Tag Archives: US Supreme Court

Alabama pushes forward radical abortion bill

Oh, I do hate commenting on abortion or, to borrow the current euphemism, “women’s reproductive rights.”

However, the decision by the Alabama Legislature to make abortion a criminal act deserves a brief comment here.

Alabama’s legislators have made a serious mistake. They have sent to the governor’s desk a bill that would punish doctors with prison terms of as long as 99 years for performing an abortion at any stage of a woman’s pregnancy.

Here’s the worst part of it: The bill makes no exception for women who are impregnated in an act of rape or incest; the only exception is if the woman’s health is in danger.

If Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signs the bill, it seems to set up a clear challenge eventually of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

Here is a potential consequence of this legislation: We well might see a spike in what is called “back-alley abortions,” where women who cannot carry a pregnancy to full term will seek illegal methods to end the pregnancy. Some of these processes are too gruesome for me to describe in this blog; you know what I’m talking about. The consequences of these hideous acts also are dire in the extreme.

So what does the president of the United States say about this Alabama law? He endorses it as a hedge against what he describes as procedures supported by Democrats who favor “ripping the baby from the mother’s womb” and essentially “executing” the child — which, of course, is a bald-faced lie.

This blog post is going to get some blowback from readers who endorse the Alabama decision. Fine. I’m willing to take the hits.

I am not willing to remain silent while one of our states criminalizes an act that the U.S. Supreme Court has determined to be legal. I would never counsel a woman to obtain an abortion. That is my point. It’s not my business. It is hers alone!

Not very ‘pro-life’ of this legislator

I am trouble grasping the logic of this proposal by a Texas legislator.

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a Republican, wants to criminalize abortion. He wants to charge every woman who terminates a pregnancy with homicide, or murder. He wants, therefore, to subject that woman to the death penalty, which Texas allows for those convicted of murder.

He is a “pro-life” legislator? I don’t get how that computes.

Enter a more reasonable GOP lawmaker, Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano (pictured), who says he won’t allow Tinderholt’s bill to the House of Representatives floor for a full vote among the state’s 150 state representatives.

Leach chairs the Texas House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. Since announcing his plan to stop House Bill 896, Leach has received threats at his office. The Collin County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the source of those threats.

Yes, this issue is highly sensitive. It pushes hot buttons on folks they possibly didn’t know existed on their person.

As for Tinderholt’s idea of criminalizing a legal medical procedure — which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled — it doesn’t sound very “pro-life” to kill someone who makes the most difficult decision she ever would make.

This debate over women’s right to choose whether to give birth needs to stay on a more sane track than the one proposed by Rep. Tinderholt.

Thank goodness there exist some sense of reason among Texas Republicans.

Do elections have consquences? Yep, they sure do!

You’ve heard it said that “elections have consequences.”

Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States demonstrates it; he has appointed two justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, swinging the court balance to the right. Yes, the 2016 election has consequences.

So does the 2018 midterm congressional election. We saw the consequence of that election today. Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm election.

And today, the Democrats convened a hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and received the testimony of Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, who then proceeded to tell the world that the president might have broken the law. How? By writing a reimbursement check for what might have constituted an illegal campaign expenditure relating to the payment to an adult film actress who allegedly had a fling with the future president.

We would have heard none of this today had Republicans maintained control of the House in the midterm election. They didn’t. The Democrats took control. They have the chairman’s gavels now.

Let there be no doubt that elections have consequences.

At times those consequences can be profound. I believe we witnessed one of those profound events today.

ACA gets the boot; now, get ready for the appeals

A U.S. district judge has booted out the Affordable Care Act, calling a key element to it unconstitutional.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the U.S. Supreme Court already has upheld the ACA, which has withstood repeated Republican-led challenges in Congress and the courts.

The anti-ACA ruling came today from Judge Reed O’Connor, who presides on the federal court for the Northern District of Texas; O’Connor is based in Fort Worth.

