Tag Archives: SCOTUS

Land of the Free? Hah!

Didn’t this country found itself as the “Land of the Free,” a nation that prided itself on delivering freedom to all Americans, a land that honored our civil liberties?

I ask because of what has transpired in recent months with the U.S. Supreme Court rescinding one of our sacred civil liberties, the one that granted women the right to determine how to control their own bodies, as covered in the rights of privacy spelled out in the U.S. Constitution.

The court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal in this country. Over the nearly five decades of its existence, legal scholars and other courts had determined that Roe was “settled law.” In other words, we couldn’t mess with what had become part of the nation’s legal fabric.

Not so, according to the current Supreme Court.

When the court rescinded Roe v. Wade it essentially determined that on this key issue, women are longer free to make critical, gut-wrenching and highly emotional decisions involving their own bodies.

There doesn’t appear to be any remedies available, given the current makeup of the U.S. Senate and certainly given the ideological bent of the court, with its six conservative justices. Senate Democrats want to “codify” legality of abortion legislatively, but they would have to overcome a certain Republican filibuster; they need 60 votes to end such an obstructionist act. A 50-50 Senate split isn’t likely to bend.

Oh, but wait. The midterm election could give Democrats an actual majority, enabling them perhaps to toss out the filibuster. We’ll have to see.

I just am baffled at the frontal attack that the GOP and their allies on the Supreme Court have leveled against a fundamental principle established by our nation’s founders. It is that American citizens enjoy the freedom to make decisions that only they can make for themselves.

I would say that a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy qualifies as a critical component of living in the Land of the Free.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

 

Ginni Thomas: dangerous conspirator

Ginni Thomas just keeps distinguishing herself in ways that ought to bring shame not just to her but to her husband … who happens to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thanks to some intrepid reporting from the Washington Post, we now hear that Ginni Thomas urged Wisconsin Republicans to do all they could to overturn the results of that state’s 2020 presidential election. She wanted them to flip the results from Joe Biden’s column to Donald Trump.

Why is this important? Because … hubby Clarence Thomas continues to rule on cases involving that election, rather than (a) recuse himself from anything having to do with that event or (b) just resigning from the high court altogether, which is my preferred outcome.

It is an utterly disgraceful display of conflict of interest for Justice Thomas to continue ruling on these matters while his wife continues to roil the faithful with idiotic assertions that the election was stolen from Donald Trump.

This matter is so far from being over.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Pro-life, pro-choice … or both?

Occasionally I have to grapple with my position on abortion. Am I pro-choice? Am I pro-life? Truly, this issue causes me some grief. To alleviate that grief, I have determined I am both.

I now shall explain myself.

If a woman were to ask me for advice on whether to abort a pregnancy, I could not counsel her to do so. Therefore, that resistance to pro-abortion counseling makes me — in my view — pro-life on the issue.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that strips the court’s Roe v. Wade ruling of its power spurs another emotion within. You see, I also believe that government should not govern how women can manage their own reproductive process. That is not a governmental call. Such heart-wrenching decisions belong only to the woman, her partner, her physician, her spiritual leader and, yes, the god she worships.

I have thought about a gentleman with whom I attended church in Amarillo. His name is Doug and he once told a crowd of fellow churchgoers in a voice loud enough for many of us to hear that he was both a “creationist and one who believes in evolution.”

I learned then that Doug, a fellow who is quite a bit older than I am (which is really saying something), takes the same expansive view of Scripture that I do. We believe that the biblical version of “six days” worth of work creating the universe doesn’t mean the same six calendar days we use to measure that length of time.

So it can be with abortion. I see myself as both pro-life and pro-choice on an issue that when all is said about it really is none of my business.

As a 70-something-year-old man I never have had to make that choice for myself, nor will ever have to make it for as long as I walk this good Earth. Nor do I ever expect a woman to ask me whether she should make that choice for herself.

That suits me fine, too … because I never could say “yes” for any woman to commit such an agonizing act.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Kansans send profound message

Dorothy once told Toto that “we aren’t in Kansas anymore.” Indeed, the Kansas that the little girl who sang and danced her way to the Land of Oz knew likely doesn’t exist, either.

