Archive for court ruling

Same-sex marriage ban in Texas ruled unconstitutional. Two tweets say it all. #LGBT

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gay rights liza minelli sign same-sex marriage

Another win for same-sex marriage and gay rights as another homophobic, backwards, discriminatory attempt to legally keep loving couples apart bites the dust. The Texas ban on marriage equality has been ruled unconstitutional. So there.

Yay

Here's the  Los Angeles Times breaking news email alert:

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia today ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage in Texas is unconstitutional because it deprives gay couples of due process and equal protection.

The ruling does not allow same-sex couples to immediately marry because the judge stayed the injunction pending any appeal.

The score: Same-sex marriage a Zillion, sad little ignorami Zero. Or something.

Two tweets came across my Twitter stream immediately after the news broke, and they must be shared. They come via two of my favorite Twitter pals, Igor Volsky and Ali Davis. Once you read them, you'll understand why I follow them:

texas gay marriage lgbt ruling tweet Igor Volsky

texas gay marriage lgbt ruling tweet Ali Davis

Another Twitter buddy tweeted this:

Imagine that.

It's wonderful how so few words can speak volumes. Sometimes less is so much more. Thank you Igor, Ali, and Joe.

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State appeals court rejects challenges to WI John Doe probe targeting conservatives

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walker christie WI john doe probeImage via Free Wisconsin blog

Remember the WI John Doe probe into former Scott Walker aides and associates? Meet WI John Doe Probe II.

Via Watchdog.org:

MADISON, Wis. — A state appeals court on Thursday rejected an effort to shut down a Democrat-launched secret investigation into conservative groups, ruling that the court-administered dragnet did not overstep its authority as targets of the probe have claimed.

In effect, the decision keeps alive a two-year John Doe investigation into dozens of conservative organizations amid allegations of illegal campaign coordination during Wisconsin’s recent partisan recall elections.

Eric O’Keefe is the director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is one of at least 29 conservative groups targeted. O'Keefe himself is a target who previously threatened to sue prosecutors if they don’t drop the investigation, claiming they are “violating the constitutional rights of private citizens and must be held accountable.”

Feeling the heat, are you Eric?

Meanwhile, in other news, Gov. Walker raised $5.1 million in the second half of 2013. Walker’s campaign says most of the donations came from supporters who contributed $50 or less.

To fake-quote Jerry Seinfeld, "Who are these people?"

who are these people

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Obamacare supporters score a legal victory in Missouri as overall enrollment rises

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jim crow obamacare

That sound you hear is the GOP wondering what they'll smear next as they see their "Obamacare" and Benghazi!!!!!! attack campaigns morphing into punchlines.

There are two articles in the Los Angeles Times that throw political pies in the faces of Republicans who insist on trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act... and the president himself. Take a look at how those on the right just lost a court battle in their efforts to impede health care enrollment in Missouri:

Supporters of President Obama’s health law scored a legal victory in Missouri on Thursday as a federal judge blocked the state from enforcing new rules limiting the ability of community organizations to help consumers sign up for coverage under the law.

Missouri is among many Republican-leaning states that have put restrictions on these groups, including a requirement that they get licenses before they can help with the enrollment process. Proponents of the restrictions maintain that they protect consumers.

There were eight plaintiffs on the winning side, including Effort for AIDS and Planned Parenthood. Once again, opponents of President Obama and Obamacare are willing to sacrifice other people's lives and health in order to score political points. Who's kidding whom? The GOP's attitude toward women and just about anyone who doesn't look or sound like an old white man is abominable, no matter how much they claim they're reaching out. "Uncle Sugar." 'Nuff said.

The judge agreed that, since the state insisted that the federal government operate its marketplace, then obstructing attempts to make the process run more smoothly wouldn't make much sense.

Then again, since when have Republicans ever made sense?

In other words, his ruling sent a message: Butt out, GOP, you asked for this, so kindly get lost and let these people do their jobs. Community organizers, go for it.

Meanwhile, the marketplaces are recovering in nicely:

Approximately 3 million people have now enrolled in health insurance plans sold through marketplaces created by President Obama’s health law, the administration announced Friday.

The milestone indicates nearly a million additional people have signed up since the end of December.

Psst! Republicans...nice try smaller

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Score one for oil drilling opponents!

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that's oil folks smaller

I rail all the time about Big Oil drilling into every pristine and not-so pristine corner of the world, fracking, and the usual gluttons' utter disdain for keeping our precious earth and its inhabitants safe, healthy, and beautiful.

Writing about it for years on end is exhausting and is taking a toll. That is one of the main reasons I have outrage overload (and have been ordered to cut back for health reasons). It's not easy to rant endlessly, yet feel as if you're having no impact.

Thankfully, there are people with big, effective voices who are being heard:

environment erin brockovich tweet CA, West VirginiaLink

But today is different. Today I am the bearer of good news, or rather, the Los Angeles Times is:

The U.S. government violated the law when it opened millions of acres of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, possibly delaying plans by companies such as Royal Dutch Shell to drill off the northwest coast of Alaska in the near future.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the Interior Department did not properly evaluate the impact of oil development in the Chukchi Sea when it sold more than $2.6 billion in development leases in the environmentally sensitive area in 2008.

