Showing posts with label rule of law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rule of law. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

FBI Director Scathes Clinton Over Emails, No Indictment Recommended

Unless you are living under a rock, you probably heard about FBI Director James Comey - about the most a-political official in Washington at the moment - excoriating Hillary Clinton over her handling of emails while Secretary of State...

I'm of two minds here: on the one hand, HRC has to be breathing a sigh of relief that there won't be an indictment against her, which of course, sent fellow conservatives' heads into a frenzy over it. OTOH, go back and re-read Director Comey's report; he effectively convicted HRC in the Court of Public Opinion, something the Trump Campaign Trumpster Fires will try to use at every available opportunity.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Donald Trump Calls Geneva Protections "The Problem"

.....does he realize what a target he's putting on the American military with those kind of words?
Donald Trump believes American troops are afraid to fight for fear of violating the Geneva Conventions, he said Wednesday.
“The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight,” Trump said at an afternoon town hall during remarks on torture.
“We can’t waterboard, but they can chop off heads,” Trump said, referring to the United States and the Islamic State, respectively. “I think we’ve got to make some changes, some adjustments.”
The Geneva Conventions, adopted broadly after World War II, govern the treatment of civilians and prisoners of war — including a ban on torture and summary executions. They mirror rules the U.S. adopted in 1882.
Trump has called for changing laws that govern interrogation techniques to “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Trump has also previously said that American troops would not disobey him if he gave them illegal orders, but he later walked that remark back.
A campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday’s remarks. (Politico)
Now, there's two big reasons why the Donald here is way out in Bizarro World here: (1) With few exceptions - remember Allen West's actions in Iraq c.2004? - American soldiers are taught explicitly not to lower themselves to the level of their enemies in their actions; in Sean Flynn's The Fighting 69th, there's an ancedote from the 1-69ths' time in Iraq when, following a series of IED blasts along the Baghdad Airport Road, the battalion's commander, then-LTC Geoffrey Slack, reminds his troops that they're Americans and that, no matter what the enemy does against them, they're not to stoop down to the enemy's level of fighting. "Always maintain the moral high ground" was the cruz of Slack's words to them. Now, there's one other reason that America upholds the Geneva Conventions and that is that when we are engaged in wars - of any kind - we must always maintain, as Col. Slack told his charges, the moral high ground....even when the enemy, as Trump so blithely puts it, "chops off their heads".

Someone should remind Mr. Trump that we're Americans....we don't torture, period. To do so would be a grave violation of everything Americans hold so damn dear.

Monday, March 28, 2016

SoCons' Are Having A Sadz...

....why? This:
Gov. Nathan Deal (R) announced at a press conference Monday morning that he would veto HB 757, a “religious liberty” bill that would enable, among other things, organizations like adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples without jeopardizing their state funding.
Deal explained that he found the language in the final version of the bill of “concern,” noting that it could enable some forms of state-sanctioned discrimination. He cited the examples of photographers and bakers who were punished for refusing to serve same-sex couples in other states, adding that he knew of no such examples of that taking place in Georgia, in particular because the state doesn’t offer the same nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation.
“In light of our history, I find it somewhat ironic, that some in the religious community today feel it necessary for the government to confer upon them certain rights and protections,” he said. He reasoned that the Declaration of Independence said that such rights come from “our Creator,” not from the government, and any protections individuals might think they need would be guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Deal seemed to be implying that stipulating a right to discriminate might actually read more into those protections than was intended by the Founding Fathers. (Think Progress) why did Gov. Deal veto HB 757? Oh, there were some damn good reasons why he vetoed it, but in the end it all comes down to the simple fact that it was just a bad, discriminatory bill and after seeing the backlashes in Indiana from last year - and the growing backlash here in North Carolina over a similar discriminatory bill - he pretty much figured that he didn't want to royally screw up the Peach State by signing the bill, even though it might also mean his own political future could go down the drain as well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Conservatives Call For Border Security In Wake Of Brussels Attacks can we have comprehensive border security?
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels that left at least 30 dead, conservatives in Congress say that addressing border security is the key to ensuring terrorists don’t end up in the U.S.
In response to a question about how the country can improve its intelligence capabilities, lawmakers attending the monthly event Conversations with Conservatives pointed to securing the border as a way to stop terrorists from striking or entering the U.S..
“We’ve been saying over and over this isn’t about dealing with Mexico. This is dealing with national security,” Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., told reporters Tuesday. “This dialogue about immigration and all the people that are coming across the border, it doesn’t do justice to the fact that it is a serious security breach, and if we’re going to take seriously dealing with ISIS and other terrorist groups across the globe, then we have to secure the border.” (The Daily Signal)
There's a few things that can be done just off the top of my head....
  • Start enforcing current immigration laws
  • Tighten the visa entry requirements
  • Begin going after visa overstays
  • Increase border security, using a comprehensive mix of physical barriers, active patrolling and heightened surveillance

