Archive for scotus

Chris #Christie finally admits that he supports Hobby Lobby decision

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chris christie squawk box hobby lobby

Chris Christie on whether he agreed with the the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court, on July 1 on CNBC:

"Who knows? ... Why should I give an opinion on whether they're right or wrong?"

How straightforward of him. What confidence! Way to take a stand, Governor Hubris. Dance around the issues much?

chris christie dancing

"The fact is that when you're an executive, your Supreme Court makes a ruling and you've got to live with it unless you can get the legislative body to change the law or change the Constitution. The point is: Why should I give an opinion as to whether they were right or wrong? At the end of the day, they did what they did. That's now the law of the land."

Now here's Chris Christie on whether he agreed with the the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court on July 17, at a meet and greet at MJ's Restaurant in Marion, Iowa (key word: Iowa):

Christie, responding to a Cedar Rapids man at the event:

"Do I support the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case? I do."

Well that only took two and a half weeks. How blunt and direct of him. Way to go, Gov. Panderer! Oh, and way to appeal to women. What a leader. I wonder how many times he licked his finger before putting it in the air to check who would donate to his 2016 presidential campaign the political wind direction.

HuffPo:

Thursday was the first time Christie had expressed his view on the decision. In fact, a day after the Supreme Court ruled, he told a CNBC host that he would not be sharing his opinion at all.

So Governor Rude-y McArrogant flip-flopped. Who does he think he is, Marco Rubio? Willard Romney? A dolphin?

flipper weather vane

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Poll-itics: SCOTUS approvals near lowest "in 14-year trend"

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poll-itics smaller SCOTUS

SCOTUS, SCOTUS, SCOTUS, what are we going to do with you? Well, here's an idea: Elect Progressive presidents who will replace right wing extremist Supreme Court justices (and other judges) who decide cases that are turning this country upside down.

This Supreme Court has:

  • ruled in favor of prayers in city council meetings (read: Christian prayers);
  • eliminated buffer zones around abortion and contraception medical centers in Massachusetts so that women can now be intimidated and threatened literally within an inch of their lives;
  • weakened unions by ruling that they could not force home-care workers to join them and pay dues;
  • and, of course, allowed Hobby Lobby and other family-owned businesses to decide what kind of birth control their employees could use based on their bosses' religious beliefs. Not the workers' beliefs, mind you, because apparently, corporate religion trumps that of the individual.

And don't get me started on Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions allowing corporate money to attempt to buy elections the way Willard "Mitt" Romney buys car elevators.

According to Gallup, this has affected the court's popularity. Democrats in particular are not too thrilled with this SCOTUS. If that's the case, you know what to do: Vote. In droves. Swarm the polls. Help to register other voters and get them to the ballot box, too.

gallup scotus

Gallup:

Americans remain divided in their assessments of the U.S. Supreme Court, with 47% approving of the job it is doing, and 46% disapproving. These ratings are consistent with approval last September, when 46% approved and 45% disapproved, and rank among the lowest approval ratings for the court in Gallup's 14-year trend. [...]

Republican approval of the Supreme Court is up 21 percentage points since last September, from 30% in 2013 to 51%. Independents' approval shows little change, going from 47% to 46%. Support among Democrats, on the other hand, is down [...]

Americans' current views more closely reflect the court's own ideological divisions in these two recent decisions, rather than its bipartisan unanimity.

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Afternoon-Evening Links

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GazaDeath Toll from Israeli Strikes in Gaza Hits 100.

Inside the Right-Wing's Creepy Demonization of Helpless Children

Judge: Florida redistricting a "mockery," illegally favors GOP

In Hobby Lobby, Supremes grant religious objection rights to for-profit corporations.

A response to the Hobby Lobby decision was written in 1925—in Tennessee!

I'm Glad The President Got The Memo

It turns out that Republicans love their Obamacare. Repeal that, GOP

Rep. Bass: Democrats Have Already Compromised With Republicans On Immigration

CNN's S.E. Cupp seems to think that "compromise" with Republicans means giving them everything they want.

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Is America politically mature enough for single payer healthcare?

