Category Archives: law and social justice

He believed in our better natures

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble Nelson Mandela6a00d83451f25369e200e54f0c830c8833-800winelson_mandela-               go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

“I am not saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice”

MANDELA6X432(Sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with his one time jailer, South African President de Klerk.)

It’s so ugly and we allow it

This clip is from QI, a British panel show, hosted by Stephen Fry.Fry asks the participants “where one percent of Americans can be found.” You and I know the answer is ‘prison’. But the contestants did not. Watch then – as they learn and draw their conclusions.

This is how we roll down here in The Sunshine State

Will someone explain this to me please.

(CNN) — Saying he had no discretion under state law, a judge sentenced a Jacksonville, Florida, woman to 20 years in prison Friday for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

Marissa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law to derail the prosecution, but a jury in March convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation.

(Lost in the circus these last weeks: the Zimmerman case first made national headlines, not just because of racial overtones, but because it was the case wherein the rest of the country was introduced to Florida’s twisted “Stand Your Ground Law”. Most of us were repulsed. But hey . . . )

It can’t be stopped: there’s a new one every day of the week

I usually try to stay away from these kinds of stories but honestly . . . to me, today, these two no longer look like outliers. From the always amusing and sometimes squirm-worthy Dependable Renegade, where mockery of the stupid is an art form:

  • The Safety Net – North Carolina (motto: “We’re Number 45!”) has cut unemployment benefits so far that they are disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless. The changes go into effect Sunday for North Carolina, which has the country’s fifth-worst jobless rate.
  •  Free Speech! – Xristian Xrazie Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Satan’s Hollow) decided that allowing sodomite colleagues to speak on the floor of the legislature about DOMA was a bridge too far: [he said] “I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law.”

Okeydokee.

Say no more

scaliaScalia on DOMA (passed by Congress almost 20 years ago ago by a vote of 85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House):

We have no power to decide this case,” Scalia wrote. “And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.

Scalia on Affirmative Action (law was extended by Congress in 2006 for 25 more years by a vote of  98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House):

Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes… It’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress

And jkust for the heck of it, here’s somerthig else he wrote:

DOMA is motivated by ‘bare … desire to harm’ couples in same-sex marriages

Some Constitutional rigor there, eh?

What will The Nine sayeth?

As those who give a damn wait for the Supreme Court to wrap up this session and announce their final decisions, I dare to repost my own predictions. Know that I bravely put these out here so that you may bow to my majesty if I’m right, or mock me without mercy if I’m wrong.

  • DOMA – The Supremes knock it down as unconstitutional
  • California Prop 8 – unconstitutional
  • Affirmative Action – limited decision, but basically will say the program has – in some instances – run its course. They side for the Plaintiff.

Security or civil liberties – what’ll it be?

boston policeIn an earlier post, I quoted (and agreed with) Ron Paul in his expression of concern about the militarized nature of the response to the Boston bombings. In the comments, I responded to a polite challenge from jamesb who put forward a common question: “If those two young men had walked into a house and held someone hostage with bombs…..”

I replied:

james, there will always be dilemmas confronting us when we try to balance state security with civil liberties. Which, as a society, do we decide is most in need of protection? Hostage crises, for instance, have happened throughout history, whereas the US Bill of Rights stood alone for centuries as an enormous step forward for mankind.

“Jonathan Turley, a Constitutional lawyer, says it best at his blog in a post titled “The Pavlovian Politics of Terror”:

“My greatest concern is that the Boston response will become the accepted or standard procedure . . .

. . . as a thousand papercuts from countless new laws and surveillance systems slowly kill our privacy, we might want to ask whether a fishbowl society will actually make us safer or just make us feel that way.”

Jim  Wheeler agreed:

Legislation enacted out of fear is fraught with peril, e.g., The Patriot Act.

Just wanted to put this out there.

An impartial jury for Boston bomber? Not possible.

Whatever the final outcome of our usual silly round-robin of indignity about which set of laws to use when prosecuting the surviving Boston bomber, whatever that outcome, one thing seems obvious to me.

After nine full days (so far!) of near full-time television coverage of the event, prosecutors will not be able to seat an impartial trial jury.

