Category Archives: Supreme Court
This applies to not choosing to believe as well. There’s a reason the Founding Fathers were inspired to place a separation of church and state in the First Amendment, it was to prevent religious beliefs, or teachings, from being forced on the general public in the form of laws. Thus, if limiting same sex marriage is based on religious beliefs, it’s not Constitutional.
Sometimes the hard part about living in a country with a Constitution like ours is being willing to protect and defend the rights of others to have the inalienable, God given right to choose how they will live their lives. In short, if you don’t mind religions telling other citizens – through the civil government – how to live their lives, I’m sure you won’t mind when other citizens – through that same civil government – start telling you how to worship.
The United States Supreme Court decided to side with “We the People”, refusing to block early voting in the battleground state of Ohio, a ploy developed by the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) there in an effort to restrict voting.
The court refused the GOTP request to become involved in the dispute over early voting in the state on the three days before Election Day, something that’s always been allowed in the past, but which the GOTP decided needed to curtailed during this presidential election year.
President Obama’s campaign along with Ohio Democrats sued the state over changes in Ohio law designed to take away the three days of voting for most people saying nearly 100,000 people voted in the three days before the election in 2008. But hey, what’s a mere 100,000 votes amongst friends? Well, in a state where only 262,000 votes separated the President from John McCain in 2008 that’s a sizeable chunk of votes being potentially disenfranchised.
In a time when the Supreme Court has given disastrous rulings regarding election spending – aka Citizen’s United – this is a fresh breeze of liberty blowing into the current election cycle.
While some in the Supreme Court may enjoy treating corporations like people who can spend whatever they want on elections, the American people don’t have to accept it, said Democratic senators who proposed a constitutional amendment this week to retake control of campaign spending.
The Huffington Post is reporting the amendment, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), while not directly addressing the justices’ legal finding that corporations have a right to free speech that was previously curtailed by election law, it would add to the Constitution language saying Congress and the states can regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.
The amendment would effectively reverse two landmark Supreme Court decisions — the 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, which said spending money in elections is a form of speech, and the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled it unconstitutional to regulate the money spent to influence elections by corporations and unions.
The latter ruling has unleashed a flood of cash from corporations and super PACs into campaigns spending as much as they want without having to disclose where the money is coming from; theoretically opening up American elections to undo influence from a very limited group of citizens or perhaps even to wealthy foreign interests.
“Letting this go unchecked is a threat to our democracy. Campaigns should be about the best ideas, not the biggest checkbooks,” Udall said at the press conference.
Reportedly, the amendment has three main focuses: to authorize Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money for federal political campaign contributions and expenditures (including independent expenditures), to allow states to regulate that raising and spending at their level, and to permit Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that could withstand constitutional challenges. It does not specify what the reforms should be.
Also at the press conference, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the proposed amendment, called the Buckley case “one of the worst decisions that the Supreme Court has rendered in the last hundred years” and described the Citizens United ruling as “Buckley on steroids.”
A constitutional amendment could be a welcome proposal for the thousands of demonstrators involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which holds a reversal of the Citizens United ruling as one of its oft-repeated demands.
“The extent to which money and corporations have taken over the [campaign] process is reflected across our cities in the Occupy movement,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), another co-sponsor. “It is something we have to do something about if we are going to reclaim American democracy as the shining light to other countries that it has always been.”
The amendment faces a long, unlikely path even to win initial congressional approval. Senate Republicans last year opposed a Schumer measure, the Disclose Act, which simply required additional disclosure about campaign spenders. Big surprise the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) interests in the Senate opposed it; unfortunately we have effectively discovered that conservatives today – almost to the man and woman – serving in the Congress are wholly owned by big corporate business and uber-wealthy interests. They care more for their pocket books than for individual liberties.
The United States Supreme Court has handed down its decision on “Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association”, and while the Court decided the California law in question was unconstitutional due to limiting free speech, something everyone on both sides of the political spectrum should be happy about – meaning the Court’s defending of the First Amendment – some on the court, namely Justice Clarence Thomas, believe that children have no guaranteed First Amendment rights.
Thomas once again demonstrated his own inability to sit on the nation’s highest court, declaring that the majority’s opinion in the case “does not comport with the original public understanding of the First Amendment…The practices and beliefs of the founding generation establish that ‘the freedom of speech,’ as originally understood, does not include a right to speak to minors (or a right of minors to access speech) without going through the minors’ parents or guardians.”
So, if we were to follow Justice Thomas’s logic on what the founding generation’s view on any number of subjects was, then we would have to effectively turn 200 + years of judicial review on its head. Thomas’s very rigid interpretation of all things constitutional is one of the biggest flaws in “originalists’” theology.
