Archive for the ‘SCOTUS’ Category

Devil worshippers in Greece? No atheists need apply

September 3rd, 2014 20 comments

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

June 30th, 2014 52 comments

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.

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SCOTUS to hear contraception coverage cases

November 26th, 2013 59 comments


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

June 25th, 2013 24 comments


alito  (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

March 1st, 2013 10 comments

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?

February 28th, 2013 18 comments


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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Court Watch: Antonin Scalia says State Of The Union Is A ‘Childish Spectacle’

February 13th, 2013 3 comments


Justice Scalia is probably right. He also hasn’t been to the SOTU Address for the past 16 years, regardless of who is president. Scalia says he doesn’t want to give dignity to the event. Salia further adds that the justices can’t clap for much of anything other than when the president says, America is a great country. The rest of the time, they keep their eyes on the Chief Justice to see when clapping is appropriate.

Justice Scalia also told tales out of school.  He revealed that on a hunting trip, Justice Elena Kagan is turning into quite the hunter.  She dropped a white tail doe with one shot while some of them were on a hunting trip in Wyoming.  .  She had no hunting experience before joining the court.  Scalia quipped that even though they had a license for shooting mule deer and antelope, they never saw any.  He said Kagan could have shot the white tail in his driveway without having to go to Wyoming.  (yea, Tony, but was it doe season?)

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Supreme Court to hear DOMA, Prop 8

December 7th, 2012 14 comments

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear cases challenging DOMA and Prop 8  which deny same sex marriage.

The Supreme Court put itself at the center of the nation’s debate over whether gay couples have the same fundamental right to marry as heterosexuals, agreeing Friday to review state and federal efforts to preserve a traditional definition of husband and wife.

In agreeing to hear cases from California and New York, the court raised the possibility of a groundbreaking constitutional decision on whether the right to marry may be limited because of sexual orientation. At the same time, the justices also will have the ability to issue narrower rulings on a subject that continues to divide the American public.

The cases will probably be heard in historic sessions at the court in late March, with decisions to come when the justices finish their work at the end of June.

The court’s first review of same-sex marriage comes at a fast-moving but unsettled time in the nation’s consideration of gay rights. Last month brought Election Day victories for same-sex marriage supporters in three states, including Maryland, and the reelection of President Obama, the first chief executive to endorse the right of gays to marry.

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The Health Care Ruling: Are you happy or sad and why?

June 28th, 2012 127 comments

This was an easy one.   How do you feel about the ruling?  No spouting law.(unless you have passed the bar in some state.)  Yawn.  How do you feel?

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The Post’s View: Justice Scalia’s partisan discredit to the court

June 28th, 2012 30 comments

The Washington Post’s opinion (in full):

By Editorial Board, Published: June 27The Washington Post

IN ALEXANDER HAMILTON’S memorable formulation, the federal judiciary is “the least dangerous branch.” Unlike Congress and the president, which make and execute the laws, respectively, the courts “have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.” Hamilton assumed that offering judges life tenure would encourage them to augment their modest power with moral authority — the intangible combination of legal expertise, persuasive reasoning, impartiality, independence and solemnity, actual and perceived, that we call “legitimacy.”

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Is the Supreme Court too powerful and too political?

June 25th, 2012 5 comments

Many people have noticed that the Supreme Court, comprised of 9 members, is far too powerful and far too political.  Go back to 2000.  Basically, the Supreme Court decided who was to be  the president of the United States.  9 people chose the President of the United States of America. Today, we are on the brink of perhaps losing health care.  Should 9 people get to make that choice?    Many people are still seething over Eminent Domain and Citizens United.  They feel the High Court has been too far reaching.  There are 100 other examples.

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The Loving Story: HBO documentary on February 14

February 3rd, 2012 8 comments

Obviously the Virginia legislature is not always correct. HBO will air The Loving Story on February 14, Valentine Day. The Lovings were an interracial couple  from Caroline County, Virginia. They grew up, fell in love, and married in Washington, DC. They failed to realize that just living together as man and wife was also illegal.

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Categories: Bias and Discrimination, Courts, SCOTUS Tags:

Paul Clement to defend health reform

November 16th, 2011 17 comments

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Paul Clement was attorney general for exactly one day in the Bush Administration. However, that is not his claim to fame.  He has argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other lawyer in the past decade. 

The day that it was decided the Supreme Court would hear the health care reform case, guess who was being treated to dinner by Paul Clement’s law firm, the one that would be arguing the case?  Justice Anthony Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas.  Do they not feel attending this dinner gives a vision of impropriety?

Obviously not.

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The Supremes and the deadbeats

July 2nd, 2011 5 comments

While most people focused on the Supreme Court video game ruling, an equally important case went pretty much unnoticed.  This case affects millions of families, in particular, children.  Turner vs. Rogers dealt with deadbeat dads and is more commonly known as the ‘deadbeat dad case.’

According to the Washington Post :

The justices ruled in a 5 to 4 decision (PDF) to uphold the appeal of Michael Turner, a father who had been jailed for a year because he did not — he said could not — pay the nearly $6,000 in child support payments he owed. The court decided that Turner’s incarceration violated the due process clause because he had not been told that his ability to pay was crucial to the case and the court never determined whether Turner could, in fact, make his child support obligations.

The Turner case addressed one of the biggest problems in the national child support enforcement program. Though most sentient adults agree parents need to meet their child support obligations, enforcement rules often don’t recognize the reality of financial situations.

A noncustodial parent might have lost a job, as millions did in the recession, but it’s doubtful his or her payment schedule changed at all. It can be a slippery slope from provider to deadbeat.

Upon first glance (see PDF link) the original defendant, one Mr. Turner of South Carolina, is not a very sympathetic figure.  I felt he deserved to be jailed.  However, he was not represented by an attorney and he got caught up in a real legal catch-22.  He had to be out of jail in order to make money to pay his child support.  This guy was ordered to pay $52.73 per week. That might not seem like much to some people.  To others, it is a fortune.  Throwing a person in jail who has this few assets seems to be self defeating. 

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Supreme Court Rejects Ban on Violent Video Games for Children

June 28th, 2011 13 comments

The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday struck down on First Amendment grounds a California law that banned the sale of violent video games to children. The 7-to-2 decision was the latest in a series of rulings protecting free speech, joining ones on funeral protests, videos showing cruelty to animals and political speech by corporations.

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