Closing Thought–18Jan22

Will SCOTUS help legalize bribery?

Sen. Ted Cruz is doing his best to see that the court does just that.

The details of Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, a case that the Supreme Court will hear next Wednesday, read more like a paranoid fantasy dreamed up by leftists than like an actual lawsuit.

The case concerns federal campaign finance laws, and, specifically, candidates’ ability to loan money to their campaigns. Candidates can do so — but in 2001, Congress enacted a provision that helps prevent such loans from becoming a vehicle to bribe candidates who go on to be elected officials. Under this provision, a campaign that receives such a loan may not repay more than $250,000 worth of the loan using funds raised after the election.

When a campaign receives a pre-election donation, that donation is typically subject to strict rules preventing it from being spent to enrich the candidate. After the election has occurred, however, donors who give money to help pay off a loan from the candidate effectively funnel that money straight to the candidate — who by that point could be a powerful elected official.

A lawmaker with sufficiently clever accountants, moreover, could effectively structure such a loan to allow lobbyists and other donors to help the lawmaker directly profit from it. According to the Los Angeles Times, for example, in 1998, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) made a $150,000 loan to her campaign at 18 percent interest (though she later reduced that interest rate to 10 percent). As of 2009, Napolitano reportedly raised $221,780 to repay that loan — $158,000 of which was classified as “interest.”

So in 11 years, the loan reportedly earned Napolitano nearly $72,000 in profits.

https://www.vox.com/2022/1/12/22877010/supreme-court-ted-cruz-fec-campaign-finance-bribery-loan

Still a mystery on how this case will go….but knowing the track record of the Robert’s Court I am not optimistic.

Maybe now would be a good time to take on the corruption and bribery committed by lobbyists and their corporate puppet masters.

Just a passing thought on my part.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS Of Today

I have made my thoughts on the modern SCOTUS….I think they are nothing more than political hacks that are a slave to party politics not the rule of law…..

With said let’s look at the SCOTUS of today…..

The Robert’s court has been concerned about the ethical lapses that the court has been plagued with recently…..

There have been ethical lapses by federal judges, Chief Justice John Roberts has conceded. And as a workplace, the court system has not been free of discrimination and harassment, the Washington Post reports. But he cited the principle of judicial independence in arguing that courts should be left alone to police themselves. “The Judiciary’s power to manage its internal affairs insulates courts from inappropriate political influence and is crucial to preserving public trust in its work as a separate and co-equal branch of government,” Roberts said. The chief justice made the case in his year-end report on the judiciary.

Roberts referred to “topics that have been flagged by Congress and the press over the past year”—not problems the judiciary spotted on its own. Wall Street Journal reports, which he addressed, found judges’ actions “inconsistent” with a statute requiring them to recuse themselves in cases in which they have a financial stake. “Between 2010 and 2018, 131 federal judges participated in a total of 685 matters involving companies in which they or their families owned shares of stock,” Roberts wrote. Although he said that’s a “99.97% compliance rate,” Roberts said that the judiciary takes the issue seriously and that those 131 judges “violated an ethics rule.”

Ethics training for judges will be stepped up, Roberts said, and computer software might be used to spot potential conflicts of interest. He also mentioned steps being taken to protect judiciary employees, per the Post. Legislation has been introduced that would, among other things, set up whistleblower protections for staff members. Again, Roberts said the judiciary has it under control, adding, “I appreciate that Members of Congress have expressed ongoing concerns on this important matter.” Roberts is working from a position of strength: A recent poll found the chief justice has the highest popularity rating of 11 federal officials. On the other hand, per Axios, a September poll found the Supreme Court’s approval rating down to 40%.

Seriously?

“Independent”?

That is about as a stupid statement….they are political hacks…that is how they get nominated.

Nothing about the court smells of independence…..the court no longer works for the country but rather for the political corporate machine….

