NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, August 22, 2016

Nat Turner Was A Second Amendment Hero

You know, because his rebellion was suppressed by armed whites, the way our Founders intended.


August 22, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, August 07, 2016

This Is For My Treasonous, Slavery-loving Neighbors

Okay, so I don't know if those folks down the road flying the Stars and Bars are racist, slavery-defending, traitorous bastards or not.  Doesn't really matter.  They've symbolically chosen to align with people who are, in fact, racist, slavery-defending, traitorous bastards.  People who enslaved fellow human beings, then went to war after losing a legitimate election per the Constitution.

What's more, THEY LIVE IN VERMONT.  Northern Vermont.  Which is not a part of any "Southern Heritage" that would be at stake, even if the whole fucking thing weren't about slavery in the first place.

And, you know, Vermonters were good Union-loving people who fought to destroy that peculiar institution:

I'll note that some of those who fought and died for real liberty and justice for all came from this town.  Several are buried a few minutes' walk up the hill from where that cursed cloth is now displayed.  Right next to the church that Sam & I walk to so we can wind the clock each week.  A few hundred feet from our new Town Office that has a real American flag in front of it.

But, you know, you go ahead and show us your true colors.


August 7, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (3)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Thursday, August 04, 2016

In Fairness To Donald Trump

There was that time when Congressman John Conyers told us during a Judiciary Committee hearing that we weren't allowed to hold up pocket Constitutions...


August 4, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

AG Candidate Deb Bucknam Is Wrong, But Aptly Named

Here's a candidate I won't be voting for!

Now Vermont Attorney General candidate TJ Donovan wants to turn back the clock and limit our free speech rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution. In 2012, Donovan called for an “overturning” of Citizens United v. FEC , a Supreme Court decision involving a group who dared to broadcast an anti Hillary Clinton video 30 days before an election. The group was prohibited from doing so by federal law, but the Supreme Court struck down the statute as violating the First Amendment Right to free speech.

Because the Citizens United decision was based on the First Amendment, the only way to “overturn” the decision, as Attorney Donovan knows, is to amend our First Amendment free speech rights.

Yeah, imma go out on a limb and say Bucknam has the same limited grasp of the First Amendment as every other defender of Citizens United.  She might consider what her fellow Vermonters did in the wake of that awful decision, because corporations aren't people, and  money is not speech.


August 2, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Happy Independence Day!

This is NOT the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

According to the Journal of the Continental Congress, our Brave Founders finally pledged their lives, sacred honor, and whatnot:

The declaration of independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed [by the members].1

[Note 1: The last three words are taken from the Secret Journals. A full account of the question of signing the Declaration is to be found in Friedenwald, The Declaration of Independence, 121--151.]

Yawn.  More interesting to me:

Resolved...That General Washington be instructed to employ in the service of the states, as many of the Stockbridge Indians as he shall judge proper...

AKA the Mahicans (not to be confused with the Mohegans, Mr Cooper), of whom Chingachgook was most assuredly not the last.  And compare to what instructions the Good General received just a few weeks earlier...


August 2, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Valid To All Intents And Purposes

The one sure mode to remand the States that rebelled against the Union to their autonomy was to give suffrage to the negro; and that autonomy will be complete, absolute, and unquestioned whenever the rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic shall be enjoyed in every State...

 - Congressman Edward de Veaux Morrell (R-PA) on "the negro question," April 4, 1904

On this date in 1868, Secretary of State William Seward certified the ratification of the 14th Amendment to our Constitution.  Naturally Democrats and Confederate Apologists and Jim Crowers still kept trying to destroy equal protection, as well as the 15th's suffrage guarantee.

Then the roles switched.  Now the Party of Lincoln and Seward undermines these rights whilst attacking immigrants, women, and non-cis-het Americans.  Honestly, I'm surprised Bill O and Donald T haven't tried suggesting there's no such thing as the 14th.


July 28, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

None Dare Call It Treason, Because It's Not

Trump's "joke" asking for Russia's hacking help wasn't funny, and it really wasn't treason or anything other than being in poor taste and not something any truly sensible or responsible politician should ever say.  But many people forget there was an actual, traitorous presidential candidate in our great Republic's history: John C Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats.