Opening up this Pandora’s Box, and following Thomas’s view of the founding generation’s view of things, what laws or rights would need to be overturned?
First, Justice Thomas would need to resign from the bench, because it should be quite clear to any number of originalists what the founding generation’s view of 3/5 of a person occupying a seat on the Supreme Court would be. So, step down Mr. Justice, step down, or be a hypocrite; but you can’t dare to speak for the founding generation and then not uphold all that generation would have upheld.
Women would no longer have the right to vote, and would belong to their husbands – as property.
African-Americans could still be owned as slaves.
African-Americans would no longer have the right to vote.
African-American children would still be attending school in “separate but equal” facilities, while children with special needs would be placed in state run institutions.
African-Americans would have to sit in the back of the bus, and ride in separate cars from whites on any trains, as well as sit in separate areas of theaters and sporting events, and use separate toilet facilities and drink from separate water fountains.
African-Americans would not be serving in the armed services.
If children are not guaranteed the rights of the Constitution, according to the founding generation, then does that theology extend to the unborn as well?
Interestingly enough, following Thomas’s logic, the infamously recent decision of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission would need to be overturned because there is no conceivable way any originalists could claim the founding generation would ever have subscribed to the idea of a business corporation being endowed with inalienable rights by the creator.
Mr. Associate Justice, step down before you humiliate yourself any further. You are clearly unqualified as your recent stands on any number of cases prove. You have been shown to be unethical by refusing to recluse yourself from cases where there is clear conflict of interest. You sir, are an embarrassment.
Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has earned over $680,000 working for the uber right wing Heritage Fundation; but her hubby hasn’t included it on financial disclosure forms. Ooops?
Justice Thomas failed to report his wife’s income for at least five years, the watchdog group Common Cause has claimed. For the years 2003 to 2007, Virginia Thomas, earned $686,589 from the Heritage Fundation, according to the group’s review of the foundation’s IRS records; and the Justice failed to note the income in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years, instead checking a box labeled “none” where “spousal noninvestment income” would be disclosed. Is this an honest oversight? Is this some kind of clerical error? Or has Justice Clarence Thomas committed an illegal act worthy of impeachment, and removal from the highest court in the land?
Not only is Virginia Thomas a hired gun for the Heritage Foundation, she’s also the lead hack of a group called Liberty Central, an organization she founded to supposedly “restore” the “founding principles” of limited government and individual liberty. You know, those good old fashioned American values, like committing tax fraud. Interestingly, on his 2009 disclosure form, Justice Thomas also checked his spousal income as “none.” Common Cause claims Liberty Central paid Virginia Thomas an unknown salary that year.
The sticky wicket for Thomas is federal judges are required by law to disclose the source of spousal income. It’s required Mr. Justice! You’re duly bound to uphold the law, which means you, and your wife, have to follow the rules like everyone else, not pick and choose what works for you and what doesn’t.
“Without disclosure, the public and litigants appearing before the court do not have adequate information to assess potential conflicts of interest, and disclosure is needed to promote the public’s interest in open, honest and accountable government,” Common Cause President Bob Edgar wrote in a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Common Cause has filed a letter requesting the United States Justice Department investigate whether Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia should have disqualified themselves from hearing a campaign finance case after they reportedly attended a private meeting sponsored by Charles and David Koch, billionaire philanthropists who fund conservative causes. And what was this case, the one the two “Justices” should have removed themselves from? It wasn’t a big one, hardly a mere trifle of a case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.
Yeah, that’s right, one the largest land mark cases to come before the Supreme Court probably since its inception; a case wherein the court ruled corporate and union funds could be spent directly on election advertising, without any disclosure, and that corporations are in effect equal to people, equal to citizens, and guaranteed free speech under the Constitution.
And guess who’s been the one guy on the court arguing that laws requiring public disclosure of large contributions are unconstitutional?
That’s right; it’s Mister Honesty; Mister Integrity; its Mister I Don’t Have Any Reason for Anyone to Seriously Think I’m Remotely Qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice Himself, Clarence Thomas.
Well, guess what Justice Thomas? You’re a fraud. You’ve always been a fraud, and this goes to prove that you really are as dishonest as the day is long. It also casts serious doubt on the validity of your testimony during your confirmation hearings, and your ability to serve impartially as a member of the United States Supreme Court. You’re an embarrassment Sir and deserve to be impeached, but with your cronies controlling the House that’s not likely to happen. So, please, for once in your life, do the honorable thing and resign. Oh, wait, who am I talking to?
Following his nomination by President George W. Bush to the post of Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court to replace the retiring Sandra Day O’Connor, Judge Samuel Alito’s membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) was raised.
