Reason has an article on Neil Gorsuch’s dissent in a case that ruled that schools have the right to have kids arrested for burping in class. After reading it, I don’t want Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court… I want him cloned eight times and replace everybody on the Supreme Court.
Why should Republicans block Obama’s nomination(s) to the Supreme Court. Simple math really. The country is literally only one vote away from losing the 2nd Amendment. Barack Obama is hostile to the 2nd Amendment; and adamant about imposing gun control one way or another. It stands to reason that his nomination will be hostile to the 2nd Amendment. Obama and his part are also opponents of the First, Fourth, and Tenth Amendments to the degree that they are obstacles to their goal of one-party government centralized in Washington DC, where the states are mere administrators of the executive branch’s will. (“Pen and Phone.”)
And, as the ONT points out, the Democrats really don’t have a leg to stand on in whining about “Republican Obstruction.”
Marcus is surely right that tables can turn. What she leaves out is the simple, glaring, fact that the tables are turning on Democrats who’ve been playing outrageous games with the appointment process for a quarter century. When Robert Bork was defenestrated by Joe Biden, despite Biden’s having said he would have no choice but to vote for someone so well-qualified, he was setting the table for payback. When Harry Reid pulled the trigger on the nuclear option (on lower court appointments) he was warned that this would come back to haunt him. When Democrats disgustingly blocked Miguel Estrada from the bench solely because he was a Hispanic, they set the table to be turned. When Barack Obama voted to filibuster Alito, he set the table to be turned.
Cry me no tears now that Republicans are finally putting their shoulders to the table.
— Jonah Goldberg
Exit question: Have you ever in your entire life seen the Mainstream Media editorialize and demand that Democrats put partisanship aside and compromise with Republicans? Ever?
As Kurt mentions below this is a dark day for America and specifically those who cherish its founding documents and principles and who held out hope that we could one day return to an embrace of these ideals.
Tonight’s GOP debate surely will carry special gravity as perhaps finally we can begin to take the choice the Republicans now have more seriously.
If anything good can come of this tragedy, perhaps it will be an awakening within the party that they alone hold the one chance our Nation has at returning to one of Laws rather than men. This truly is the moment I hope the Republican voters will begin to see the gravity of the choice they will make, and the severe consequences it will have on the future trajectory of our beloved America.
By 6-2 vote, the Supreme Court ruled today that citizens have the right to amend their state Constitutions to end state-mandated racial discrimination (a.k.a. “Affirmative Action”).
The only thing I have to add to the discussion is a point similar to the point I made about Illegal Immigration; Affirmative Action policies harm middle and working class whites to benefit minorities and elite whites. No politician, no old-money family, no TV news anchor has to worry about their son or daughter being denied a higher education slot in favor of an underqualified minority. The white middle and working classes bear the entire burden of affirmative action; and that is an injustice.
There is no White Privilege in America; there is only privilege based on wealth, social status, and political connections. And none of the people enjoying that privilege are willing to sacrifice their own social benefits to help out “underprivileged” minorities; any more than wealthy liberals are willing to give up their own money to address “income inequality.”
And, By the Way, heave you heard about the MSDNC personality who claims that, as a black person, she has no liberty?
A democratic republic is not honest or fair unless it upholds the principle of “one person, one vote”. All Americans should want to uphold that principle, strictly.
But not all do. Both historically and today, some may benefit from the principle’s two enemies: discrimination and fraud. How do we best combat both discrimination and fraud, in our voting processes?
The Supreme Court has just struck down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Superficially it sounds like some people could have just lost their voting rights or something, and Yahoo!’s coverage starts out in a mournful tone. But let’s consider the substance, on both sides.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, reauthorized by Congress for an additional 25 years in 2006, gives the federal government the ability to pre-emptively reject changes to election law in states and counties that have a history of discriminating against minority voters. The law covers nine states and portions of seven more, most of them in the South. The formula used to decide which states are subject to this special scrutiny (set out in Section 4 of the law) is based on decades-old voter turnout and registration data, the justices ruled, which is unfair…[because] many of these states now have near-equal voter turnout rates between minorities and whites.
