruption of the abortion clinics in Texas. It was a victory for abortion rights groups and clinics that said the measure served no medical purpose and could force as many as one-third of the state’s 36 abortion clinics to close.
Nice but you know that this is going to end up in the Supreme Court soon enough. The crazy people refuse to take no for an answer.
- Fed judge: Texas abortion limits unconstitutional (kvue.com)
- Federal Judge Declares Texas Abortion Restrictions Unconstitutional (businessinsider.com)
- Judge strikes down Texas abortion limits (politico.com)
Justice Antonin Scalia has previously called for an end to “racial entitlements“. Now he has doubled down by saying that the 14th Amendment is for everyone, not only “the Blacks”. Which is actually true on its face. But, in 2011 he argued that the Constitution does not protect gays or women.
Thus, Scalia has some explaining to do. Just who does he think is protected by the 14th amendment and who is not? Inquiring minds want to know…
During oral arguments on an affirmative action case on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said the 14th Amendment protects everyone, not “only the blacks.”
The quote was tweeted by the New York Times’ David Leonhardt:
Scalia: “The 14th Amendment protects all races” — not “only the blacks.”
— David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt) October 15, 2013
The high court debated Tuesday whether voters can ban affirmative action programs through a referendum. The case is centered around a 2006 Michigan vote that approved a ballot initiative amending the state’s constitution to ban affirmative action programs in higher education.
Scalia has brought race into previous arguments. In February 2013, Scalia suggested that the continuation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act represented the “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” saying that lawmakers had only voted to renew the act in 2006 because there wasn’t anything to be gained politically from voting against it.
- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “The 14th Amendment Protects All Races… Not Only Blacks”… (redflagnews.com)
- The Devil and Antonin Scalia (boingboing.net)
- Supremes weigh ban on affirmative action… (politico.com)
- Court hears MI affirmative action case (wxyz.com)
- Justices consider Michigan affirmative action ban – Daily American Online (dailyamerican.com)
- Court likely to uphold Michigan measure on race (kvue.com)
In my opinion Senator Warren is the smartest and bravest politician in Washington…
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.”
- Elizabeth Warren Slams the Corporate Court (truthdig.com)
- Elizabeth Warren slams the Supreme Court as a right-wing panel serving the interests of corporate America (freakoutnation.com)
- Open Thread: You Go, Senator Warren! (balloon-juice.com)
- Elizabeth Warren Calls Supreme Court Right-Wing, ‘Pro-Corporate’ (alternativenewsalert.com)
In an interview with the New York Times’ Adam Liptak, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered a grim assessment of the Court where she so often finds herself leading a four justice dissent — the Roberts Court is “one of the most activist courts in history.”
As an historic matter, this is a pretty staggering claim. The Supreme Court in 1905 handed down a decision called Lochner v. New York that is now widely taught in American law schools as an example of how judges should never, ever behave. Lochner treated any law improving workplace conditions or helping workers to obtain an adequate wage as constitutionally suspect. And Lochner was hardly an anomalous moment in the Court’s history.
Thirteen years after Lochner the Supreme Court struck down federal child labor laws in a decision that is also widely taught as an example of inexcusable judicial activism. In 1895, the Supreme Court rendered the country virtually powerless against monopolies and other powerful combinations of corporate power, and then it held an income tax on the wealthiest Americans unconstitutional just a few months later. The Supreme Court has, with rare exception, been a largely malign force in American history.
There is, however, one important way in which the Roberts Court is distinguishable from the Courts that decided cases such as Lochner. Laws such as the Sherman Antitrust Act and the first federal ban on child labor arose as lawmakers with struggling with many of the negative side effects of the Industrial Revolution. The birth of the railroad and the dawn of mass production massively improved the American standard of living, but they also enabled monopolists to thrive and they resulted in mass exploitation of the working class. The Supreme Court in this era did not so much tear down established rights as it stood for a status quo that favored capital over labor and the rich over the rest of the nation.
The Roberts Court, by contrast, has actively rolled back existing laws protecting workers, women and people of color. The Nineteenth Century Supreme Court blocked America’s first meaningful efforts at racial equality, but the Roberts Court stole from minority voters rights that they had enjoyed for decades. TheLochner Court strangled basic protections for workers in their crib, but the Roberts Court takes fully matured protections for workers and carves them upa piece at a time. And, while Lochner Era courts acted out in the open, undermining human rights in published opinions. the Roberts Court pushes analternative, corporate-run arbitration system that operates largely in secret.
