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Archive for the ‘Supreme Court’ Category

Could Citizens United vitiate Taft-Hartley?

Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2011

Via Avedon, there’s a fascinating post on by BigTentDemocrat on TalkLeft on whether the Citizens United ruling, by striking down restrictions on speech via corporate contributions, could have made Taft-Hartley’s restrictions on speech by strikes obsolete. As Wisconsin staggers toward a general strike, this could be an argument that could lock up the courts.

Not that the courts are incapable of infinite hypocrisy when it comes to protecting the interests of the very wealthy and taking the widow’s mite, but this is how non-violent struggle works: force the people doing wrong to be so blatant about it that their own children turn away from them in disgust. In Wisconsin, they have certainly achieved that level of hypocrisy, unlawfully excluding the public from the statehouse, recklessly welding shut windows that might be the only escape in a fire, and especially claiming that this is about balancing the budget.

The people intent on ripping up the social contract written during the New Deal forget that the contract bought them 70 years of labor peace. The new social contract they will end up being forced to negotiate– whether it happens in five months or in fifty years– will not be so generous to the wealthy.

Posted in Law of Unintended Consequences, Supreme Court | Comments Off

Lies enthroned

Posted by Charles II on October 24, 2010

Perjuring oneself to get placed on the highest court in the land is an abomination in the biblical sense.

Robert Parry explains:

On Friday, former federal prosecutor Lillian McEwen, one of Thomas’s girlfriends in the 1980s, broke a long silence and confirmed that Thomas did engage in sexual harassment of women at work and did discuss pornography in the way that Anita Hill and other women described to the Senate during Thomas’s confirmation hearings in 1991.

During those hearings, Thomas angrily denied the allegations, calling them “a high-tech lynching.” Simultaneously, his right-wing allies mounted an aggressive campaign to destroy the credibility of Hill and other accusers.

The tactics worked. Thomas narrowly won Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has remained a reliable vote for every right-wing position that the justices consider.

However, it is now obvious that Thomas committed perjury as a necessary element of gaining his seat as one of nine justices on the Supreme Court – and only its second African-American. Though perjury before Congress is a felony, the Right appears to have suddenly lost its enthusiasm for demanding impeachment as the proper remedy for high officials caught lying under oath.

The sexual harassment was bad.

Lying about it was worse.

But lying about it in order to be able to judge–from the highest court– the truthfulness of others?

Clarence Thomas is an abomination, a lie enthroned, placed there by people calling themselves Christians, but very far from Christ in spirit.

Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, anti-truth, corruption, Supreme Court | 4 Comments »

Supreme Court gives us “free speech”

Posted by Charles II on January 21, 2010

The right to free speech has just been upheld by the right-wing of the Supreme Court. That is, corporations will be free to run a limitless number of political campaign ads, drowning out all other voices. A group of a few thousand people, the boards of directors and officers of the Fortune 500, have hundreds of billions of dollars at their disposal to influence campaigns that presently cost at most a tiny fraction of that.

Labor unions, with literally millions of dollars at their disposal, will be able to do the same thing. In other words, Democrats, who put the votes on the court to do this, will be free to either cave in to corporate demands or be defeated at the polls.

Yet another 5-4 decision disrespecting the rights of the overwhelming majority of Americans in favor of the “rights” of a non-living entity. FFFFFF
____________________________________________________________
Added (crossposted at AtLargely):

There might be a way to gum up the works: Require that corporations receive approval from a majority of shareholders for each and every expenditure of funds.

The expenditure of funds for political advertising, particularly of a specific candidate, is not obviously in the interests of the shareholders. Therefore, it should be voted on. And, if voting takes time, and if there is a threshhold requirement for participation, it might be hard enough and dangerous enough to the officers and Board that they might not use it in the manner that the Robert Court clearly intends.

(Not that anyone listens to Eeyore. ::sigh::)

Posted in capitalism as cancer, Constitutional crisis, Supreme Court | 2 Comments »

Senator Klobuchar Makes A Good Point

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 16, 2009

You’ll never hear about on any of the evening TV news channels, but the two Minnesotans on the Senate Judiciary Committee had no trouble at all outshining their Republican counterparts.

Case in point: Senator Amy Klobuchar mentions the fact that back when Judge Sotomayor had appeared before the Senate to be confirmed in two prior Federal appointments, nobody once took her to task for her “wise Latina” comments.

Posted in Minnesota, Senate, Supreme Court | 4 Comments »

Elections Have Consequences

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2009

In 2000, Ralph Nader — who wanted Bush to win — took just enough votes from Al Gore, especially in Florida, to allow George Bush to steal the election. That allowed Bush to pick two archconservative judges, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, to fill the US Supreme Court vacancies left by Rehnquist and O’Connor. — and to shove this insult to civil rights and to Sonia Sotomayor, their decision on the Ricci suit, down our collective throats.

