Category Archives: legal news

Handcuffs in Trump’s future?

I have known this gentleman for 22 years. We met in Greece in 2000 at a conference of journalists from around the world. He lives in Australia. I haven’t seen him since we parted company all those years ago, but we have stayed in touch during that time.

He has told me many times over the past, oh, five years or so that Donald J. Trump would be hauled off in handcuffs and leg irons when the feds arrest him for the myriad crimes he has committed.

I kind of laughed off my friend’s belief. I am not laughing now.

It is impossible to predict what Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to do when the House select committee finishes its examination into the 1/6 insurrection. I have my hope for what I believe should happen, which is that Garland is going to obtain a grand jury indictment against Trump for knowingly inciting the assault on our Capitol that day.

Do I believe that will happen? I am thinking each day that the likelihood is increasing that Garland will do what he must to keep his pledge to us to hold “anyone and everyone accountable” for crimes he has committed against the nation.

The evidence is piling up against Trump. The televised hearings have produced some stunning revelations to the public. I understand that there are those who will read this blog post and will respond with something like “no one’s watching these hearings; they don’t register with voters.” They shouldn’t waste their time and energy. The folks who should be watching them — namely the legal eagles at Justice — will be watching.

I also am acutely aware of the enormous political consequence if a criminal indictment doesn’t produce a conviction. The AG is even more aware of that than anyone else on Earth. Will I accept a decision from Garland that tells us he will forgo a criminal prosecution? Sure. I won’t like it, but I trust him implicitly to do the right thing.

I just am feeling at this moment that the “right thing” is going to make history.

Why omit this one, Mr. Justice?

It wasn’t lost on many folks that U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas omitted a legal precedent when he signaled which others might become vulnerable in future SCOTUS rulings.

The court knocked Roe v. Wade — the landmark ruling that legalized abortion — down and out. Thomas then noted that in the future, the court could take on same-sex marriage and contraception, two other provisions protected by constitutional “rights of privacy” provisions.

But … wait! What about interracial marriage?

Oh, yeah. Thomas, one of two blacks to serve on the court, is married to a white woman … and a controversial white woman at that! Ginni Thomas has been rabble-rousing like the dickens over Joe Biden’s 2020 election as president.

The court’s famous Loving ruling in 1967 legalized interracial marriage. It’s difficult for many of us to understand why it was ever illegal for people of different races to marry one another, but it was.

Is that going to be part of the court’s future?


SCOTUS has changed, not Roe

Leave it to a lame-duck U.S. Supreme Court justice to put a monumental ruling in fascinating perspective.

Stephen Breyer is about to retire from the nation’s top court. He cast a dissenting vote in the decision to toss aside 50 years of “settled law” by overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion legal.

Previous Supreme Court decisions had upheld Roe v. Wade in earlier challenges. The court would rule that the law was established and that, by golly, the Constitution did guarantee a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

Not this court. Not this time.

It was Justice Breyer who noted in his dissent that Roe had withstood challenges because it remained the same. The only thing that changed, he wrote, “is this court.”

So it is that Supreme Court, with his conservative supermajority, has decided to enact an activist agenda by ruling that a half-century of “settled law” had been decided wrongly.


SCOTUS credibility at issue

The U.S. Supreme Court has a credibility problem. It’s serious, I’m telling you.

It ruled in just the span of a few days that New York does not have the authority as a state to govern concealed handgun carry and then decided that states must decide whether women can obtain a legal abortion.

Two justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — reportedly told Sen. Susan Collins that Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion ruling that the court has just tossed aside, was “settled law” and that they wouldn’t trifle with it. Well, they damn sure did.

“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents,” Collins wrote.

This calls into question whether the court is as independent and impartial as the founders envisioned when they created the federal judiciary.

Having said all this, I stand by my refusal to endorse the notion of expanding the court’s number from nine to whatever progressives want to install.

What has to happen is that American voters need to decide whether the Supreme Court’s current makeup is reason to vote for members of Congress and for presidents who will honor the rule of the majority.