None of this is to say that the world we live in now is worse than the world our great-grandparents lived in under the Lochner Court — if the Roberts Court’s goal is to bring us back to this era, they are currently shy at least one vote. Nevertheless, the Roberts Court is unusually willing to take from ordinary Americans rights they have enjoyed for a very long time. The Supreme Court has a long history of standing athwart history yelling stop. This Supreme Court, however, wants to shift history into reverse.
- Is the Roberts Court pro-business? (professorbainbridge.com)
- John Roberts’ Supreme Court: An Assault on Civil Rights (theroot.com)
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg On Not Stepping Down And The “Activist” Roberts Court (sbmblog.typepad.com)
- “Acknowledging The Usual Suspects”: Justice Ginsburg Says The Supreme Court Is “One Of The Most Activist” (mykeystrokes.com)
The move comes in response to the Supreme Court striking down a key piece of the Voting Rights Act
The Justice Department announced Thursday that it would sue Texas over its voter ID law, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling this year that made it easier for states to implement restrictive new voting laws without federal oversight.
In June, the Supreme Court struck down a central piece of the Voting Rights Act that determined which jurisdictions had to receive “preclearance” from the DOJ before making any changes to their voting laws. Following that ruling, Texas and a handful of other states with a history of racial discrimination pushed forward with voting legislation that had previously been blocked by the Justice Department.
“Today’s action marks another step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.”
The Justice Department had used its preclearance power to block Texas’ law, known as SB14, ahead of the 2012 election. The law would require people to prove both U.S. and Texas residency to obtain a voter ID card, a hurdle critics say would be onerous to poor and minority citizens.
But the court nixed Section 4 of the VRA. That piece established a formula to determine which states and localities were automatically required to submit to Section 5, the preclearance provision. The court did not touch Section 5 itself.
This time around, the DOJ said it would argue that SB14 violates a separate piece of the VRA, Section 2, that prohibits voting regulations adopted with the specific purpose of “denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.” The DOJ also said it would argue that the law violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which guarantee all citizens the right to vote.
By arguing that the law’s intent was blatant racial discrimination, the DOJ is seeking a backdoor to a new preclearance authority over Texas.
The DOJ will now ask a judge to “bail-in” Texas under Section 3 of the VRA. Under that little-known, rarely used provision, if a judge determines that a jurisdiction has tried to discriminate on the basis of race, the court can force that jurisdiction to be subject to federal preclearance under Section 5.
That tactic has only been used 18 times in the past, according to the American Prospect, and then typically in much smaller cases involving school districts. As such, “it is not clear that the strategy will be a legal success,” Richard Hasen, a U.C. Irvine professor and election law expert, wrote in the National Law Journal.
“Texas bail-in may not look like a great tool compared to the old preclearance regime,” he wrote. “But it is not as if DOJ has a lot of other tools to protect minority voters in its toolbox. Holder is going for bail-in because it is better than nothing, and with congressional inaction, he’s got nothing left to lose.”
- DOJ to sue Texas over voter ID law (politico.com)
- Justice Department to sue Texas over voter ID law (huffingtonpost.com)
- Department of Justice Files Suit Against Texas Voting Law (swampland.time.com)
- Justice Department plans to sue Texas over its voter ID law (oregonlive.com)
- U.S. says it will sue Texas over voter ID law (reuters.com)
Ted graduated with honors from Princeton University and with high honors from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for the Chief Justice of the United States. (Source)
So, the question begs to be asked: Why is this seemingly well-educated man the defacto head of the stupid party?
Once upon a time, Michele Bachmann and Allen West were new, shining stars of the GOP. The tea party was gaining strength, and Representatives Bachmann and West were two of their up-and-coming leaders.
My, how times have changed.
Since then Michele Bachmann has announced her retirement (at the end of her current term) from Congress, largely in part to her escalating ethics investigation, and Allen West didn’t survive his first re-election bid in 2012.
But Republicans need not fear, both of these characters have been replaced by just one man—Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz seems to encompass the worst of both Michele Bachmann and Allen West. But the difference is, where Bachmann and West were simply babbling buffoons spouting off some of the most ridiculous lies imaginable, Ted Cruz is much more calculating and deceitful with his mythical version of “reality.”