A coalition of environmental advocacy groups and Alaska Native organizations sued the federal government, arguing that the U.S. had offered an estimated 30 million acres of oil leases for sale without sufficient scientific information or analysis of potential effects on the region.

bam

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"We're done with your phony War on Christmas." #WarOnFundies

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cross memorial Mt.SoledadMt. Soledad cross, which sits on public land located on a San Diego hilltop.

Merry War on Christmas, boys and girls! Only four more corporate shopping days left, so it's time to focus on what Christianity and the celebration of the birth of their savior is all about.

If you're a regular reader of The Political Carnival, then Queen of Church v. State Oversight and author of Being Christian, K.C. Boyd, needs no introduction. If you are unfamiliar with her work, just go here to see all of my posts of her humor-imbued brilliance.

Yesterday she sent me something on the so-called War on Christmas that was share-worthy, and it goes a little something like this:

War on Christmas, fundies via KC Boyd religion

K.C. created that, wrote it, and thought, correctly, that I'd appreciate it. Oh, I do, I do.

war on christmas smaller

And because I value her perspective, allow me to also share today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter. They are responding to a Times editorial and a news item about efforts to preserve the Mt. Soledad cross, a war memorial in the vicinity of San Diego, California that was constructed on publicly owned land as a tribute to American soldiers killed in battle. A federal judge recently ordered the cross's removal, a decision I strongly support:

I'm disappointed in the Christian community for making no effort to understand the opposition to the Latin cross that sits on top of Mt. Soledad. They only offer criticism to those who find the cross offensive and unwelcome on public property.

Nonreligious Americans are not opposed to Christianity or religious symbols; they just don't appreciate any religious demonstrations on public property — be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or any other faith.

It's offensive to hear the Christian community imply that non-Christians are somehow not as patriotic or worthy of military honors because they don't support the Christian faith.

Rob Macfarlane

Newport Beach

***

The letters printed on this subject reflect the breadth of views held by our citizenry of widely varying beliefs. But none addresses the enduring root of religious symbol controversies.

Keeping crosses prominently positioned has become one means by which the Christian majority validates — some would say struts — its bullying of religious and nonreligious minorities. The same principle motivates that majority to insist on prayers to its God during meetings convened by public entities; nonbelievers are thereby marginalized.

The Supreme Court should put an end to institutionalized oppression of this country's growing non-Christian minority. A sweeping decision on the order of Brown vs. Board of Education — which in 1954 reversed the 'separate but equal' doctrine by which blacks were systematically oppressed — is past due.

Such a decision would ratify separation of church and state and help liberate nonbelievers from majority oppression. It would also serve to free the court from endless haggling over prickly religious freedom disputes.

Solano Beach

Aaron Mills

***

The saying, 'I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you,' comes immediately to mind after reading the letters wondering why someone would want the cross removed. But here's one more attempt:

The cross represents a powerful group that has been, for centuries, trying to obliterate me and mine from this planet. How can anyone seriously say that this honors us in any way?

Mary Ann Steinberger

Tujunga

By the way, of all the letters the L.A. Times received on this topic, only two were in favor of preserving the cross.

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Tough noogies, gun fondlers

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tough noogies

Think Progress brings more good news from my home state. A California appeals court upheld our law banning possession of a semi-automatic assault rifle. According to them, the state law is constitutional.

As in, legal. As in, per the United States Constitution. As in, the Second Amendment has its limits. As in, tough noogies, NRA and extremist gun fondlers everywhere.

Think Progress:

[T]he Supreme Court’s seminal Second Amendment opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller held that the right to bear arms is “‘not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,’ but is instead the right to possess and carry weapons typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes such as hunting or self-defense.” Ownership of “[d]angerous and unusual weapons” is not protected by the Constitution.

Ownership of “[d]angerous and unusual weapons” is not protected by the Constitution.

There's even more at the link.

So if the gun zealots really believe in the Constitution as they say they do, they might want to finally enthusiastically abide by the, you know, law.

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Atheist wins lawsuit over being sent back to prison for refusing religious-based drug rehab program

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atheists everywhere smaller

Friendly memo to those of faith: Please stop telling atheists to participate in religious meetings and/or activities, and atheists won't insist that you stop believing in your god.

In today's Los Angeles Times there is an article about an atheist parolee in California who was sent back to prison after Just Saying No to being forced to undergo drug rehab at a religious-based treatment center. The court decision was unanimous:

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said a jury should award Barry A. Hazle Jr., a drug offender, compensatory damages for his loss of freedom and could consider possible punitive and emotional distress damages as well.

The appeals court also ordered a district judge in Sacramento to reconsider whether to issue an injunction to prevent California officials from requiring parolees to attend treatment programs that emphasize God or a “higher power.”

Hazle had served time, but then California ordered him to spend 90 days in a 12-step program. He requested a secular program instead, but he was told such a thing didn't exist, and he resisted the religious version.

The treatment center said that Hazle was disruptive “in a congenial way.” See? He was a nice disrupter. A friendly disrupter. As his reward for being Mr. Congeniality, his parole was revoked and he was sent back to the pokey for 100 more days.

What's an affable disrupter to do? Sue, of course. And a federal court ruled in his favor saying that his constitutional rights were violated. The judge ordered a jury to come up with monetary damages, and they awarded him-- wait for it-- zero. Zilch. Nada.

So now another jury will be convened to determine Hazle’s compensation.

Amen.

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