 

An astonishing statement from a sitting Justice

Again, from Jeffrey Toobin’s latest SCOTUS book:

By the time Sandra Day O’Connor was leaving the court in July of 2005, she had already let it be known that she regretted her vote in Bush v. Gore. (A Goldwater Republican from Arizona, O’Connor – as most of us know – was often the ‘swing’ vote on the Court, and it was in that case.)

By ’05, she considered the Bush presidency to have been a disaster. On one of her last days at the Court, in conversation with Justice Souter (a Republican appointee who usually voted with the liberals), she said:

“What makes this harder is that it’s my party that is destroying the Country.

I thought Republicans were for a strong military and a balanced budget . . . Bush repudiated all of that.”

Guns, damn guns and things I didn’t know: Part the gajillionth

During the American Revolution, local militias –  who played the role of today’s  National Guard – had no collective arms and depended entirely upon the arms and ammunition of private citizens. (Okay, I knew that part.)

american-colonial-militia-rifleman-randy-steeleTo facilitate response time (the British are coming! the British are coming!), they often stockpiled their arms in one place for easy access. Basically, an armory.

Before the Revolution and in its very early days, the British – the ‘central government’ of that day – took to seizing those arms, something the good folks  took personally – those guns were private property after all. (Might that be the origin of our love affair with personal weapons – well, public weapons as well, since we are the largest arms exporter in the world.)

There are several references to militias in The Constitution (which I did not know; I thought it was only addressed in the Second Amendment). Article I assigns Congress the power to:

. . . provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; [and]

To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing of such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States.

(I’m getting this from Jeffrey Toobin’s terrific 2012 book about Obama and the Roberts Court by the way.)

Toobin goes on:

Article II says the president is C in C of the army, navy and “Militia of the Several States when called into the actual Service of the United States”. It wasn’t until the Militia Act of 1903 that their functions were formally subsumed into other agencies, like the National Guard . . .

And this: in the first 200 years of our existence, the Supreme Court discussed the Second Amendment exactly once, in 1938. It – U.S. v. Miller – was a challenge to the National Firearms Act passed in 1934 in response to the gang violence of the day and in particular to the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, which horrified the country not least because ‘machine guns’ were used. The Court ruled – unanimously – that the Act complied fully with the Second Amendment. Justice McReynolds spoke for the Court, saying they’d concluded that the Second Amendment existed to preserve the rights of militias – not individuals – to keep and bear arms.

And the issue disappeared once again, resurfacing only after the Kennedy assassinations.

massacreThe Gun Control Act of 1968 had widespread public support including the strong support of the NRA (when they still represented actual gun owners). 

IRONY ALERT: That didn’t change until Ronald Reagan’s 1976 campaign for the presidency. Writing an article for Guns and Ammo in 1975, he set off an entirely different conversation about guns, working opposition into a libertarian message, even insisting that the Second Amendment prohibited gun control – so much so that the 1976 Republican platform proclaimed a new-found opposition to gun control, reversing its previous 1972 platform supporting gun control. And in 1977, hard-liners staged a coup d’etat at the NRA to align with the new position). Everything changed.

But back to 1939. Toobin calls the U.S. v. Miller decision:

entirely originalist in its reasoning. The opinion quoted the provisions of Article I  dealing with the powers and then stated “With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.”

Toobin continues:

Indeed, if the Second Amendment were intended by its framers to give individuals a right to keep and bear arms, the initial militia clause [“A well-regulated Militia  being necessary”, etc.] would be both unnecessary and meaningless.”

I find the reasoning of both that 1939 Court and of Jeffrey Toobin to be impeccable. (And as proof that I care, know that I had to type all this . . . no cut and paste from da books!)

An elegant and kind man with a poet’s touch

roger_ebertRoger Ebert, who died yesterday, began blogging in earnest some years back after cancer robbed him of speech. He racked up millions of hits and every post generated hundreds of comments.  I’ve written about him a few times. From March of 2010:

I discovered his blog a few months ago and was enchanted – a fine writer, a profoundly human man and very very brave. He’s wasting away from cancer – can no longer speak or eat. He doesn’t even have a jaw anymore. And yet he blogs. And he cares. And he has his finger on the pulse of the humanity that is us. I wish I knew him.

Roger Ebert’s Journal was much more than movies; while he chronicled the challenges of his illness he also wrote – always elegantly – of so many other things – of politics, music, art, children and cooking.