“The coverage formula that Congress reauthorized in 2006 ignores these developments, keeping the focus on decades-old data relevant to decades-old problems,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion. “Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”
The Justice Department used Section 5 of the law to block voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina last year…
The court has effectively now put the ball back in Congress’ court, writing in its decision that it is up to Congress to write a new formula that is based on current data. States or counties that fit the new formula could still be subject to federal “preclearance” of changes to their elections procedures…
The story there seems to be: In the 60s, they were justly worried about discrimination and passed a law giving the federal government a great deal of power over some States. Today, fifty years later, much (if not most) of the discrimination problem has receded, the States are worried about fraud, and have begun to pass voter ID laws to combat fraud. The Obama administration has used the 1965 law aggressively to block those fraud-fighting efforts. And Chief Justice Roberts, writing for a SCOTUS majority, has just said to knock it off; do a fresh study of the real problem.
For completeness, let’s look at Justice Ginsburg’s objections. The Yahoo! article continues:
In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes the “sad irony” of Roberts’ decision is that it strikes down the key part of the Voting Rights Act because it has been so successful at preventing racial discrimination. “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” she writes. Ginsburg also slams the court’s majority for relying on turnout and registration rates “as if that were the whole story” and ignoring so-called second-generation laws and regulations designed to make it harder for minorities to vote…
But Roberts didn’t throw out preclearance; he only said, re-validate its basis to make sure it’s fair, before you use it again. Ginsburg’s imagery, of throwing out your umbrella in a rainstorm, is vivid but possibly misplaced. She assumes that we live in a racial “rainstorm” whose intensity is virtually unchanged from the 1950s/60s. But if that were so, we would not have an African-American President.
On the above information, I’m with Roberts: while problems of discrimination may remain, and any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress should indeed take a fresh look at the real problem. Congress should not make a lazy assumption that this is still the 1950s or 60s, nor that efforts to fight the problem of voter fraud must automatically be illegitimate.
So, as I’ve said before, I’m mostly agnostic on gay marriage (I believe the entire institution should be left to personal/familial/community/religious devices and the government should remove itself entirely from the argument lock-stock-and-barrel). That said, you can’t be gay—well, or even straight it seems—in the United States today, according to the media, and not be completely and obsessively consumed by the issue (and, natch, your opinion can only be “FOR!”).
And since SCOTUS is hearing it this week, I suppose I might as well poke a stick into the monkey cage:
If we’re supposed to oppose DOMA on states’ rights grounds, should we then oppose the effort to overturn Prop 8?
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot) from HHQ
Excellent point made (and I don’t just say this because I have several captions vying for his “Best of” category) by VtheK from the comments:
This country would be so much better off if people cared as much about fiscal responsibility and economic growth as they do about giving same sex couples a piece of paper signed by a bureaucrat to legitimize their coupling.
Speaking of which, I think the time has come to push for polygamy. If gender doesn’t [matter], what’s so damned magical about the number 2?
(As for the first part, I have made this exact point many times myself, and I have much more to say about Viking’s second point, which perhaps I will anon…)
Lesson learned: Don’t use Sudoku to try to figure out what is in Chief Justice John Roberts’ head.
See here, I’m going out on a big limb. I’m going to use my power of Sudoku-winning to cast my vote on how SCOTUS will rule on Obamacare. Just to be fair, I am a master at Sudoku and I use my skill of “if it can’t be THIS…it must be THAT” in order to chose my numbers. It is a combination of logic and realizing at some point that there’s no other alternative.
So here goes….
Chief Justice John Roberts hasn’t written an opinion yet this session. My Sudoku instincts say he’s going to write the Obamacare ruling. If that’s the case, it is going to be a BIG ruling. So if you accept that premise (which is debatable, of course), then here is how I think it will go down.
- Obamacare will be entirely overturned. If it was just the mandate, Roberts would leave Kennedy to writing it (or Scalia). But this is going to be a bigger decision.
- I believe there is a better than 60% chance that it will be a 6-3 decision, including Kennedy & (wait for it) Sotomayor. Again, if Roberts is writing the opinion that leads me to think that it will be a bigger than 5-4 ruling.
