Friday Reads: Back to the Dark Ages and a Funeral for DemocracyPosted: June 24, 2022
It’s a Sad Day Sky Dancers!
The machinations of religious extremists, Mitch McConnell seeking endless power, and white nationalists have brought us to this moment. Many of the fundamental rights established over the last 100-plus years are now being disassembled by a Supreme Court stacked with extremists appointed under very dicey circumstances.
I never thought I’d ever see such a radical overreach to tear down well-established precedents backed up with stories bringing us back to the Wild West with its primitive firearms and the rejection of medical science and the establishment clause based on nothing but wild dreams of a white male religious zealot to drag us way back in time. So a guy about 300 years ago who liked to dox witches gets a say in what happens to American Women’s bodies but they don’t? The court made sure in case-after-case that we knew they didn’t care about established laws. Their religious, economic, and social agendas are dominant not anything else.
Our taxes can now be used for religious indoctrination. Anyone can conceal/carry a weapon just about everywhere they want. Most importantly, women have been designated state property with little control over their bodies. Police no longer are held responsible for reading folks their Miranda rights. Who will they come for next?
I’m gratuitously using John (repeat1968) Buss for this thread because the images of the Spanish Inquisition are just about as horrid as you’d think they would be. But that is exactly how I feel about the Roberts’ Court. They are a group of inquisitors.
I am not state property. My Daughters are not state property. My granddaughters are not state property. No Woman or girl in this country should ever be assigned the role of chattel again.
Here are some links to information on these horrible decisions.
Striking down Roe v. Wade
From the USA Today Tweet: “What Barack Obama, Mike Pence and others are saying about the end of Roe”.
Immediately following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, current and former lawmakers reacted to the end of Americans’ Constitutional right to an abortion.
The decision had been anticipated since the Supreme Court took the Dobbs v. Jackson case this year. A leak of the decision last month showed a 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was indeed the final outcome.
I’m going to highlight Speaker Pelosi’s words because she’s the one most responsible for getting rid of this abomination.
Speaker Pelosi says Dems will fight ‘ferociously’ to enshrine Roe
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is “outrageous and heart-wrenching” and vowed to fight against it in Congress and at the ballot box.
The ruling is the result of the GOP’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions,” she said.
“Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party and their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedom than their mothers,” Pelosi said.
During her weekly news conference, shortly after the SCOTUS decision, she warned that Republicans in Congress want a nationwide ban. She indicated the only way to stop that was to keep the GOP from gaining a majority in the midterm.
“A woman’s right to choose is on the ballot in November,” Pelosi said.
And, from Hillary:
Hillary Clinton: Opinion “Will live in infamy”
Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted that the Supreme Court’s decision “will live in infamy” as a step backwards for women’s rights.
“Most Americans believe the decision to have a child is one of the most sacred decisions there is, and that such decisions should remain between patients and their doctors,” she wrote.
Clinton also called on the public to support and donate to Democratic candidates, to protect reproductive rights by winning elections “at every level.”
Abortion will be banned in thirteen states. Each state will have to work out it’s own law to meet this horrid decision. Again, I’m just glad that My OB/GYN Doctor Daughter and her daughters are in Washington State. It’s enshrined in their State Constitution. My Colorado Daughter says she’s safe there too. I can’t imagine having working equipment and living here in Lousyana. My governor signed death sentences for many Louisiana women yesterday.
This is by Caroline Kitchener writing in WAPO: “Roe’s demise marks new phase in state-by-state battle over abortion. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the landmark precedent will prompt immediate changes to the country’s abortion landscape”.
The tremors from Friday’s sweeping Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade will ripple across the country almost immediately, with roughly half of all states poised to ban or drastically restrict abortion.
Thirteen states will outlaw abortion within 30 days with “trigger bans” that were designed to take effect as soon as Roe was overturned. These laws make an exception for cases where the mother’s life is in danger, but most do not include exceptions for rape or incest.
In many states, trigger bans will activate as soon as a designated state official certifies the decision, which Republican lawmakers expect to happen within minutes.
“They just need to acknowledge, ‘Yes, this has occurred,’ ” said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R), who has championed much of his state’s antiabortion legislation, including its trigger ban. “I’ll be happy to see the butcher mill in Little Rock, Arkansas, shut down for good.”