Dude was secesh, and placed 2nd in the Electoral College to Ole Uncle Abe.  He was then elected Senator by the Kentucky Leg, but having taking up the musket against his government, was indicted for treason, then declared a traitor and kicked out of the Senate on December 4, 1861:

Mr. Chandler submitted the following resolution for consideration:

Resolved, That John C. Breckinridge be, and he hereby is, expelled from the Senate.

The Senate proceeded, by unanimous consent, to consider the resolution; and the same having been amended, on the motion of Mr. Trumbull, to read as follows:

Whereas John C. Breckinridge, a member of this body from the State of Kentucky, has joined the enemies of his country, and is now in arms against the government he had sworn to support: Therefore--

Resolved, That said John C. Breckinridge, the traitor, be, and he hereby is, expelled from the Senate.

On the question to agree to the resolution as amended,

  • It was determined in the affirmative,
  • Yeas ... 37
  • Nays ... 00

On motion by Mr. Trumbull,

The yeas and nays being desired by one-fifth of the senators present,

Those who voted in the affirmative are,

Messrs. Anthony, Browning, Carlile, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Cowan, Dixon, Doolittle, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, Harris, Howe, Kennedy, King, Lane, of Indiana, Lane, of Kansas, Latham, McDougall, Morrill, Nesmith, Pomeroy, Rice, Sherman, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Thomson, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, Wilmot, Wilson.

So the resolution as amended was agreed to--two-thirds of the senators present having voted in the affirmative.

Sadly, Donald T and Bill O forget the motivation behind Breckinridge's treason.  Hint: it wasn't because slaves were treated so great that we didn't need the 13th or 14th Amendments.


July 28, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Department Of Foreign Affairs

Secretary Clinton's old job was created on this date in 1789:

[T]here shall be an Executive department, to be denominated the department of foreign Affairs: and that there shall be a principal Officer therein, to be called the Secretary for the department of foreign Affairs, who shall perform and execute such duties as shall from time to time be enjoined on, or intrusted to him by the President of the United States, agreeable to the Constitution, relative to correspondences, commissions, or instructions to, or with public Ministers or Consuls from the United States, or to negociations with public Ministers from foreign States or princes, or to Memorials or other applications from foreign public Ministers, or other foreigners, or to such other Matters respecting foreign Affairs, as the President of the United States shall assign to the said department

Yet merely a month later the House, followed by the Senate several days after that, debated another bit of legislation dealing with how exactly to transmit and publish new laws was passed.  There doesn't appear to be any controversy surrounding the bill, but it was referred to an ad hoc committee for a few days in the Senate.  Washington signed the bill into law on September 15, not only establishing the new protocol but also changing the department's name from "Foreign Affairs" to "State."

Why the hell did they need to change the name?  It certainly makes sense: what was originally supposed to deal with foreign relations had some new internal responsibilities (later assigned elsewhere) added to its workload, thus the original name wouldn't really be so fitting.  

The department still handles domestic things like certifying amendments to the Constitution and such, so it isn't just dealing with issues between sovereign states but also within the United States.  It's a good name.

I have always found it interesting how much the First Congress had to feel its way through all the bootstrapping.  They realized there was more stuff to be done, so quickly made adjustments for an existing department to take on an expanding role.  Congress did so all while organizing other Executive departments, debating Madison's proposal that became something called the Bill of Rights, figuring out relations with Native Americans, arguing about compensation for elected officials, and tackling mundane things like establishing the post office and oversight of lighthouses.  It was a brave new world...


PS--SecState used to be a common stepping stone to the Presidency before the Civil War. Not so much in the modern epoch.  Maybe President Clinton start a new trend.

July 27, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hard To Compromise With People Who Refuse To Compromise

Somehow it seems germane today that mere days after the disastrous Battle of Bull Run in 1861, the US Senate voted 30-5 in favor of this statement of war principles:

Resolved, That the present deplorable civil war has been forced upon the country by the disunionists of the southern States now in revolt against the constitutional government and in arms around the capital; that in this national emergency Congress, banishing all feeling of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole country; that this war is not prosecuted upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of these States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and all laws made in pursuance thereof, and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.