- Scalia hinted recently that in the much lauded ‘Commerce Clause’ case involving marijuana, he erred. I think that this is a hint that the Roberts Court is going to make a much broader ruling on the Commerce Clause itself which (demonstrated by Obamacare) threatens the very nature of the Federalist system that our Founders carefully crafted.
- The Arizona immigration ruling was interesting today. It didn’t so much say what Arizona was doing was unconstitutional, it said that a STATE doing those things was the problem. SCOTUS told the Obama Administration today, “Hey! Immigration is your deal and you aren’t doing your job. Do it, schmucks!”
- Keeping #4 in mind, I think the Roberts Majority will be consistent on Obamacare and say on Thursday: “Obama & Pelosi, you ignorant sluts! You can’t do this! Stick to what is the domain of the Federal Government and stop meddling in the affairs of individuals & States on matters you have no Constitutional authority to do so.”
So there it is. If I’m right — it is all right here for me to brag about for the rest of my life.
If I’m wrong, you can all laugh at me for 24 hours — and then after than no one will care.
UPDATE: I forgot #6 – I think another clue that this will be a major anti-Commerce Clause decision and that Roberts is the author due to the fact that they are holding it until the last day of the session. And if Roberts IS the author, due to seniority, it will be THE last case released on Thursday.
Here’s the definitive summary of the ruling from SCOTUS Blog. (If you don’t follow the SCOTUS Blog, you should be… shame on you!)
Here is a rundown on the Court’s ruling with respect to each relevant challenge:
1. Police Checks. Section 2(B) of the law requires the police to check the immigration status of persons whom they detain before releasing them. The Court held that the lower courts were wrong to prevent this provision from going into effect while its lawfulness is being litigated. It was not sufficiently clear that the provision would be held preempted, the Court held. The Court took pains to point out that the law, on its face, prohibits stops based on race or national origin and provides that the stops must be conducted consistent with federal immigration and civil rights laws. However, it held open that the provision could eventually be invalidated after trial.
2. State Law Crime of Being In The Country Illegally. Although federal law already makes it illegal for someone to be in the country without proper authorization, Section 3 of the Arizona statute also makes it a state crime, subject to additional fines and possible imprisonment. The Court held that this provision was preempted and cannot be enforced. The Court held that Congress has left no room for states to regulate in this field, even to implement the federal prohibition.
3. Ban on Working In The State. Section 5(C) of the statute also makes it a state crime for undocumented immigrants from applying for a job or working in the state. It is also held preempted as imposing an obstacle to the federal regulatory system. Because Congress obviously chose not make working in the country without proper authorization a federal crime, states cannot enact additional criminal penalties Congress decided not to impose.
4. Warrantless Arrest Of Individuals Believed To Have Committed A Deportable Crime. Section 6 of the statute authorizes state law enforcement officials to arrest without a warrant any individual otherwise lawfully in the country, if law enforcement officials have probable cause to believe the individual has committed a deportable offense. The Court held that this provision is preempted. Whether and when to arrest someone for being unlawfully in the country is a question solely for the federal government.
Very interesting…. SCOTUS has left no doubt that immigration laws should be the realm of the Federal Government.
One major ruling left for this year… the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. That will come Thursday.
I’ve been listening and thought it would be cool to post this. Here’s the link to the oral & text from today’s events at the Supreme Court.
From what I’ve heard and read about today, it sounds like the case will be decided now on its merits; SCOTUS will not wait until “harm” occurs per the Anti-Injunction Act.
Also, here’s a nice summary from today’s proceedings by Phil Klein at the Examiner.
On the first day of oral arguments in the case challenging President Obama’s national health care law, justices seemed skeptical that the individual mandate should be considered a tax — one of the main consitutional defenses being offered for the law.
To be clear, today’s 90 minutes of oral arguments did not concern the underlying merits of the case, but whether an 1876 law called the Anti-Injunction Act bars the Court from ruling on the suit at this time. Under the Anti-Injunction Act, people cannot challenge a tax in court until after they have paid it. This would effectively punt the issue until at least 2015.
