Tag Archives: Supreme Court
Conservatives prove once again why we have protections under the First Amendment
Thank You Republican/Tea Party types for making my point as to why DOMA and Prop 8 were unconstitutional; if your opposition to same-sex marriage and banning it by law is based on your religious values then those laws are clearly unconstitutional under the separation of Church and State provisions of the First Amendment.
Bill Armistead, Chairman of the Republican Party in Alabama
“I am disappointed to learn that SCOTUS has struck down DOMA and will now require that federal benefits be extended to homosexual couples. This is an affront to the Christian principles that this nation was founded on. The federal government is hijacking marriage, a uniquely religious institution, and they must be stopped. This is a nation founded on Christian values and the Bible is very clear on marriage – one man and one woman. Alabama’s state law banning gay marriage will prevent these benefits from being extended in Alabama, but our tax dollars will still go to support a lifestyle that we fundamentally disagree with.”
Of course any student of the Bible knows that Armistead’s views on marriage being between “one man and one woman” are not even close to true. In Genesis chapter 16 we read that Sarai gives her hand maid Hagar to Abram as his wife; Sarai was Abram’s first wife and by giving him Hagar she created a plural marriage.
In Genesis 25 we learn that Abram – now Abraham – takes another wife, this one’s name is Keturah. Let’s see, so far that makes three wives in this plurality.
In Genesis 30 Jacob marries Bilhah and Zilpah after already being married to Leah and Rachel. Seems like the Biblical definition of marriage being between “one man and one woman” isn’t quite so clear, now is it? Perhaps Mr. Armistead should pay a little more attention in Sunday school.
In Deuteronomy 21 the inheritance rights of children born into a plural marriage are established.
In Samuel 2 we read how David took his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail with him when he went to Hebron.
In 1 Kings 11 we learn that Solomon had 700 wives – 700!
In 2 Chronicles 13 we can read how Abijah had fourteen wives.
FOX Huckster Mike Huckabee
“My thoughts on the SCOTUS ruling that determined that same sex marriage is okay: “Jesus wept.”
And this would be? Jesus wept because the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Constitution? Of course He did Mike, of course He did; whatever. If Jesus is weeping it’s more likely because of the hate being spewed in His name by so-called Christians like yourself, and less likely based upon the Court’s decision to allow people freedom of choice in whom they will marry.
Congresswoman Michelle Bachman
“This decision is one that is profound because the Supreme Court not only attacked our Constitution today, they not only attacked the equal protection rights of every citizen under our Constitution, they attacked something that they have no jurisdiction over whatsoever, the foundational unit of our society, which is marriage.
“That is something that God created. That is something that God will define. The Supreme Court, though they may think so, have not risen to the level of God.”
How did the Court attack the Constitution? Was it by upholding it?
Marriage, by-the-way Congresswoman, IS regulated by the state, and hence the Court certainly DOES have jurisdiction over it.
And, since laws in this nation aren’t supposed to founded on the religious whims of fanatics like the soon to be retired Bachman, pointing out that her views of the legality of DOMA and Prop 8 are strictly religious in nature she helps make both mine and the Court’s point.
Senator Rand Paul
“If you change one variable — man and a woman to man and man, and woman and woman — you cannot then tell me that, you can’t logically tell me you can’t change the other variable — one man, three women. Uh, one woman, four men…. If I’m a devout Muslim and I come over here and I have three wives, who are you to say if I’m an American citizen, that I can’t have multiple marriages? I think this is the conundrum and gets back to what you were saying in the opening — whether or not churches should decide this. But it is difficult because if we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans?”
Attacking the rulings from the point of view that it might lead to polygamy, and of course the inevitable far-right white bread Christian leap that it will lead to people marrying animals, which is such a leap it doesn’t deserve to be answered. But of course he couldn’t resist the dig at Islam, throwing out the fear card that this will lead to a Muslim state of polygamous Shariah law. His fear of course is that the First Amendment would, and in all reality should, protect the right of the Islamic belief of plural marriage, being a religious tenant. Funny how religion in America to these types only extends to their own narrow views of Christianity.
Conservative leader doubles down on gay bashing
Once again a leading member of the Republican Lunatic Tea Party (GOLTP) is demonstrating exactly why they’re continuously getting pummeled on the national level politically; Michigan GOLTP National Committee leader Dave Agema’s defending an article he shared on Facebook suggesting gays and lesbians are responsible for “half the murders in major cities.” Agema’s responded to critics (meaning anyone with half a brain) of the post by declaring the piece was “worth sharing given the debate over gay marriage that is happening in the Supreme Court.”
But wait, Agema’s not finished! He’s also responding to a GOLTP petition calling for a more inclusive party. According to a release from Grand Traverse County Republican precinct delegate Dennis Lennox, Agema joined the thread and posted: “The real issue is the homosexual community is pushing same-sex marriage which will be taught in schools as an alternative lifestyle.”