Donald Trump vowed to nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. He made the pledge while running for president in 2016. Yes, he established the proverbial “litmus test” for judicial candidates to pass. He said so reportedly knowing that most Americans favored keeping Roe on the books. They, too, understood the meaning of “settled law” and wanted to give women the right to choose whether to take a pregnancy to full term.

The high court has thrown all of that aside with its Roe ruling. Moreover, it has spoken out of both sides of its collective mouth by declaring that states could decide whether to allow abortion but that they had no authority to decide how to govern firearm ownership.

Credibility? It’s missing from the Supreme Court.

SCOTUS shows its consequence

There can be no greater example of electoral consequence than the decision delivered this week by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.

Ponder this for a moment:

Justice Clarence Thomas is the court’s senior member, serving on the high court since 1991; the man who selected him, President George H.W. Bush, left office in 1993. Justice Samuel Alito joined the court in 2006; the president who nominated him, George W. Bush, left office in 2009. Chief Justice John Roberts took his post in 2005 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.

Those three conservative justices have stayed far beyond the terms of their political sponsors. The same likely will hold true for three more judicial conservatives, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom were nominated by Donald J. Trump.

Remember, too, that Trump declared while running for office in 2016 that he would find “two or three” justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. He did … and they did. They, too, are likely to remain in office many decades after Trump leaves the scene.

Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring and will be replaced by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s lone selection (so far!) to the nation’s highest court.

Yes, elections have consequences. I now shall assert that the next president election must be determined at least partly by how voters want their Supreme Court to function well into the future.

Do we really want a SCOTUS making far-reaching decisions based on justices’ own religious bias?

‘Representative democracy’ takes a hit

I need to stipulate something up front that shouldn’t need to be stated, which is that we all live in what we call a “representative democracy.”

What does that mean? To me it means that the men and women who serve in our nation’s public offices need to represent the will of the people they govern.

OK, are we clear on that? Good! Then consider this:

Every reputable public opinion poll taken reveals that a substantial majority of Americans favor maintaining abortion rights for women. Gallup, Harris, Quinnipiac, Roper, Ipsos — all of ’em — tell us that most Americans want women to have the right to govern their own bodies.

The U.S. Supreme Court, though, today said the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. The ruling comes as the court has struck down the Roe v. Wade landmark ruling that stood as settled law since it was announced in January 1973. Women no longer are able to obtain an abortion.

Most Americans believe in providing abortion rights for women. A minority in Congress and in our legislatures believe something else.

Where I come from, when the minority rules supersede the beliefs of the majority, we call that “governing by tyrannical means.”

Is that what we are becoming?

SCOTUS might just be getting warmed up

The U.S. Supreme Court is feeling its Wheaties today after handing down a ruling that effectively ends legalized abortion in the United States of America.

It’s a dark day in American juris prudence, at least as I see it.

But … here’s some real bad news: The nation’s highest court now could be feeling so emboldened that it will take dead aim on such constitutional guarantees as the right to marry someone of the same gender as you.

Let’s ponder that for a brief moment.

Texas once had a law on the books that was called colloquially the “anti-sodomy law.” It banned same-sex marriage. I have no need to explain the origin of the “anti-sodomy law” description.

Then the Supreme Court, in a stunning decision just a few years ago, declared that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment applied to same-sex couples as well as straight couples, that everyone in this country is entitled to “equal protection under the law.” The ruling was hailed as huge step toward recognizing gay marriage as legal.

It has now been established as “settled law.”

Or … is it?

The court might believe it is ready to impose its own form of morality on a nation well could have an entirely different view. The gay marriage ruling has been essentially hailed as a victory for inclusion of all Americans under a constitutional clause that many had believed had excluded them from its protection.

Is the Supreme Court really prepared to walk down that path, just as it has decided that Roe v. Wade, the decision that had been settled law for 50 years, now no longer is valid?

Folks, we well might have a U.S. Supreme Court that is preparing to run amok.