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Obama Nominates Centrist Appellate Judge For SCOTUS

Unless you've been living under a rock today, you're probably aware that President Obama has made his decision on who should replace the recently passed Justice Antonin Scalia, D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland. Now, while I've made it abundantly clear that the Senate should exercise its' power under the Appointment Clause to not hold either hearings or a vote on Judge Garland, I'm also of the opinion here that Garland's nomination was a shrewd move by President Obama, a nice marker laid down by him towards the Senate and the Republican majority.

Why? For two reasons (among others):
  1. In nominating Garland, who by most accounts is a judicial moderate, Obama is laying down a long bet that the Senate, at some point, will - at the very least - give the man a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, thus hoping to create some divisions within the Senate GOP majority
  2. In nominating Garland, Obama hopes to push public opinion in his direction, especially given that a couple of blue-state Republicans - most notably Illinois's Mark Kirk - are up for re-election this year and could be vulnerable come November.
Now, I still think the odds are long that Garland will be confirmed but then again, stranger things have happened....I mean, just look at who the GOP front-runner is at the moment, for instance.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Trump On Protester: "I'd Really Like To Punch Him In The Face"

You know, the more I read this, the more unkind thoughts that come to mind here....
Las Vegas (CNN) - Donald Trump unleashed tough rhetoric against his rivals as well as a protester at a Monday night rally, the eve before the Nevada caucuses.
"I'd like to punch him in the face," Trump said, remarking that a man disrupting his rally was escorted out with a smile on his face. "He's smiling, having a good time."
The GOP front-runner also ratcheted up his attacks on Sen. Ted Cruz, calling his Republican presidential rival "sick." (CNN)
....with all due respect, Mr. Trump, fuck you and fuck your supporters very much. #NeverTrump

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Missouri Professor Fired After Protest Scuffles Caught On Tape

....couldn't happen to a nicer broad in my opinion....
The University of Missouri Board of Curators on Thursday fired a communications professor who was captured on video scrapping with a police officer and a student journalist during campus protests last year.
The board voted 4-2 in favor of firing Assistant Professor of Communication Melissa Click, who had been suspended with pay from the school since Jan. 27. Click has the right to appeal the termination.
“The board respects Dr. Click’s right to express her views and does not base this decision on her support for students engaged in protest or their views,” said Chairwoman Pam Henrickson, who voted against Click’s termination, in a statement viewed by The Columbia Tribune. “However, Dr. Click was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, to confront members of law enforcement or to encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.” (Fox News) the saying goes, "You right the right to speak your do not, however, have the right to escape the consequences of one's actions."

Monday, February 22, 2016

NC Governor To Charlotte: No LGBT Protections Ordinance Or Else

....normally I could care less about the city state of Charlotte, but there are exceptions and this is one of them....
Gov. Pat McCrory warned two Charlotte City Council members Sunday that if the city approves new legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people on Monday, the vote would “most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention.”
McCrory is concerned about a provision in the proposed expanded ordinance that would allow transgender residents to use either a men’s or a women’s bathroom. That part of the ordinance has also caused a furor in Charlotte and led to the ordinance being defeated 6-5 last year. (Charlotte Observer)
A little background here....last year, the Charlotte City Council narrowly defeated an LGBT protections ordinance despite broad support from the community (an ordinance similar, BTW, to the one Houston voters threw out last year). This year, it would appear that there are the votes to pass such an ordinance and as expected, the anti-gay forces out there are focusing on one part of it.....just take a guess which part...
“It is not only the citizens of Charlotte that will be impacted by changing basic restroom and locker room norms but also citizens from across our state and nation who visit and work in Charlotte,” McCrory said in an email to the council’s two Republicans, Ed Driggs and Kenny Smith. “This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy.”
McCrory, a Republican, continued: “Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor.” (Charlotte Observer)
....and I would call that above, Governor McCrory, horsepucky. If this isn't pandering to the worse impulses of the anti-gay crowd, what does? Let's hope the city of Charlotte - and good people across the Tarheel state - deliver a big, emphatic "Fuck you" to Governor McCrory and company down in Raleigh....and no, I ain't apologizing for the language either!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ted Cruz Knocks Down A Dreamer...