The House had overwhelmingly passed a very similar resolution on July 22.  Not exact, but close enough for gummint work.  President Andrew Johnson referred to both versions in his proclamation of April 2, 1866:

[W]hereas these resolutions, though not joint or concurrent in form, are substantially identical, and as such may be regarded as having expressed the sense of Congress upon the subject to which they relate;

And whereas, by my proclamation of the thirteenth day of June last, the insurrection in the State of Tennessee was declared to have been suppressed, the authority of the United States therein to bo undisputed, and such United States officers as had been duly commissioned to be in the undisputed exercise of their official functions;And whereas there now exists no organized armed resistance of misguided citizens or others

to the authority of the United States in the States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida, and the laws can be sustained and enforced therein by the proper civil authority, State or Federal, and the people of the said States are well and loyally disposed, and have conformed or will conform in their legislation to the condition of affairs growing out of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States, prohibiting slavery within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States...

Now, therefore, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the insurrection which heretofore existed in the States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida is at an end, and is henceforth to be so regarded. 

Well, good ole King Andy elided a couple of things.  The resolutions were passed in large part out of fear in the war's early days when the Union wasn't faring well and needed to make sure border states didn't bolt for the CSA.  But attitudes can change over time:

[The resolutions] voiced at the time the public opinion of the country, and almost the unanimous opinion of the Republican party. President Lincoln represented this opinion, and in a conservative spirit he attempted at first to conduct the war without inter- fering with slavery, on the assumption that the status of the states and their relation to the Union had not changed. 

But the war made all the difference in the world. The events of but a few short months of war wrought a decided change in the purpose and temper of Congress and the country. It was seen that slavery was a source of strength to the Rebellion. Conservative Union men were being rapidly and radically convinced that if the national government did not interfere with slavery, slavery would seriously interfere with the national government and the success of its arms. This change in policy and purpose is indicated by the fact that when the Thirty-seventh Congress came together again in its regular session in December, 1861, and an attempt was made to reaffirm the Crittenden resolution which had received such universal approval but a few months before, it was decisively rejected.

Indeed, the House laid the resolution to reaffirm said principles upon the table by Stevens' motion on December 4, and another in the same vein was similarly dealt with the following day through a motion made by Owen Lovejoy, brother of martyred abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy.

I bring that up only to show that the position of the Congress and the President had evolved fairly quickly once it was clear the war wasn't going to be quick and the prodigal South wouldn't be coming back to the family any time soon.  Certainly Lincoln saw that undermining slavery would undermine the rebellion, and when the House had a chance to reaffirm that the destruction of slavery wasn't a goal of the war--a purely political move--it failed to do so.

While Johnson made a nod to the 13th Amendment, he was still a white supremacist and a lot of stuff was going down in April that he and the South didn't like.  Congress was repassing the Civil Rights Act that the President had rejected in '65, and overriding his subsequent veto, plus a compromise was introduced that ultimately would become the 14th Amendment.  And that, of course, the Rebs weren't going to support--Johnson discouraged them to, not that they needed his advice--so Congress was spurred to pass the Reconstruction Acts and implement a Radical Republican vision of how to readmit Southern States.

Southern Unionist/War Democrat Johnson was just as counterproductive as the traitors themselves.  In an alternate history, he might've signed the Civil Rights Act first time around, and the Radical Reconstruction would not have come to fruition and the 14th Amendment never would have been deemed necessary.

Anyway, from the North's perspective (not the South's, natch), the war wasn't about slavery at the beginning.  But every time they tried to meet the pro-slavery folks halfway, or 3/5s of the way, their opponents weren't satisfied, so fairly quickly the war did become a fight against slavery.  

The Union couldn't be a house divided, and the Rebels forced the question.  Then lost.

I think some people need a reminder.


July 25, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Senate: How Does It Work?

Read harder, Senator:

The senators pushing for the Senate to confirm judges were perplexed by Tillis' argument.

"I’m not sure what version of the Constitution you’re reading that doesn’t say confirming judges is part of your job in the United States Senate," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said, according to the Huffington Post.

He must have read Article 12 that said the President can appoint judges without advice or consent, so congrats Justice Merrick Garland!


