Supreme Court of the United States

John Roberts Refuses To Grant Obamacare Emergency Stay

Chief Justice John Roberts

The Huffington Post

The Supreme Court has refused a group of doctors’ request to block implementation of the nation’s new health care law.

Chief Justice John Roberts turned away without comment Monday an emergency stay request from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. and the Alliance for Natural Health USA.

They asked the chief justice Friday to temporarily block the law, saying Congress had passed it incorrectly by starting it in the Senate instead of the House. Revenue-raising bills are supposed to originate in the lower chamber. They also wanted blocked doctor registration requirements they say will make it harder for independent non-Medicare physicians to treat Medicare-eligible patients.

Still pending is a decision on a temporary block on the law’s contraceptive coverage requirements, which was challenged by a group of nuns.

If Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Replaced By A Republican, Here Is What Happens To The Law

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Edited)


It doesn’t look good if The Court is packed with a Conservative majority

Think Progress

At a forum in Reston, Virginia on Tuesday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg threw her most recent bucket of cold water on Courtwatchers urging her to retire while President Obama is still in the White House. A justice should remain “as long as she can do the job full steam,” according to Ginsburg. “At my age, you take it year by year. I’m OK this year.”

Ginsburg also cited Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, both liberal justices who retired under President George H.W. Bush. Yet, while Bush’s selection of the moderately liberal Justice David Souter to replace Brennan only moved the Court marginally to the right, his decision to replace America’s most significant civil rights attorney with the staunchly conservative Justice Clarence Thomas may be the most consequential Supreme Court appointment since Chief Justice Earl Warren joined the bench in 1953.

Marshall was in poor health when he left the Court, but he survived until a few days after President Clinton took the oath of office. Had Clinton selected Marshall’s replacement instead of Bush, the Citizens United case would have been an obvious loser that likely never would have been filed. There would likely be five votes on the Supreme Court to abolish voter ID laws. Practices like forced arbitration, which cause consumers and workers to sign away their right to sue businesses in a real court, would be far less widespread and likelywould not exist at all in employment contracts. A 1992 Supreme Court decision significantly limiting the right to choose an abortion would have come down the other way — and Roe v. Wade would likely have five solid votes on the Supreme Court.

The Voting Rights Act — all of it — would still be good law.

If a future Republican president has the opportunity to replace Justice Ginsburg, the results could be no less consequential. Here’s a short list of decisions that would immediately become vulnerable if Ginsburg’s vote went to a conservative justice:

  • No More Marriage EqualityUnited States v. Windsor — the decision striking down the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act — was a 5-4 decision with Ginsburg in the majority. If Ginsburg is replaced by another conservative, DOMA could roar back to life. At the very least, the nation’s drive towards nationwide marriage equality could come to a screeching halt.
  • Criminalizing Sex: Although Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down Texas’ “sodomy” law, was a 6-3 decision, one of those six justices has since been replaced by the staunchly conservative Justice Samuel Alito. If another member of the Lawrencemajority is replaced, it could lead to gay sex being outlawed entirely in several states.Lawrence‘s holding, however extends far beyond gay couples to prohibit laws criminalizing non-commercial sexual activity between consenting adults. Thus, ifLawrence falls, the government could find its way into every American’s bedroom.
  • The End of Abortion RightsRoe v. Wade is already on life support. Indeed, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is the so-called swing vote on abortion, hasn’t voted to strike a law restricting the right to choose in 21 years. Nevertheless, Kennedy provided the key fifth vote to retain “the essential holding of Roe v. Wade” in a case called Planned Parenthood v. Casey. If Ginsburg is replaced by a conservative, there will likely be only four votes willing to retain that holding.
  • Watering Down Minority Votes: Five justices voted in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry to strike part of a Texas redistricting map because it tried to protect an incumbent Republican congressman by reducing the impact of Latino voters. If Ginsburg is replaced by a conservative, these kinds of tactics could become common.
  • Executing Children & The Intellectually Disabled: There are almost certainly four votes on the Supreme Court to permit executions of children and the intellectually disabled. Ginsburg’s replacement could be the fifth.
  • Judges for Sale: Four justices joined a dissent arguing that there’s nothing wrong with a wealthy businessman spending $3 million to place a judge on a state supreme court— only to have that judge cast the key vote to overturn a $50 million verdict against the businessman’s company. Ginsburg’s replacement could places judges up for sale.
  • Millions Without Health Care: Finally, the decision that largely preserved the Affordable Care Act was a 5-4 decision, with four justices voting to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. If those four justices gain a fifth vote, it could not only strip millions of Americans of the health insurance that they will soon gain under this law, but it could toss the entire American health care system into chaos. Among other things, if the dissent’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety were to actually happen,Medicare could lose its ability to pay claims until the agency that administers the program completed a lengthy rule making process that can take months.

This list, of course, is only a small sample of the things that could happen if Ginsburg is replaced by a conservative. A full list would be much, much longer.


Wednesday Blog Roundup 11-20-2013

Harry Reid is set to go nuclear

President Romney? Voters say yes in new poll

Florida congressman charged with cocaine possession

Supreme Court decides not to block Texas’ abortion law

Koch Brothers’ Group Uses Health Care Law to Attack Democrats

Virginia Political Figure Stabbed as Son Takes Own Life, Police Say

If You’re a Millennial, Black, or Latino, Good Luck Voting Quickly in 2016

Bobby Jindal is right: Republicans aren’t ready to win back the White House.

McDonald’s Advice To Underpaid Employees: Sell Your Christmas Presents For Cash

Republicans Have Pushed Him Too Far and Now Harry Reid Is Ready to Go Nuclear


GOP’s 2014 – 2016 Agenda

Mario Piperni

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.


Scalia: Constitution doesn’t protect ‘only the blacks’

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…

The Huffington Post

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:

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.

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

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.”

Justice Ginsburg’s Terrifying Assessment Of Her Own Court


Think Progress

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 behaveLochner 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.

The Justice Department messes with Texas over its voter ID law

He’s a lot feistier than he looks…

The Week

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.”

Ted Cruz: A Scary Mixture of Michele Bachmann and Allen West


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?

Forward Progressives

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.

Which is exactly the kind of leaders, and society, Republicans want.

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.

Continue reading here…

Texas Clarifies That It Discriminates Against Democratic Voters — Not Minorities

rick perry

Get real Texas…

Business Insider

The state of Texas has a pretty amusing response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s claims that the state’s redistricting plans discriminate against minority voters

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.