Another delegate responded: “Our point is that it is one thing to articulate your values but another to be mean about them. Virtuous decorum is symbolic of a principled man of integrity. Let’s keep the smut on the sidelines.”
Not to be corrected, Agema fired back:
“You have misquoted and maligned — exactly what you accused me of but I didn’t. The people of America have the right to know what lays ahead if the Supreme Court rules the wrong way.”
Of course the “wrong way” means any way but the his way.
“You want to change the landscape of our party in a direction that has not be accepted for over 230 years. I’m trying to maintain our platform. You are trying to change it,” he mewed.
Meaning he wants to keep his white male Christian dominated party of hate, bigotry and intolerance just the way it is thank you very much.
Agema then posted, “Ask yourself what is mean? Ask yourself what facts you are willing to accept or whose studies are valid.”
I’m waiting to see a link to the study that was conducted showing 50% of all murders are committed by gays and lesbians, of course it’s probably next to the one stating the other half are committed by angry old white bigoted conservatives.
Lennox and other state party officials have called for Agema’s resignation:
“After trying to hide his ignorance and bigotry for several days, Dave Agema has finally admitted he seeks to promote hate, viciousness and vitriol instead of the Republican Party’s traditional forward-looking message of equal opportunity for all. Dave Agema’s extremism has no place in our Republican Party.”
Well done Mr. Lennox, Agema’s extremism has no place in 21st century America, much less a major political party. He’s a dinosaur; it’s one thing to oppose same sex marriage, it’s another to make stuff up to continue to build on the hype and fear mongering. Today’s Republican unfortunately has become just that, a party built upon a foundation of hate, mistrust and fear.
Supreme Court declines GOTP ploy to block Ohio early voting
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.
Democrats Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
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.
Beware; Reverend Ricky Perry wants to make fundamental changes to the Constitution?
Republican Tea Party (GOTP) tool and presidential hopeful, Ricky Perry, wants to change the United States Constitution – no big surprise considering his penchant for declaring if Texas didn’t like what the Federal Government was doing it would secede; but Perry has a couple of ideas specifically designed to appeal to his far-right wing conservative base, but basically to no else.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Ricky laid out his “proposed” innovations to the founding document in his book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington; and he has occasionally mentioned them on his bright shiny new campaign trail.
First, Ricky believes we America should abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.
While the revered “Founding Fathers” – who are generally thought of by conservatives as being infallible – wrote the Constitution – also considered perfect and not open to change or “modern” interpretation – there are times when uber-conservatives like Perry feel the Supreme Court’s checks and balances needs to be severely restricted or eliminated altogether. It’s one of those constitutional anomalies of today’s uber-conservatism; the Founders and the Constitution are not open to interpretation unless you’re a far-right conservative Christian male.
Article III of the Constitution reads, “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”
Ricky however believes the judges on the bench over the past century have acted beyond their constitutional bounds – no doubt with the marked exception of “Citizens United” – and that members of the judiciary are “unaccountable” to the people, and their lifetime tenure gives them free license to act however they want.
Well duh Mr. Wizard; the judges are supposed to be independent from the pressures of elections and from being subject to the pressures of constantly needing to court an electorate. Federal Courts – especially the Supreme Court – swing from left to right, and back again, over time as Democratic or GOTP presidents appoint justices. This is not a bad thing but gives a very healthy balance to the system. In spite of what Ricky and other right-wing talking heads preach and believe, if the Court was always uber-conservative it would sooner or later lead to a form of far-right Christian Shariah law, which is not what the Founders envisioned. Just as conversely, the Court shouldn’t always be progressive either. Balance is what keeps us free, and imbalance would lead to servitude.
“[W]e should take steps to restrict the unlimited power of the courts to rule over us with no accountability,” Reverend Perry says, “There are a number of ideas about how to do this . . . . One such reform would be to institute term limits on what are now lifetime appointments for federal judges, particularly those on the Supreme Court or the circuit courts, which have so much power. One proposal, for example, would have judges roll off every two years based on seniority.”
Or, we could replace the senior Justices as they die or retire? If Judges and Justices act inappropriately, such as ruling on big name money fat corporations donating whatever they want to campaigns while your wives are connected as lobbyists or sitting on boards, then the Congress can remove them through impeachment. Perry wants to make changes that would prove dangerous.
Ricky also believes that the so-called overreach of the judicial branch could be fixed by simply giving Congress the ability to veto Supreme Court decisions.
“Allow Congress to override the Supreme Court with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, which risks increased politicization of judicial decisions, but also has the benefit of letting the people stop the Court from unilaterally deciding policy,” he preaches.