He said the individual mandate of the law violates the Constitution because “it cannot be separated from the rest of the law.” His ruling, therefore, means the entire ACA must be scrapped.

Democrats, quite naturally, are going to appeal this ruling.

I won’t disparage Judge O’Connor. I will stipulate, though, that the Supreme Court has heard arguments already on the ACA and has voted to uphold it. Has the court’s ideological balance changed so drastically that it would reverse what it already has ruled? Not likely.

My sincere hope is that the law known as Obamacare withstands the challenge that continues to mount. Millions of Americans already have enrolled in health insurance under the ACA. Rulings such as the one handed down by Judge O’Connor shouldn’t jeopardize Americans’ ability to obtain health insurance.

Indeed, Republican and Democratic legal scholars believe the ACA is likely to survive despite the judge’s ruling.

Let us hope that’s the case.

McConnell wants what? Bipartisanship? For real?

I gave myself one of those proverbial forehead slaps when I heard this tidbit: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants there to be more “bipartisanship” in the next Congress.

Huh? He said what? This comes in the form of an op-ed column from the obstructionist in chief on Capitol Hill?

It took my breath away.

This is the fellow who said in 2010: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Uh, huh. He said that. The 2012 presidential election, of course, dashed Leader McConnell’s dream. President Obama won re-election.

Then came the congressional Republican caucuses singular effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They staged countless votes in the Senate and the House. They came up short. Who led the charge? Mitch did, that’s who.

And then we had the obstruction to end all obstructions in early 2016. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon on the court, died suddenly in Texas. Justice Scalia’s body had barely gotten cold when McConnell declared that President Obama would not get the chance to replace him.

Oh sure, the president can nominate someone, McConnell said, but Republicans were not going to move the nomination forward. Obama nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland — a supremely qualified man — only to watch his nomination wither and die. We had a presidential election to conclude and McConnell banked on the hope that a Republican would be elected. His gamble paid off with Donald Trump’s election.

Now the majority leader wants a more bipartisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

Pardon me while I bust out laughing.

The next Congress will be split. Democrats will control the House; Republicans will lead the Senate. Bipartisanship certainly is the preferred way to govern.

That such a call would come from the U.S. Senate’s leading obstructionist gives “gall” a bad name.

This just in from Kentucky: Kim Davis loses

Who, you might ask, is Kim Davis?

She is a Rowan County (Ky.) clerk who made a spectacle of herself when she declined to sign marriage licenses requested by same-sex couples. That was her reaction to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that made gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Well, Davis has lost her bid for re-election.

Too bad? Actually, no. It isn’t.

Davis proclaimed that her religious beliefs precluded her from signing marriage license requests for gay couples. She had run initially as a Democrat; she switched parties, becoming a Republican. Her refusal to uphold her oath landed her in jail briefly. She came out and made a big show of it by standing alongside Baptist preacher (and former Arkansas governor) Mike Huckabee.

Here’s the deal, though. Davis’s oath of office demanded that she obey the U.S. Constitution. She declined to remain faithful to her oath. She then let deputy clerks sign those certificates to protect the boss from doing so.

She’ll be out of office by the time January rolls around. That’s fine. Hit the road, Mme. Clerk.

Trump seeks to amend Constitution with an executive order?

Hold on, Mr. President!

You used to excoriate your immediate predecessor, falsely, for over-using his executive order authority. Now you are considering a notion to issue an order to stop birthright citizenship to everyone who is born within the United States of America?

I do not believe you can do that, Mr. President. Your White House legal team is giving you bad advice. I feel confident saying such a thing even though I am no lawyer, nor do I purport to know “the best words” or surround myself with “the best people.”

I understand that you just don’t want all them “illegal aliens” giving birth in this country to babies who become immediate U.S. citizens. You want citizenship only for those who “merit” it.