In 2008, Linda Greenhouse, a New York Times reporter who had covered the Supreme Court for almost 30 years, assessed the court’s place in the nation in an essay. “The court is in Americans’ collective hands,” she wrote. “We shape it; it reflects us. At any given time, we may not have the Supreme Court we want. We may not have the court we need. But we have, most likely, the Supreme Court we deserve.” Greenhouse’s views have changed since then, she writes in a new opinion piece in the Times, as has the court. Now, she writes, the country deserves better.

The justices don’t represent the views of the majority of Americans because they weren’t chosen by a majority of Americans. Six justices were picked by Republican presidents, only three of whom received a majority of the popular vote when they were elected. The GOP leanings of small states and realities of the Electoral College mean that the three justices named by former President Donald Trump were confirmed in close votes by senators representing less than half of the US population, Greenhouse notes.

The result is a court whose majority view isn’t the nation’s. For example, polls regularly show Americans want to leave Roe v. Wade alone, but the court’s illogical handling of the Texas law suggests that’s not the way it’s headed, writes Greenhouse. “We now have justices apparently untroubled by process and precedent, let alone appearances.” With their life tenure, these justices could “capture the court for the next generation and freeze in place a legacy the American people never chose,” she says. That leads Greenhouse to an updated answer on that rhetorical question from 2008: “Is this the Supreme Court we deserve? It is not.” (Read the full piece here.)

The Supreme Court needs reforming….start with banning political think yanks from having any influence in the nomination process (but that is a pipe dream on my part for the corporations own every part of our government and that includes SCOTUS).

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Closing Thought–10Dec21

Remember from your school days (that is if you studied at all) about the Founders wanting a separation of church and state?

Well that desire is slowly being eroded away and the Supreme Court is assisting in the erosion….the newest assault on the ideal…..Carson vs Makin…….

At an oral argument held Wednesday morning, all six members of the Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed majority appeared likely to blow a significant new hole in the wall separating church and state.

The case is Carson v. Makin; the question is whether the state of Maine is required to subsidize religious education; and the majority’s answer appears, at least under certain circumstances, to be yes.

Under current law, as Justice Elena Kagan noted during Wednesday’s argument, the question of whether to fund religious education is typically left up to elected officials. Maine’s legislators decided not to do so when they drafted the state’s unusual tuition voucher program that’s at issue in Carson, and is meant to ensure that children in sparsely populated areas still receive a free education.

The overwhelming majority of Maine schoolchildren attend a school designated by their local school district. But a small minority — fewer than 5,000 students, according to the state — live in rural areas where it is not cost-effective for the state to either operate its own public school or contract with a nearby school to educate local students. In these areas, students are provided a subsidy, which helps them pay tuition at the private school of their family’s choice.

https://www.vox.com/2021/12/8/22824027/supreme-court-carson-makin-first-amendment-religion-schools-subsidize-roberts-alito-kavanaugh

Just another attempt to combine church and state….never a good idea.

Religion and governing should never be combined…..when it is someone will suffer some sort of injustice.

I read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–18Oct21

I have been asked to participate in protests to be held in DC at the Supreme Court building……I cannot take part as I am still fighting a family matter that requires my presence in all my glory.

Unlike the days of protests in the 60s and 70s no one cares what we think…especially the supreme court.

While I support the protests I think that the attempt will be no better than a fart in the wind.

Why do I feel this way?

The Supreme Court is more conservative than it’s been in almost a century. ​​Its new term begins today, and by next June, when the term ends, Americans might finally understand what that means. Public opinion of the court is already at a record low after the court allowed a strict abortion law to go into effect in Texas in early September. Now, the justices are preparing to hear the court’s first major gun rights case since 2010 as well as a case on the future of abortion in the U.S. Both cases could result in decisions that are far more extreme than most Americans want. 

In the past, a desire to preserve the court’s apolitical reputation kept the justices from straying too far from public opinion. That could happen again — in fact, Chief Justice John Roberts has so far proven remarkably adept at producing decisions that protect the court’s reputation and that are often portrayed as more moderate and mainstream than they really are. 

