Tag Archives: SCOTUS

Garland: an impressive presence

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Surely I am not the only red-blooded American patriot who watched U.S. Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee to have this thought.

It was that he would make a terrific U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Oh, but wait … he could’ve gotten there had the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate not blocked his confirmation in 2016 after President Barack Obama nominated him to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Oh well. Garland will make a stellar AG by employing the same temperament that would have served him well as a SCOTUS justice.

Let go of ‘Big Lie’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald John Trump just cannot — or will not — let go of the Big Lie.

The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down his attempt to shield eight years worth of tax returns from Manhattan, N.Y., prosecutors who are examining whether he committed campaign finance crimes.

It means that they are now entitled to subpoena thoseĀ  returns to pore through them in search of potential evidence.

Trump said: “I will fight on, just as I have, for the last five years (even before I was successfully elected), despite all of the election crimes that were committed against me. We will win!”

Election crimes? Are you serious … Donald?

Once more with all due hostility: There were no “election crimes” committed against Trump in the 2020 election. There was no “widespread vote fraud,” no “illegal ballots cast,” nothing that would swing the result.

He is living the Big Lie and is fomenting it among the wild-eyed fanatics who continue to support the former Liar in Chief.

SCOTUS clears way for probe of ex-POTUS

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s admit it: We are a nation of Nosey Neds and Noras. A lot of usĀ  want to know all we can know about the individuals elected to govern us.

Such as their financial condition. It’s only right … right? Yes.

So it is that the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for the Manhattan prosecutors to subpoena the tax records of a former president of the United States, Donald John Trump, to determine whether he broke any laws.

This is huge deal. I am among those who wants to know more about the former president’s financial dealings.

I want to know if he is as rich as he kept bragging he was; whether he manipulated property valuations to obtain financial favors; whether he broke campaign finance laws when he paid the porn star $130,000 to keep quiet about a sexual encounter — that he says never happened; and whether he has given any money to charity.

Supreme Court refuses Trump effort to block tax return subpoena (msn.com)

This is relevant especially for those who supported Trump during his two bids for the presidency, the second of which he lost bigly to President Biden.

The court didn’t specify any particulars in its decision, nor did any of the justices issue any public dissents from the court ruling.

Yes, I know that Trump is now a private citizen. That doesn’t matter in this instance. He has been all over the pea patch on this tax return matter. He said he would release them, then he back off that promise, then he said he would do so again, then he blocked efforts to reveal them to the public.

He has lied incessantly for as long as he has been a politician … and likely long before that period in his life.

Let’s see the returns. Those of us with inquiring minds want to know the truth — finally.

Confirm a new AG, now!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hey, this message goes to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin.

We have a distinguished legal genius waiting to be confirmed as U.S. attorney general. Merrick Garland got the nod from President Biden to lead the Justice Department. The former chairman of the Judiciary panel, Republican Lindsey Graham, decided — no surprise there! — to drag his feet on a confirmation hearing.

Well, Graham has surrendered the gavel to the Democrat Durbin.

We’ve got some judicial/legal matters that need a full DOJ complement of officials on board. That begins with the attorney general.

The hate crimes being committed against Asian-Americans comes to mind right away. Donald Trump seemed to take great glee in referring to the pandemic as the “China virus” and called it the “kung flu.” One consequence of that has been a rash of crimes committed against Asian-Americans.

Garland vows to take aim at hate crimes of all types.

He needs to be installed as attorney general. This man, nominated by former President Obama to the Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in early 2016, was denied a hearing by the Senate; so he went back to work as a judge on the D.C. circuit court.

Now he’s agreed to become attorney general. The task now rests with the Senate to confirm him.

Get busy, Chairman Durbin.

Paxton: the real Bum Steer of the Year

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My favorite issue each year of Texas Monthly arrived in the mail today and I saw something on the cover that made me wince in disappointment.

TM named the Texas Democratic Party as its Bum Steer of the Year in its annual Bum Steer edition that comes out at the end of every calendar year. The magazine has hit many home runs with its Bum Steer “honor,” and it also has whiffed. I fear that the magazine’s publishing deadline created a missed opportunity.

Yes, the Democratic Party missed its “blue wave” prediction, claiming it would sweep into elective power in the Nov. 3 election. It sure missed … by a Texas mile.

Something happened, though, between the magazine’s deadline and its production that to my mind provided an even more egregious Bum Steer for the magazine to consider.