He and I were born in the same year, so when he wrote of his own youth, which he often did – as often happens with those battling terminal illnesses – I went back in time with him. Like in this passage from a very recent post titled “How I am a Roman Catholic”:

The nuns at St. Mary’s were Dominicans. They lived in a small square convent behind the school, holding six nuns (some taught two grades) and a cook and their housekeeping nun, who kept a sharp eye trained on us through her screen door. We had humble playground equipment, a swing set and two basketball hoops. Our principal sport was playing King of the World. This involved two boys standing on a log, each trying to push the other off. The housekeeper would open the screen door and shout, “If you break your necks, you have only yourselves to blame.”

It was from these nuns, especially Sister Nathan and Sister Rosanne, that I learned my core moral and political principles. I assumed they were Roman Catholic dogma. Many of them involved a Social Contract between God and man, which represented classical liberalism based on empathy and economic fairness. We heard much of Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum”–“On Capital and Labor.”

I’ll miss him and his writing but I’ll go back now and again to the archives. There is wisdom there.

Like heteroxexuals would never do that: Part the Second

From the London Daily Telegraph:

Jeremy Irons, the Oscar-winning actor, has provoked outrage by suggesting that same sex marriage laws could allow fathers to marry their sons to avoid paying inheritance tax.

Only the son you understand, not the daughter.

When reminded about laws which prohibit sexual relationships between family members, he responded: “It’s not incest between men”, adding: “Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don’t breed.”

Oh boy, this one is dead, dead, dead.

DOMA is so going down. CSpan has started broadcasting the audio from today’s arguments at SCOTUS on the challenge to DOMA, that most elegant construct of an insane Congress. They did the deed 13  17  years ago (and got ole Bill Clinton to sign it in an election year when he was already winding his presidency down and didn’t have to do it).

Back in November, your humble blogger predicted (in comments) that the Court would overturn DOMA, and as I listen to today’s audio, it sure sounds like they will do just that and with a healthy majority. We won’t know till May or June.

I haven’t had time yet to listen to yesterday’s arguments on Prop 8, but even if I had, after listening to and reading the observations of  the commentaries I wouldn’t dare predict except for one thing of which I am certain: the Court will not actually uphold Prop 8. There are many ways they can dodge or they can issue what they call a ‘narrow ruling’. They can even decide not to decide. 

I don’t know if they can do this in the Prop 8 case, but a happy outcome would be if they can say that every State must recognize marriages that are legal in other States. That would pretty much do it. I wonder if that’s similar to using the ‘Commerce clause’ as they did in Obamacare?

But in both cases I absolutely trust the Court will not issue any rulings that would actually restrict or deny rights. That’s not the business they’re in.

 (And, like with the ACA opinion, Roberts will buck the politics of the issue and vote to strike down DOMA.)

Elizabeth Warren asks the right question. Gets no answers.

Why I love this woman – speak truth to power Senator, make them squirm.

Not Eric Holder again! By the way, I thought corporations were people . . .

 . . . and don’t people go to jail when they commit crimes? Well, they don’t when  the head of the Federal justice system is Eric Holder who is NOT stepping down for the second term and who was head of Justice in the spring of this year when this was going on.

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)’s head of group compliance, David Bagley, told a Senate hearing he will step down amid claims the bank gave terrorists, drug cartels and criminals access to the U.S. financial system by failing to guard against money laundering.

Bagley was among at least six HSBC executives who testified before the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations today after the panel released a 335-page report describing a decade of compliance failures by Europe’s biggest bank. London-based HSBC enabled drug lords to launder money in Mexico, did business with firms linked to terrorism and concealed transactions that bypassed U.S. sanctions against Iran, Senate investigators said in the report.

So Mr. Bagley and his buddies said they were ever so sorry before heading back to the company ‘retreat’ at Cabo and after, of course, paying a fine in an amount that they can earn back in a week.

That’ll show ’em alright.

Obama’s Cabinet has included some really terrific, skilled and well-suited people. I don’t count Holder among them. I’ll admit to being ignorant regarding many of his policies and initiatives. Maybe they’re good. Maybe they’re great. But when it comes to punishing corporate ‘persons’, those whose crimes almost brought down the world economy? FAIL..

