Archive for federal judge

WI judge: "I remain troubled… with the inflexibility" of restrictive abortion law

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abortion choice my mind my body

Republican-run states have done everything they can to legally abolish women's reproductive rights, including reasonable access to abortions. One way to do this is to circumvent their constitutional right to the procedure by shutting down women's health clinics. Wisconsin is one of those states. Others include Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. A federal judge in Wisconsin has put a temporary stop such legislation that severely restricts abortion providers, legislation that GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed into law last July.

Milwaukee women would have to travel about 85 miles one-way to a clinic in Chicago in order to get the health services they need.

But a judge has raised his judicial eyebrows at the extreme demands placed on physicians. Via PostCrescent.com:

A federal judge said Friday he is worried that a Wisconsin law requiring abortion providers to get hospital admitting privileges is too rigid.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services sued the state last summer, arguing the requirement will force AMS’s Milwaukee clinic to close because its doctors can’t get admitting privileges. [...]

Conley noted that the law provided no grace period and gave abortion providers no recourse if they couldn’t get the privileges. He also said it could dampen clinics’ efforts to recruit new providers who would essentially have to come to the clinics with admitting privileges in-hand.

“I remain troubled … with the inflexibility of the law,” he said.

I remain troubled by the GOP and their hypocritical proclamations of outreach efforts to women and minorities.

I remain troubled by the GOP and their hypocritical cries for individual freedom and less government intrusion into our private lives.

I remain troubled by the GOP hypocritical stomping all over our constitutional rights as they bellow about Democrats (specifically President Obama) stomping all over their constitutional rights.

The judge's final ruling won't come for at least six weeks.

outreach my ass reach out inclusive

freedom my ass 2

 

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Judge who ended #Walker probe attended junkets financed by Kochs (VIDEO)

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citizens united check republic billionaires Koch brothers dark money

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A judge is supposed to be impartial. A judge, well, judges, and so he or she must be fair and dispassionate. A judge should not feel pressured or indebted to any party while rendering a decision. He or she should only rely on evidence presented.

So, when reports surfaced that the judge who halted the Walker "John Doe" criminal investigation attended all-expenses paid "judicial junkets," that raised a few eyebrows. Why?

Those little "junkets" were funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other ideological and corporate interests. And by now, it's common knowledge that Walker and the Kochs are BFF. Well, Walker and the Kochs' wallets are BFF, because nothing defines friendship like corporate cash.

Did I mention that same judge has an assistant who is married to a Walker campaign lawyer?

Chris Hayes covered the corrupt judge story on "All In" last night. PR Watch wrote it up a few days ago:

On May 6, federal District Court Judge Rudolph Randa blocked an ongoing John Doe criminal probe into allegedly illegal coordination between nonprofit groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which spent $9.1 million on electoral ads during Wisconsin's recall elections, and the recall campaigns of Governor Scott Walker and state senators. John Doe investigations are similar to grand jury investigations, and Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and its director, Eric O'Keefe, a longtime compatriot of the Koch brothers -- asked the federal court to stop the probe, alleging it violated their "free speech" rights.

Judge Randa sided with O'Keefe, and also ordered prosecutors to destroy all evidence gathered in the investigation, an extraordinary edict in a criminal case made even more astounding by the fact that it came in the context of a preliminary injunction. The Seventh Circuit has blocked this part of his ruling; an appeal of the remainder of his decision is pending.

An analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that Judge Randa attended privately-funded, all-expenses-paid judicial seminars put on by George Mason University in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, according to publicly-available financial disclosure forms. (The 2013 disclosure form has been requested but has not yet been publicly posted).

The George Mason University seminars are bankrolled by a long list of right-wing foundations, like Koch, Bradley, and the Searle Freedom Trust, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporations like BP, Exxon Mobil, and Dow Chemical.

Much more at the link.

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WI judge who halted John Doe lawsuit has assistant married to Walker campaign lawyer

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judgment WI judge

Recently, a WI judge put a stop to the Scott Walker-infused John Doe investigation:

The John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups has once again been halted after a federal judge on Thursday dismissed as “frivolous” an interim appeal by the prosecutors in the case.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued the decision less than a day after the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago stayed an earlier ruling ending the secret investigation.

Turns out that Steven Biskupic, a former U.S. attorney who is representing "a party in the secretive John Doe probe," is married to Cary Biskupic. Cary happens to work for WI Judge Rudolph Randa.

Conflict of interest much? Then again, questionable activities, hypocrisy, and legal problems are not atypical in Walker World.

Via the Wisconsin State Journal:

An assistant to the federal judge who ordered a halt to the state’s secret investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups is married to a lawyer for Walker’s campaign — which could be grounds for a judge to step down from a case. [...]

Walker’s campaign paid Biskupic’s law firm $86,000 last year, according to a recent campaign finance report. Walker’s campaign is also one of the targets in the John Doe probe, according to court filings.