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Back in 2011, I wrote Single payer to replace Obama health care plan in Vermont? Possibly. In a post of 2012, Rep. Jim McDermott's legislation may enable states to offer single payer healthcare, the L.A. Times ticked off reason after reason why such a plan would be superior to what we have now. Then our own Sherry Howarth asked this back in April: Are the Green Mountain Progressives Going to Pull Off Single Payer?

And now, one of my faves, Michael Hiltzik, has written another thoughtful column for the Los Angeles Times. This one asks if America has the "political maturity" to support single payer healthcare, especially after the dreadful Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Corp. Justices.

Hiltzik narrows it all down to the perpetual fight over abortion being the real obstacle to a single payer system. Once we stop our bitter squabbling and resolve that issue (not an easy task), it would open the door to enacting the same successful system so many countries around the world currently use. As Hiltzik notes, "That's not a permanent condition -- sooner or later, the gridlock will have to give, because the public won't stand for total inaction forever."

The entire column is worth a read, so please link over. He begins by responding to something Ezra Klein wrote. He ends this way:

[O]nly a mature system will be able to enact single-payer, so it's pointless to worry about it being hampered by childishness once it's in place.

Let's think again about abortion. There's no point in worrying that a single-payer program would bar abortion -- the thing to worry about is that the abortion debate will be an obstacle to enacting a single-payer plan at all. So clearly, the abortion issue will have to be resolved first.

Ezra Klein is right. Single-payer does have many virtues, and it does have some problems.

But under our current system post-Hobby Lobby, scientifically uninformed employers can interfere in the medical decisions of thousands of their workers. Obviously, that's the worst of all possible worlds.

Single-payer's problems, however, are either resolvable or conjectural, while its virtues are manifest. We should keep our eye on those, and worry about the problems when the time comes.

As we say on Google Plus: +1.

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Overnight: Corporations Are People Now (But Apparently Women Are Not)

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Hobby Lobby Lauren Mayer


Lauren Mayer is a singer/songwriter/pianist who writes comedy songs about everything from Supreme Court decisions to the Kardashians. She proudly supports leftist causes including equal pay, reproductive choice, fair minimum wage, addressing climate change, and marriage equality.
Note: Lauren's CD is now available!! Hear clips or purchase CD/downloads at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/laurenmayer8. It is also on iTunes and will soon be on Amazon!

From YouTube:

A musical summary of the Hobby Lobby decision's consequences

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About that Other SCOTUS Ruling on Monday

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With so much focus on the horrific Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, we seem to have forgotten about the millions of workers who'll be screwed by the other decision handed down by the Court on Monday in Harris v Quinn. As my friend Dave Johnson wrote at OurFuture.org, 

In case you were wondering why it is so hard for regular working people to get ahead in our economy, look no further than today’s Harris v. Quinn Supreme Court decision. In the usual 5-4 pattern, the corporate-conservatives on the Supreme Court struck another blow against the rights of working people to organize and try to get ahead.

Home care workers (mostly women) in Illinois (like elsewhere) were on their own, working long hours for very low pay. They were treated poorly and did not have any job security. So they organized and a majority voted to join a union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Health Care Illinois-Indiana (SEIU-HCII). The union then worked with the state of Illinois to forge a contract to deliver services to elderly and disabled state residents. Since they formed the union, they were able almost double their hourly wages and they get health insurance, regular professional training and representation from the union.

An anti-union organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) – funded by the Koch and Walton families and others – brought the Harris v. Quinn suit against the union. This suit wound its way through the courts and finally the Supreme Court decided to rule on it.

The Court decided that a contract between the state of Illinois and Medicaid-funded home care workers cannot require the covered workers to pay a “fair-share fee” that covers the costs of benefits they receive from union representation. This “fair-share fee” (union dues) covers the costs of the union’s activities – collecting bargaining, implementing and enforcing the contract including making sure people are paid the right amounts, representing employees at grievance hearings, etc.

The Court decided that the “free speech” interests of those who object to paying for representation outweigh the right of the democratically elected majority that formed the union and the state to enter into a contract that requires home care workers to pay those costs in exchange for the services those costs bring to the employees.