Kansas voters this past Tuesday sent the nation a resounding message that they would not accept legislation and court rulings that made abortion illegal. Kansans voting in a statewide referendum rejected a complicated ballot measure that would have endorsed the idea that its legislature can ban abortion.

Not so fast, said the voters of Kansas.

This is the absolute heart of Middle America. For Kansans to reject — in an astoundingly wide margin — a plan to effectively criminal a medical procedure — is stunning in its scope.

It tells me that conservatives in Congress — as well as those on the nation’s highest court — have overplayed their hands.

And they have handed millions of Americans who disagree with their ham-handed approach to legislating morality — not to mention their effort to repeal “settled law — a potent weapon for the upcoming midterm election … and far beyond.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Cruz is correct on gay sex? Wow!

It surely doesn’t occur often, when U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and your friendly blogger — that would be me — are on the same side of an issue.

Get a load of this: The Texas Republican junior senator told the Dallas Morning News that the state needs to repeal its decades-old law that bans gay sex. How come? Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling that declared the state gay sex ban is unconstitutional.

“Consenting adults should be able to do what they wish in their private sexual activity, and government has no business in their bedrooms,” Cruz’s spokesperson told the newspaper.

I need to shake my marbles loose. I am shocked to hear such wisdom coming from Cruz or from any of his spokespeople.

Ted Cruz says Texas should repeal its now-defunct anti-sodomy law | The Texas Tribune

The state also had a law on the books that banned same-sex couples from engaging in intimate activity. They called it the “anti-sodomy law.”

I am not going to gush freely over what appears to be a sort of epiphany from the Republican lawmaker. As the Texas Tribune reports: But questions over the future of that precedent have surfaced after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Both the 1973 abortion case and the gay sex case, known as Lawrence v. Texas, were decided based on the idea of a constitutional right to privacy.

I have this nagging concern that should the Supreme Court rule in the future that “rights of privacy” also no longer apply to sexual relationships, that it might decide that states, indeed, can make laws such as the Texas ban on same-sex marriage.

What would Cruz say about that ruling? I guess I have come down on my belief that I don’t trust Ted Cruz to stand by what looks like a reasonable statement.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Contraception is alive, but struggling

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill that allows Americans to take measures to avoid pregnancy when they engage in intimate activity.

Sounds, well, rather normal, right? Not if you’re a Texas Republican member of Congress. You see, all GOP House members from Texas voted against this modern, common-sense, rational bill. That means my congressman, Van Taylor of Plano, has something against allowing his constituents to use contraceptives during sex.

What the hell?

Someone has to explain to me the reasons behind the partisan resistance to this measure.

GOP Texans in Congress vote against bill to protect right to contraception | The Texas Tribune

It appears to be some additional blowback to the Supreme Court decision to overturn the law that made abortion legal. Justice Clarence Thomas — the right-wing king of the high court — let it be known that the SCOTUS might next take aim at same-sex marriage and, yes, allowing contraception.

Good grief!

The 50-50 U.S. Senate isn’t likely to follow the House’s lead, given that the GOP side of the divide is wedded to this idiocy that contraception is some sort of Satanic mischief.

Well, it’s as clear as deep blue sky that the Texas Republican congressional delegation has swallowed the swill that now governs GOP policy these days.

They sicken me.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Back to the beginning on marriage?

Wow. I didn’t ever think we would reach this point after the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that men could marry men and women would marry women.

We’re now watching the U.S. House of Representatives enacting legislation that makes same-sex marriage — and same-sex intimacy — legal all over again. A bipartisan bill seeks to head off a possible future Supreme Court ruling that could make gay marriage illegal in this country.

What in the world are we doing to ourselves?

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently said the SCOTUS ruling legalizing gay marriage was wrong. Cruz is wrong. Not the court, which ruled that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to due process and equal protection under the law.

But wait a second! The nation’s highest court struck down the law legalizing abortion and is sending signals it could do the same thing to gay marriage and perhaps even interracial marriage.

Yikes, man!