Imagine if Al Gore had been able to fill those slots instead. Ricci would have been 6-3 in favor of the black firefighters, instead of 5-4 against — and John Paul Stevens or Ruth Bader Ginsburg (or maybe even Sonia Sotomayor) would have written the majority opinion.
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Added by Charles, 7/1. A letter from 2004, with emphasis added:

An Open Letter to Ralph Nader Voters

Dear Voters,

Many of us – former Nader’s Raiders and leaders of his organizations – voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Many did not.

This November, none of us will vote for Ralph. We believe there is nothing more important than defeating George W. Bush.

Ralph argues that he is creating an independent political voice. In 2000, when he ran as the Green Party candidate, that may have been true.

In 2004, as the candidate of the increasingly reactionary, anti-immigrant Reform Party, and the recipient of financial and political support from right-wing funders and operatives, it is not credible. Unfortunately, Ralph is party to a disingenuous effort to split the progressive vote in key states.
With the major party candidates in a dead heat, Nader is poised to tip the election to Bush – again.

We do not agree with Ralph that there is little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. We know that the country cannot afford another four years of Republicans controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and the entire federal Judiciary. The price of a protest vote is too high for families who live from paycheck to paycheck, for those concerned about the realities of war, for those who lack decent jobs and access to health care, and for the environment.

While Ralph has pursued politically expedient alliances with the right wing, truly progressive leaders – from peace activists to unions to former Dean supporters – have made substantial progress organizing within the Democratic Party.

United, progressives can build a base for a transformed party funded by small donors, imbued with progressive values and energized by a vision of a democratic majority. Divided, we will give four more years to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft. The progressive vote can be the key to this election.

We know Ralph Nader better than anyone else. We were inspired to public service by his vision and his integrity. Now we are disappointed and saddened to see him embrace the support of reactionary forces who oppose everything we and Ralph have fought for and whose real agenda is to reelect George Bush.

Join us. Cast your vote for a progressive future and support John Kerry.

Nader’s Raiders,
Brian Ahlberg – MN PIRG
Judy Appelbaum – Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, Summers 1974, 75

Matt Baker – Organizing Director, NJPIRG 1992-98
Sheila Ballen – Executive Director, Pennsylvania PIRG
Samuel Boykin – Field Director, NJPIRG 2000-03

Michael Berg – Congress Project 1972
Robert Brandon – Director, Public Citizen’s Tax Reform Research Group 1972-77
Mike Calabrese – Former Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1980
Marc Caplan – Executive Director, CCAG 1974-80
Michael Caudell-Feagan – USPIRG 1985-86; Nat’l Assoc. for Pub Interest Law 1986-91
Nancy Chasen – Lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1973-75

Sarah K. Chiles – Northeast regional coordinator, Americans against Political Corruption

Elizabeth Collaton – Research Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1985

Karen Croft – Staff, Center for the Study of Responsive Law1979-80
Gina Collins Cummings – Organizing Director, New Jersey PIRG, 1984 – 1994
Beth DeGrasse – Former Director, PIRG Voter Registration Campaigns

James Dickson – Director of Organizing, CCAG 1976-78
Angela Di Leo – Staff, Florida PIRG 1984 – 86
Kirsten Dunton – Organizing Director and Staff Attorney, State PIRGs 1989-2003

Joe Tom Easley – Center for the Study of Responsive Law, 1969-74

Larry Eason – Director, Training and Media Center, PIRG 2000-2001
Donna Edwards – Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1990s

David Eppler – Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1989-92
Sherry Ettleson – Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
Andrew Feinstein – Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1975-79
Curtis Fisher – Executive Director, New Jersey PIRG, 1996 – 2002
Mark Floegel – USPIRG; Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1980s; VPIRG Communications Coordinator 2002-2004

Arthur L. Fox – Public Citizen’s Litigation Group 1972-90

Pamela Gilbert – USPIRG 1984-89; Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1989-94

John Gilroy – Nader Difference in ’84 Campaign; Organizer, Citizen Utility Board 1985; ED, VTPIRG 1988-92

David Hamilton – National Field Director, USPIRG 1987-90; Energy Lobbyist, USPIRG 1990-92
Joan Holt – NY PIRG 1979-88
Anita Johnson – Attorney, PIRG; Public Citizen’s Health Research Group 1971-77

