Archive for supreme court justices

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

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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.

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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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Justice Alito said what again? "New, unwise turn" in law relies on "private professional associations"

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Wait, what? Isn't this the Supreme Court that has a corporation fetish? Isn't Justice Alito one of the conservative members who believes in privatization, corporate personhood, and equating money with free speech? As in Citizens United and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission?

Think Progress: And he’s a strong supporter of “forced arbitration,” a practice which allows employers to shunt discrimination lawsuits into a secretive and privatized arbitration system rather than allowing those cases to be heard by a real court.

Respriv.org: For Alito, and the rest of the Court’s right-wing majority, the severity of Bartlett’s injury proved inconsequential when measured against Big Pharma’s bottom line and their interest in selling generic drugs, which account for 75% of the prescription drugs sold in the U.S.

StopTheCap.com: Justice Samuel Alito was forced to recuse himself from nearly six dozen cases brought to the Supreme Court in the last 10 months because the Alito family owns stock in many of the corporations involved in litigation.

In light of the above examples, I found the following passages ironically amusing. Via the Los Angeles Times article, Supreme Court says IQ cannot determine mental fitness in capital cases:

In dissent, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. faulted the majority for a "new and unwise turn" in the law by relying on "private professional associations" to establish constitutional values.

In the past, he said, the court had looked to states and to public opinion to judge American values. "Now the court strikes down a state law based on the evolving standards of professional societies, most notably the American Psychiatric Assn.," he said. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas agreed with him.

Whatsa matter, Judge A. and company, don't you love "private professional associations" as much as you used to? Should they feel jilted? Doesn't the NRA "unwisely" influence (read: pressure) the "constitutional values" of Congress members so heavily that they shun common sense gun laws that public opinion supports by a landslide? What do you have to say now?

crickets

Oh, but I kid Justice Alito.

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Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: "I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes."

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Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke at the Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel on history, ethics and law. In that speech, she expressed her opposition to the election of judges, saying the following, per the Chicago Tribune:

“I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes. In many states, that’s what they are.”

No way! Whatever could have put that crazy idea into her head? Of course that wasn't what GW Bush had in mind at all, right, when he and the GOP packed the courts with conservative judges; yet Republicans now refuse to so much as consider President Obama's judicial nominees.

O'Connor prefers to think of judges as, you know, impartial and independent, fair and unbiased. How novel.

Instead, she said, people "seem to think judges should be a reflex of the popular will" and that judges "need to avoid sitting on cases if even a whiff of bias can be detected."

Are you listening, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito?

More at the link.

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Cliff Notes: GOP has "pre-pubescent angst fueling vitriolic rage... Not a legislative or legal strategy. But it sure feels good."

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My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He has comedic insights that rival those of our mutual friend, the hilarious Lizz Winstead. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here:

Praise be to Judge Antonin Scalia, for he sees what the rest of us do not. The man for whom nasty, brutish and short is not simply a political formulation, but a mirror image, can look at hundreds of years of slavery, 100 more of legalised segregation and another 50 of daily discrimination and see "racial entitlement" in the basic right to vote in America. I guess it's kind of like the right-wing-clown entitlement enjoyed by our current Supreme Court. [...]

Policy-wise, the GOP is an entity that literally lacks any new ideas, has no interest in governing, and has rejected all of its own policy positions [...]

You believe in global warming? Then they don't, dang it! You accept that human beings didn't ride saddleback on a brachiosaurus into the Battle of Little Bighorn? They have an App for that, the Creation Museum, where you can ride Noah's Ark with your friendly Triassic-period imperial walker. You offer them way-too-friendly a deal on the budget? Then as Cartman from South Park says, "screw you guys... I'm going home". 

The most potent example is the rise and fall of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as conservative heartthrob. [...]

Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia seems to size up any crowd he's in and think to himself, what would a Morlock do? And then does it. [...]

The key to McCain, as I argued in my 2008 book The Real McCain (to the horror, the horror! of mainstream media back then... who these days have pretty much come to agree with this analysis) is that he legislates via anger. [...]

Whether calling his wife some really bad names, bum rushing fellow members of Congress or condescendingly and heartlessly lecturing a mother whose son was killed in the Aurora-Movie-Theatre massacre that he has "straight talk" for her, one thing you can count on is that McCain will bring the bitter with a healthy-helping of McNasty (his high school nickname). This is what allows him to survive his occasional maverick-ness on issues like immigration. Well, that and the fact he switches his positions every six years just in time for re-election. 

Pre-pubescent angst fueling vitriolic rage. Sure, it's not a legislative or legal strategy. But it sure feels good.

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter

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