....quoting RedStateYesterday the DNC sent a plant to a Ted Cruz campaign event in Storm Lake, Iowa. The woman, Ofelia Valdez, is an illegal immigrant who is here under Obama’s DACA program. She asked, in a quavering voice, what was clearly intended to be a gotcha question of Cruz that was designed to make him look bad. I think Cruz knocked his response out of the park:

Valdez: As a DACA holder myself, I worried about whoever comes next to the presidency and what’s going to happen to people like us. . . I think of myself as part of this community and you know, first day of presidency, you decide to deport, you know, people like myself, you know, it’s just very difficult to process. 
Cruz: Well listen, I would note, if you’re a DACA recipient, that means that you were brought here illegally, and violating the laws has consequences. And one of  the problems with our broken immigration systems is that it is creating human tragedies. . . but I can tell you what the law is in every country on earth. If I illegally emigrate to England, or Germany, or France, or China, or Mexico and they catch me, they will deport me. That’s what every country on earth does. And there’s no reason that America’s laws should have less respect than the laws of every other country on earth. We should welcome people who come following the laws but there are consequences for breaking the law. And that is part of what makes America the nation that we are. much as I don't care for Senator Cruz at times, I'll be damned if I don't agree with the man on this one; laws have consequences and we should not reward those who violate the country's immigration laws, even if they were brought here as children.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Phil Robertson: "Rid The Earth Of" Gay Marriage Supporters

.....even though the long-haired Duck Dynasty bigot tried to couch his words in religious language, isn't this still considered incitement to violence?
While stumping in Iowa for Ted Cruz on Sunday, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson declared that gay marriage is a sign of growing “depravity” and “perversion” in America.
Robertson, notorious for his racist and anti-gay remarks, said of marriage equality: “It is evil, it’s wicked, it’s sinful and they want us to swallow it.” “We have to run this bunch out of Washington D.C.,” Robertson said. “We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there.”
Cruz followed Robertson on stage, calling the reality TV star “a joyful, cheerful, unapologetic voice of truth." (Right Wing Watch)
You can watch the bigot's remarks over on Youtube; I'm not putting a video link up here (I'd have to brain bleach myself afterwards...)...but you know what the worst part of his comments were? It wasn't that he tried to use inciteful words to express his thoughts, its' that Robertson couldn't even get the damn comment right (according to Snopes anyway).  Just think about that one before you listen to anything else the duck-haired bigot has to say...

...but to go back to the cruz of the story: this is why we shouldn't stop fighting, folks! Every time the LGBT community wins something, we always start to relax, never remembering that there are those out there - like Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, for instance - who'd like to shove all of us back into the freaking closet by whatever means possible...which means that even when we, we shouldn't rest on your laurels; think of the words of Napoleon Bonaparte in this regard.....

L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace. - Audacity, audacity...always audacity.
....and keep fighting ever onward!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Militia Leaders Arrested In Oregon Following Shootout With Law Enforcement

....couldn't happen to a nice bunch of domestic terrorists....
The leader of a group of armed protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon was arrested Tuesday, law enforcement officials confirmed to Fox News. There was a gunfire exchange at the time and there are injuries, according to officials.
The arrest of Bundy as well as two others was made by the FBI and Oregon State Police, officials said.
The protesters were heading to a public meeting in two cars about the a demonstration in the town of John Day, Ore. when there was an interaction with law enforcement on Highway 395 in Oregon. The Harney County Hospital in Burns, Ore. is on lockdown as a result of the incident. (Fox News)'ll be interesting to hear what the circumstances were that prompted the authorities to act like they did, but at least they got these thugs off of the if they could've gotten Cliven Bundy for what happened back in Nevada a few years ago, that'd been good as well...

