Tag Archives: SCOTUS

Listen to my friend, Mr. POTUS

I have a friend with whom I share an interest in politics and public policy. She is well-read and is a student of the process that delivers policy decisions to us … for better or worse.

She believes President Biden is trailing the presumptive GOP presidential nominee because he has become tone-deaf to the current reality. Which is that not all Americans are feeling as good about the economy as the president thinks they are.

Thus, my friend surmises, he should stop crowing about the economy and appeal directly to the fear that many of us have about the possibility that the former Sexual Assailant in Chief just might win the presidency once again.

Biden needs to talk directly and incessantly about the threat to our democratic system that the wannabe dictator poses to our system.

Americans are historically proud of the liberty we enjoy. The GOP nominee-to-be is stated categorically that he intends to impose a dictatorship “for one day only” if he becomes POTUS. One day? Really? Do you think the former Liar in Chief will reinstate all our democratic norms?

He has boasted about his placing three justices on the Supreme Court, and their hand in revoking women’s right to terminate pregnancies. Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 SCOTUS decision is now history. Biden vows to restore it if he’s re-elected. His opponent promises to tighten the screws women’s reproductive rights.

Democratic political guru James Carville, no slouch on these matters, said recently that the Republican message has gained traction. The GOP nominee’s hush money trial isn’t making a dent in the lead Carville says he enjoys. Democrats are blowing it, Carville declared. Remember, this is the guy who coined the phrase in 1992 that “It’s the economy, stupid.” It worked for Bill Clinton.

Well, my friend is on board with the likes of Carville. She, too, wants Biden to crystallize his message, harden it to drive home the point that our democracy is in dire peril if Americans make the wrong choice at the ballot box this fall.

Listen to these people, Mr. President! They’re all pulling for you!

Why delay, SCOTUS?

Many details soar over my occasionally pointed head, such as the apparent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether the 45th POTUS deserves presidential immunity.

The high court heard oral arguments this week from the ex-POTUS’s legal team and the legal eagles assembled by special counsel Jack Smith. At stake is the pending trial on the Jan. 6 assault on the government that took place at the former Liar in Chief’s urging.

I heard reports yesterday that justices appear inclined to deny the ex-POTUS’s claim of immunity from prosecution, but are going to drag their feet in issuing their decision.

Why wait? Why delay this matter any longer than necessary? Why not issue a ruling and if it’s the way media have speculated, then let’s get on with the trial post haste?

SCOTUS can move quickly on these matters. Look at what they did in 2000 when given the case involving the recount of Florida ballots in that year’s presidential election. They heard oral arguments and then — boom! — stopped the recount with Texas Gov. George W. Bush ahead in Florida by 527 votes, giving him the state’s electoral votes … and thus, the presidency over Vice President Al Gore.

It was done in a matter of days.

The current SCOTUS is equally capable of delivering a decision of monumental importance.

Civility isn’t dead after all!

For the past few years I have been presuming that collegiality and civility have died a slow, painful death, that they have been replaced by rancor and hatred for those with opposing points of view.

Then I read an editorial in the Dallas Morning News that told me to hold on, that it ain’t so.

The editorial talks about two justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett and Sonia Sotomayor, who spoke to the National Governors Association. They talked about how the justices can differ, but they do not see each other as enemies.

The editorial states, in part: Civility and compromise are values in our democracy that, as of late, are buried in bitter arguments or smothered in misinformation.

Barrett is a deeply conservative member of the high court; Sotomayor is an equally fervent progressive jurist. The editorial notes: “When we disagree, our pens are sharp. But on a personal level, we never translate that into our relationships with one another,” Sotomayor told the crowd at one event.

The DMN editorial takes particular note of the extraordinary friendship forged long ago by two justices, the late Antonin Scalia and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Their friendship became a talking point around the country as to how people with widely divergent points of view can retain personal affection.

The editorial is posted here: Two Supreme Court justices are reminding us how to act like adults (dallasnews.com)

Barrett said: “We don’t speak in a hot way at our conferences,” Barrett said. “We don’t raise our voices no matter how hot-button the case is.”

I am heartened to hear the words of two jurists who have told the world what goes on behind closed doors at the nation’s highest court. May their secret be repeated in other governmental chambers — such as the Congress — where the principals do raise their voices and speak ill of each other.

Stand down, Kari Lake

Kari Lake should have her noggin examined for signs of any life other than that which foments the idiocy that flies out of her mouth.

Lake is the Arizona Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate. She is an avid 2020 election denier and someone who has refused to concede she lost the Arizona governor’s race in 2022.

She wants the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that electronic voting is — get ready for it — unconstitutional!

According to MSN.com: The petition to the court alleges new evidence showing false statements made by defendants regarding the safeguards ensuring vote accuracy. Lake and Finchem’s lawyers argue for an amendment to their allegations on standing, aiming to demonstrate a likelihood of recurring harms in future elections similar to those alleged in the 2022 election.