So he belonged to an organization at Princeton, what’s the big deal?
Well, normally membership to organizations might not mean anything, but what if a future member of the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, one of nine lifetime appointments, was to have belonged to an organization which had as its expressed goals the limiting of admissions of women and minorities to a college or university?
Under today’s standards for choosing members of the Supreme Court as outlined by Rush, Hannity, Beck, et al, Justice Alito’s membership in such an organization would have been seen as “overtly racist” and as a certain “disqualification”.
Using the standards of R, H, B et al, we would be forced to make the following comparison: “What if a Latina nominated to the Supreme Court had belonged to an organization which stated as one of its founding principles the exclusion of men and especially white men from a college campus?
“We would have to conclude that such a membership was racist, and that she should be excluded from serving on the highest court in the land; that she should be excluded from being rewarded with one of only nine lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court”.
But what if that Associate Justice had forgotten about his membership in this nefarious organization? Or at the very least claimed to have forgotten? When questioned by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) about his involvement, his membership, in CAP Alito claimed to have no memory of being a member of the group. It was pointed out however, that in his 1985 ‘Personal Qualifications Statement’ when applying to be an Assistant Attorney General, he listed his membership in CAP as a qualification.
So, a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court claims on an application in 1985 to belong to a campus organization, but 20 years later says he can’t remember belonging to the group? It can only be concluded that Mr. Alito lied. He either lied when he applied to be an Assistant Attorney General, or he lied under oath during his confirmation hearing when he claimed he couldn’t remember belonging to CAP.
Seems to me that a nominee to the United States Supreme Court not only appears to have belonged to a racist, sexist organization while attending law school, but that he also lied about his membership in the same organization.
Under the newly constitued rules for determining a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, the rules as imposed by the esteemed legal team of Rush, Hannity, Beck et al, it would appear that Associate Justice Samuel Alito is not only a racist, but also a liar. Either of which, or both of which, would certainly be a disqualification.
You can’t have it all one way fellas. A standard of qualification is a standard. You can’t have your judical cake and eat it too.
So, Rush has declared that Sotomayor is a racist. Thus she must be a racist. At least that’s what Rush and his 14 million listeners believe. Thank God it’s only 14 million, because that means the majority of the Republican Party is still in control of its senses. Maybe one day the adults will once again run the GOP.
El Rushbo declared today, “I said this on Tuesday, to tell the American people who Obama is. She is a reflection of Barack Obama’s own racial identity, his own bigotry. That’s why she was chosen.”
On her qualifications for sitting on the Supreme Court Rush said, “Sotomayor’s ‘wise Latina’ comment is absolutely disqualifying.
“When a nominee for the United State’s Supreme Court, one of only nine lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court, one of only nine makes an overtly brazen racist comment about tens of millions of American citizens while she is a judge and that nominee is rewarded for it with a nomination to the Supreme Court, we don’t need lectures. I don’t need lectures from any columnist or any commentator on TV about decorum.”
On commenting about opposing President Obama’s pick to replace retiring Justice David Souter Rush said, “But Republicans are supposed to sit by and watch this person who is utterly unqualified be confirmed? The only reason the Republicans are putting duct tape on their mouths is to appease critics. They’re being told that shutting up and holding back is smart politics.”
There’s something “self-destructive,” Rush said, about Republicans not challenging Sotomayor, adding: “Letting Sonia Sotomayor get away with her statement is renouncing decades of progress in civil rights. Do you understand what a setback this is?”
Rush Limbaugh is going to lecture President Obama about “renouncing decades of progress in civil rights”? You’ve got to be kidding me. The only “setback” occurring from this nomination is the setback to the Republican Party if it actually listens to the likes of Limbaugh, Levine, Beck, et al.
Maha Rushdi continued his attack on Sotomayor saying, “A woman as a judge makes a blatantly racist, bigoted comment and she is rewarded with a promotion to the Supreme Court?”
“So we have made a lot of progress with civil rights but now, with this? How do you get promoted in the Barack Obama administration? By hating white people or even saying you do or that they’re not good — put them down, whatever.
“However, those who do vote for her are voting to enshrine bigotry on the Supreme Court and to renounce decades of racial progress.” The question needs to be asked, said Rush: How could a president nominate such a candidate? Rush added: “That’s what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke or pick somebody even less offensive.”
So, to get promoted in the Obama Administration you have to either be a racist or do something racist? If you are Barack Obama anything you do is questioned as racist against white Americans. Did I hear correctly? Is Rush Limbaugh, the titular head of the Republican Party actually comparing a very respected, highly qualified judge to Daivd Duke?