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ministers Seek To Invalidate TN Law On Marriage Equality

....I believe the relevant term here is "sore loser"....
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Three Williamson County ministers are seeking to invalidate portions of Tennessee’s marriage statute. A lawsuit filed Thursday notes Tennessee law requires marriage license applicants to be male and female.
Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down state laws that exclude same-sex couples. The suit argues that means Tennessee law pertaining to marriage licenses is invalid.
Tennessee law also requires a valid license before a marriage is solemnized. According to the lawsuit, the minister plaintiffs are concerned they may be breaking the law by solemnizing marriages for which there is no valid license.
Attorney and former state lawmaker David Fowler filed the lawsuit in Williamson County Chancery Court on behalf of the ministers and two others. The suit also seeks to prevent the county clerk from issuing all marriage licenses. (LGBTQ Nation)
I don't know what's worse here, that these dunderblusses are still trying to overturn Oberfegell by any means imaginable or that people still think its' going to be thought here is that they're trying to do whatever they can to get a case into the federal court pipeline on religious grounds, hoping that at some point, the Supreme Court will side with them. Idiots...someone needs to remind these ministers that your religious liberties do not trump everyone else's equality before the law.

H/T to Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters

Monday, January 18, 2016

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

Quoting: McCombs Management Professor James Fredrickson has been using Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in his MBA Art of Leadership class for many years. "It is very powerful and illustrates a lot of important leadership issues," Fredrickson said. "It's a wonderful piece of writing, the language is vivid, and it is a great example of the role language can play in leadership."

Several years ago, a friend suggested that instead of having the students read the MLK letter, perhaps a dramatic reading would be a great substitute. "It is one thing to read it, another to hear it spoken," Fredrickson said. A call to Lucien Douglas, associate professor of acting & directing at the College of Fine Arts, led him to Corey Jones, then an acting student pursuing his Master's of Fine Arts degree. Jones rehearsed and came into Fredrickson's class and did a dramatic reading of the letter. The students loved it.

The next step seemed logical. Fredrickson then decided to stage the reading for film to use in his class in later years. Another call to Douglas and Fredrickson had a director in Ya'Ke Smith, who had recently graduated with his Master's of Fine Arts degree from the film program, to go along with the actor Jones.

The following 54-minute movie is the result, with the old Georgetown, Texas, jail sitting in for Birmingham in 1963. It starts with the published statement by eight fellow clergymen that prompted King's response. The film was funded by Fredrickson's endowed professorship, the Tom E. Nelson, Jr. Regents Professorship, and the McCombs School's Department of Management.

Even 5 decades after, King's words still ring throughout history...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Birds Of A Feather...

.....definitely flock together; case in point: the officially-sanctioned hate group known as the Family Research Council lending its' support to Alabama's resident Chief Theocrat Roy Moore's latest insane and futile attempt to rewrite the law to his benighted will...
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is used to being in headlines -- but Wednesday's weren't exactly accurate ones. Like several of the country's clerks and judges, Roy Moore made no secret of where he stands on same-sex marriage -- and he's fought it with every judicial tool at his disposal. And while some have accused him of defying the Supreme Court's decision to redefine marriage, the reality is that Moore is simply holding out until an official decision is reached in his state.
Most people are probably wondering: Didn't the Supreme Court already make that determination for Alabama in Obergefell? The answer is yes and no. Last spring, before five justices decided to rewrite thousands of years of natural law, the Alabama Supreme Court had upheld the state's marriage amendment. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, there's some confusion as to what the state's decision means in light of that. Right now, the Alabama Supreme Court is currently considering the impact of Obergefell on its ruling last March. (Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters)
Now, I'm not a constitutional scholar like the Wanker-in-Chief in Washington, nor am I the sharpest tool in the proverbial toolshed, but even I know that under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, the Constitution, federal laws, federal treaties and decisions of the federal courts - including the Supreme Court's decisions  - supersede state equivalents. Surely Roy Moore knows that part - assuming he even went to law school, which I sometimes wonder since we've never seen his long-form diploma stating his matriculation from a reputable law school - for why would he hedge his "order" in the following manner....
To be clear, this is an administrative order -- not a ruling on the merits. All it does is simply reaffirm Moore's position while the Alabama Supreme Court deliberates. The media, however, seized on the memo to probate judges as proof that Justice Moore is somehow rebelling against the courts. In reality, he's simply doing what he can to delay the process and force others to act -- instead of willfully allowing same-sex "marriage" in Alabama on his watch. (Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters)
In other words, he's hoping to use the time-worn - and failed - strategy of massive resistance to delay implementing the Oberfegell decision until such a time as someone can come along and help him with it...meanwhile, the state's two U.S. attorneys look at his actions in a not-so-friendly kind of way...
Two federal prosecutors in Alabama say that Alabama probate judges are not free to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage and deny gay couples marriage licenses, despite an order from Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
"The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has issued an administrative order, directing probate judges that they may not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year on marriage equality," according to a statement issued Wednesday night by U.S. Attorneys Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama and Kenyen Brown of the Southern District of Alabama.
"We have grave concerns about this order, which directs Alabama probate judges to disobey the ruling of the Supreme Court," Vance and Brown stated. "Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not to disobey it. This issue has been decided by the highest court in the land and Alabama must follow that law." ( via. Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters) other words: your move, Roy Moore....