This term, though, the other conservative justices might be fine with taking a very public right turn. Neither expanding gun rights nor overturning Roe v. Wade would be popular, yet the court is considering both — a sign of how conservative it has already become. The question now is whether the risk of a backlash is enough to keep the conservative majority from, say, overturning Roe in an election year. 

“The justices are plainly conscious of public attitudes toward the court,” said Lawrence Baum, a political science professor at Ohio State University. “But that’s only one consideration for the justices and not necessarily the most important one — particularly on issues like abortion or gun rights where they may have intense personal preferences about the right outcome.”

Why The Supreme Court Probably Doesn’t Care What Most Americans Think About Abortion Or Gun Rights

The judges get all ‘butt hurt’ when they are called ‘political hacks’ and yet that is exactly what they are.

When we allow a political group like the Federalist Society pick our judges then we get what they are ‘political hacks’…..it is that simple pretending does not change the fact.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS News

The Supreme Court is making the news almost daily…..many of us are calling for some sort of reform with the Court…..something has to be done to try and control these political hacks that are suppose to be neutral to the political antics of the political parties…..they are not.

One of my concerns is that these judges are not acting in a responsible way and are being unduly influenced by outside players….

In a letter to Roberts, Reuters reported, the Democratic lawmakers questioned whether Roberts had done enough in his role as the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States to uphold the integrity of the federal judiciary and enforce ethic rules.

Warren and Jayapal cite a Wall Street Journal report that revealed 131 judges failed to recuse themselves from cases involving companies in which they or their family members owned stock—a scope of ethics violations the lawmakers called “stunning.”
 
The letter cites legal precedents from the code of conduct that require judges to recuse themselves from all cases where financial interest is involved, calling the extensive ethic breaches, at least in part, “a direct result of the inadequate processes for judicial accountability.”
 
“These conflicts of interest have affected hundreds of cases and the integrity of the justice system,” the letter reads.
The letter references other instances in which Supreme Court justices similarly did not recuse themselves from cases despite potential financial conflicts, including through ownership of individual stock, as further evidence of a “systemic failure that requires accountability.”
 
Warren and Jayapal argued that their comprehensive ethics legislation—the Anti-Corruption & Public Integrity Act—if passed—would close the large gaps in the U.S. judicial ethics system by requiring public release of disclosure reports, overhauling the recusal system, and barring judges from owning individual stocks.
 
Biden put together a commission to look at the Court and suggest changes that could be made….(really this was a worthless time waste)…..

The first word from President Biden’s commission charged with exploring changes to the Supreme Court was mostly about what the panel hasn’t done. “The Commission did not attempt to discern whether the Court is beset by a crisis of legitimacy today, nor do we take a position on whether the Court’s independence is at risk or whether it has become too anti-democratic,” said a draft document released before a meeting Friday. The panel was asked to consider specific changes, but its final report, to be presented to Biden in mid-November, won’t included actionable recommendations, CNN reports.

That was more or less the plan, but the cautious, hesitant approach evident in the drafts still irritated people, mostly Democrats. “This was not even close to being worth the wait,” said Brian Fallon of Demand Justice, who criticized the “the paralysis-by-analysis” approach, per the New York Times. On one major proposal, adding members to the court, the drafts show members seem to agree that would be legal but not on whether it “would be wise,” per MSNBC. The documents cited polls showing the idea is unpopular. The commission is focusing too much on the politics of expansion and not enough on potential benefits, said Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP.

Many Republicans don’t want to see the panel doing anything more, saying expansion would upend norms and already has received too much attention, per the Washington Post. “Far-left progressives are clearly trying to expand their political power under the guise of ‘court reform,'” said Kelly Shackelford of First Liberty Institute. Two conservatives quit Friday, leaving 36 members on the panel. Although the commission sidestepped the legitimacy question, a Gallup Poll in September found the Supreme Court’s approval rating down to 40%.