The House vote doesn’t codify what shouldn’t even be on the table. The Senate has to approve it but needs 60 votes to make it law. A 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans, though, signals that the Senate might not have the votes to do the right thing.

That would be to enact a federal law that strengthens the high court’s decision legalizing gay marriage.

I am shaking my noggin utter disgust.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

End of Roe brings new idiocy

Idiocy can present itself in sometimes surprising forms, such as when a pregnant woman drives her vehicle in a “high-occupancy vehicle” lane, asserting that the baby in her womb is a “second person” in the vehicle.

Therefore, she argues, she is entitled to drive in the HOV lane.

Nonsense. Bullsh**. Horse pucky.

We’re getting some of that idiocy these days in Texas as individuals are reacting to the overturning of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision. A woman who is about to give birth to a child decided the other day to flout a rule requiring two people or more are allowed to ride in an HOV vehicle.

This is an example of political grandstanding run amok. It’s nothing more than a stunt that — and this is weird — could eventually find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I shudder to think what this court, comprising a 6-3 super conservative right-wing majority, would do with this form of idiocy.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Cruz is the one who’s wrong!

Rafael Edward Cruz says the Supreme Court decided wrongly when it legalized same-sex marriage in this country.

Well, the junior Texas Republican U.S. senator — to my total non-surprise — is about as wrong as he can get on that one. The Cruz Missile, indeed, has misfired once more.

The court ruled in 2015 in the noted Obergefell v. Hodges case that same-sex marriage is as legal as heterosexual marriage. It was seen as a monumental victory for the “equality movement” that said gay couples shouldn’t be discriminated against on the basis of whom they love.

I believe the court ruled correctly. My benchmark lies in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; the final clause of Section 1 declares: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Yes, no one should be denied “equal protection of the laws.” What part of that clause does Sen. Cruz reject?

Sen. Ted Cruz said the Supreme Court wrongly decided Obergefell, the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage (msn.com)

Ted Cruz and other archconservatives are feeling mighty smug these days in the wake of the court’s 5-4 ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 50-year-old landmark ruling that had legalized abortion. Cruz and other right-wingers now are drawing a bead on gay marriage.

Cruz is about as wrong as anyone can get, at least from my perspective, in condemning the court’s ruling on the Obergefell case. The way I read the 14th Amendment tells me — without equivocation — that no American should be denied the right to marry whomever they wish.

That is precisely what “equal protection under the laws” provides all Americans … no matter what.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Lesson in ethics

I watched an interesting bit of ethical correctness play out this week at a city council meeting I was covering for a newspaper for which I work on a freelance basis.

The Farmersville City Council made several appointments Tuesday night to citizen boards and commissions. One of the appointees was Sue Williams, who happens to be married to Terry Williams — who happens to serve on the City Council.

What did Terry Williams do prior to the vote? He motioned to the city attorney and asked to recuse himself from the vote. Terry Williams walked out of the council chambers and the council then voted to put Sue Williams on the board to which she had been nominated.

Why mention this? Ohhhh, because a member of the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t have the semblance of ethical propriety to recuse himself from court matters involving his wife.

Justice Clarence Thomas has voted on matters related to The Big Lie promoted by Donald J. Trump, the defeated and disgraced former president who — to this very moment — hasn’t yet conceded that he lost the 2020 election to President Biden.

The most recent ethical transgression occurred a few weeks ago when the Supreme Court voted 8-1 to require Trump to turn over White House records to the House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection. Who voted “no”? Justice Thomas.

Why did he vote no? It might have something to with the fact that his wife, Ginni, is an ardent MAGA follower of Trump and a believer in The Big Lie who attended the 1/6 rally but left before it turned into a violent frontal assault on the U.S. government.

Clarence Thomas clearly should take a page from the ethical book followed by a small-town city council member in North Texas.

Whereas Terry Williams saw the potential for conflict of interest were he to vote to accept his wife for a spot on a citizens panel, Clarence Thomas continues to ignore that gigantic blind spot.

Indeed, the justice would solve the problem altogether by resigning from the nation’s highest court — which he clearly should do.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com