Jun 302015
 

Of all the Supreme Court decisions in the closing week, the one that upset me most was the 5-4 decision that declares that death by slow torture is not cruel and unusual punishment.  The dissents by Ginsburg and Breyer were the refreshing part of the decision.  Using this decision as a backdrop, consider the two different Courts that may exist ten years from now.

0630ginsburg_beyerJustice Harry Blackmun got there in 1994, after twenty-four years on the bench. For Justice John Paul Stevens, it took twenty-three years. Today, after twenty-two and twenty-one years, respectively, Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, too, now recognize there is no constitutionally sufficient way to implement the death penalty.

The pair were among the dissenters from a 5-4 decision of the court this morning which held that Oklahoma death row defendants failed to prove that there was a less painful method of death available to them, and they had no right to a painless death. "Because it is settled that capital punishment is constitutional," wrote Justice Alito for the Court, “it necessarily follows that there must be a constitutional means of carrying it out. And because some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution, we have held that the Constitution does not require the avoidance of all risk of pain."

To Justices Breyer and Ginsburg, however, enough’s enough:

In 1976, the Court thought that the constitutional infirmities in the death penalty could be healed; the Court in effect delegated significant responsibility to the States to develop procedures that would protect against those constitutional problems. Almost 40 years of studies, surveys, and experience strongly indicate, however, that this effort has failed. Today’s administration of the death penalty involves three fundamental constitutional defects: (1) serious unreliability, (2) arbitrariness in application, and (3) unconscionably long delays that undermine the death penalty’s penological purpose. Perhaps as a result, (4) most places within the United States have abandoned its use.

I shall describe each of these considerations, emphasizing changes that have occurred during the past four decades. For it is those changes, taken together with my own 20 years of experience on this Court, that lead me to believe that the death penalty, in and of itself, now likely constitutes a legally prohibited “cruel and unusual punishmen[t].” U. S. Const., Amdt. 8.

If you thought the next presidential election was crucial already, it just got a whole lot bigger. Four Justices (Kennedy, Scalia, Ginsburg, and Breyer) are between 77 and 82 years old. Elections matter… [emphasis original]  

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Click through for much more information.

Now, consider a Court in which Sturmbannführer Scalia, and Kennedy, along with Ginsburg and Breyer were replaced with Justices just like Ginsburg and Breyer.  Such a Court would make Constitutional decisions.  The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS, Republican Constitutional VD, would have become the Toddler Tantrum Three.  America would be on the mend.

On the other hand, consider a Court in which Ginsburg and Breyer, along with Scalia and Kennedy were replaced with Injustices just like Sturmbannführer Scalia, Teabag Thomas, and Scalito.  Such a Court would establish  permanent, totalitarian Republican Reich. The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS would become the Sedition Seven.  America would not survive.

In this Tale of Two Courts, which Court do you want?  What are you willing to do to get it?

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Apr 302015
 

I’m still dealing with considerable pain, but not enough to shut me down completely.  In addition, I’m rewarding myself for writing with  a kitty sun nap, as our high will be over 70°.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:55 (average 5:05). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: There’s something timeless about this American classic that America can’t seem to outgrow.

 

I first read To Kill a Mocking Bird in 1962. I was 12. I identified with it, because my father’s extreme racism was so offensive to me. It certainly has a message for today. Click through for five lessons that still apply.

From Daily Kos: Some nasty, malevolent wingnut took it on himself to spoil a kindergarten concert in Iowa by yelling "USA! English Only!" over and over when the concert was introduced first in English, and then by a Spanish translator to accommodate Spanish speaking toddlers and their parents.

This occurred last week at the local Performing Arts Center in Perry, Iowa, about 40 miles Northwest of Des Moines, during a concert by Perry Elementary School students.  The incident was caught on a 12-second video and provided to the Perry News.

 

They may mot know who this shameful racist is, but we’ve seen this TEAbuggery so much, that what he is, is clear. He is a Republican.

From Crooks and Liars: Let’s hope Jon Stewart was right when he said this about the oral arguments we heard this week on gay marriage in front of the Supreme Court.

STEWART: Bottom line is this. If oral arguments have any impact on the final result, June’s going to be a nice time for a gay wedding.

Amen to that. Stewart started off his show this Wednesday by going after the wingnuts [sic] on the Supreme Court and former solicitor general of Michigan John Bursch, and the extremely lame arguments we heard from them against the issue of same-sex marriage.