July 15, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, July 11, 2016

No Rights Which The White Man Was Bound To Respect

Well, it's the antithesis to something, Mrs Hegel:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) over the weekend demanded that media outlets begin referring to Black Lives Matter activists as “thugs” instead of calling them “protesters” or “people.”
“You know, it’s the antithesis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s message. It’s the antithesis of our Constitution, of the Bill of Rights, our charters of liberty that says all men are created equal.”

Ah yes, our charters that say all men are created equal, which Justice Taney so revered...


July 11, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bye, Felicia!

President Andrew Jackson vetoed the Second Bank of the United States on this date in 1832.  At the time, Mr Soon To Be On The Back Of The Twenty noted:

The Congress, the Executive, and the Court must each for itself be guided by its own opinion of the Constitution. Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others. It is as much the duty of the House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of the President to decide upon the constitutionality of any bill or resolution which may be presented to them for passage or approval as it is of the supreme judges when it may be brought before them for judicial decision. The opinion of the judges has no more authority over Congress than the opinion of Congress has over the judges, and on that point the President is independent of both. The authority of the Supreme Court must not, therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive when acting in their legislative capacities, but to have only such influence as the force of their reasoning may deserve.

I'd argue that the Bank, just like the Fed, is constitutional, but I can't take issue with his essential logic.  Everybody in government--that includes voters--must interpret the Constitution and act accordingly.

It's true that the constitutionality of the National Bank was challenged and upheld in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819):

Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.

Yet this did not prevent Jackson from vetoing the early renewal bill and letting the old charter expire.  SCOTUS might have found the Bank to be allowed, but that opinion placed no obligation on the Executive, who can veto whatever he wants for whatever reasons.  What's permissible doesn't necessarily translate into policy (wise or otherwise).

As an aside, Jackson provided fodder for Lincoln in debate with Stephen Douglas.  He called out the latter for inconsistency regarding Dred Scott.

Anyway, Old Hickory was hardly alone in his resistance to a national bank.  Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Taylor of Caroline in 1816, about a month after President Madison signed legislation chartering the Second Bank:

The system of banking we have both equally and ever reprobated. I contemplate it as a blot left in all our constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction, which is already hit by the gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our citizens. 
And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies... 

Taylor later wrote a response to McCulloch that boiled down to this: if Congress can incorporate a bank, it can end slavery.  And we can't have that!

Leading up to the Bank Act, the debate included this little morsel from Representative Randolph, another Democratic-Republican from Virginia:

All banking institutions were alike in their desire to swell their profits to the greatest extent, howsoever correct and virtuous the directors might be in their private characters; and he would guard against every public robber of every grade, whether he be a Governor General of India or a Bagshot highwayman. He would put it out of the power of this bank to commit frauds on the community, without ruin to itself.

Interestingly, Virginia's House members split on the final vote, 8-10 (it passed 80-71), whilst both Senators voted in favor (it passed 22-12).  A more interesting development, however, is that James Madison supported the Second Bank whilst leading opposition to the First.

Turns out that the War of 1812 created a great deal of chaos in our nation's financial state.

The war had...led the federal government to rack up significant debt. Without the First Bank, the government had to rely more heavily on state banks to help finance the war. The influx of federal government deposits to these institutions led them to issue greater quantities of banknotes and loans.

The proliferation of banknotes increased money in circulation and resulted in inflation, because too much money was chasing too few goods. Without the First Bank’s ability to limit the state banks’ issuance of paper currency, there was no longer an entity that could control the amount of money created. In addition, strong demand for loans during the war increased interest rates and thus bank profits. Without the restraining hand of the Bank of the United States, state banks became less cautious in their lending habits and credit expanded rapidly.

In effect, the country found itself in circumstances similar to those after the Revolutionary War: mounting debt from a war with England, soaring prices, and devalued money from rising inflation. These problems and the resulting economic consequences would soon lead the United States to make another attempt at creating a national bank. In 1816, President James Madison signed the bill that would create the second Bank of the United States.