No investment bankers are in jail. No one from AIG is in jail. Not even anyone from Countrywide. Or Arthur Anderson. Or the other rating agencies. And how about LIBOR? Any US companies complicit in that?

By any  measurement, letting them off with fines is sufficient reason to judge him a failure. I suppose that only when they do it two more times will they, like the 20-year-old marijuana smoker down the street, head to the big house.

The five Senators who made up the Keating Five plus Mr. Keating (bottom right)

The five Senators who made up the Keating Five plus Mr. Keating (bottom right)

Anyone remember the Savings & Loan scandal in the Reagan years? It wasn’t as far-reaching as 2008, but it was pretty damn big. There were plenty of perp walks (but not for everyone, not for everyone – see below). A lot of people paid for their corporate crimes. But that’s s-o-o-o yesterday.

For you younger ones:

Savings and loan crisis in which 747 institutions failed and had to be rescued with $160 billion in taxpayer dollars.[33] Reagan’s “elimination of loopholes” in the tax code included the elimination of the “passive loss” provisions that subsidized rental housing. Because this was removed retroactively, it bankrupted many real estate developments which used this tax break as a premise, which in turn bankrupted 747 Savings and Loans, many of whom were operating, more or less, as banks, thus requiring the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to cover their debts and losses with tax payer money. This with some other “deregulation” policies, ultimately led to the largest political and financial scandal in U.S. history to that date. The savings and Loan crisis. The ultimate cost of the crisis is estimated to have totaled around USD $150 billion, about $125 billion of which was directly subsidized by the U.S. government, which further increased the large budget deficits of the early 1990s. See Keating Five.

Who were the Keating Five you may ask? And why are they relevant?

The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The five senators – Alan Cranston (Democrat of California), Dennis DeConcini (Democrat of Arizona), John Glenn (Democrat of Ohio), John McCain (Republican of Arizona), and Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (Democrat of Michigan) – were accused of improperly intervening in 1987 on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of a regulatory investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB). The FHLBB subsequently backed off taking action against Lincoln.

Lincoln Savings and Loan collapsed in 1989, at a cost of over $3 billion to the federal government. Some 23,000 Lincoln bondholders were defrauded and many investors lost their life savings. The substantial political contributions Keating had made to each of the senators, totaling $1.3 million, attracted considerable public and media attention. After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that Cranston, DeConcini, and Riegle had substantially and improperly interfered with the FHLBB’s investigation of Lincoln Savings, with Cranston receiving a formal reprimand. Senators Glenn and McCain were cleared of having acted improperly but were criticized for having exercised “poor judgment”.

All five senators served out their terms. Only Glenn and McCain ran for re-election, and they both retained their seats. McCain would go on to run for President of the United States twice, including being the Republican Party nominee in 2008.

Like I said, it wasn’t all perp walks. A number of hands were slapped. And for them, that was that. (Another of the big players was GHW Bush’s son Neil Bush. Big play-ah.)

But no one smoked any weed, so . . .

Time Magazine got it wrong

malalaTheir no longer so eagerly-awaited “Person of the Year’ issue is out and they’ve chosen President Obama. That’s a FAIL.

Look, I’m an Obama fan. I think he’s acquited himself quite well as president and I continue to hold a little bit of hope that he might do more this term. But still, FAIL.

US Presidents are always consequential. Always. But this year, I think the most consequential person on the planet was a 14-year old girl.

Person of the Year should be Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who stood up for women’s rights, for human rights and continued to do so even as the Taliban threatened to kill her. Still she stood as tall as a person can stand.

What Malala did, what she now stands for, might be as consequential as the Arab Spring is. She’s the Arab Rosa Parks. She’s a hero.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead) 

It’ll happen now

The Supreme Court has just said they’ll ‘take up’ the gay marriage case. They’re almost certain to  find DOMA and other State laws unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court is not in the business of codifying denials of human rights.

So sometime next spring, expect full rights to be established as the law in the United States.

Tony Perkins needs a drink. Hope someone offers one to the poor guy.

(and I will finally get to wear that dress to my best old buddies wedding . . . )

The next big story

Life will go on. Sandy will pass and elections will conclude too. And damage will be done all around. But the world will still turn, especially up in that big white palace of justice in DC. Details at scotusblog, here.