Justice Samuel Alito said that “free speech” means this union cannot collect this fee, writing, “The First Amendment prohibits the collection of an agency fee from personal assistants in the Rehabilitation Program who do not wrote to join or support the union.”

The workers can still join unions. They can still collectively bargain. The union is still their sole bargaining agent. They just don’t have to pay fair-share fees because that violates their “free speech.”

As for "Justice" Alito's assertion that this ruling covers only these home care workers who, he claims,  are not the same as other state employees because they work for individuals in private homes, that will now be tested too.

The Washington Post reports

Activists behind a lawsuit pending in federal court in California say the Harris ruling has set the stage for their complaint, which challenges the constitutionality of a California requirement that public school teachers must pay union dues regardless of whether they choose to join the union.

In fact, the majority opinion criticized as “questionable” the 1977 Supreme Court decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that gave states the authority to compel public employees to pay union dues.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten joined me on the show this morning to discuss how this ruling could cripple the remaining public sector unions, noting that the private sector unions had already been decimated.  We also talked about the attacks on public education she's facing from all sided - from teacher tenure (which, she explained, is just due process - something all employees should have) and the charter school problem.

For a great explanation of the Harris v Quinn decision, including its history and ramifications, check out Harold Meyerson's "Supreme Court Rules Disadvantaged Workers Should Be Disadvantaged Some More" at the American Prospect.

Every Wednesday morning, I spend some time chatting with Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars. Today, just as we were discussing the technical problems that plagued me all morning and her explanation being Mercury coming out of retrograde today possibly being the cause, my internet went out! Once we got past that, we talked about the insanity of these Court decisions and the burdens on the average American.

Tomorrow, we'll have our pre Fourth of July show...  compete with the No More Bullshit Minute and some fabulous female facts, and whatever the day hands us..  radio or not!

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Rep. José Gutierrez (D) of Illinois Has Personalized Immigration Reform

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There is one adult and authentic voice in the room for immigration reform, and it is getting a lot more air play these days … the Congressman from Illinois with the charming demeanor and a deep passion for this issue has taken the stage with aplomb. Meet Rep. José Gutierrez (D) of Illinois.

Speaking directly to the people about the GOP and Teabagger paranoia of anything that might be related to the curse word 'amnesty', Gutierrez is forging his own way forward in making a safe harbor for the people he fights for. Catch him on MSNBC's Morning Schmoe, from earlier this morning, Scarborough and Morning Mika were happily absent … leaving actual journalist Katty Kay to ask some proper questions for a couple of segments.

Have a gander.

The youth humanitarian crisis on the border is of huge consequence and note, and should be something we all should care deeply about. They are innocent children, sent to our fenced borders by loved ones (or for darker reasons, it's nuanced) to get a shot at the American Dream.

Image, via Cagle Cartoons

Image, via Cagle Cartoons

 

Seeing those small children sleeping on cement floors, hoping for a chance to be taken away by Family Services, is a heartbreaking and motivating snapshot of just how tragic our immigration system has become. You can practically feel that horrid Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona drooling over the opportunity to pen up those savages. Shudder.

Just as the collective and hope-filled youth of Irish, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and dozens of other ethnicities came to these shores before them. We have just gotten xenophobic and absurdly self-obsessed … we were once proud of the exceptionalism of Ellis Island and our Open Door immigration policy.

familyvalues

Bravo to Rep. Gutierrez and his colleagues who re courageous enough to stand against the Regressive tide of fear, hate and loathing that the GOP is hell bent on encouraging as the wave of the future of 'their' ostensibly Christian and very white America.

Immigration reform isn't going away by wishing.

Get over yourselves, ghastly GOP.Teabangelcial Asshattery. The U.S. of A. is a colorful melting pot of cultures, beliefs and ideologies. We'd have made no progress since the 1600's if we weren't, and you Old White Folk are no longer at the helm.

White stains so easily, anyhow. Just look at the truly pale political examples like the Koch Broz.

Cartoon, Marguiles via GoComics.com

Cartoon, Marguiles via GoComics.com

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