All the Republican Politicians speaking out on this have their white patriarchal churchman voices out. Like Rapert, quoted above, they use yellow prose and outrageous language.
Here’s the quick take from ScotusBlog on the Dobbs decision banning abortion.
Although the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe and Casey established such a right, Alito continued, those decisions should nonetheless be overruled despite the principle of stare decisis – the idea that courts should not overturn their prior precedent unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Noting that some of the Supreme Court’s other landmark decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education, rejecting the “separate but equal” doctrine, had overruled precedent, Alito emphasized that Roe was “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging” and – along with Casey – should not be allowed to stand. Instead, Alito concluded, the issue of abortion should “return … to the people’s representatives.”
Roberts agreed with the decision to uphold the Mississippi law, but he would have done so without formally overruling Roe and Casey. Echoing a position that he took at the oral argument (which then, as now, did not seem to attract any other supporters), Roberts would have allowed states to continue to regulate abortion without regard to whether the fetus has become viable – that is, the point at which it can survive outside the womb. In Casey, the court ruled that states may not ban abortions after the point of viability, which is typically considered to be at 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The right to terminate a pregnancy, Roberts reasoned, should “extend far enough to ensure a reasonable opportunity to choose, but need not extend any further.” But the court could and should, Roberts wrote, “leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all.”
In a rare joint dissent, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan pushed back against the majority’s characterization of the decision as leaving the issue of abortion to the states. Friday’s ruling, they cautioned, is likely to have a “geographically expansive” effect, as states may pass laws that include restrictions on traveling out of state to obtain abortions. “Most threatening of all,” they added, nothing in the majority’s decision “stops the Federal Government from prohibiting abortions nationwide, once again from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape and incest.”
“Whatever the scope of the coming laws,” they concluded, “one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”
Let me just give you some links analysis at Scotusblog to the other decisions that will make all of us more unsafe.
Thursday’s landmark decision came less than six weeks after a gunman killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, and less than a month after 21 people – 19 children and two teachers – were shot to death at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. In response to those shootings, the Senate this week reached an agreement on bipartisan gun-safety legislation that, if passed, would be the first federal gun-control legislation in nearly 30 years. The 80-page bill would (among other things) require tougher background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21 and provide more funding for mental-health resources.
The state law at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. New York courts interpreted that phrase to require applicants to show more than a general desire to protect themselves or their property. Instead, applicants must demonstrate a special need for self-defense – for example, a pattern of physical threats. Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, impose similar restrictions, as do many cities.
The lower courts upheld the New York law against a challenge from two men whose applications for concealed-carry licenses were denied. But on Thursday, the Supreme Court tossed out the law in an ideologically divided 63-page opinion.
The court rejected a two-part test that many lower courts have used to review challenges to gun-control measures. That test looked first at whether a restriction regulates conduct protected by the original scope of the Second Amendment and then, if so, whether the restriction is fine-tuned to advance a significant public interest. Instead, Thomas wrote, if “the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct,” the government has the burden to show that the regulation is consistent with the historical understanding of the Second Amendment.
Applying that new and more stringent standard to the New York proper-cause requirement, Thomas found that the challengers’ desire to carry a handgun in public for self-defense fell squarely within the conduct protected by the Second Amendment. The amendment’s text does not distinguish between gun rights in the home and gun rights in public places, Thomas observed. Indeed, he suggested, the Second Amendment’s reference to the right to “bear” arms most naturally refers to the right to carry a gun outside the home.
After reviewing nearly seven centuries’ worth of historical sources, beginning in the 1200s and going through the early 1900s, Thomas concluded that although U.S. history has at times placed some “well-defined restrictions” on the right to carry firearms in public, there was no tradition of a broad prohibition on carrying commonly used guns in public for self-defense. And with rare exceptions, Thomas added, there was no historical requirement that law-abiding citizens show the kind of special need for self-defense required by the New York law to carry a gun in public. Indeed, Thomas concluded, there is “no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”
Thomas obviously missed the part about most sheriffs of small towns in the Wild West collecting guns at the city borders before anyone was allowed to head to the salon. Is that okay Uncle Thomas?