Monday, December 21, 2015

Democrats Are Totalitarians...

Don't look at me; read it for yourself....
Donald Trump may talk like a brownshirt, but the Democrats mean business. For those of you keeping track, the Democrats and their allies on the left have now: voted in the Senate to repeal the First Amendment, proposed imprisoning people for holding the wrong views on global warming, sought to prohibit the showing of a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton, proposed banning politically unpopular academic research, demanded that funding politically unpopular organizations and causes be made a crime and that the RICO organized-crime statute be used as a weapon against targeted political groups. They have filed felony charges against a Republican governor for vetoing a piece of legislation, engaged in naked political persecutions of members of Congress, and used the IRS and the ATF as weapons against political critics.
... ... ...
On the college campuses, they shout down unpopular ideas or simply forbid nonconforming views from being heard there in the first place. They have declared academic freedom an “outdated concept” and have gone the full Orwell, declaring that freedom is oppressive and that they should not be expected to tolerate ideas that they do not share. They are demanding mandatory ideological indoctrination sessions for nonconforming students. They have violently assaulted students studying in libraries and assaulted student journalists documenting their activities. They have staged dozens of phony hate crimes and sexual assaults as a pretext for persecuting unpopular organizations and people. (National Review via. Gay Patriot)
One of the reasons - among many - as to why I'm no longer a lefty liberal Democrat is that, quite simply, I like to think for myself, speak for myself, decide things for myself, etc.,etc.,...things you can't quite do much of if you're a lefty liberal Democrat.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

U.S. District Court: Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation Is Sex Discrimination

Glad to see the courts haven't been cowed by popular emotion...
A US District Court in California has ruled that there is no clear line of distinction between discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation and discriminating against them based on their sex. From Erin Buzuvis at Title IX Blog:
--Two female athletes are suing Pepperdine University over discrimination they experienced as athletes on the basketball team. They allege that the head coach and other athletic department employees singled them out for unfair treatment because they suspected that the plaintiffs were lesbians and in a relationship with each other, and when they complained about mistreatment, they were forced off the team and lost their scholarships. The athletes sued the university under Title IX and other state laws. And while their case was initially dismissed, the athletes received permission to amend their complaint, and when they did, Pepperdine again moved to dismiss. This time, however, the court denied the university’s motion, which means that the plaintiffs can continue to litigate the case and begin preparing for trial.
The court’s decision is significant for how it treated Pepperdine’s argument that the plaintiffs cannot sustain a claim under Title IX because the statute does not cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Specifically, the court refused to consider sexual orientation discrimination a separate category of discrimination, but rather, viewed it as a subset of sex discrimination. The court reached this conclusion in two separate ways —  first, by viewing sexual orientation discrimination as a type of gender stereotype discrimination, and second by considering it a matter of  “straightforward” sex discrimination. (Title IX Blog via. AmericaBlog)
Now, mind you, this case is only getting to trial; it hasn't even begun making its' way up the judicial ladder - and a case of this nature is almost certain to do so in the partisanized legal environment of today - but as AmericaBlog's Jon Green points out, Title IX has long held that discriminatng against someone based on gender has long been illegal; what the Court here did in agreeing to hear the plaintiff's case is that they extended that provision to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation, something that most courts had shied away from in past Title IX cases. In addition, as the court determined in allowing the case to go forward, even if the courts later reject the orientation part of the ruling, the school could still be sued over gender discrimination as currently written in Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Ironically, another branch of the federal government - the EEOC, to be exact - has already touched on the issue in question, ruling that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Based on these two principles, it would not surprise anyone to see more & more cases such as the Pepperdine case above move through the courts, and it wouldn't also surprise anyone if even the Supreme Court decides that discrimination for reasons of sexual orientation is indeed discrimination under the Civil Rights Act....period, full stop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The 224th Anniversary Of The Bill Of Rights

Today marked the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution...the Bill of Rights, of course, are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution but they are much, much more than that; they are an enshrinement of one of the hallmarks of American equality and that is the rule of law, that all men are equal before it, regardless and irrespective of race, class, gender, orientation, status, ethnicity, etc.,etc.,etc.,...