I’ve listened to countless soundbites or speeches from Bachmann and West, never walking away thinking, “Yeah, that’s someone that stands a chance nationally.” Ted Cruz, though extremely radical, is much less of a babbling idiot and more of a manipulative sociopath.
Let’s just take a look at each one of these individual’s scores on Politifact’s “Truth Meter”:
Ted Cruz: 58% of the 19 comments (11 of 19) Politifact has fact-checked, they’ve ruled to be inaccurate. Four, or 21%, of those comments they gave their worst “Pants on Fire” rating.
Michele Bachmann: 75% of the 60 comments (45 of 60) Politifact has fact-checked, they’ve ruled to be inaccurate. Sixteen, or 27%, of those comments they ruled as “Pants on Fire” lies.
Allen West: 70% of the 20 comments (14 of 20) Politifact has fact-checked, they’ve ruled to be inaccurate. Three, or 15%, of those comments they ruled as “Pants on Fire” lies.
Three politicians, three terrible records with a well respected, non-partisan fact-checking organization. But to be fair, let’s look at President Obama’s record with Politifact:
President Obama: 28% of the 488 comments (133 of 488) Politifact has fact-checked, they’ve ruled to be inaccurate. Eight, or 2%, of those comments they ruled as “Pants on fire” lies.
That means 72% of the comments Politifact has fact-checked for President Obama have, at the very least, been ruled to have a decent amount of truth to them.
Where the three Republicans have atrocious records with Politifact, President Obama has a fairly respectable record when it comes to politicians telling the truth. While I’m sure some will target the fact he’s been caught lying 28% of the time by Politifact, let’s not forget he’s a politician and well—that’s just an unfortunate part of the game sometimes.
With Ted Cruz I see a much more manipulative, deceptive individual—and he’s extremely intelligent. Don’t let his tea party affiliation make you think he’s some moron much in the same way as Bachmann and West.
But don’t kid yourself, intelligent or not, Cruz is very dangerous.
Much in the same way Bachmann and West seemed impervious to facts, or how our government works, Cruz displays these same character traits with absolutely no regard for reality. And not just that, he’s absolutely callous with his blatant distortion of the truth.
His current mission is to “defund Obamacare” by threatening to “shut down the government.” And he truly believes that this will work.
Let’s not let the fact that Democrats still control the Senate and Obama is President for another 3+ years stand in the way of his delusional thinking. He honestly believes shutting down the government to force the defunding of the Affordable Care Act will work.
Oh, and apparently he believes that if Republicans do this, Democrats will be the ones blamed.
I was watching CNN recently where he gave a speech and said that the House should propose a continuing resolution that included funding for everything except Obamacare. Then he instructed Republicans to then not let the “liberal media” paint them as the party who wants to shut the government down, but get the word out that it’s the Democrats who are causing the shutdown.
So let’s see. A law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President and deemed Constitutional by our Supreme Court is then blocked by legislation which would defund the law (even though Democrats and Obama have clearly said any proposal that doesn’t fund the Affordable Care Act stands no chance).
And that’s how Ted Cruz thinks Republicans can paint Democrats into a corner? Seriously?
You don’t negotiate for a deal by saying that the one item the other side refuses to budge on is the one item you won’t allow. Especially when the other side controls both the Senate and White House.
But much like Michele Bachmann, Cruz has seemingly made a career out of blatant lies about the Affordable Care Act. Which again, I will continue to ask, “If the truth about Obamacare is so terrible, why do Republicans keep lying about it? Shouldn’t the truth be enough?”
But that’s generally the trend of tea party-backed Republicans. They tend to have a handful of radical talking points that they obsessively lie about day after day.
Because can a Republican really tell me what Ted Cruz stands for? Wait, I know. ”Small government, our Constitution, Christian values and low taxes.”
You know, the same thing every Republican claims to stand for.
- Clueless Calgary Cruz explains why shutting down the government is a great way to make policy (dailykos.com)
- Former Canadian weighs in on impeaching Obama: ‘Good question’ (dailykos.com)
- GOP Strategist To MSNBC: Ted Cruz Is ‘Lying to the Voters’ (mediaite.com)
- Everything You Ever Liked About Ted Cruz In The Answer To One Question (pjmedia.com)
- Ethan Rome: Ted Cruz, The Most Dangerous Canadian In America (huffingtonpost.com)
- It takes Ted Cruz 43 years to realize that he held Canadian citizenship (mariopiperni.com)
Get real Texas…
DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.