Richard Kirsch – Public Citizen 1974-77

Ann Krumblotz – Staff, Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1978-80
Mindy Lubber – Program Director, Massachusetts PIRG
Mark Lynch – Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
Tim Massad – Center for the Study of Responsive Law; Wisconsin Citizen Utility Board 1978-81

Neil McBride – Aviation Consumer Action Project 1971-72
Steve McCarthy – Executive Director, Oregon PIRG, 1972-74
Rich McClintock – Executive Director, Colorado PIRG

Chris McGinn – Deputy Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch 1991-98
David Moulton – Staff Attorney, Congress Watch
Michael Pertschuk – Chair, Federal Trade Commission

Donna F. Parsons – Director, CCAG 1981-87
Peter Petkas – PIRG, Corporate Accountability Research Group 1970
Ronald Plesser – Director, Freedom of Information Clearinghouse 1972-75
Rick Plunkett – MN PIRG 1976-81; CA Campus Organizer 1979-80

Tom Powers – Florida PIRG Organizing Director, FFPIR Nat’l Campus Program Director, PIRG work 1986-1995.
Nancy Rader – CalPIRG 1983-87; Public Citizen 1988-90
Miles Rapoport – Executive Director CCAG 1979-84
Neal Ritchie – ED, MN PIRG
Marty Rogol – General Counsel, CCAG 1971-73; Director, Nat’l PIRG 1974-78

Adam Ruben –Field Director, USPIRG 1999-2002
Leslie Samuelrich – PIRG 1985-91 – Organizer, ConnPIRG; Director, National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness
Samantha Sanchez – Attorney, Public Citizen’s Tax Reform Research Group 1973-75
Kerry Schumann – Director, Wisconsin PIRG
Gary Sellers – OSHA Project Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1969
Megan Seibel – Executive Director Colorado PIRG
Bob Shireman – Chairman, CalPIRG 1981-83; Legislative Advocate 1984-86
Lucinda Sikes – CalPIRG 1983-86; USPIRG 1989-92; Public Citizen’s Litigation Group 1993-89

Daniel Silverman – Former Nat’l Field Director, USPIRG; Former Vice-Chair, Board of CalPIRG
David Stern – Executive Director, Nat’l Assoc. for Public Interest Law
Gene Stilp – Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1980-81

Rob Stuart – Program Director, NJ PIRG, 1984 – 91; ED, VT PIRG 1991 – 93

Tom Subak – State Campaign Director, CalPIRG 1995-98
Andrea Sullivan – Organizing Director, NJPIRG, 1983 – 84
Thomas D. Sutton – ETS Study Group 1970s; Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1979-81

Michael Totten – Critical Mass Energy Project 1982-83
James Turner – Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1968-72

Michael Waldman – Attorney Lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
Ken Ward – ED, RI PIRG 1981-82; ED, NJ PIRG 1983-96
Bill Wasserman – Organizer, Cal PIRG 1981-86; Organizer, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1986-89
Kathleen Welch – Executive Director, Nat’l Association of Public Interest Law
Harrison Wellford – Food Safety Project, Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1969
David Wood – General Counsel, Public Interest Research Groups
Frances A. Zwenig – Attorney-Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch

Posted in Al Gore, Bush, election theft, Florida (where magical things happen), Supreme Court | 29 Comments »

Punching People’s Buttons

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 17, 2009

John Aravosis, who we last saw fomenting hatred against then-DNC Chair Howard Dean for getting rid of one gay DNC worker and replacing him with another, has done it again. His framing of the DoJ’s brief against the Smelt DOMA challenge (a framing that even a critic of the brief finds questionable) ignores some basic facts, facts that you have to read Laurence Tribe to find out:

As someone who wants to see DOMA dismantled and invalidated, I would love it if this ninth circuit case would evaporate into the ether.

Even though I personally believe that DOMA is unconstitutional, I think that this particular lawsuit is very vulnerable; it’s not anywhere near as strong as the one that was brought in the federal district court in Massachusetts [a suit filed by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders].

In an environment where the Supreme Court is still quite conservative, what makes a suit a strong one is that it finds a point of entry in which it’s possible to invalidate a law in a number of its applications by using more of a scalpel that might appeal to five justices rather than a bludgeon that will almost certainly ask more of the court than it is willing to do.

What’s strong about the Massachusetts case is that these are concrete situations of people who are legally married under the laws of states like Massachusetts or Vermont, and who are being discriminated against by the federal government with respect to federal benefits simply because they are same-sex couples. There’s no other difference between them and other couples in that state, and the court could agree with that without accepting any of the broader theories advanced in the [Smelt] lawsuit in the central district of California, which is basically a bet-the-farm lawsuit that almost dares a conservative Supreme Court to slap it down.