Hang on a moment. The guy hired by the 45th POTUS to monitor the 2020 election declared it to be “the most secure election in U.S. history.” The former POTUS then fired him because he didn’t get the finding he desired.

Kari Lake Petitions US Supreme Court to Declare Electronic Voting Unconstitutional (msn.com)

What the hell is Lake trying to do? It is baffling in the extreme to believe this is a serious person who well could be elected to the Senate and, thus, be empowered to enact legislation that affects all of us.

That’s you and me, man.

Kari Lake is nuttier than a Snickers bar.

Pro-life, pro-choice: not mutually exclusive

Shall we now commence a brief discussion on what I believe could become the determining issue of the 2024 election?

It’s called euphemistically “reproductive rights.” Women across this land are angry that their rights have been stripped away by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively ended a 50-year landmark court ruling that granted women the right under the Constitution to end a pregnancy.

Yes, to get an abortion!

Republicans by and large line up in favor of the SCOTUS ruling; Democrats oppose it.

Where am I on this matter? No surprise to know that I favor allowing women the right to determine a matter that is deeply personal. Politicians — most of whom are men — have no business making that determination for them.

Am I pro-choice? Yes! Am I pro-life? Yes!

Am I a hypocrite for affirming both views? No!

As a red-blooded American male, I am in no position to determine whether a woman should obtain an abortion. I have no standing on that matter. Zero. None.

Neither, in my view, does any other human being.

To be clear, no woman ever has asked me whether she should get an abortion. For that fact I am eternally grateful. I pray to God Almighty I never will have to answer that inquiry. That doesn’t mean for one instant that I would counsel a woman to do something I consider to be an act of immense cruelty.

I live in a state, Texas, that has enacted a strict anti-abortion law; the Legislature acted in the wake of the SCOTUS decision. Texas legislators placed a six-week time limit on women; six weeks after conception, abortion is determined to be illegal. The law makes no exception for the health of the mother, let alone for the health and life of the unborn child. It also subjects women and their physician to criminal penalty if they proceed with an abortion.

Is that what you call a pro-life stance? Hell no! It is a pro-birth stance.

This matter is quickly becoming a major campaign issue in the race for U.S. Senate. Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz favors the idiotic law; his two main Democratic opponents, state Sen. Roland Guiterrez and U.S. Rep. Colin Allred oppose it.

I will venture to suggest that neither of these two Democratic pols would advise an abortion any more than I would. The religious right, though, will sling arrows at the individual nominated on Tuesday to run against Cruz.

This issue is fundamental to women across the state and the nation. I stand with them — and against the fanatics on the right — in this important battle for personal liberty.

I stand with them proudly as a Texas resident who is both pro-choice and pro-life.

Now … the trials await

The talking heads have been blabbing and blathering about the U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear the case involving presidential immunity as it regards the most recent former POTUS.

The decision likely will delay the trial that the ex-POTUS is claiming shouldn’t take place because he has some form of immunity against any of the charges brought against him.

The former Liar in Chief has four criminal trials awaiting him. The first one will occur in New York state court and will determine whether he broke campaign finance laws when he paid off an adult film star to keep quiet about a one-night tumble the two of them allegedly took before he became a candidate for president.

The trial is set to begin in March. It could end in a few weeks and, get this, the former POTUS could end up being convicted of a felony. This trial could conclude well before the November presidential election.

Then we have the three other trials. One of them involves his role in inciting the mob assault on the government; another involves his pilfering of classified documents as he left the White House; a third case is set for Fulton County, Ga., and it involves allegations that the former POTUS sought to interfere with election results.

Of the four, the first one — involving the porn star — is likely to go first.

Then the former Moron in Chief’s supporters will have to decide whether they really want to vote for a candidate who’s been convicted of a felony. Fifty percent of Republicans have made it known they cannot vote for a convicted felon.

One also has to ask why the SCOTUS chose to hear the case that had been tossed by two lower courts that ruled the former POTUS had no claim to immunity. Four justices voted to hear the case, which is all that was required. Let us hope for all our worth that the court isn’t trying to delay this matter beyond the November election.

I am going to rely on my belief in reports that Chief Justice John Roberts is concerned about the court’s public standing and will work to ensure that it decides this matter quickly. Then a trial can commence and perhaps be concluded in time for voters to make this critical decision.

The SCOTUS clearly has complicated matters unnecessarily.

Thomas fails integrity test

Clarence Thomas had the perfect opportunity today to do the right thing by recusing himself from a key hearing on the former POTUS’s standing in the 2024 campaign for president.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, didn’t recuse himself. He sat there with his colleagues and will take part in a ruling involving whether the ex-POTUS is eligible to run for office in accordance with the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The conflict of interest is as clear as it gets.

Thomas’s wife, Virginia, is a member of the MAGA cult that embraces the rants of the 45th POTUS. She attended a gathering that developed on the D.C. Ellipse the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. The Former Guy exhorted the crowd — after Mrs. Thomas had left — to take back the government.

They stormed the Capitol and damn near overran the U.S. government in the process.