Election law expert Rick Hasen posted this paragraph from Texas’ 54-page response filed in Texas federal court on his blog with the comment “Only in America.”
Holder has asked the court to force Texas to get permission from the Justice Department before it makes any changes to its election laws. Texas has intentionally redrawn its Congressional districts to dilute the Hispanic vote, according to the Justice Department.
Holder’s move to stop the redistricting comes after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, which automatically required Texas and eight other states to get that permission.
The Supreme Court struck down Section 4, which determined the “coverage formula” that specified which states are subject to so-called pre-clearance requirements. Holder is suing under a lesser-known provision of the VRA that lets courts step in and subject a state to pre-clearance requirements if it discriminated against minority voters on purpose.
Holder’s “bold move” to use that provision could backfire by angering Republicans and destroying any chance that Congress will step in to come up with a new coverage formula to give the VRA its teeth back, Hasen wrote in The National Law Journal.
- Cornyn Op-Ed: Voter ID Protects Voter Equality (cornyn.senate.gov)
- Attorney General Eric Holder has no case against Texas voting laws (redalertpolitics.com)
- A Critical Look at Holder’s Texas ‘Gambit’ (blogs.wsj.com)
- Editorial: Voter suppression laws are Republicans’ knockout game (stltoday.com)
- Justice Department to Take Action on State Voting Laws – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Voting rights challenge in Texas opens up new Obama-GOP fight (thehill.com)
- Feds suing to protect minority voting rights in Texas (tv.msnbc.com)
Including as many Americans as possible in our electoral process is the spirit of our country. It is why we have expanded rights to women and minorities but never legislated them away, and why we have lowered the voting age but never raised it. Cynical efforts at voter suppression are driven by an un-American desire to exclude as many people and silence as many voices as possible. ~ Charlie Christ former Governor of Florida
Now that the Supreme Court got that pesky preclearance provision in the Voting Rights Act out of the way, Republican voter suppressors everywhere to do their damage. Today, North Carolina’s Senate passed the most extreme vote suppression bill ever after a very generous 2-hour debate.
This bill makes registering hard and voting harder – with the added bonus of longer voting lines. To add insult to the pretense that this is about preserving election integrity, they are making it easier for thugs like True the Vote and the Voter Integrity Project to intimidate voters and for outside groups to help Art Pope buy the government.
In terms of suppressing the vote, you name it this bill has it.
The bill eliminates pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds. It eliminates paid voter registration as well as voter awareness month. Say goodbye to same day registration. The bill reduces early voting, prevents counties from allowing votes on the Saturday before an election or extending voting hours by one hour on Election Days in special circumstances (like long lines that will be an inevitable result of reduced early voting)
The bill also got rid of voter owned judicial elections (making it easier for Art Pope to buy the Judiciary) and straight party voting is gone, because we all know what a threat that was to integrity in the election process.
Voter registration polls will be purged more often.
The bill contains a provision that requires the state to provide acceptable ID free of charge. As we know when other Republicans tried this trick under the pretense that they weren’t trying to keep icky poor people from voting for free stuff they also knew that the money it costs to get the ID needed to get the free ID would be cost prohibitive. Unlike the comparatively mild House version, the allowed voter ID excludes student ID’s. Voters will have to have a passport, a driver’s license, a non-drivers license ID, a Veteran’s ID or a Military ID. That’s all, folks!
To add insult to what remains of the election process in North Carolina, the Senate bill proposes making it much easier for outside groups, like Art Pope’s best buds, the Koch Brothers, to buy the elections. They did this by raising the maximum campaign contribution to $5,000 with an increase of the limit every two years and reducing transparency requirements.
Would you like to take a wild guess who will be hit the hardest by this law?
Poor people, because getting the id needed to get the few pieces of state issued ID that would be acceptable under this bill still amounts to a prohibitive poll tax.
Young people, since they can’t pre-register. Also, their student ID’s no longer count as valid ID.
Black voters who are more likely to vote early. But that’s just a coincidence, right? According to the Supreme Court, those icky times when the south prevented Black people from voting are over.