[...]

There are ways for the president to get rid of DOMA. He can advocate for its repeal, he can eventually urge the solicitor general to join in a more surgical attack, but he certainly isn’t obliged to go along with every plaintiff who brings a lawsuit.

The important point here is that the solicitor general traditionally seeks to dismiss lawsuits against federal laws whenever there is a plausible basis to do it. A lot of the outcry about the administration’s position doesn’t take that institutional reality into account.

Meanwhile, Obama shows off his evil homophobic side by hiring gay activist John Marble to work for openly-gay John Berry at the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal government’s human resources division. In addition, by the time you read this, Obama will have likely signed a presidential memorandum that has been in the works since around the time Berry was nominated to become the director of OPM, a memorandum that will provide benefits to same-sex partners of Federal employees, as many as can currently be provided by law (and yes, DOMA, which will have to be overturned by the Congress that created it, sits like a big toad blocking many key benefits).h

Posted in gay rights, President Obama, Supreme Court, WTF? | 1 Comment »

Sotomayor And Campaign Finance Reform

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 30, 2009

She’s a big fan thereof. From an e-mail sent out by the Public Campaign Action Fund:

SCOTUS Nominee Sotomayor in Money on Politics
This week’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court could add an ally of campaign finance reform to the nation’s highest judicial body. Sotomayor was a member of New York City’s Campaign Finance Board in its earliest days, helping establish the city’s successful system of publicly financed elections. In a 1996 Suffolk Law Review article, co-authored with Nicole Gordon, the Board’s executive director at that time, Sotomayor writes:

“We would never condone private gifts to judges about to decide a case implicating the gift-givers’ interests. Yet our system of election financing permits extensive private, including corporate, financing of candidates’ campaigns, raising again and again the question what the difference is between contributions and bribes and how legislators or other officials can operate objectively on behalf of the electorate. Can elected officials say with credibility that they are carrying out the mandate of a ‘democratic’ society, representing only the general public good, when private money plays such a large role in their campaigns?”

Her confirmation would stand in contrast to the arrivals of Justices Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court. Both have taken a negative stance towards the regulation of campaign money. There’s more to see in this article from Politico.

Don’t tell Bill Donohue!

Posted in Supreme Court | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Conservative Efforts To Lie About Sotomayor’s Record Undermined — By Another Conservative!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 29, 2009

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, who is as conservative as they come, puts the lie to the GOP/Media-generated nonsense out there painting Sonia Sotomayor as a dirty dangerous female Commie Reconquista junkie:

“I like the fact that she is not brandishing her religion. I do not want Catholic judges to rule as Catholics but as judges. I am all for Catholic legislators having a Catholic-informed opinion, but a judge has a different charge. Unless something pops that we don’t know about, I am not going to oppose her. Indeed, the experiences I had working with the Puerto Rican community lead me to quietly root for her.”

Expect Donohue to do a 180 on this as he feels the weight of the conservative community breathing down his neck. Or they could just cut him a check to make him publicly change his mind.

Posted in conservativism, Supreme Court | 7 Comments »

Jane Hamsher Called It

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 28, 2009

Tuesday, Jane said this:

GOP to Soak Wingnuts over Sotomayor

Meaning that the Republicans were going to squawk and raise a ruckus for fundraising purposes, but not actually do anything to keep Sotomayor from becoming the next Supreme Court justice.

Yesterday, we saw this:

Republicans see little chance of blocking Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination, a key GOP senator conceded Wednesday. But senators and advocacy groups are still girding for this summer’s battle — partly with an eye toward raising money and perhaps preparing for Barack Obama’s next nominee.

Is that a cash register I hear?

Posted in Republicans, Republicans acting badly, sucker bet, Supreme Court | 4 Comments »

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 26, 2009

The skinny on her is that, far from what’s been stated by the obligatory right-wing smear jobs already being lobbed at her, she is a sober-minded and mature thinker.

Interestingly enough, the New York stock markets, which had been expected to follow the European and Asian markets and go sharply lower in reaction to the North Korean missile launch, have instead gone sharply up, starting their skyward climb shortly after the 10:15 am announcement of Sotomayor’s nomination:

djia052609

Considering that today’s ecnomic news has been at best mixed, or what the financial press usually considers “mixed” — much higher consumer confidence, but housing prices still are way down from their (vastly overinflated) values for the same quarter of 2008 — it’s tough to see what would make Wall Street’s investors suddenly forget about North Korea’s saber-rattling. Unless it was Sotomayor.

Posted in President Obama, stock market, Supreme Court, The smear industry | 5 Comments »

 
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