Posts Tagged ‘SCOTUS’

And a gender entitlement.

And a religious entitlement.

And a class entitlement.

Its a citizenship entitlement. That’s a good thing.

You want to make the VRA obviously, unquestionably constitutional? Expand preclearance to every state. We very clearly still need it.

Even better still, nationalize the election of a President. Take away states’ power to make discriminatory laws in the first place.

The federalists may now man their pitchforks.


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Pot, Kettle, Scalia


[Justice Scalia], who shared the stage with his co-author Bryan Garner, argued that good jurisprudence is about sidelining one’s personal beliefs.

“The judge who always likes the results he reaches is a bad judge,” Scalia said.

That’s a good one!


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I’m no stranger to shitty arguments, having made my share. But this, just, wow:

Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can “produce unplanned and unintended offspring,” opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court. By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, “substantial advance planning is required,” said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.

This argument brought to you by the same people who almost shut down the Federal Government in order to kill planned parenthood. Not even Scalia, world’s biggest hack, could find that argument persuasive. (via)

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Lots of good stuff floating around the tubes today and I’m lazy and have a bottle of wine to finish so I’ll let everyone else speak for themselves.

Yglesias kicks off with the myth of the bond vigilantes!

You can imagine a kind of cult in the ancient Middle East in which the villagers are expected to make regular sacrifices to the gods in order to stave off their wrath. Well one year the proper sacrifices aren’t made and yet no suffering seems to be imminent. The priestly caste now has a problem, since their livelihoods depend on the perpetuation of the cult. So they sneak out of the temple at night, burn a bunch of crops, and the next morning warn that even worse is to come if the sacrifices aren’t renewed. Not because the priests are bad people, mind you, they very sincerely believe that the gods are just lying in wait to destroy the village so they’re actually doing everyone a favor.

Next, Paul Campos exposes Antonin Scalia’s entirely unprincipled hackery. I love it.

Scalia’s theory of constitutional precedent could be summarized as, “Supreme Court decisions should be followed in future cases, except when they shouldn’t be.” Indeed in recent years Scalia’s opinions have come to reflect no discernible legal theory, unless “outcomes that Antonin Scalia likes” counts as a legal theory.

And finally, Atrios perfectly encapsulates the last two years of media narrative surrounding fiscal / budget issues.

After telling us for years that what we need is Austerity Now, austerity is somehow a bad thing, except it’s also good because unicorns.

What’d I miss?


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Haven’t been blogging in a while because all anyone can talk about is the fiscal cliff and its just so stupid I can’t bring myself to do it. Luckily for you, I’ve managed to find a couple of non-cliff topics. Justice Scalia was promoting his book* in Princeton yesterday and was asked by a gay student why he sees equivalence between banning sodomy and banning murder. Scalia responds:

“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective,” Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.

According to Article 1, section 8, congress can make laws which it considers “Neccesary and Proper” to carrying out its powers. But according to Scalia, this law is not neccesary! Scalia may also be interested to learn that, as a Supreme Court Justice, he is not a member of a legislative body! His job is not to ban what he believes to be immoral. I agree that a legislative body can ban what it considers to be immoral, but the job of the Supreme Court is not to point that out, its to make sure such bans are constitutional. The necessary and proper clause can be used here (a ban on murder is not based on moral grounds for example, but is necessary and proper to protect the public at large) but Scalia has admitted directly that a sodomy ban would fail this test. Scalia should articulate why he finds such a ban acceptable, rather than just making absurd arguments about bestiality and murder and then saying its a moral thing.

*Something about a Justice running around promoting a book seems a bit off to me. I get that it happens, it just seems odd. Maybe they should retire earlier, then write their books.

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The President has signed a bill outlawing the Westboro Baptist Church’s protests of military funerals:

President Barack Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law on Monday, providing a wide-ranging package of benefits to military personnel and enacting new restrictions on protests of service member funerals.

Under the new legislation, protests must be held at least 300 feet from military funerals and are prohibited two hours before or after a service. The law counters a 2011 Supreme Court ruling, which found that displays such as Westboro’s were protected under the First Amendment.

SCOTUS got this right last year. Obama should not have signed this. I get the sentiment, I really do. WBC is a horrible organization full of terrible people who deserve our scorn. But we can’t legislate against them because we don’t like them. They’re assholes for sure, but they are not criminals.

This is the kind of bill that passes easily in an election year because nothing is more sympathetic than a military funeral and nothing is less sympathetic than disrupting one, but freedom of speech is important. WBC has a right to peaceably assemble, even near a funeral, and they have a right to say horrible things too. Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences, and there are better ways to deal with this kind of slime than eroding out civil liberties, even a little bit.

The bill sets a horrendously dangerous precedent, that we can outlaw protests that are considered unpopular. We shouldn’t ever cross that line.

SCOTUS needs to shoot this down, ASAP.

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While were on the subject of SCOTUS rulings, we should mention Stolen Valor. Citing freedom of speech, the court struck down a law making it illegal to falsely claim military honors.

I agree. You should be free to tell people whatever lies you want. I could claim that I have 28 medals of honor for my service in the War of 1812! You could rightly think I’m an idiot, and hate me for making light of real sacrifice and heroism.

That’s as far as things need go. We, as a society, are very respectful and reverent of military service, and lying about it is a significant social taboo. It effectively disqualifies people from elected office and brings about public shame in a big way. Why does it need to be a crime, too? Lying about military honors endangers no one but the liar, infringes on no ones rights, and in no other way impacts the general public (other than maybe making them feel stupid).

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