They want to rig it, not fix it

Isn’t it a comfort to know that Gov. Voldemort and his paranoid cynical minions in the Florida Republican Patty are moving aggressively, along with other Republican legislatures, to fix a non-problem that they invented out of thin air ? Just like with that earlier threat to the nation, ‘Welfare Queens’, attention must be paid!

Voter registration fraud must be stopped! And dammit, here in Florida, we’re making that happen. Just in my own tri-county area, where we’ve finished running the State lists against our own rolls, of our 100K+ registered voters, two have been proved to be cases of actual voting fraud. Two whole people.

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars plus thousands of man hours from public employees have been expended. Two cases.

Today, The NY Times (sorry, no linkee) reports that in 2005, the election reform bipartisan ‘commision of  that day, led by former Sect’y of State James Baker and former Prez Jimmy Carter, found  that 140,000 Florida voters were registered for absentee ballots in four other states – 46,000 in New York City alone. Another 60,000 were also registered  simultaneously in North or South Carolina. When a few thousand of those registered for absentee ballots in Florida, their second state, there was no investigation. Repeat, there was no investigation.

In a comment thread over at MashedPotatoBulletin about the voter ID push, I said:

I don’t think many people would object if the process were announced and then implemented over a period of years allowing sufficient time for everyone to get the ID. Once we’ve all got one, it’ll be easy to put a process in place to plug in new voters as they qualify. In fact, I think every citizen should be issued a voter ID card whether they register or not. Just get it done and cut out that silly middle step.. It could be Federal and make it acceptable for all States.

If it were done that way, I’d be fine with it. But of course that’s not how it’s being done because ID itself is not the point. Suppression is the point.

Onward Christian soldiers. March as to war; it’s the Republican way.

Make the insanity stop – or give me his job, and then I won’t care

(I’m pasting-in this clip from the WSJ to show that this  is a bona fide story and not something out of a Muslim commie Kenyan anti-colonialist way gay anti-American dream factory.)

Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke.That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesn’t disparage his former employer, the filing said.

The Duke board voted for Johnson’s resignation, and since Johnson was eligible for severance if he quit for “good reason,” he is able to collect his $44 million. Grist calculates that Johnson’s pay package comes out to $5.5 million per hour, if he actually put in a full 8-hour day.

Bill Moyers talks to smart people

M y brother was here last week. We talked a lot about many things. He’s a fine conversationalist he is. And I’m not bad, so we had a good time. But he’s got an edge on me with the depth and breadth of his knowledge. And personal experience wtih much of which he speaks.

He’s a PhD in Philosophy, a former priest who studied texts in Latin and Hebrew. He’s a father and a grandfather. He’s a sailor and a superb do-it-yourselfer (a longtime fantasy of mine is to have him prisoner for a week in my house with his tools and no books. That would be sweet.)

He’s a lecturer, a college professor, a prolific author and travels extensively to meetings and workshops here and in Europe and in Africa. I’ve no idea how he has time to do any of these things. It’s annoying.

One of the things we talked about was labor and labor unions. I said I thought that the union model, as practiced today, has failed. It was the right model for a long time but is the wrong model for these times and needs to be reinvented.

He disagreed. But here’s some evidence that, for maybe the first time ever, because some very smart people are saying the same thing, I was right and he was wrong.

The relevant discussion is the first 20 minutes or so here from yesterday’s Bill Moyers’ show. It’s fascinating.

Say hello to America’s debtors’ prisons. The 19th century is all the fashion, bitches!

Did you know about this? I didn’t. (Charles Dickens however was very familiar with this particular script.)

Here’s the story at Naked Capitalism from 2010. It’s not only still going on, it’s far worse today. And in the new American way, we’ve invited private companies to handle the matter, with enough profits to – ahem – make a few campaign contributions to their favorite pols. It’s a whole new growth industry. (Because Elvis-forbid that States should add public sector jobs! If it’s jobbed out, and thus off the State payroll, and even though it’s more costly (in more ways than one), our elected officials then can’t be accused of adding government jobs when they run for re-election. Sweet.

The practice is spreading because it’s such a good economic model – spend State money to imprison debtors, then close them off from any avenue by which they could repay that debt. And in most cases, add a few fees and let them compound. Brilliant, yes?  And it’s so rightous. And godly.

Here’s a  CBS News story from April of this year: 

How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn’t pay a medical bill — one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn’t owe. “She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn’t have to pay it,” The Associated Press reports. “But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs.”

