Confirmation: 25 years later

hill

Washingtonpost.com:

As assistant counsel to President George H.W. Bush, Mark Paoletta played a role in the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

But he’s taking on a new role when it comes to the upcoming HBO movie about the hearings starring Kerry Washington as Anita Hill, the woman who accused Thomas of sexual harassment: Paoletta is now leading an effort to fact-check the flick. Today he launched confirmationbiased.com, a website he thinks will combat what he calls the pro-Hill “false narratives” in the movie, with documents, video footage and other content about the real-life hearings. (Washington and HBO brass say it’s not biased against Thomas.)

While some other Republicans involved in the hearings have preemptively bashed it, Paoletta says his complaint isn’t just a drive-by one — he plans to “devote himself” to correcting the record.

25 years later, the Thomas-Hill affair is still a “he said-she said.”  Will we ever know the real truth? Probably not.

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McConnell refuses to hold hearings on Garland nomination

Washingtonpost.com:

Mitch McConnell is not budging.

No matter how much pressure President Obama and Democrats try to apply, McConnell’s allies say the Senate majority leader will never agree to hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge, to succeed Antonin Scalia as a Supreme Court justice.

Even Republicans who disagree with him think that McConnell (R-Ky.) will not retreat from that defiant stance. “I don’t see the majority leader changing his mind on this issue. He believes strongly that this should be a decision made by the next president,” said Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), one of two Republicans to call for hearings on Garland.

Since Scalia’s death, and McConnell’s pronouncement hours later, Democrats have been stunned by the senator’s determined position not to consider any nominee — and his flat-out refusal to extend the traditional courtesy of meeting with the nominee.

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Obama to consider Republican governor for Supreme Court

Washingtonpost.com:

The White House is considering picking the Republican governor from Nevada to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court, scrambling political calculations in what is expected to be a contentious confirmation battle in which Senate Republicans have pledged to play the role of roadblock.

President Obama is weighing the selection of Brian Sandoval, a centrist former federal judge who has served as governor since 2011, according to two people familiar with the process. Though the review process is in its initial phases and it is unclear whether the governor could ultimately emerge as the president’s pick, even the prospect of his nomination poses a difficult dilemma for Senate Republicans who have promised not to consider any nomination before November’s elections.

After The Washington Post published news of Sandoval’s consideration Wednesday, GOP leaders insisted that Obama nominating a Republican would make no difference.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who on Tuesday pledged “no action” on any Supreme Court nomination before the election, said in a statement that the nominee “will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the fall.”

The No. 2 Senate Republican leader, Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, said likewise: “This is not about the personality.”

Yes, it’s about not confirming anyone nominated by the current, duly elected president of the United States.  Between this action and allowing Donald Trump to represent the party,  this political party is simply becoming repugnant.

It seems that the current national party will even reject one of their own, simply because Obama has nominated them.  How childish.

At this point, I think there is nothing that could cause me to cast another vote for a Republican.  Every time I have done so locally, I am always sorry.  I haven’t voted for one nationally since Daddy Bush.

Too bad for me.  It’s where I started off.  Things have just gone downhill ever since.

 

Antonin Scalia dead at age 79

Washingtonpost.com:

Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving member of the current Supreme Court and an intellectual leader of the conservative legal movement, died Saturday, and his death set off an immediate political battle about the future of the court and its national role.

Scalia, 79, was found dead at a hunting resort in Texas after he did not appear for breakfast, law enforcement officials said. A cause of death was not immediately reported.

President Obama, who disagreed with Scalia’s jurisprudence, nevertheless praised him as “a larger-than-life presence on the bench” and a “brilliant legal mind [who] influenced a generation of judges, lawyers and students, and profoundly shaped the legal landscape.”

Obama said he would nominate a successor, even though the Senate’s Republican leadership and its presidential candidates said an election-year confirmation was out of the question.

What?  Why is an election-year-confirmation out of the question?   On whose watch did Scalia die?  I sincerely hope that the Republicans will not attempt trickery, obstruction and chicanery to block what is President Obama’s constitutional duty.  November is 9 months away and the inauguration is 11 months away.  That is plenty of time to replace Justice Scalia, if everyone is honest and does his or her job.