Read the whole thing… and listen to the arguments directly. Very cool stuff.
UPDATE: To me, a key question from Justice Sotomayor: “Assuming we find that this is not jurisdictional, what is the parade of horribles that you see occurring if we call this a mandatory claim processing rule?”
She said it with quite a tone of saracasm and found herself agreeing with Justice Scalia & Alito on this point of the Anti-Injuction Act applying to Obamacare. I’m very interested to hear her questions over the next two days.
You know, when I think of these things, I really should just go ahead and post them right away…it’ll make me look more prescient and brilliant than simply linking:
This is something that’s been on my mind for quite a while, and Chris Wallace put great words to exactly what I’ve been thinking lately with regard to the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision on ObamaCare:
(sorry for the commercial, the discussion with Brit Hume starts at about 3:50)
The gist is that win or lose with SCOTUS, it’s a lose situation for Obama:
Either he loses his signature legislative victory because it’s unconstitutional, or the well-over 50% of Americans who hate it have no other recourse than to elect Republicans to both houses of Congress and the White House and Obama loses obviously in that case.
This, I think, lends itself to the point I was making earlier today that this is an opportunity for those of us who love Liberty and Independence to make crystal clear the choice we have before us this year: Do we continue down the path of governmental intrusion into and management of our lives, or do we assert ourselves and tell the dictators in Washington that, No thanks, we’ll take care of our own lives?
(Interestingly, Brit makes an excellent point that I’d not thought of: Basically, with our fiscal house in such disarray, ObamaCare cannot stand on its own failures anyway. That our debt and unfunded social liabilities are so massive that it doesn’t matter what happens with the Supreme Court or—it seems he’s suggesting—with repeal even through legislative remedies…that it will collapse simply because it cannot be afforded. Scary stuff, especially considering the likelihood that he’s wrong, and that the unaffordability of any mandate dating all the way back to the New Deal has never kept this country from burying itself in debt in order to continue to feed its appetite for mother’s milk from the teat of the government trough…if you’ll excuse my abusively mixed metaphors.)
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will begin hearing debates on four issues with respect to the law:
First, the breathtaking and unprecedented matter of Congress’s suggestion that it can force private citizens to purchase goods from private companies lest they face a fine. This has been the main focus over the past several months since they agreed to hear the case. This is quite symbolic, I think, of the mammoth gorge that exists between the views of the government espoused by the Left and the Right in America today: While Conservatives see the government expansion since the New Deal as being a break on innovation, liberty, and our Founding principles, statists on the Left insist that an expansive and ever-powerful central government is necessary in order to enforce the ‘general welfare’ of the Nation. How we as a People determine the degree to which our government can dictate our individual choices will surely inform what we become as a Country as the future unfolds.
Second is the question as to whether Congress’s expansion of Medicaid is unduly coercive. (a good primer on that here from CATO.)
Third is the question of severability, basically whether knocking down, say, the individual mandate, would render the entire law invalid, or if it would just ‘sever’ those parts that are objectionable and invalidate just that. (A bit on that, here.)
Finally is the Anti-Injunction Act, that some are arguing means the whole case is moot until someone is actually affected by the law, which hasn’t fully gone into effect yet. (Tell that to the would-be employees of small businesses who are not hiring because of the uncertainty this monstrosity has created. But anyway…)
Like many who read this blog, I’m cautiously hopeful the Supreme Court will agree with me that ObamaCare is patently unconstitutional and should be annulled post haste. But like many (much smarter than I) observers, I’m not convinced this will happen.
Either way, however, our remedy should not be the Supreme Court.
Given the media coverage of the Clarence Thomas hearings now nearly 20 years ago, you’d think the American people had been overwhelmingly opposed to the confirmation of that good man to the U.S. Supreme Court. And while his critics kept up their criticism of that man even after he took his seat on the court, his supporters were, by and large, content to let him do his job (hence a decline in his support).