As Patriot Post's Mark Alexander points out, the Bill of Rights originated from three equally remarkable documents....
  • John Locke's Two Treatises Of Government, which laid out the basics for what a civil society should look like but also brought forth the idea that for government to function, it must have the consent of the governed
  • the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which addressed the rights of man, including the inherent and inalienable right to reform government as needed
  • and the Declaration of Independence, which set forth not only the declaration of American independence from Great Britain but also, (a)laid forth the reasons behind her independence from the mother country and (b)re-asserted that man had certain inherent and inalienable rights that government could not take away
Taken in context, the Bill of Rights is not only a codification of the rights of man but also a proscription against government encroachment of said rights; we may argue, bitch and moan about either point but without the Bill of Rights, America would be a far darker place than it is today.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rand Paul: Let's Destroy ISIS, Not The Constitution

Say whatever you want about Kentucky's junior senator, but he's right about one thing: what good does it do to go after and destroy ISIS if, in the process, we destroy the Constitution? The problem is, how do you do that? While I still don't see Rand Paul getting anywhere close to the GOP nomination in 2016, it would make sense for the eventual nominee, should they win the White House, to take some advice from Sen. Paul once in a while.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

SCOTUS Examines "One Person, One Vote" Doctrine

Tuesday saw the Supreme Court hear what could end up being one of the biggest cases involving how legislative districts are drawn....first, a little background.

In the 1960's, the Warren Court issued a pair of decisions - Baker v. Carr & Reynolds v. Sims - which laid the foundations for what is known as the electoral doctrine of "one person, one vote", which required that state legislatures draw electoral districts (Congressional districts, legislative districts, etc.) on the basis of total population (that is, every district should be, within reason, as close to the ideal number of residents as the next one and so forth). However, what the Warren Court - and subsequent courts, for that matter - never got around to deciding was how the doctrine of OPOV should be determined...

....which is where today's Evenwel v. Abbott case comes in. The premise of the case, as explained by the plantiffs, is this: that legislatures, in drawing legislative districts, should take into account not the total number of residents but the total number of eligible voters in each district. This is important for it seeks to answer the following question: in a representative democracy, is every person to be equally represented, or should only those capable of casting votes in elections (i.e. 'eligible voters') be represented?

The plantiffs' argue that only eligible voters should be represented in legislative (and, by assumption, in congressional) districts and that there right to equal representation in the halls of power is unfairly diluted by residents who are not eligible to vote (i.e. felons, those under 18, illegal immigrants, legal resident aliens, etc.). Critics, to their credit, fired back that to change the rules there would effectively disenfranchise those cannot vote but are still part of said districts, namely children and the elderly.

For what its' worth here, even given the Roberts Court's conservative bent, I just can't see how they're going to split the baby here; either OPOV means what it says - that is, that each person is equally represented - or it doesn't; there simply isn't any middle ground.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Federal Court Halts Environmental Overreach

This may sound weird for a conservative to say, but I honestly believe that there is a place for government in regards to protecting the environment, through the creation of national parks, forests, and wilderness areas, along with protection of the waters therein....however, stuff such as the EPA's Clean Water Rule are a bridge too far...and for once, the federal courts have stated as such:
Fortunately, federal courts have been stepping up to challenge President Obama’s overreach of executive powers, whether in recess appointments or immigration policy. Now it’s happening in the environmental field as well.
Recently a federal circuit court issued an injunction against enforcement of the EPA’s Clean Water Rule, which would have placed hundreds of millions of acres of additional land under federal regulation.
If water trickled any time of year anywhere near an ocean, river or creek, the EPA wanted to call those “living waters of the United States” This follows a similar case a few months ago in which the Supreme Court struck down a regulatory expansion of the Clean Air Act. (Townhall Review)
Now, like I said, there needs to be some basic level of protection for the environment, but what has transpired over the course of the Obama Administration - an administration which I'm shamed to say I voted for, twice - is nothing more than rank overreach and it is about damn time they were called for it.