The Supreme Court limited the ability to enforce Miranda rights in a ruling Thursday that said that suspects who are not warned about their right to remain silent cannot sue a police officer for damages under federal civil rights law even if the evidence was ultimately used against them in their criminal trial.
The court’s ruling will cut back on an individual’s protections against self-incrimination by barring the potential to obtain damages. It also means that the failure to administer the warning will not expose a law enforcement officer to potential damages in a civil lawsuit. It will not impact, however, the exclusion of such evidence at a criminal trial.
The court clarified that while the Miranda warning protects a constitutional right, the warning itself is not a right that would trigger the ability to bring a civil lawsuit.
“Today’s ruling doesn’t get rid of the Miranda right,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “But it does make it far harder to enforce. Under this ruling, the only remedy for a violation of Miranda is to suppress statements obtained from a suspect who’s not properly advised of his right to remain silent. But if the case never goes to trial, or if the government never seeks to use the statement, or if the statement is admitted notwithstanding the Miranda violation, there’s no remedy at all for the government’s misconduct.”
These guys really like to give the state the power to oppress and let gun-toting fascists run free, don’t they?
The last one to be worried about is this one. Remember, Justice Roberts, hates voting rights. This is from Scotusblog: “North Carolina Republican lawmakers win right to intervene in court and defend state’s voter-ID law.” All this analysis I keep quoting is from Amy Howe, btw. I’d say this is a signal they are ready to get rid of more voting rights which is about the only way their kind stays in power.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that two Republican legislators in North Carolina can join a lawsuit to defend the constitutionality of the state’s voter-identification law. Two lower courts had rejected the legislators’ request, reasoning that the state’s Democratic attorney general and the board of elections were already defending the law, but the justices reversed those rulings. In an 8-1 opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court ruled that the Republican legislators have a right to intervene in the lawsuit.
Thursday’s decision addressed only the legislators’ right to join the lawsuit to defend the voter-ID law; it did not address the underlying issue of whether the law violates federal voting-rights protections.
The law at the center of the case requires voters to provide photo identification to cast a ballot and directs county election boards to provide ID cards at no cost to voters. The state’s legislature passed the law in 2018, and it went into effect over a veto by the state’s governor, Democrat Roy Cooper. The North Carolina NAACP then went to federal court, where it argued that the law violates both federal voting rights laws and the Constitution. When Philip Berger, the leader of the North Carolina Senate, and Timothy Moore, the leader of the state’s House of Representatives, asked to intervene in the lawsuit, the district court rebuffed their request, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld that decision.
In an 18-page opinion, Gorsuch explained that the first issue before the court was whether the Republican legislators had an interest in the outcome of the dispute that would be “practically impaired or impeded without their participation.” As a general rule, Gorsuch posited, barring a state’s authorized representatives from intervening in a federal lawsuit challenging a state law will have such an effect on a state’s interests. And in this case, Gorsuch continued, other provisions of North Carolina law had specifically given its legislative leaders the power to defend the state’s interests in cases like this one.
What’s more, Gorsuch added, the 4th Circuit was wrong to presume that the state’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Stein, had adequately represented the state’s interests. That inquiry, Gorsuch wrote, is backward, because the Supreme Court’s cases have made clear that would-be intervenors generally have to meet only a relatively low bar. But such a presumption, Gorsuch continued, “is inappropriate when a duly authorized state agent seeks to intervene to defend a state law.” “Normally,” Gorsuch said, “a State’s chosen representatives should be greeted in federal court with respect, not adverse presumptions.”
Gorsuch acknowledged the NAACP’s concern that allowing legislative leaders to intervene to defend state laws could in some cases make litigation more complicated and potentially unwieldy. “But that case is not this case,” Gorsuch stressed. The legislative leaders “bring a distinct state interest” to the case – and indeed, “federal courts routinely handle cases involving multiple officials sometimes represented by different attorneys taking different positions.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter.
This is bound to work its way back to them.
This has been the hardest post I’ve ever had to right except for the ones related to Trump taking over the presidency. It’s obvious that elections have consequences. This includes the state and local levels. These next two will show us if we’ve lost the Republic, our democracy, and hope for our future. Just do what you can to get out the vote.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?