But, at the close of his confirmation hearings when both sides were actively pursuing their case, nearly three in five Americans supported his confirmation while fewer than a third were against. Contrast that with the support Elena Kagan currently enjoys. Her support is only “lukewarm” with fewer than half of all Americans supporting her confirmation. 58% of Americans supported that of Justice Thomas, more than supported the confirmation of Democrats Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Sonia Sotomayor:
If confirmed, Kagan would be the first successful nominee in recent years whose nomination was backed by less than a majority of Americans in the final poll before the Senate confirmation vote (or, in the case of Harriet Miers, before her nomination was withdrawn).
Somehow, I don’t think this will generate much commentary outside the rightosphere.
For all the hoopla about President Obama’s signing last year of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act (a completely unassociated rider to the Defense Authorization bill for this year, in a cynical and overtly political attempt to wrestle Republican votes that would otherwise never have occured), today is actually a monumental day for gay and lesbian rights.
For it is today that the Supreme Court has decided in the case of McDonald et al. v. City of Chicaco, Illinois, et al., that:
Applying the standard that is well established in our caselaw, we hold that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States.
If you want anti-hate-crimes laws, you can’t do better than allowing gays and lesbians to defend themselves with firearms. And that SCOTUS two years ago in District of Columbia v. Heller ruled that the Second Amendment says what the Second Amendment says, they established this common-sense approach to our Liberties.
Further, that today SCOTUS applied these rights to individuals, by incorporating them through the 14th Amendment, you couldn’t get any more equal protection for gays and lesbians.
Truly a great day for Liberty and equality today.
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)
In one of the most ostrich-in-the-sand dissent in American history, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer articulates how liberals live in their own fantasy world. The case decided today by a 6-3 majority (thank God!) “upheld the constitutionality of a federal law that makes it illegal to teach members of a foreign terrorist group how to use peaceful means to pursue political goals.” This was part of the USA Patriot Act.
Here is what Justice Breyer said in his from-the-bench-audible dissent (via SCOTUSblog):
Breyer’s opinion argued that the majority’s requirement for “coordination” of speech activity with a terrorist group was not a limitation in any real sense. “There is no practical way,” he wrote, “to organize classes for a group (say, wishing to learn about human rights law) without ‘coordination.’ “ Moreover, the dissent said, the Court had accepted the government argument that even support for a group’s peaceful aims could help “legitimate” that group, and thus further its violent acts, too. “Once one accepts this argument, there is no natural stopping place,” Breyer concluded.
Breyer was joined in the dissent by (not surprisingly) Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor.
Breyer said that the majority’s broad reading of the statute raises “grave” doubt about its constitutionality.
“… I would read the statute as criminalizing First-Amendment-protected pure speech and association only when the defendant knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions,” Justice Breyer wrote.
Now these three are insane because they trust that a terrorist organization will separate funds, advice and other material goods from their advocacy arm. WTF? This on the face of it is sheer madness. If an organization is deemed a terror group by The State Department — the quickest way to receive humanitarian aid is to STOP and RENOUNCE TERROR ACTIVITIES. Then the US will take you off the list, and the bleeding heart liberals can give you all the damn advocacy support you want.
So the three dissenters either think coordination is okay for the safety of We, The People… or they think that terror groups will put up firewalls in their Terror, Inc. operations. Either conclusion is completely devoid from reality.
Luckily, Chief Justice Roberts brings sanity (and the majority vote) with his opinion:
Roberts quoted a congressional finding in support of his broad reading of the statute: “[F]oreign organizations that engage in terrorist activity are so tainted by their criminal conduct that any contribution to such an organization facilitates that conduct.”
I am finding it increasingly hard to debate and discuss with Progressive Liberals who live in a world that solely exists in their mind and Starbuck-dotted neighborhoods.
Unicorns are not an effective anti-terror strategy. What is truly frightening is that three members of SCOTUS, the President and the Congressional leadership all are Unicornists.
I saw this last night live-and-in-person at the NRA 2010 Convention in Charlotte. Newt had the house rocking the whole time, but this clip was the most memorable. Outstanding.
