Monday Reads: Supreme Court Blues

The Absinthe Drinker (1901), Pablo Picasso

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

Losing the Supreme court to radical religionists is the fruit of the evil Republican tree of base pandering.  I can’t help but think we may see the demise of the NRA and could possibly see movement on laws ridding the system of dark money and the influence of billionaires with agendas.  However, the fact we have so many religious extremists on the court now may mean fights long fought and won will be taken to the streets again.

The system of court appointments was radically played by Mitch McConnell and no amount of precedent is going deter these radicals he placed on the court.  The Doctrine of stare decisis is one of the most traditionally conservative ideals in our system.  The fact it was ignored this term and will likely be ignored next term should make Senator Collins feel like Benedict Arnold.

Mississipi is nearly last in everything good and first in everything bad including infant mortality. So, why not increase that infant mortality rate a lot by restricting abortions after 15 weeks when a lot could still go very wrong with a pregnancy? Also, medical science does not consider a beating heart to be a sign of sentient life.  Ask any 6th grader who can get dead frog’s heart to beat with a few hits of that crazy new modern invention electricity!

Pablo Picasso – The Sleepy Drinker, 1902

This is from Robert Barnes writing for The Washington Post: “Supreme Court to review Mississippi abortion law that advocates see as a path to diminish Roe v. Wade.”

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review a restrictive Mississippi abortion law that opponents of the procedure say provides a clear path to diminish Roe v. Wade’s establishment of the right of women to choose an abortion.

Abortion opponents for months have urged the court’s conservatives to seize the chance to reexamine the 1973 precedent. Mississippi is one among many Republican-led states that have passed restrictions that conflict with the court’s precedents protecting a woman’s right to choose before fetal viability.

In accepting the case, the court said it would examine whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” That has been a key component of the court’s jurisprudence.

The Mississippi law would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions for medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities. It has not gone into effect because a district federal judge and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said that it could not be squared with decades of Supreme Court precedents.

“In an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s abortion cases have established (and affirmed, and reaffirmed) a woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability,” Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote for the appeals court. “States may regulate abortion procedures before viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman’s right but they may not ban abortions.”

The court has now accepted for the term that begins in October two issues dear to conservatives: gun rights and the ability of states to restrict abortion. It is what they had hoped for once the court reached a 6-to-3 conservative majority with the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative nominated by President Donald Trump.

Get ready for the reality of Handmaid’s Tale.

The Vox tweet above links to an article written by Ian Millhiser. I cringe reading the words “biggest threat” and realize they’ve used a woman to bring us down.

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law that prohibits nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. That means that Dobbs will be the first abortion case to be fully briefed and argued before the Supreme Court since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation last October.

Barrett is an outspoken opponent of abortion, and she joined a Court that almost certainly already had five votes to roll back abortion rights before her confirmation gave Republicans a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court.

Last June, four justices voted to uphold a Louisiana anti-abortion law that was virtually identical to a Texas law that the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts cast a surprising vote in that June case, June Medical Services v. Russoto strike down Louisiana’s law. But Roberts’s opinion emphasized that he disagreed with many of the Court’s seminal abortion rights decisions, and that he only voted the way he did in June Medical out of respect for the principle that the Court should not simply ignore a ruling that it handed down just a few years earlier.

With Barrett on the Court, the four dissenters in June Medical no longer need Roberts’s vote to make significant incursions on reproductive freedom. And the legal issue in Dobbs is sufficiently distinct from the one in June Medical that Roberts is unlikely to vote with his liberal colleagues again on those grounds.

The legal issue in Dobbs is straightforward. A2018Mississippi law prohibits all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, “except in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality.” Notably, this law applies even before thefetus is viable — meaning that it is capable of surviving outside the uterus. But, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed, “a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.”


Paul Cézanne – Still Life with Skull, 1895-1900

I’m finally linking to The Bulwark which is something I thought I’d never do. Politics make strange bedfellows indeed.  “The GOP’s Telltale Signs of Authoritarianism.”

Having been established as the GOP’s undisputed ruler, Trump is encountering some of the headaches and tensions common to all autocrats. The first and most obvious is the lack of a clear succession principle. In 2020, the party proudly defined itself as an organization devoted to Trump, forgoing the creation of a party platform beyond ‘We ❤ Trump.’ No wonder other notables who would seem to have their own independent bases of support, like Nikki Haley and Sen. Mitch McConnell, can’t bring themselves to quit him, and dissidents like Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger face de facto excommunication. How could any of them make a claim to become the new leader of the party if the party only exists to serve the current leader? Because actively opposing Trump is impossible, Republicans with presidential ambitions have no choice but to ingratiate themselves with him in the hope of gaining an advantageous position in the squabble for his endorsement should he choose not to run.

Another issue common to both authoritarian regimes and the Trump-era Republican party is the paucity of trustworthy, honest information. Most autocrats struggle to figure out who is telling them the truth and who is a yes-man—the incentives of lower-level officials to inflate their success to their superiors are infamous. Trump embraces the problem, eschewing anyone who dares to give him bad news.