Let’s take a quick look — shall we? — at the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Section 1 says it clearly: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

The amendment was proposed in Congress on June 13, 1866, a little more than a year after the Civil War.

Constitutional scholars say the amendment was a result of efforts granting full citizenship to African-Americans who only three years earlier were “emancipated” from their enslavement by President Lincoln.

Still, it’s written in the Constitution, that everyone born in this country is granted immediate citizenship upon birth.

Thus, I just don’t believe, Mr. President, that you can circumvent the Constitution with the kind of executive order you said was abused by former presidents.

If you do, sir, my sincere hope is that someone challenges it immediately and that it finds its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the conservative majority on the court — which has been buttressed by the recent confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh — stands by the document y’all have pledged to protect and defend, they’ll join their liberal colleagues in shutting down this unconstitutional effort.

This executive authority notion, Mr. President, is un-American.

Had it with all these Kavanaugh speeches

I hereby declare that I have had it up to here with all these speeches about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Where is “here”? Name it: my eyeballs, my armpits, the top of my noggin. Or, you can say “here” is my chinny-chin-chin.

We know what U.S. Senate Republicans think of Kavanaugh. They think he’s the best thing to happen to jurisprudence since pockets on shirts. Democrats believe the accusation that he sexually assaulted at least one woman in the 1980s and don’t want him anywhere near the highest court in the land.

Yet many of the 100 men and women who comprise the Senate are orating their pleasure/displeasure about the confirmation vote.

Spare me, ladies and gentlemen. Indeed, spare the rest of the country. We’ve heard it already. Multiple times! You’ve repeated yourselves.

Actually, all I’m hearing now is the equivalent of white noise.

Blah, blah, blah … and some more blah, blah. 

Kavanaugh isn’t my idea of a good choice for the Supreme Court. Then again, I have no direct say in who Donald J. Trump appoints to these posts. The president won’t listen to me. For that matter, he doesn’t listen to damn near anyone, believing that since he is the president of the United States, he is entitled to make whatever decision he feels like making.

True enough.

In the meantime, the Senate’s 100 members need to stop talking now about things we’ve heard already.

Here is why the FBI report on Kavanaugh should go public

The FBI investigation into whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied to the Senate during his testimony before the Judiciary Committee is heading to the Senate for its review.

It’s supposed to be for senators’ eyes only.

Hah! Don’t bet on it staying that way.

Republicans will leak the parts of the report that buttress Kavanaugh’s bid to join the nation’s highest court; Democrats will leak those parts that do damage to Kavanaugh.

My strong preference, quite obviously, is for the entire FBI finding to be made public. Send them to the rest of us, the bosses, the folks for whom the president works, for whom Congress works, for whom the Supreme Court works.

The FBI investigation was supposed to be “comprehensive,” according to Donald John Trump’s own words. It wasn’t. The FBI didn’t talk to Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in 1982. It didn’t talk, yet again, with Kavanaugh. It didn’t talk to two other women who have leveled accusations against Kavanaugh.

The report isn’t comprehensive. It is a perfunctory effort.

And now only the Senate will see it in detail, such as it is.

Do you believe senators will keep its contents secret? Neither do I.

We’re likely to hear what both sides want us to hear. It’s only going to inflame passions even more … as if we need more division in this country.

This is how you define ‘comprehensive’?

Let’s see how this plays out.

Donald J. Trump said he wants the FBI to conduct a “comprehensive” investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford and the allegation of sexual assault that Ford has leveled against Kavanaugh.

That’s good … so far.

Then we hear that the FBI isn’t going to talk to either of them. Kavanaugh, the president’s nominee to join the U.S. Supreme Court won’t be interviewed by the FBI. Ford gets a pass, too.

My question, then, is this: How “comprehensive” can an FBI investigation be when the agency doesn’t interview the two main principals in this on-going political drama?

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might cast a full vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court as early as Friday.

It appears that those of us who want a thorough and “comprehensive” probe are getting the bum’s rush.