There’s more support for imposing 18-year term limits on justices. But members aren’t sure how that could be done. It might take a constitutional amendment, or maybe just a statute. Some members don’t want to do anything that could “encounter so many constitutional problems.” Biden threw cold water on that idea anyway on Friday night when he was asked if he supports term limits. “No” was his answer. Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert on the panel, isn’t sure about term limits, either. But he worries about the effects of rejecting every potential improvement because of possible risks. “Many people, and I include myself in this, believe we are indeed in a ‘break-the-glass’ moment,” he said.

Did you really think that there was going to be any help by this Commission?  If so, then you have been asleep for the last 40 years.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Next SCOTUS Session

If it’s October then it is time for SCOTUS to set their session docket…..it will be an interesting session since the American people think the court is doing a lousy job…

A new Quinnipiac University poll indicates that just 37% of Americans approve of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job, the lowest rating registered by the polling firm since they began tracking in 2004.

49% of Americans disapproved, while 13% had no opinion. Predictably, views on the nation’s highest court vary based on party affiliation; 47% of Republicans said they approved of how the court was handling its job, while 40% said they disapproved. 

(business insider)

The court has been a hot bed of political action….it has become a cabal of political hacks….to that accusation Roberts fired back with the court only concerns are judicial not political….

This from a court that was picked by the slime of the Federalist Society…..the court has been remaking society for decades….the court that gave corporations personhood….but it is not political…..

That said here is the new docket (partial docket)…

The Supreme Court has begun a momentous new term, back in the courtroom after a nearly 19-month absence because of the coronavirus pandemic. Eight of the nine justices took the bench at 10am Monday for the first arguments of the new term. Justice Brett Kavanaugh is participating remotely from his home after testing positive for COVID-19 late last week. Mississippi and Tennessee’s dispute over an underground aquifer is among today’s cases, reports the AP, with the court on Monday affirming a lower court ruling that said District of Columbia residents aren’t entitled to voting representation in the House of Representatives. The AP separately looks at the notable cases that will top this term:

  • Abortion. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court’s major decisions over the last half-century that guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion nationwide. Lower courts blocked Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but a more conservative Supreme Court has agreed to review those rulings. Arguments are Dec. 1.
  • Guns. New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen is a case that could expand gun rights in the US and involves the right to carry a firearm in public. The case involves New York’s restrictive gun-permit law. New York state is among six states that limit who has the right to carry a weapon in public. Arguments are Nov. 3.
  • State secrets. United States v. Zubaydah and FBI v. Fazaga are two cases that involve what the government claims are “state secrets.” The first case the court will hear involves a Guantanamo Bay detainee who a lower court said was tortured in CIA custody. He’s seeking information from two former CIA contractors. Arguments are Oct. 6. The other state secrets case involves a group of Muslim residents of California who allege the FBI targeted them for surveillance because of their religion. Arguments are Nov. 8.
  • Boston Marathon bombing. United States v. Tsarnaev is the Biden administration’s effort to have the death sentence reinstated for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Arguments are Oct. 13.
  • Campaign finance. Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate is a challenge by Sen. Ted Cruz to rules about limits on repaying a candidate for federal office who loans his or her campaign money. Cruz made a loan to his campaign above the limit of $250,000 expressly to challenge the law. He won in a lower court. Arguments haven’t been scheduled.

Bold Justice: SCOTUS is back in session!

https://www.npr.org/2021/10/04/1041713663/the-supreme-courts-conservatives-cook-up-a-stew-of-abortion-guns-religion-and-mo

But look at the docket….abortions, gun rights, business, religious rights…..sounds political to me.

Whatcha think?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS Scorecard

I have little positive to say about our Supreme Court…..personally I think it is too much an ideological hotbed of ideological stupid.