SCOTUS might spur political uprising

The U.S. Supreme Court’s stunning decision announced today that tosses aside a long-settled law enabling women to obtain legal abortions well could create a midterm campaign issue for the ages.

Or … it might fizzle out like warmed-over soda pop.

The court ruled 6-3 that the Constitution does not guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, which was the basis for the1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the procedure in the United States.

Conservatives are joyous at the ruling. The rest of us? Well … we’re not.

The midterm election now could hang on whether enough voters are concerned enough to elect members of Congress, governors and state legislators who believe that women have a right to terminate a pregnancy.

My hope is that it does energize the electorate. That it does stem the so-called “red wave” that threatens to sweep Democrats out of control in Congress. That it does elect state legislators and governors in states that already have dropped the hammer on hapless women who now no longer can obtain an abortion legally.

The consequences of this decision are far-reaching and frightening to many women across the land. It won’t end abortion. It only makes it more dangerous as desperate women seek them. What then? Who cares for women whose bodies are devastated by botched procedures?

We hear it said over and over: that “elections have consequences.” We now are paying for the travesty that occurred in 2016 when Donald J. Trump slithered his way into the White House and — with the help of a GOP majority in the Senate — managed to get three individuals confirmed to the SCOTUS.

The right-wing cabal on the high court has set the cause of women’s rights back for decades to come. It now falls on the rest of us to ensure that our ballots count in this year’s midterm election … and beyond.

SCOTUS strikes down Roe … let the fight commence

Whatever crap you might hear from this day forward about how conservatives will not tolerate “judicial activism” or “legislating from the bench,” think of this day when the Supreme Court did exactly that with its decision striking down a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

The U.S. Constitution, said the court in a 6-3 ruling, does not guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, and it now hands the issue over to the states to decide individually.

This is a dark day in American judicial history.

The SCOTUS has struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that declared women had a right under the Constitution to terminate a pregnancy. Previous court rulings had upheld that right.

No longer. The Supreme Court, with its super-conservative majority, has acted in a fashion that used to be anathema to judicial and political conservatives. It has exercised extreme judicial activism in tossing aside what had been considered “settled law.”

Didn’t conservatives once frown on such activism? Didn’t they excoriate progressive judges for crossing that line?

Roughly half the states already have laws on the books that will now take effect. They will make abortion illegal. In Texas, for example, doctors can be charged with felony crimes and sentenced to decades in prison if they perform an abortion. Texas even allows its residents to reap bounties if they tattle on their neighbors who they know have obtained an abortion.

It might not stop with just criminalizing abortion. There well might efforts to overturn other SCOTUS decisions legalizing gay marriage, which the court has ruled is protected under the Equal Protection clause in the 14th Amendment.

Does this hideous decision end abortion? Hardly. Women will continue to terminate their pregnancy, even if it puts them in serious — possibly mortal — danger.

The Supreme Court, moreover, has just furthered the cause of conservative judicial activism. Those on the right-wing fringe, therefore, can spare me the highly dubious argument that the court merely called “balls and strikes” from the bench.

Oh, no! It weighed in with a ruling that denies women a basic right that had been protected under settled law … and the U.S. Constitution.

SCOTUS misfires on this ruling

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is understandably perplexed at today’s ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court ruled — 6 to 3 — that New York’s limitation on concealed handgun carry laws was too restrictive. It said in a ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas — that the state could not impose certain restrictions on concealed firearm regulations outside the home.

Hochul, who appeared visibly distressed by the court’s decision, wondered why the First Amendment has restrictions on “free speech,” by declaring “one cannot yell ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater,” but that the Second Amendment seems to have no restrictions … none at all, in the eyes of those who believe it is sacrosanct.

Yep, it’s just another demonstration that the gun lobby continues to win the arguments over matters related to the right of those to “keep and bear arms.”

Hochul said as well that when the founders approved the Second Amendment, the nation was armed “with muskets.” She said she would prefer to return to a musket-carrying society.

Me … too!