How can someone like Rush, himself a sexist, bigoted, racist, call someone else a racist? And make no mistake, Rush is a sexist, bigoted, racist. He routinely calls women “babes” and “feminazi”, and once told a Black caller to “remove the bone from her nose” and to call him back.. He most recently claimed it must have been hard for President Obama to order the Navy to shoot the Black teenage pirates. Rush is a racist, and he and others like him are leading the GOP to its own destruction.
Tuesday, President Barack Obama made history – once again – when he nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice David Souter. Almost immediately, numerous right-wing radio talk hosts began smearing Judge Sotomayor as a racist and a bigot.
These hosts have been citing remarks Judge Sotomayor made during a speech at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law in 2002, when she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
Titular head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh claimed Sotomayor is a “reverse racist”; radio host Mark Levin called her a “bigot”; and Glenn Beck claimed Sotomayor made “one of the most outrageous racist remarks I’ve heard. … She sure sounds like a racist.”
Well, if Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levine and Glenn Beck said it then it must be true.
Of course what the right-wing doesn’t do is say under what circumstances Judge Sotomayor made her allegedly racists statement.
Judge Sotomayor was specifically referring to the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases. Something a woman, and especially a woman of color, might have just a little more practical knowledge about than a white male.
So, if Judge Sotomayor is a racists for daring to suggest that a Latina might be better qualified than a white male regarding race and sex discrimination cases, then what about Justice Clarence Thomas’ comments made during his Senate confirmation hearings responding to the question of why he “want[ed] this job,” Thomas responded, “I believe … that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does.”
How can Justice Thomas “bring something different to the Court”? Is his educational background significantly different than the other Justices? No. What about his legal or judicial background, is it significantly different from the other Justices? No. So the difference must be, maybe, his race?
In making such a statement, according to the standards put in place by Rush, Levine and Beck, Justice Clarence Thomas must be a racist and a bigot.
During Tuesday’s broadcast of his show, Limbaugh said of Sotomayor: “So here you have a racist. You might — you might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. And the libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don’t have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he’s appointed one.”
So, according to Rush, not only is Judge Sotomayor a racist, but President Obama is a racist as well?
Rush continued his theorizing, “In another example of her radical judicial philosophy, Sonia Sotomayor stated in a 2002 speech at Berkeley that she believes it’s appropriate for a judge to consider, quote, ‘their experiences as women and people of color’ — reverse racism. She’s a minority. Only she can understand the horrible trials and tribulations minorities have gone through, and the courts are the places where their grievances are redressed — and they’re not. The court is where the law is dealt with.
“In the same speech, Sonia Sotomayor went on to say, quote, ‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experience, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’ If that’s not a racist statement, I don’t know what is — reverse racist or whatever.
During his Tuesday radio show broadcast, Levin claimed of “so-called moderate” Democratic senators voting on Sotomayor: “These people need to understand that if they vote to confirm a radical leftist — and I will now say what I actually believe — who is a bigot — that’s right, I said it — then they need to pay a political price for this.”
Levin later said, “Let me defend my position that I believe this nominee is bigoted.” He continued, “Sonia Sotomayor gave a speech declaring that the ethnicity and sex of a judge, quote, ‘may and will make a difference in our judging.’ She said, quote, ‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’ Now I’m sure they’ll spin it. I’m sure they’ll attack those of us who see something like this as a red flag, but there is no way — there is no way you can justify a statement like that other than a bigoted statement. That’s not based on somebody’s content or character, as Martin Luther King would say. That’s based on a generalized statement about race and ethnicity. That statement alone — that statement alone should disqualify her. Period.”
So, would Mr. Levine also say that based on his “generalized statement about race and ethnicity” that Justice Clarence Thomas, based upon “that statement alone – that statement alone should disqualify him. Period?”
On Tuesday’s edition of his Fox “News” program, Glenn Beck said Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comments “smacks of racism” and is “one of the most outrageous racist remarks I’ve heard.” Beck later claimed, “I don’t like the charges of, ‘Oh, you’re a racist. They’re a racist.’ Very few people are racist.
“There are racists and they’re bad people. And — but it’s — most Americans are good, just decent people, and I hate the charges and cries of racism. But when I hear this — I mean, gee. She sure sounds like a racist here.”
Would Beck ascribe the same standard to Clarence Thomas? If he were to listen to Justice Thomas’ statement would he say, “But when I hear this — I mean, gee. He sure sounds like a racist here?”
So, is Judge Sotomayor a racist as Limbaugh, Levine and Beck claim she is?
Well, first, considering the source; and second, looking at what was said in context, and from the position of thinking adult; The only possible answer is no she is not a racist, anymore than Justice Clarence Thomas is a racist, and the conservatives are extremely hard pressed to oppose her if this is their best shot.