That would be Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s moronic lawsuit that sought the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the election results in four states that voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump.Ā SCOTUS tossed the lawsuit in a fit of judicial wisdom many of us didn’t quite expect from a court that comprises three justices nominated by Donald Trump. Sanity prevailed.

However, Paxton’s lawsuit brought a significant level of scorn to Texas. The AG couldn’t dictate how other states conduct their electoral affairs, the court ruled. Indeed, many critics have wondered whether Paxton — a dedicated Republican — has a screw loose.

He did all that while the FBI is investigating whether he committed crimes while serving as AG, which brings many of us to wonder whether Paxton is angling for a presidential pardon for any crimes that the FBI might uncover. A pardon from Trump, I hasten to add, wouldn’t involve the state trial that awaits Paxton on allegations of securities fraud. The guy’s a serious peach, you know?

I am well aware that Paxton dodged a bit of a freight train simply by virtue of the deadline that TM faced when it was assembling its Bum Steer issue. I also know that he likely won’t get the magazine’s Bum Steer of the Year “honor” at the end of 2021. Too bad.

Still, I want to bestow my own version of a venerable award to a politician who — with his idiotic effort to subvert the democratic process — has brought shame and ridicule to our great state.

Thanks for not a damn thing, Mr. AG.

Census should count ‘residents,’ not just ‘citizens’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I concede that I am not a constitutional scholar, but I recognize clear and definitive language contained within the U.S. Constitution when I see it.

For example, the Constitution declares that the census should be taken every 10 years and must count all those who live this country. It doesn’t say “citizens.”

So, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that a challenge to a Donald Trump administration effort to limit the census count to just citizens doesn’t have merit. Hmm. The court ruling doesn’t make sense to me.

The court ruled 6-3 — with the conservative majority holding firm — that the complaint was “premature.” The decision by the SCOTUS doesn’t preclude any future challenges, just stops this one at this time.

The court’s conservative majority comprises justices I presume to be “originalists,” meaning that they take the founders’ words as written literally. The founders were clear on who should be counted. That’s why they said the census should include all “residents.”

What does this mean? It means that if the Trump exclusion holds up, states — such as Texas, which is home to many thousands of residents who aren’t U.S. citizens — can be denied the congressional representation they deserve. In addition to counting all U.S. residents, we’re going to reapportion the House of Representatives alignment; Texas stands to gain as many as three more House members because of our state’s population growth since 2010.

As ABC News has reported:

Immigrant advocates who sued Trump over the policy stressed that the Court’s move does not mean the fight is over.

“This ruling does not authorize President Trump’s goal of excluding undocumented immigrants from the Census count used to apportion the House of Representatives,” said ACLU attorney Dale Ho. “The legal mandate is clear — every single person counts in the Census, and every single person is represented in Congress. If this policy is ever actually implemented, we’ll be right back in court challenging it.”

Yes, this ruling does involve undocumented immigrants. Indeed, that is the crux of the conservative argument in supportĀ  of the Trump exclusion. Let’s not forget to include the so-called “Dreamers” who were brought here as young children by their parents who entered the nation illegally. Those folks once again are being punished unfairly because of something they could not control.

The Supreme Court has punted on this issue for now. My hope would be that judicial conservatives stick to the principle that they believe the founders had it right when they inscribed the method for counting every person who lives in this country.

These lawmakers need to be sanctioned

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This isn’t likely to happen, but it damn near should happen.

The 126 Republicans who joined a hideous lawsuit that sought to throw out the votes of millions of Americans in this year’s presidential election should be sanctioned.

A censure? Impeachment? A public scolding?

They signed a legal brief that joined a suit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who said the votes in four states that went for Joe Biden were cast illegally. He said the states changed their election rules in violation of the Constitution.

Paxton, a Republican (of course!) got 16 other state attorneys general to join the suit. Then came the brief signed by the members of Congress. Twelve of them are from Texas.

Congressional Democrats quite naturally are outraged that these individuals would seek to subvert the Constitution. That they would seek to undermine the electoral process. That they would deliberately and with malice seek to violate their oaths of office.

The Supreme Court threw out Paxton’s lawsuit. It was silent on the action of the members of Congress who agreed with the embattled AG’s complaint. I understand SCOTUS’s silence on that matter.