Although the U.S. abolished debtors’ prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don’t pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff’s deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP.

I especially liked this part:

Some states also apply “poverty penalties,” including late fees, payment plan fees, and interest when people are unable to pay all their debts at once, according to a report by the New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender.

Exactly: “The Roberts Court is born”

And this is why I always thought the Chief Justice would find a way to uphold Obamacare.

 Had Obamacare been voided, it would have inevitably led to charges of aggressive judicial activism.  Roberts peered over the abyss and decided he didn’t want to go there.

Roberts’ decision was consistent with his confirmation hearings pledge to respect the co-equal branches of government, push for consensus, and reach narrow rulings designed to build broad coalitions on the Court. He promised to respect precedent. His jurisprudence, he said, would be marked by “modesty and humility” and protection of the precious institutional legitimacy of the Court.

Today, the institutional legitimacy of the Court was buttressed. President Obama wasn’t the only winner at the Supreme Court today. So was the Supreme Court itself.

So this case was the one where he finally decided to adhere to those oft stated principles, which he’s previously ignored. But he has also expressed the hope that he could loosen the partisan divide on the Court, reduce the number of 5-4  votes, and has said he would like more unanimous decisions.

Think of it this way

If the Supremes overturn the ACA, four justices appointed by Republican presidents will have voted in lock step with Congressional Republicans, not one of whom voted for the bill.

(I’m staying out on my limb – I think Roberts votes for Obamacare. And if he does, so does Kennedy.)

One problem solved: It’s okay to be Takei. But what does one say in Virginia now that ‘climate change’ is banned?

Dick Cheney’s daughter got all gay-married

Damn that Obama.

 

Until 1974. They did it until 1974.

Between 1929 and 1974, the North Carolina Eugenics Board sterilized thousands of men and women without their knowledge or consent, most of whom were poor, black, disabled, institutionalized, or undereducated. According to TPM, an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 of them are still alive, and 146 of them have been found and verified. After years of working with victims to come up with an acceptable solution, the state’s House, led by Republican speaker Thom Tillis, proposed paying $50,000 to each of the living victims of the state’s foray into messing with the gene pool. A total of $10 million was set aside for currently known and to-be-discovered victims.

Upon reflection however, today’s Senate Republicans would rather not do that. After all, it was just sterilization.

Sen. Don East said, “I’m so sorry it happened, but throwing money don’t change it, don’t make it go away. It still happened.”

Sen. Austin Allrand  “I’m not so sure it would lay the issue at rest because if you start compensating people who have been ‘victimized’ by past history, I don’t know where that would end.”

After all,  these people were ‘feeble minded’ and illiterate guardians signed their X’s, so it was all legal.

Elaine Riddick Jessie is an African-American woman who, as a 14-year-old girl in 1968, was forcibly sterilized by the Eugenics Board of North Carolina, which argued that she was “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.”

Prior to the sterilization (at age 13), Jessie had been kidnapped, molested, and raped.

The South rises again.

Everyone in Florida loves guns except the cops

News from Tallahassee this morning – the NRA wants those cops to get out of the way dammit.

The National Rifle Association . . .  is surveying state sheriff candidates on whether they’re willing to take a stand against the very association that will represent them in the Capitol if they win.

Their survey sent to candidates takes aim at the Florida Sheriff’s Association and other law enforcement groups, sheriffs and deputies that have opposed bills the two groups support.

Muslim-commie League of Women Voters back in business

 

I am not done yet!

Gov. Voldemort loses one to Florida’s citizenry and the Leauge of Women Voters! From my paper’s Tallahassee bureau this morning:

Faced with the prospect of harsh penalties under Florida’s new elections law, the League of Women Voters of Florida has been unable to register voters for the last year — an unprecedented hiatus in the civic group’s 72-year history.

“It’s been a very difficult year for us,” said Deirdre Macnab, president of the League in Florida. “It’s had a big, big impact for our organizations.”

Since the Republican-led Legislature passed a broad election law last spring, registration drives by third-party groups, inclulding the League, have ground to a halt in the state. But those registration drives are expected to begin anew with U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s temporary injunction against the 48-hour limit, which the judge described as a “virtually impossible burden” on the third-party groups

 

 

At least they didn’t make us marry the goat