Now that Republicans have had their oral arguments, it’s time for them to get their anal arguments. Hold the KY. 😉

Cartoon:

0430Cartoon

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Feb 172015
 

It’s a rare treat to see an interview of a sitting Supreme Court Justice, especially when that Justice is the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a frequent dissenter from the Dishonorable Injustices of SCROTUS, Republican Constitutional VD.

0217GINSBURG

In a rare interview with MSNBC’s Irin Carmon, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussed her tenure on the court and women’s rights in America today.

Carmon — a rising star at the network who is co-authoring a book about the liberal jurist with the founder of Tumblr blog Notorious R.B.G — started off by asking the question on the minds of a lot of liberals as time ticks down on the Obama presidency: Are you planning to retire?

“I’m concerned about doing the job full steam,” Ginsburg said. “Once I sense that I am slipping, I will step down. This is a very intense job.”

Asked about her replacement, the Supreme Court justice demurred.

"My successor will be the choice of whatever president is sitting at that time," she said.

Carmon and Ginsburg talked at length about the progress that’s been made on women’s rights since the 1970s, when Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union…

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

Rachel Maddow dedicated two segments of her show to excerpts from the interview.  Here’s the first.

And the second.

For a transcript of the entire interview, click here.

I found only one bone to pick with her.  Asked for one word to describe Chief Injustice Roberts, she said “able”.  I would have said “ideologue”… or worse.

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Jul 162014
 

Here are the results of our SCOTUS Rating Poll.  Politics Plus Polls are not scientific, because those who respond are not balanced according to demographic categories.   Therefore, we do not accurately reflect the makeup of the US population.  Nevertheless, our polls are often both accurate and indicative of the nation’s view.

0716Poll

And here are your comments.

Showing comments 19 of 9.

Posted by Phil  July 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm.  

 

I voted "Horrid" because you neglected to add "Outrageously Stupid."

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Posted by Lynn Squance  July 5, 2014 at 7:53 pm.  

 

I voted "HORRID". While there may be minor acceptable judgements, preponderance of conservative activism is absolutely disgusting. It seems to me that SCOTUS, or should I say the SCROTUS wing of Injustices, is nothing more than a wing of the Republican/Teabagger party. I like the 3 women justices and Breyer, but I wish Justice Ginsburg were younger so that she would be around longer.

 

Posted by Edie  July 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm.  

 

They have sunk so far in my estimation, that horrible isn’t even an accurat)e description.(devious

 

Posted by SoINeedAName  July 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm.  

 

Not only "HORRID" – but HORRID for a long, Long, LONG time coming.

Pandora’s Box will be busy for decades.

 

Posted by Rixar13  July 4, 2014 at 2:33 pm.  

 

Horrid…

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Posted by gene jacobson  July 1, 2014 at 8:45 am.  

 

As noted, there were one or two minor things done the way I think they should have been, John Roberts siding with the four decent justices in both instances, but narrow and meaningless decisions they were. For the rest, the vast majority, this is the rottenest and in truth, corrupt Court we have ever had – corrupt comes with Thomas and Scalia out there making tons of money advertising how they will vote on various issues. Which encourages suits on those issues. Which makes them corrupt, evil and impeachable in my opinion. If the House truly wants to impeach someone it should be those two fools.

 

Posted by Joanne D  July 1, 2014 at 4:45 am.  

 

I want to qualify my vote of "horrid" by saying that it only applies to the SCROTUS Five. Unfortunately, they rule for now. Yes, there were one or two decent decisions, so minor I can’t even remember what they were. We will be decades cleaning up after these animals – and we can’t even start yet.

 

Posted by Lona Goudswaard  July 1, 2014 at 12:56 am.  

 

I’m completely prejudices of course, because the only rulings I see from this SCOTUS are the ones I get presented with on this blog, Care2, Daily Kos and such.

There were one or two surprise rulings this last term, but they were on very minor issues and didn’t stretch very far, but every other ruling I’ve heard off has been absolutely disastrous for this country.

 

Posted by Patty  July 1, 2014 at 12:02 am.  

 

I was going to say "Horrid" but there have been a couple good decisions.

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I voted with the majority.  While there have been a couple decisions that weren’t that bad, even the “good ones” have included concealed attempts at sabotage.  A perfect exampled is deciding for the ACA, but allowing state governments to deny federally funded Medicaid to poor citizens.

A new poll is up.  Vote now, and vote in November.

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Jul 052014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 75, and it occurred to me that, since most folks in the country get a holiday, I ought to as well, since it’s a slow news day, I’m tired, and preparing my holiday feast took three hours of cooking and prep, so this article is all I have.  The rest of the weekend depends on the availability of content.  Please be safe.