However, many of us out here in Flyover Country won’t remain silent. I certainly won’t.

These individuals — including the House’s top two leading GOP members, minority leader Kevin McCarthy and minority whip Steve Scalise — have richly earned whatever sanction that is available to the congressional leadership that can punish them.

They no longer represent the Republican Party. They are now members of the Donald Trump Party, even though they took an oath to defend the nation … not suck up to a president.

They sicken me.

GOP favors ‘judicial activism’?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There once was a time in this country when Republicans berated progressives/liberals for favoring what they referred to derisivelyĀ  as “judicial activism.”

The GOP hated the notion of the courts rewriting laws, or “legislating from the bench.” Well, what in the name of juris prudence have we seen now in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court dismissal of a lawsuit brought to it by the Texas attorney general? We’re seeing and hearing Republicans blasting the court for, um, following the Constitution.

What the hell?

Texas AG Ken Paxton wanted the SCOTUS to order millions of votes cast in states that supported Joe Biden’s election as president tossed out. He was joined by 16 GOP state attorneys general; then we had more than 120 GOP members of Congress sign on to Paxton’s lunacy. They all wanted the high court to — yep, that’s right — take a judicially activist stance.

Up is now down. Right is wrong. Left is right and vice versa. Nothing makes sense. Not a damn thing!

This madness is being orchestrated by Donald Trump, the so-called Republican president who is masterminding this revolt against the democratic process. He lost an election and won’t accept the will of the American voters.

Traditional Republican politicians, if there are any of them left in public office, should be aghast, appalled and astounded at what has become of traditional Republican policy.

My thoughts exactly …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A member of my family, a highly educated man who lives in the Pacific Northwest, sent me an email today that asks: What the hell is going on down there?

I’m trying to figure it out.

He is referring to Ken Paxton, our state attorney general, who filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court that sought to give Texas the right to tell other states how to run their elections. The four states in question, I hasten to add, all voted for President-elect Joe Biden. Paxton sought to order the states to toss out those Biden votes and then endorse Donald Trump for re-election.

The SCOTUS said “no can do.” Paxton doesn’t have the standing to make that demand, justices said.

I would have hoped the high court’s dismissal of Paxton’s idiocy would spell the end of Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Silly me. It ain’t happening … at least not yet.

Meanwhile, Paxton vows to keep fighting. For what, I have no clue. The SCOTUS is at the very tippy-top of the judicial chain of command in this country.

Now the AG is turning Texas into a laughingstock. Who out there is laughing? I mean, really! It ain’t funny, folks. Some of us in Texas are embarrassed beyond measure at what our state’s top legal eagle is trying to do.

Consider that he’s already indicted for securities fraud and is awaiting trial in state court. Plus, the FBI has subpoenaed records from his office as part of a federal probe brought forward by seven assistant AGs who blew the whistle on what they allege is criminal behavior by Paxton.

How in the world this guy, Paxton, got elected as AG in the first place is beyond me, let alone re-elected four years later.

My dear family member, I am sad to admit, has asked me a question for which I have no good answer. I do not know what the hell is going on here.Ā 

Hey, GOP lawmakers … you need to resign!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A thought occurs to me that I want to share on this blog.

A number of those 126 Republicans who signed on to a lawsuit challenging the election of President-elect Joe Biden serve in the U.S. House of Representatives come from four critical states: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

They ought to resign their House seats immediately.

You see, here is what happened. They signed a brief that endorsed a suit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who sought to throw out the results of those aforementioned states. Thus, the House GOP members admit they were elected illegally. If they believe in Paxton’s loony lawsuit then they also believe the voters in their congressional districts cast their ballots in violation of whatever Paxton sought to argue.

They won’t quit. The rank hypocrisy of them and that idiotic lawsuit speak terribly of the state of the Republican Party these days.

The Supreme Court decided to toss the complaint that Paxton brought. Two justices dissented: Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. The rest of them voted correctly, including Donald Trump’s three nominees: Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

The Constitution is clear. It says that states have the exclusive power to run their elections. The court said Paxton, as the Texas AG, has no standing to bring a complaint against how other states conduct their electoral business.

What about the House members from those contested states who joined the lunatic lawsuit? Should they remain in office? I can argue they should not. They should quit. As in right now.

If hey won’t quit, then the voters in their respective districts should remember in 2022 when they run for re-election what they did to subvert the Constitution they took an oath to defend and protect.