Funny how that Constitution is so freaking important…until it isn’t.

It’s Obama’s job to appoint a new Supreme Court justice in a timely fashion.  Why is it that if he nominated Jesus Christ, I think that the Senate Republicans would block the nomination?

Justice Scalia: When does spoken bigotry end?

Cartoon by Rob Tornoe
Cartoon by Rob Tornoe

Huffingtonpost.com:

WASHINGTON — Do black students matter to Justice Antonin Scalia?

During oral arguments on Wednesday in Fisher v. University of Texas, a contentious affirmative action case, the conservative justice seemed to call their abilities into question.

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well,” Scalia said, “as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school … a slower-track school where they do well.”

Scalia was engaging former U.S. Solicitor General Gregory Garre, who is now representing the University of Texas at Austin as the school defends its ongoing consideration of race as one of many factors in its admissions program.

Pointing to a brief the court received before oral arguments, Scalia noted “most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.”

Garre tried to interject, but the justice continued. “They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that … they’re being pushed ahead­­ in classes that are too fast for them,” Scalia said.

 

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Lethal injection upheld

Washingtonpost.com:

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday to uphold a procedure used by states to carry out executions by lethal injection.

The justices were considering a challenge brought by death-row inmates in Oklahoma, who allege that the use of a sedative called midazolam has resulted in troubling executions that violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Problematic executions in Oklahoma and elsewhere have captured national headlines since early last year.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority that included Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

That’s the long and short of it.   Part of the problem is being able to obtain lethal injection drugs because of the European community.  I have a few questions;

Why can’t we make our own lethal injection drugs?  What do we use to euthanize our pets?  Why can’t those drugs be used on those being executed?  It’s a lot kinder than what they did to someone.  One of the criminals in question raped and killed an 11 month old.  That that is one sick, depraved bastard.  Who cares if he writhes around a little.  Oooops.

Good job on this one, Supremes.

Judicial showdown: Alabama misbehavior….again

Politico.com:

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defiance of a federal court order on gay marriage is just the latest in a long line of bitter states’ rights fights on issues from school integration to the Confederate battle flag – and the latest potentially embarrassing political sideshow for the 2016 field of GOP presidential hopefuls.

In the end, some veteran Republican strategists suggest, Moore’s order barring county probate judges from issuing gay marriage licenses may serve mainly to harden the entrenched positions of supporters and opponents of a legal issue on which public opinion has been shifting with lightning speed, and which the Supreme Court seems likely to resolve by this summer.

Moore’s decision, however, increases the chances that Republican presidential candidates will be forced to discuss the issue — in the racially freighted framework of states’ rights, no less — before extremely conservative voters in the heat of a primary campaign.

If I were a GOP candidate, I would not want to discuss Judge Roy Moore under any circumstances.  He is political gasoline.

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Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion law

TexasAbortionOctober

Washingtonpost.com:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday night blocked a Texas law that had drastically reduced the number of abortion clinics in the nation’s second most populous state.

The court’s order, staying a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that the law could go into effect, will allow more than a dozen of the clinics to resume operation, according to the group that challenged the law, the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The court’s brief order did not say why it was disagreeing with the appeals court. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. would have allowed the law to go into effect while abortion providers pursued their claims that it is unconstitutional.

The order was unsigned, but that apparently meant Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the other five justices — Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — were in agreement.

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Huckabee threatens to leave the GOP over same-sex marriage

Rightwingwatch.org:

This morning’s broadcast of the American Family Association’s “Today’s Issues” program was dedicated to promoting the AFA’s “A Time to Speak” documentary, which is aimed at getting pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote in the upcoming elections.

One guest on the program was Mike Huckabee, who began his interview by threatening to leave the Republican Party if the GOP does not take a stand against the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday not to hear appeals of lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans in several states.

I am at a loss over why the Republicans are getting the blame for a Supreme Court decision NOT to take a case.  How are most conservatives reacting to legal same-sex marriage?  Have the conservatives in North Carolina turned over and died over it?