According to the federal Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees, employees working for federal judges should not perform any official duties in any matter in which a spouse has an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.

Of course, with the way things often go in Walker World, this too may slither under the radar and be allowed to stand.

walker world

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How Pres. Obama could be forced to put tea party judge on federal bench

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justice tea party judge

If the notion of a tea party judge being nominated to a seat on the federal bench makes you sick to your stomach, raise your hand.

raise hand pick me smaller

The thought of yet another ultra-conservative judge-- a right wing extremist tea party judge at that-- making decisions that affect all of us, is disturbing. What's even more disturbing is that Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), can do something about it... and he may choose not to. Which means, President Obama may be forced to put such a tea party judge on the bench in Pennsylvania, in this case David J. Porter, Rick Santorum’s former lawyer.

I repeat: Rick Santorum's former lawyer. Worried yet?

I sure am. Think Progress has the story:

The reason why a Democratic president would even consider nominating Porter to a seat on the federal bench is a Senate tradition known as the “blue slip.” A relic of a patronage system largely dismantled during the Carter and Reagan Administrations, the blue slip tradition allows home-state senators to effectively veto any judicial nominee to a federal judgeship in their state. [...]

As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has the unilateral ability to eliminate the blue slip today if he chose to, though he has thus far refused to do so. Indeed, one of Leahy’s Republican predecessors, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), largely did just that when he was Judiciary Chair and George W. Bush was president.

Follow the link for more. It's up to you, Sen. Leahy. You alone have the power to do the right thing.

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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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If GOP wins lawsuit, #Obamacare falls apart in 36 states

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up up and oy vey

Heavy sigh:

Los Angeles Times: The Affordable Care Act proposes to make health insurance affordable to millions of low-income Americans by offering them tax credits to help cover the cost. To receive the credit, the law twice says they must buy insurance "through an exchange established by the state."

But 36 states have decided against opening exchanges for now. Although the law permits the federal government to open exchanges instead, it does not say tax credits may be given to those who buy insurance through a federally run exchange.

Apparently no one noticed this when the long and complicated bill worked its way through the House and Senate. Last year, however, the Internal Revenue Service tried to remedy it by putting out a regulation that redefined "exchange" to include a "federally facilitated exchange." This is "consistent with the language, purpose and structure … of the act as a whole," the Treasury Department said.

oy

Of course, the president's usual opponents are all over this and have filed four lawsuits. They salivate over anything that so much as hints at the demise of Obamacare and insist that the Obama administration abide by the strict wording of the law, "even if doing so dismantles it in nearly two-thirds of the states." Of course they do.

And as long as the House is under Republicans control, no way can the Obama administration fix this by suggesting that Congress legislate, well, anything.

And just as worrisome, one U.S. District Judge, a Clinton appointee, won't dismiss the suit and said he'd issue a written ruling.

oy oy

No judge has ruled directly on whether the IRS rule is illegal and contradicted by the health care law. Other judges in other states are considering similar suits, and if any of them rule in favor of the Obama(care) haters, the ACA could be put on hold until all the legal issues are ironed out. In fact, it could eventually end up in the Supreme Court.

oy oy oy

Stay tuned.

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Take that! Judge's ruling keeps all four Wisconsin abortion clinics open despite new state law

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curses foiled again

On August 1st I posted: Federal judge extends– for 3rd time– hold on WI law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.

In that post I reminded you of the many GOP-run states trying to eliminate women’s privacy and reproductive rights: WI GOP lawmakers pursuing change to state constitution to give fetuses a right to life.

And I also reminded you of Rachel Maddow’s astute and eye-opening segment: Bye-bye women’s rights: “If you live where the Republican party is in control now, right now, this is your life.”

Of course, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed an abortion bill requiring women to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds. Plus it “requires doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where they perform the procedure.” See how he's reaching out to women voters?

Well, Scotty, you've had another setback. Per The Cap Times:

The state’s four abortion clinics — two of which were slated to close — will remain open following a preliminary injunction issued late Friday by a federal judge in a case involving hospital admitting privileges for abortion doctors.

U.S. Judge William Conley’s ruling will keep Planned Parenthood’s Appleton abortion clinic and the Affiliated Medical Services clinic in Milwaukee open to perform abortions.

Conley wrote, “On this record, the admitting privileges requirement is a solution in search of a problem. Devoid of any documentation of a medical need or purpose in Wisconsin, the governor nevertheless signed the act on July 5, 2013.”

Oh snap.

The trial begins at the end of November, and the clinics will remain open until the case is resolved.

Kansas, Tennessee, Utah, Arizona, North Dakota all have similar laws, but the court blocked Alabama's efforts. Please watch Rachel Maddow's segment on the growing number of states trying to deny women their rights.

So, GOP, how’s that extreme makeover thing workin’ for ya?

abortion GOP elephant hangers

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