These ‘people’ are suppose to be the guardians of our republic but they cannot do an accurate job through the lens of party politics.

A recent scorecard of the Court was published of what the American people think of SCOTUS….

What do they think?

Just 49% of Americans approve of the performance of the Supreme Court, down from 58%—a 10-year high—a year ago. That’s according to a Gallup poll conducted from July 6 to 21 and released Wednesday. It brings the court’s first approval rating below 50% since 2017, per CNN. That year, Gallup cited “a wide gap in partisan views of the court,” per the Washington Post. This time, the approval rating was the same among Democrats and Republicans at 51%, but 46% among independents, per USA Today. In previous years, opinions have been more divided. For example, in 2015, when the court upheld the Affordable Care Act and legalized same-sex marriage, 76% of Democrats approved, compared to 18% of Republicans. In 2018, following President Trump’s Supreme Court nominations, 72% of Republicans approved, compared to 38% of Democrats.

The latest rating follows a busy term which saw the court reject a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act, considered a win for Democrats, and uphold Arizona election laws that a lower court had ruled as discriminatory, seen as a victory for Republicans. “The mix of rulings may have helped keep Republicans from viewing the court as a conservative ally, or Democrats from perceiving it as too ideologically extreme,” which would be notable “given that the court now has six justices nominated by Republican presidents compared with three nominated by Democratic presidents,” Gallup said. Some 57% of moderates and 52% of conservatives said they approved of the court, compared to a third of liberals, per the Post. More than 60% of liberals said they disapproved—well above the national disapproval rate of 44%. The margin of error rate is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Court is there to interpret the Constitution as it pertains to our rights as citizens….not to make policy.

When we allow organizations like the Federalist Society to pick our judges we get a crappy court…a court that makes ruling according to political ideology…the Constitution is only secondary.

If this continues then we will not need the Congress (I have mixed emotions about that thought)

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Mississippi Sets The Stage

My state of Mississippi has the distinction of many things…..we lead the nation on child poverty, one of the most unhealthy of states, most littered state,….on and on…..

Now Mississippi trying to be known as the state that brought down Roe v Wade…..

The Mississippi attorney general on Thursday asked the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, a challenge to the 1973 law that’s been expected since May, when the high court agreed to hear a case involving a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. Lower courts blocked the law, known as the Gestational Age Act, and the state is appealing, NBC News reports. Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the Roe v. Wade ruling, as well as the other major ruling legalizing abortion in the US, 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, were “egregiously wrong.” She said there is an “overwhelming” case to be made for overruling them, CNN reports.

“The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” Fitch said in a new brief to the justices. The request is notable, because when Mississippi asked SCOTUS to hear the case, it said doing so did not “require the court to overturn either Roe or Casey.” Politico says this brief “raises the stakes,” but notes that court watchers tend to think the justices are more likely to stop short of overruling Roe, while continuing to allow states to place an increasing number of restrictions on abortions. Axios points out the possibility that President Biden will protect abortion rights via an executive action if Roe is overturned. Oral arguments are expected in late fall or early winter, with a decision possible by June.

With a conservative ideologues on the Court this could well be the death throes of Roe v Wade….

And Mississippi will be the final nail in the coffin of reproductive rights.

I am so proud….(that is sarcasm in case you missed it)

Thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS–This Is What We Get

One of the more recent opinion offered by the Supreme Court was one that upheld the attempts to suppress the vote (at least in Arizona)……and as usual since I am an opinionated SOB I had something to say on this ruling……

 
Like I stated…this is what we get when we allow an agenda group like the Federalist Society pick our judges.
 
To explain the damage that this situation can implement….

In many ways, the recently completed Supreme Court term was our first comprehensive look at one of the most consequential legacies of the Trump presidency: his imprint on the court. 