So in President Madison's 7th Annual Message to Congress on December 5th, 1816:

Although the embarrassments arising from the want of an uniform national currency have not been diminished since the adjournment of Congress, great satisfaction has been derived in contemplating the revival of the public credit and the efficiency of the public resources. 
The arrangements of the finances with a view to the receipts and expenditures of a permanent peace establishment will necessarily enter into the deliberations of Congress during the present session. It is true that the improved condition of the public revenue will not only afford the means of maintaining the faith of the Government with its creditors inviolate, and of prosecuting successfully the measures of the most liberal policy, but will also justify an immediate alleviation of the burdens imposed by the necessities of the war.

It is, however, essential to every modification of the finances that the benefits of an uniform national currency should be restored to the community.

In response, the Senate created a select committee on finance and a uniform national currency (predecessor to the standing Finance Committee created the following year).  The House did, as well, and John C Calhoun (a Democratic-Republican) reported out a bill that eventually made it through the sausage grinder.

Oddly enough, Calhoun would later resign as Vice President under Jackson so he could run for Senate to defend nullification.  THAT was definitely unconstitutional.  Anyway, here we are now, getting the last laugh on all those white dudes with bad hair...


July 10, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, July 04, 2016

"Humility and benevolence must take place of pride and overweening selfishness."

There have always been divisions in the American body politic, and for a long, long time it was slavery.  Happy Fourth!


July 4, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Then an ambitious citizen may arise, seize the reins of power, and annihilate liberty forever…

July 1, 1776:

Resolved, That this Congress will resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the resolution respecting independency:

Resolved, That the Declaration be referred to said committee.

The Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, ∥After some time,∥ the president resumed the chair. Mr. [Benjamin] Harrison reported, that the committee have had under consideration the matters referred to them, and have agreed to the resolution, which they ordered him to report, and desired him to move for leave to sit again.

The resolution agreed to by committee of the whole being read, the determination thereof was postponed, at the request of a colony, till to morrow.

Always gotta send shit to committee.  And John Dickinson spoke against it:

Independence, I am aware, has attractions for all mankind but I am maintaining that, in the present quarrel, the friends of independence are the promoters of slavery, and those who desire to separate would but render us more dependent...the democratic power may carry all before it and involve the whole state in confusion and ruin.

But efficiently, they adopted the Lee Resolution the following day:

The Congress resumed the consideration of the resolution agreed to by and reported from the committee of the whole; and the same being read, was agreed to as follows:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them, and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved

John Adams wrote his dearest friend, Abigail, about today's momentous occassion:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. . It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

We did indeed light some shit on fire this evening to celebrate.


July 2, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Creative Accounting

The Donald's Math explains a lot:

Radio host Mike Gallagher noted during an interview with the candidate that the Supreme Court “handed the pro-life movement a disappointing decision” by striking down a Texas law that made it more difficult for women to get abortions.

Trump suggested that the 5-3 decision would have been flipped to a 5-4 decision upholding the law if he had been able to fill the vacancy left by the death of Scalia with a pro-life judge.

“Now if we had Scalia was living or is Scalia was replaced by me,” Trump said, “you wouldn’t have had that. Okay? It would have been the opposite.”

To be fair, Scalia/Donald's Scalia Replacement would've likely used the Bully Pulpit/literally bullied Kennedy into the proper vote, making it 5-4 the other way...


June 30, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The First Amendment Was Written By White Men For White Men


Tyler, who also set up a billboard quoting Martin Luther King Jr. alongside a Confederate flag, said he didn’t mind if the second campaign rejected his message.

“I think it’s great what they’re doing,” Tyler said. “They’re stoking the fire of the story.”

Two of Tyler’s signs were taken down last week by the billboard rental companies, and the candidate said he was disappointed.

“I’m all about freedom,” said Tyler, whose campaign website contains lengthy “conspiracy science” posts about chemtrails and communist plots. “It’s great that they are able to say what they want to say. What’s tragic is that I’m not able to. I’m not allowed to. My First Amendment right is being nailed to the cross.”

It is truly sad that Black Obama signed that executive order banning this White Man's simple message of White Love, literally nailing him to the cross.  But hey, at least his message wasn't lynched, amirite?