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Devil worshippers in Greece? No atheists need apply

slate.com:

When last we left the town of Greece, New York, the Supreme Court had just blessed its legislative prayer policy, announcing that expressly sectarian prayer, which persisted over many years, prior to town council meetings does not violate the storied tradition of nonsectarian  legislative prayer and is therefore acceptable under the First Amendment. Since that sunny week in May, the town of Greece has been confronted by many well-meaning applicants from across the country, seeking a chance to be the legislative chaplain. This list of supplicants evidently included “someone who wanted to sacrifice a small animal, a man identifying himself as the devil, and a representative of a movement calling itself the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” So great was the clamor to lead worship in Greece that the town decided last week to enact a formal, written prayer policy to determine who could lead prayers and who could not.

The Supreme Court has handed down some real bone-headed in the past view years.  The Greece decision is one such really stupid decisions, in my humble opinion.  Regardless of intent, when you must pray to participate in government, the government IS establishing a religion, albeit for a brief period of time.

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Supreme Court expected to issue Hobby Lobby ruling today

CBSNewyork.com:

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether Hobby Lobby needs to cover contraception as part of its health care plan.

Owners of the crafts chain object to certain forms of contraception. Under the affordable care act employers are now required to cover birth control.

The Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in a 5-4 decision. So much for saying there is no war on women. The buffer zone ruling and the contraceptive ruling both are directed at women. No one else.

To prove a point, the Court specifically stated their ruling was just about contraception, and not other things, like blood transfusions. You don’t get any more religious than the Jehovah’s Witness ban on blood transfusions for their members. That was a mighty short sighted ruling, in my opinion. Furthermore, corporations shouldn’t have religious beliefs. Corporations are legal units serving as one body. Funny how inanimate bodies can now have religious beliefs.

Stay tuned.

SCOTUS to hear contraception coverage cases

 

New York Times email:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a pair of cases on whether corporations may refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception to their workers based on the religious beliefs of the corporations’ owners.

The cases present a new challenge to President Obama’s health care law. The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld another part of the law, one that requires most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

The Obama administration has exempted many religious groups from the law’s requirements for contraception coverage. But it said for-profit corporations could not rely on religious objections to opt out of compliance with the law. The lower courts are divided over whether such corporations may object to generally applicable laws on religious liberty grounds.

These cases are totally bogus.  No one is being required to use contraception.

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Associate Justice Alito shames the court with infantile behavior

 

alito

Washingtonpost.com:  (Dana Milbank)

The associate justice, a George W. Bush appointee, read two opinions, both 5-4 decisions that split the court along its usual right-left divide. But Alito didn’t stop there. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, Alito visibly mocked his colleague.

Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court, was making her argument about how the majority opinion made it easier for sexual harassment to occur in the workplace when Alito, seated immediately to Ginsburg’s left, shook his head from side to side in disagreement, rolled his eyes and looked at the ceiling.

His treatment of the 80-year-old Ginsburg, 17 years his elder and with 13 years more seniority, was a curious display of judicial temperament or, more accurately, judicial intemperance. Typically, justices state their differences in words — and Alito, as it happens, had just spoken several hundred of his own from the bench. But he frequently supplements words with middle-school gestures.

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Megyn Kelly Upbraids Rachel Maddow


Oh Megyn, give me a break.  Rachel Maddow called it as she saw it, trying to explain why Justice Scalia would make such an offensive remark. It was Maddow’s right to call him a troll, as it was his right to have made offensive remarks.

Megan can be all offended if she wants. Her last line did bother me though. She said that the justices vote their consciences? Shouldn’t they be voting according to their understanding of the law? I know they are only human but surely interpreting according to the constitution has to be the goal.

Perpetuation of Racial Entitlement?

selma

Yesterday, the Supreme Court revisited the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Speaking of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, during the proceedings  Antonin Scalia stated:

“I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

The courtroom spectators  audibly gasped after he spoke.  His words set off a firestorm among political activists, especially those older ones, like Rep. John Lewis who had been involved in the original fight for voting equality in the 1960’s.

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