And then, of course, there’s the brain drain. One of the problems of strangling and restricting a society for political expediency is that there are always other options. The people with the most human capital—extraordinary abilities, intelligence, skills, etc.—are the most likely to defect. The Soviet Union and its allies leaked talent at an extraordinary rate. Judging by how many former Republican luminaries have publicly broken with Trump, the Republican party, or both, its brain drain could be even quicker.

The Republican party has shed many of its legal, economic, foreign policy, and political experts—the very people who enabled it to govern. Its new leading legal light is Rudy Giuliani. Its foreign policy guru is . . . maybe Sen. Rand Paul? (Sorry, Mike Pompeo.) Its most accomplished economist is Larry Kudlow.

The Trumpist “intellectual” movement is a bit like the Soviets’ ersatz space shuttle—it never really got off the ground.


“Le Viaduct de L’Estaque,”, George Brach, 1908

Republicans are blinding by superstitions and lies.  The Guardian caught one congress critter in a doozy of a lie. “Photo emerges of Republican barricading chamber doors during US Capitol attack after he compared rioters to ‘tourists’. ‘Do Georgians always barricade doors against normal, everyday tourists?’ one critic asked.”

A photo has emerged of Andrew Clyde, the Republican congressman who claimed “there was no insurrection” and compared US Capitol rioters to “tourists”, barricading the House chamber during the attack.

“The Rep. Clyde news reminded me of this,” Roll Call photographer Tom Williams tweeted this week, and included a picture of the Georgia congressman in a group of eight men pushing a piece of furniture against doors to the chamber.

Speaking on Wednesday to the House Oversight CommitteeRep. Clyde downplayed the actions of the pro-Trump mob who stormed the Capitol on 6 January as “a normal tourist visit”. The violent attack left five dead including one police officer.

“As one of the members who stayed in the Capitol, and on the House floor, who with other Republican colleagues helped barricade the door until almost 3pm from the mob who tried to enter, I can tell you the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection,” Mr Clyde told the committee.

“It was not an insurrection, and we cannot call it that and be truthful.”

Mr Clyde’s remarks were lambasted by lawmakers and law enforcement experts. Fred Wellman, the executive director of the Lincoln Project and a former commanding officer of US forces in Iraq, wrote: “How craven is Rep. Clyde to say there was no insurrection?”

“He helped barricade the doors from the ‘tourists.’ They know lying to the MAGA mob equals money. That’s all that matters.”

Also issuing a retort, House speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to death threats against her and former vice president Mike Pence, during a press conference on Wednesday.

It’s really difficult to keep up with all the lies and even more difficult to understand the people that believe them.  Republicanism and Religion are helluva drugs to paraphrase Rick James. Well, that’s enough of shining light on the politically insane.  I’m off to use Dial soap to get rid of the stupid cooties.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

12 Comments on “Monday Reads: Supreme Court Blues”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Hope your week starts off on the right foot! Me? I’m thinking I just might be this little girl in another life!

  2. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      “Reading has been difficult this last year” Huh? I’d think it would be an even better time for reading. My problem is I read too much.

  3. roofingbird says:

    I’ve been wondering about succession, too. He would have to go outside his family and I don’t think he trusts anyone enough for that. Ivanna has the most presence, but girly parts.

    • dakinikat says:

      I still think Don Jr. is trying for it. Trump is still in denial about his dementia and overall decline because he’s convinced he’s a human equivalent of a triple crown winner because of so-called “breeding”.

  4. RonStill4Hills says:

    Corruption may do to the NRA what common sense and the blood of children could not.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      And they think he’s not even the center of the court anymore or a potential swing vote. They’re talking Justice Date Rape Drunk is the swing vote now. Give that a good think before you go near any sharp objects.

    • NW Luna says:

      Voter suppression is likely the largest threat to American democracy. I hadn’t realized Roberts was in favor of clamping down on voters’ rights. This does not bode well with the Beer Guy and the Handmaiden now on the court.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Elena Kagan is ‘done pulling punches’ with Brett Kavanaugh: expert

    On Monday, writing for Slate, Supreme Court analyst Mark Joseph Stern broke down how Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan demolished an argument of intellectually dishonest posturing from fellow Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, who ruled for the right-wing majority to sharply limit the holding of Ramos v. Louisiana, which prohibited convictions by a non-unanimous jury.

    In this week’s Edwards v. Vannoy decision, Kavanaugh held that the decision does not apply retroactively to people already locked up by non-unanimous convictions — and obliterated precedent that defendants can be granted new trials based on “watershed” changes to criminal procedure, ruling that watershed changes don’t exist.

    As Stern noted, Kavanaugh took a swipe at Kagan in his opinion for criticizing his ruling as detrimental to prisoners, pointing out Kagan had dissented from Ramos anyway and his decision still leaves more prisoners free than her past votes would have done. But in her last footnote, Kagan shredded that argument — and Kavanaugh’s entire judicial philosophy underpinning it.

    Well, this is something we’ll likely see more on.