Late (early) update:

I just woke up.  I slept through the fireworks.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:59 (average 6:11).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Kinda like a really scary jigsaw puzzle … oh, and the Congress Critters in the districts that make up those shaded areas? Yeah, they don’t want folks to see this map. Hint, hint.

0705USRO-low-wage

That high area in eastern Oregon is the sparsely populated Republican part of the state. Politically and culturally, it’s more like Idaho.

From The New Yorker: A new poll released Wednesday revealed that people rank President Barack Obama as the worst President since the Second World War, and also blame him for starting the Second World War.

While the respondents slammed the President for his handling of the economy, Iraq, and a host of other issues, his perceived role as the primary cause of the Second World War was the biggest drag on his numbers.

Even more troubling, when compared to the three leaders of the Axis powers during that war, President Obama polled at the bottom of the list, finishing far behind Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

LOL Andy. It may be accurate! If so, do I have to tell what TV channel those polled used to get their news?  (the real poll was demographically skewed).

From NY Times: In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The order, Justice Sotomayor wrote, was at odds with the 5-to-4 decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.

“Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”

The court’s action, she added, even “undermines confidence in this institution.”

Monday’s decision and the order on Thursday were dual blows to the Obama administration’s efforts to provide contraception coverage, said Walter Dellinger, who was acting United States solicitor general in the Clinton administration.

This order, unsigned demonstrating their cowardice, directly contradicts part of the Hobby Lobby decision that the ruling applied only to closely held, for profit corporations. Wheaton College is neither. I promised you a slippery slope was ahead. The slide has started. For a better understanding, click through and read the entire article.

Cartoon:

0705Cartoon

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Jul 042014
 

I have read Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the ruling in Hobby Lobby by the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD).  I recommend that you read it too (link follows).  As an easier reference found an article with an excellent summary of ten key points.

0704ginsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg wrote a scathing 35-page dissent in the disastrous 5-4 Supreme Court decision Monday granting corporations First Amendment religious rights to deny women birth control coverage. The court had ventured far out in to unprecedented territory by granting private companies the right to be exempt from laws their owners don’t agree with. Crazy! In their zeal to deny women access to reproductive healthcare, expand the rights of corporations and hurt Obamacare, "The court," she wrote, "has ventured into a minefield." 

Sadly, her clear-eyed reasoning did not sway the Court’s five arch conservatives, but it is worth reading her dissent here (starts on page 60.)

For those in a bigger hurry, here are highlights:

1. "Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision."

2. "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."

3. "Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community." … [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared three to the articles ten highlights.  Click through for the other seven.  I not only agree with Ginsberg in sll ten highlights, but also with her entire dissent.

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Jun 282014
 

Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down a rather surprising decision, disallowing the eight foot buffer zone around the entrances to Massachusetts women’s health centers that perform abortions.  I understand that it may well be Constitutionally correct, but from a practical point of view the decision could have tragic ramifications.  I do not understand why a much larger exclusion zone that protects the four Justices of SCOTUS and the five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) is not also unconstitutional.  The plaintiff claimed that they just wanted to have “quiet conversations” with their neighbors and fellow citizens.

0628Abortion-Hate

The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests, counseling and other speech near abortion clinics.

“A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce, but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a majority opinion that was joined by the court’s four-member liberal wing.

The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.

The Massachusetts law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives. “Petitioners are not protesters,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

The court was unanimous about the bottom line but divided on the reasoning, with Chief Justice Roberts writing a narrow opinion. The law blocked too much speech, he said, “sweeping in innocent individuals.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

I can understand their point that it is not Constitutional to exclude people with no intent to violate the women’s rights and innocent passers by, who may be transiting the zone for reasons that have nothing to do with the clinic.  Of course the problem, is that Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians are fanatical believers in a right to life that begins at conception and ends at birth.  They do not believe that abortion providers and others who assist women to exercise their rights have the right to life.   We know this, because they have murdered several.  If you believe that the extent of their “speech” will be those “quiet conversations”, see me about the wonderful bridge I am selling.  The one plus is that the decision leaves the door open to similar legislation that does not “block too much speech”.

The best coverage I have seen on this subject is from Rachel Maddow.  Sadly I cannot take credit for the added portrayal of Scalia at the beginning.

That covers it well.  I do not have a quick solution for this dilemma, but I do have an idea.  Someone needs to file a suit claiming that the exclusion zone around the Supreme Court violates the Consxtitution, because it “blocks too much speech” and is “sweeping in innocent individuals”.  Then we can see if the Justices and the Injustices think they should get to have “quiet conversations” with crazed wing-nuts with guns.

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