Colorado supreme court justices ruled that the ex-POTUS was ineligible to run for office because he took part in the effort to overthrow the government and gave ”aid and comfort” to those who stormed the Capitol.

Mrs. Thomas was part of the mob. She clearly had to have spoken to her husband, Justice Thomas, about the events of that day. In my view, Justice Thomas’s judicial integrity was compromised by his wife’s presence in the crowd.

He damn sure should have recused himself. But … he did no such thing.

Justice Thomas has ruled in favor of the ex-POTUS’s arguments already, even when he has been in the minority among justices. Of course, I have no hard knowledge that his decisions were influenced by his wife. Still, his participation in these legal matters just doesn’t pass the proverbial smell test.

Indeed, it stinks to high heaven … and beyond!

The court will decide soon whether the Colorado ruling will stand. My sense is that the court will side with the former POTUS and allow his name to return to that state’s ballot.

The very notion, though, of Justice Clarence Thomas taking part in this judicial matter simply makes me sick.

Colo. court invokes 14th … wow!

The Colorado Supreme Court has shown judicial courage that appears to defy precedent.

It has ruled that Donald Trump cannot run for the Republican presidential nomination in that state’s primary because he engaged in an insurrection against the U.S. government on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Constitution’s 14th Amendment says anyone who does such a thing cannot serve in public office. It doesn’t say a thing about “due process,” or “trial by jury,” or a “conviction” of a crime. The Colorado court said, in effect, that the amendment speaks clearly and loudly enough to disqualify the former POTUS from seeking the GOP nomination in Colorado.

I normally would cheer this decision and declare victory in the fight to keep Trump out of the White House. Except for this caveat.

Trump is going to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is packed with a 6-3 super-conservative majority. Three justices were nominated by Trump, so it is quite possible they will vote to overrule the Colorado decision; throw in similar votes from Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Chief John Roberts and then, well … there you have it.

I am left to hope that a couple of those conservatives might be able to break away from their political loyalty and read the 14th Amendment carefully. Then they can assess that what Trump did on 1/6 qualifies as an incitement of the attack that ensued that day.

Yes, I know. It’s a faint hope … but it’s all I have.

SCOTUS takes tiny step

The U.S. Supreme Court is 234 years of age and only until this week it has operated without a single standard for the way its justices should conduct themselves.

The court finally has adopted a sort of guideline for the things its justices can do, but it falls far short of anything worth a damn or any measure that could help restore public confidence in our nation’s highest court.

Two justices have been in the news of late. Clarence Thomas — the court’s senior member in terms of service — has received lavish gifts from a Dallas billionaire while also ruling on cases involving the Harlan Crow’s business interests. The gifts include vacations for Thomas and his wife, tuition paid for his grandson, and a mortgage paid for a home occupied by Thomas’s mother.

Samuel Alito took a fishing trip at the expense of a hedge fund manager and then failed to recuse himself in a case involving the fund.

Oh, we also have the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg taking a trip to Israel paid for by someone with a case pending before the court.

This is utter nonsense. It’s pure crap. It compromises the court’s integrity, its fairness, its objectivity, its ability to rule on the merits of a case exclusively without being influenced by outside pressure.

I have been yammering all along that Clarence Thomas should resign from the court, but that call involves the numerous instances of conflict of interest that seem to fly over the justice’s head; the others involve his wife’s involvement in the Big Lie and the assault by MAGA morons on 1/6 seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The very first rule of ethics should be for justices to avoid any possible conflict of interest by being involved in any fashion with litigants appearing before them. The Supreme Court has stated it now in writing.

What’s missing, though, is any meaningful enforcement of the rules. The court has laid out nothing that prescribes a punishment for justices who are caught violating these rules.

That absolutely must be the next step.

GOP on wrong side in abortion fight

Abortion is a political issue that gives me the heebie-jeebies, given the intensity of views on both sides of the great divide.

I consider myself to be pro-choice, but clearly I am not pro-abortion. And, no, those terms are not mutually exclusive. I merely cannot counsel a woman to obtain an abortion; then again, I do not deserve to have any say on how a woman should make such a gut-wrenching decision.

Republican politicians, therefore, are on the wrong side of history when they continue to dictate to women what they can and cannot do to manage their own biological affairs. Voters across the nation are making their feelings clear as well on that issue, turning back GOP-led efforts to ban abortion, to make it illegal.

Ohio voters spoke loudly and clearly on the matter by ratifying a measure to make abortion rights part of that state’s constitution. Other states’ voters in places such as Kansas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Virginia have offered the same message to GOP pols: Do not dictate to us how we can make these decisions.

The Dobbs decision by the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade earlier this year, energizing abortion-rights advocates across the land. Let us not be coy about this fact, either: abortion is going to play a major role in every election going forward as we march toward the 2024 presidential election.

Voters already are speaking with absolute clarity on this issue. They have warned the pols in D.C. to keep their mitts of women’s reproductive rights. The key question now is this: Will the hide-bound politicians listen to what their constituents — their bosses — are telling them?