I can almost hear what he’s really thinking, “If the Congress could’ve overridden Brown v. the Board of Ed then we wouldn’t have that uppity boy in the White House and y’alls children wouldn’t be going to school with Black, Mexican and them sped kids.”
But wait, destroying the checks and balances of the courts isn’t all Ricky wants to do. President Ricky would seek to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment which gives Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
“It should be abolished immediately”, Perry says.
He’s also called the Sixteenth Amendment “the great milestone on the road to serfdom,” and that “it provides a virtually blank check to the federal government to use for projects with little or no consultation from the states.”
This is after-all a secessionist talking, so it’s to be expected, and no doubt Perry would love to have the Federal Government ask “mother may I” every time it passes legislation or enacts a new law, but that’s not how things work. There’s something called the “supremacy clause” which allows the Federal Government to do what it believes is best for the entire union, if we did things the way Perry envisions we’d be returning to the era of nullification, something that was done away with when the South lost the Civil War.
Perry also wants to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment restoring the original language of the Constitution, which gave state legislators the power to appoint the members of the Senate. Ratified during the Progressive Era in 1913, the same year as the Sixteenth Amendment, the Seventeenth Amendment gives citizens the ability to elect senators on their own. Perry believes – as does Glenn Beck – that supporters of the amendment at the time were “mistakenly” propelled by “a fit of populist rage.”
“The American people mistakenly empowered the federal government during a fit of populist rage in the early twentieth century by giving it an unlimited source of income (the Sixteenth Amendment) and by changing the way senators are elected (the Seventeenth Amendment),” he claims.
Once again, this is the secessionist in Perry speaking, it’s part of his southern thinking that the people aren’t bright enough to be able to determine who sits in the upper chamber of our bicameral Congress, and that only those elected to state legislatures have the proper upbringing and education to make such heady decisions.
On another note, this is a classic example of right-wing arrogance, claiming that “The American people mistakenly empowered …” who is this red neck southern secessionists to decide that the American people mistakenly did anything?
Perry’s “most important,” plan, is to require a balanced budget amendment.
“The most important thing we could do is amend the Constitution–now–to restrict federal spending,” Perry declares. “There are generally thought to be two options: the traditional ‘balanced budget amendment’ or a straightforward ‘spending limit amendment,’ either of which would be a significant improvement. I prefer the latter . . . . Let’s use the people’s document–the Constitution–to put an actual spending limit in place to control the beast in Washington.”
Ah yes, the holiest of conservative holy grails, a balanced budget amendment. Of course, there are two things here: first, it shows Perry’s economic ignorance to proclaim the federal government should operate just like American families; the federal government operates under macroeconomics, while families operate under microeconomics. Second, how does a balanced budget amendment guarantee federal spending won’t increase and hence everyone’s taxes in order to comply with the needs of balancing the budget? You can’t write in some number the government can’t spend over, and thus you’d have to remain with a generic amendment protecting nothing but mandating the federal government raise taxes in order to balance the budget. In effect this is fluff and nonsense.
And then there’s the right-wing uber-conservative Christian Sharia law changes to the Constitution, which everyone knows was established by men who were all as devote evangelicals as Perry, Bachmann and Palin are.
Reverend Perry has changed his mind from last month’s statement that he was “fine with” states like New York allowing gay marriage, he is now declaring that he supports a constitutional amendment that would permanently ban gay marriage throughout the country and overturn any state laws that define marriage beyond a relationship between one man and one woman.
“I do respect a state’s right to have a different opinion and take a different tack if you will, California did that,” the Reverend told the Christian Broadcasting Network in August. “I respect that right, but our founding fathers also said, ‘Listen, if you all in the future think things are so important that you need to change the Constitution here’s the way you do it’.
In an interview with The Ticket earlier this month, Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said that even though it would overturn laws in several states, the amendment still fits into Perry’s broader philosophy because amendments require the ratification of three-fourths of the states to be added to the Constitution.
And coincidently, like the gay marriage issue, Reverend Perry at one time believed that abortion policy should be left to the states, as was the case before the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. But in the same Christian Broadcasting Network interview, Rev Ricky said he would support a federal amendment outlawing abortion because it was “so important…to the soul of this country and to the traditional values [of] our founding fathers.”
So, here we have the second great anomaly of current conservative double speak; they will declare with one side of their mouths that the Federal Government needs to stay out of private citizen’s lives, but will then speak out of the other side of their mouths declaring it should be able to intrude into any unchristian facets of citizen’s lives; hence they preach their Evangelical Christian Sharia law and want the Federal Government to impose religious beliefs upon the entire population. Perry – like Palin and Bachmann – is a tool of the evangelical right and a secessionists and has no business ever living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Thomas believes children are not guaranteed First Amendment 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.