June 29, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

No, The Conservative Movement Left Kennedy

Booman writing not at Booman:

It appears that Kennedy was about to gut affirmative action in college admissions back in 2012 but was dissuaded when he read Sotomayor’s blistering draft dissent. He decided to punt by sending the case back down to the lower court and asking them to be more hard-ass in their assessment of universities’ diversity admission programs. And then something odd happened.

The lower court looked again—and upheld the affirmative-action program again.

When the case came back, there was little reason to expect anything but a brisk reversal. Yet during the intervening terms, Kennedy may have begun to move on race questions…

…The opinion Kennedy wrote was really not a narrow one. It strongly endorses the Lewis Powell-Sandra Day O’Connor view of affirmative action as a quest for racial diversity, and it goes out of its way to say that courts must defer to educational authorities when assessing race-conscious admissions plans.

As Epps explains in detail, this is a fundamental reversal of Kennedy’s thinking, and it amounts to apostasy in conservative circles.

I don’t know if Sotomayor deserves most of the credit or if it’s more a matter of Kennedy just getting disgusted by the extremism of the Conservative Movement, or some combination. But taken together with his support of gay marriage and his joining the majority in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt abortion case, Kennedy has recently presided over a scorched earth decimation of the core of the Conservative Movement’s judicial order of battle.

Which is probably why we need somebody who will appoint Justices with some amount of empathy...


June 29, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Religious Accommodations For Plan B, But Not For Peyote

Conservatives legitimately ask Why Can't I Discriminate If I Really, Really Hate Something?

[I]n 2007, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy issued new regulations declaring that a pharmacy may not “refuse to deliver a drug or device to a patient because its owner objects to delivery on religious, moral, or other personal grounds.” Quite reasonably, the board felt Washington pharmacies should not be permitted to deny patients safe, legal drugs—which was a growing problem within the state: In addition to Plan B, religious pharmacists had refused to give patients diabetic syringes, insulin, HIV-related medications, and Valium. That, the board decided, was unacceptable. Pharmacists have every right to believe whatever they wish, but when those beliefs are manifested in the form of brazen discrimination against customers, they cannot be sanctioned by the law. In 2015, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the constitutionality of Washington’s regulation.

Alito, along with Thomas and Roberts, seesStormans differently. “There are strong reasons to doubt,” Alito writes, “whether the regulations … actually serve … any legitimate purpose.”

There are strong reasons to doubt whether Justice Alito serves any legitimate purpose.


June 28, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (1)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's A Trap!

And Dead Tony couldn't have stopped it:

In a huge victory for the pro-choice movement, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 Monday to strike down two major anti-abortion provisions that were part of an omnibus anti-abortion law Texas passed in 2013.

The court's ruling in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt also strikes a blow to a strategy by the pro-life movement to limit abortion access incrementally, through state laws.

To provide abortions at any stage of pregnancy, the provisions forced doctors to have"admitting privileges" with a nearby hospital (which are difficult to get for abortion providers specifically), and forced clinics to undergo often expensive renovations to become "ambulatory surgical centers," which haven't been demonstrated to make abortion safer (though abortion is already quite a safe medical procedure.)

While pro-life advocates said these laws made abortion safer for women, their most significant effect was forcing roughly half of the state's abortion clinics to close. The overwhelming consensus from doctors is that the laws had no medical benefit, and actually made abortion less safe because they forced quality clinics to close for no compelling medical reason.

The central constitutional question was: Did the policies put an "undue burden" on women when they are forced to drive hundreds of miles because their nearest clinic has closed due to regulatory hurdles?

The Court found that it did.

"Both the admitting-privileges and the surgical-center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution," read the decision.

No fucking shit.  I mean, TRAP laws are no threat to liberty like background checks and smaller magazines and/or clips, of course, but this is still pretty good news, if you're into that sort of thing.


June 27, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy Big Gay Tony Day!

June 26 is always a good day to drink bigots' tears:

  • 2003: Lawrence.
  • 2013: Windsor.
  • 2015: Obergefell.

Let us toast Justice Vaffanculo in Hell!

So far, few people have followed my recommendation that on this date we dress up in black robes, wear a scowling Scalia mask, and set bonfires to commemorate the brightness of wingnut self-immolation which provided us such a beacon of hope and justice.  Sometimes I feel like John "Nobody Ever Listens To Me" Adams...


June 26, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)