For several reasons, older voters will get hit hard. Some older voters don’t have a birth certificate which is needed to get the few pieces of government issued ID allowed under this bill. Since the bill reduces early voter days and hours, it means they will have to wait in line much longer than before. Even then, since the bill also prevents poll stations from extending their hours on Election Day to accommodate people who have been waiting in a long line, there is no assurance that voters regardless of age will actually get to vote at all.
Since 56% of North Carolinians, used early voting in 2012, this bill will have a negative impact on the majority of North Carolina’s voters.
Even if voters survive the restricted registration process, manage to afford and obtain the few accepted forms of voter ID, and endure the inevitably longer wait in line, thugs from True the Vote, the Voter Integrity Project and others will be there to intimidate them. In the name of assuring more voter intimidation, Pope’s Puppets will increase the number of “poll observers”. You may recall the Romney army of “poll observers” purposely misled voters in Wisconsin.
Obviously, Pope and company are determined to dethrone Rick Scott as the most draconian voter suppressor in chief ever.
- North Carolina Prepares To Suppress Black Voters, Now That The Voting Rights Act Lost Its Teeth (syndicatednewsservices.com)
- New Voter Suppression Measures in North Carolina (notthesingularity.com)
- North Carolina On Cusp Of Passing Worst Voter Suppression Bill In The Nation (thinkprogress.org.feedsportal.com)
- North Carolina sharpens new restrictions on voting (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- North Carolina Republicans in a voter suppression frenzy, now pushing even harsher restrictions (freakoutnation.com)
- Going For It All (sporkinthedrawer.typepad.com)
North Carolina Republicans, Freed By Supreme Court Voting Rights Act Ruling, Push Voter ID, Other Laws
My family came from Wake County, North Carolina.
In fact I’ve traced my ancestry as far back as my great-great grandfather on my mom’s side . My great-great grandfather who was, according to AfriGeneas and the 1870 Census an “omnibus driver”. My great-grandfather who was only six at the time of that census became the Dean of a school now known as Winston-Salem State University. That was back in the early 1900′s.
Based on the way politicians are behaving in that state now and how it must have been more than a century ago, I can certainly see the need for later generations of my family to leave that town and head north to New York City where I was born.
Republicans in North Carolina are wasting no time moving on a controversial slate of voting laws that just a week ago would have first required approval from the federal government.
The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that state Republicans have announced plans to push a voter ID law, eliminate early voting days and restrict same-day registration in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. The provision mandated that changes to voting law in nine states and parts of six others, including 40 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, must first receive preclearance from the Department of Justice. In their ruling, the Supreme Court decided that such a regional standard was no longer appropriate, which provided an opening for state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R), chairman of the state Senate rules committee.
From the Times:
Apodaca said the previous requirements for federal preclearance caused “legal headaches” in passing such measures as voter ID in response to legitimate concerns over voter fraud. It’s time, he told reporters, to bring the Voting Rights Act “into this century, not the last century.”
North Carolina’s voter ID proposal was a hotly debated topic earlier this year. A report released in January showed that up to 613,000 voters, about 9.25 percent of all registered voters in North Carolina, lacked state-issued photo identification. Voting rights advocates have maintained that voter ID measures and new restrictions on early voting disproportionately affect minorities, the elderly and college students, who tend to vote Democratic. Former Gov. Bev Perdue (D) vetoed a voter ID proposal passed in 2011, but the new bill appeared to have support now that both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship were held by Republicans following the 2012 elections.
After being passed easily by the state House, the voter ID law, which would require voters to present one of several forms of state-issued photo ID starting in 2016, had been held up in the state Senate, awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court. After the court’s ruling, Apodaca told WRAL that he expected an omnibus voting bill to be presented in the state Senate as early as this week. On Monday, he said Republicans were still working on the legislation, and that it would be introduced next week instead.
Similar moves are taking place in other states recently freed from Section 4 restrictions. Officials in Texas and Mississippi quickly announced plans to move forward with stalled voting laws in their states, while measures in parts of Florida and Georgia look likely to advance thanks to the ruling.
- In North Carolina, voting procedure changes (sacbee.com)
- The war on voting in a post-VRA world (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Thursday Reads: Aftermath of SCOTUS Voting Rights Decision (skydancingblog.com)
- NC Senate delaying voter ID bill for another week (newsobserver.com)
- SCOTUS ruling sets stage for voter ID battle (politico.com)