On Elaine Kagan’s Private Life:
& the Irrelevance of an Individual’s Sexuality to his Ability to Serve
& the Irrelevance of an Individual’s Sexuality to his Ability to Serve
As per Bruce’s recent post on the allegations of Elaine Kagan’s sexuality, basically the nub of what I have to say is that we have more important things to discuss, especially about this woman’s qualifications, than to question her sexuality as some juvenile left-wing bloggers want to do.
Her sexuality is irrelevant to her ability to serve on the Supreme Court. And we shouldn’t be making an issue of it.
If she is a lesbian and wishes to keep this matter private, that’s her business. If she’s not, then we’ve got a lot of people making assumptions about the private life of a middle-aged single woman who may well wonder if by focusing on a career where she has enjoyed considerable success, she compromised her chances to find a husband. I know many single women of her demographic who would very much like not to be. And the more people blather on about her supposed private life, the less likely it is that she’ll find a man.
Did people make these assumptions about Sonia Sotomayor, divorced in 1983 and single ever since?
Look, I think it would be a great thing to have a lesbian on the Supreme Court and I was all prepared to go all out to defend my former law professor Pam Karlan’s qualifications if the president had tapped that distinguished law professor. But, Ms. Karlan self-identifies as a lesbian (though she had a boyfriend when she taught me). That’s her choice. And we should respect it. Ms. Kagan doesn’t talk about her private life. And we should respect that too.
As per that nominee, let’s consider her qualifications, her record as a jurist, her scholarly writings and leave her private life out of it.
UPDATE: Her friends say she’s not gay:
“I’ve known her for most of her adult life and I know she’s straight,” said Sarah Walzer, Kagan’s roommate in law school and a close friend since then. “She dated men when we were in law school, we talked about men — who in our class was cute, who she would like to date, all of those things. She definitely dated when she was in D.C. after law school, when she was in Chicago – and she just didn’t find the right person.”
Read the whole thing. Some bloggers have got a lot of ‘splaining to do.
It is no more of an empirical question than whether she is Jewish. We know she is Jewish, and it is a fact simply and rightly put in the public square. If she were to hide her Jewishness, it would seem rightly odd, bizarre, anachronistic, even arguably self-critical or self-loathing. And yet we have been told by many that she is gay … and no one will ask directly if this is true and no one in the administration will tell us definitively.
….then I’m playing this card: IF she is, is she actually filling the homosexual Supreme Court seat left vacant since last year?
Oh come on, you never heard of the David Souter gay talk? Where have you been? In the same crowd of women that pine for Anderson Cooper…. or the Village People? Sheesh.
Again, my big question is why does Obama think that being a lesbian is such a bad thing? His White House indicated as much when Kagan’s name first surfaced after Justice Stevens announced his retirement.
Why is the White House treating lesbian rumors like allegations of vampiric necrophilia? When CBS republished a column repeating the rumor that possible Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is a lesbian, the White House responded furiously. Because lesbians are terrible?
The White House press office blew up. Anita Dunn said: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” Spokesman Ben LaBolt said the column “made false charges.”
Is Obama actually going to use a Supreme Court nominee to advance the cause of the closet (as well as kill any court imposition of marriage equality)? And can we have a clear, factual statement as to the truth? In a free society in the 21st Century, it is not illegitimate to ask. And it is cowardly not to tell.
What are we afraid of, people? And by “people”…. I mean President Obama and his Gay Leftist Lickspittles.
The new Democrat slogan: “Live by Identity Politics…. Die by Identity Politics.”
[RELATED – Andrew Sullivan’s Confused History of the Politics of The Closet. Heh.]
I’m not yet going to chime in on the merits of the president’s latest pick for the Supreme Court. I am impressed, however, with the respect she has shown for conservative academics, her commitment to intellectual diversity and the appreciation she has shown for the Federalist Society.
That said, despite her broad-mindedness, Republican Senators have a good case for filibustering her. Indeed, they just need crib from the comments made by Democratic Senators during the Alito hearings, including the words used by a certain Senator then representing Illinois.
NB: To make sure I’m not misunderstood. I’m not making the case for filibustering Kagan, just pointing out that Obama and his fellow partisans have already made it.