Understanding the full impact of former President Donald Trump’s 6-3 conservative supermajority is challenging at this point, though. On the one hand, this term saw the highest share of unanimous rulings in the last three years. On the other hand, the court’s last two major rulings broke down along 6-3 ideological lines. But that seeming inconsistency may have more to do with divisions among the court’s conservatives over how fast to move — not in what direction. Make no mistake, the court is moving in a conservative direction, and the conservative justices are in the driver’s seat.

The Supreme Court’s Conservative Supermajority Is Just Beginning To Flex Its Muscles

The damage that these conservative ideologues can do is almost incalculable….

“The harmful rulings coming out of this court make it critical that Congress pass legislation to protect voting rights and shore up our democracy,” Jealous added. “We also have to build a strategy to reinforce the importance of fair courts and fair-minded judges, so we can counter the decadeslong efforts by the far right to pack our courts, including our Supreme Court, with ultraconservative judges.”

PFAW’s analysis came just a day after a pair of 6-3 SCOTUS rulings on Arizona’s voting restrictions and California’s dark money disclosure rules that led Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to dub Thursday “one of the darkest days in all of the Supreme Court’s history.”

https://www.rawstory.com/gop-supreme-court/

Since the Supreme Court is suppose to be the highest authority in the land for the interpretation of the Constitution and law….what could be next in the fight against this voter suppression attempts?

The decision, though, was a blow to those who believe voting access is more important than rooting out fraud — and that’s most Americans, the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found. Fifty-six percent said making sure that everyone who wants to vote can do so is a bigger concern than making sure that no one who is ineligible votes.

“It very much narrows the path of challenging these many, many voter obstacles that states are instituting across the country,” Debo Adegbile, an anti-discrimination attorney, told NPR’s Nina Totenberg.

https://www.npr.org/2021/07/03/1012777226/whats-next-for-voting-rights-after-the-supreme-courts-decision

I say screw SCOTUS!

The fight must go on and using whatever legal tactic one can imagine.

Every American old enough to vote should have easy access to the machinations of voting…..this country should be doing everything possible to see that we all have the right and the easy access to the polls.

Stand for liberty or sit down and STFU!

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Brnovich v DNC

???

WTF, Professor?

If you are scratching your head then let me explain….this is the landmark SCOTUS decision to crap on voting rights……

From the majority opinion….

Arizona law generally makes it very easy to vote. Voters may cast their ballots on election day in person at a traditional precinct or a “voting center” in their county of residence. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §16–411(B)(4). Arizonans also may cast an “early ballot” by mail up to 27 days before an election, §§16–541, 16–542(C), and they also may vote in person at an early voting location in each county, §§16–542(A), (E). These cases involve challenges under §2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) to aspects of the State’s regulations governing precinct-based election-day voting and early mail-in voting. First, Arizonans who vote in person on election day in a county that uses the precinct system must vote in the precinct to which they are assigned based on their address. See §16–122; see also §16–135. If a voter votes in the wrong precinct, the vote is not counted. Second, for Arizonans who vote early by mail, Arizona House Bill 2023 (HB 2023) makes it a crime for any person other than a postal worker, an elections official, or a voter’s caregiver, family member, or household member to knowingly collect an early ballot—either before or after it has been completed. §§16–1005(H)–(I).

Justice Kagan wrote the dissenting opinion and in doing so gives the court a much needed civics lesson…..

If a single statute represents the best of America, it is the Voting Rights Act. It marries two great ideals: democracy and racial equality. And it dedicates our country to carrying them out. Section 2, the provision at issue here, guarantees that members of every racial group will have equal voting opportunities. Citizens of every race will have the same shot to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice. They will all own our democracy together—no one more and no one less than any other.

Her opinion is lengthy but is much needed for the voter to know what just happened in SCOTUS…..

Slowly but slowly we are losing the battle of having a voice in this government…..and illustrates what we get when we let some outside ultra-conservative group pick our judges for us.

Time for a change in SCOTUS and in the country…..we can no longer depend on the Court to have our backs from assaults on our rights as Americans.

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“lego ergo scribo”