Showing posts with label Justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Justice. Show all posts

February 1, 2017

Neil Gorsuch Will Be Another Scalia Against LGBT Rights

 Trump nominee for Justice

Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is an ultra-conservative jurist with a sterling resume, a genial wit, and a great shot at becoming our next justice. Gorsuch currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, and his opinions suggest a reliably right-leaning interpretation of the law. But Gorsuch has never penned an LGBTQ rights decision or spoken at length about his legal views on the matter. That has led some progressives to speculate that Gorsuch might be persuaded to agree with an originalist argument in support of LGBTQ rights.
 Optimism is always refreshing in these darks times—but here, I don’t think it’s warranted. It’s easy to fill in the gaps of Gorsuch’s public positions and conclude that he will vote the same way his idol Justice Antonin Scalia did: against the rights of LGBTQ people.

Start with gay rights and specifically same-sex marriage. Despite the relative novelty of legal same-sex unions, the constitutional question here should be easy—even for an originalist like Gorsuch. Both conservative originalists (like Steven Calabresi) and liberal originalists (like Akhil Amar and Elizabeth Wydra) have concluded that the 14th Amendment protects same-sex couples’ right to marry. But Gorsuch appears to disagree. In a 2005 National Review op-ed, Gorsuch mocked the court battle for same-sex marriage as a political fight dressed in constitutional garb.

“American liberals,” he wrote, “have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda” on liberal issues including “gay marriage.” He also noted that voters routinely rejected same-sex marriage on the ballot, scoffing that liberals can only “win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts.”

Perhaps, as a justice, Gorsuch would vote to affirm Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality decision, purely as a matter of precedent. But the court will soon consider state efforts to limit the scope of that ruling, and Gorsuch does not seem eager to interpret Obergefell expansively. Would he agree, for instance, that Texas can deny spousal benefits to same-sex couples so long as they issue them a marriage certificate? Or that Arkansas can let adoptive parents put their names on their adopted child’s birth certificate—unless they’re gay? His comments on same-sex marriage itself are discouraging enough that it seems safe to assume he’s a skeptic of related rights and privileges. And his desire to accommodate corporations’ religious beliefs—even when they burden employees—raises the possibility that he would let religious businesses discriminate against same-sex couples.

On transgender rights, Gorsuch has an actual judicial track record—and it isn’t likely to mollify progressives. Gorsuch once joined a decision flatly rejecting the constitutional claims of a transgender prisoner who alleged that she was being given inadequately low doses of hormone treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and being housed in an all-male facility in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The court found that prison officials had not inflicted a “cruel and unusual punishment” on the woman by giving her insufficient doses of estrogen because they had not treated her with “deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.” It also held that placing the inmate in an all-male facility—and forcing her to wear some male garments—“bears a rational relation to legitimate penal interest” and thus comported with the Equal Protection Clause. (The use of this lenient standard indicates that the court did not believe anti-trans discrimination qualifies as sex discrimination, which is scrutinized more closely.) 

Just because conservative justices don't like what they consider "activist" decisions, such as Oberfell and Roe does not mean they are in a hurry to over turn them.  Settled law is important for judicial conservatives compared with political Conservatives.  More… 

Equally troubling is Gorsuch’s vote in a discrimination case involving trans employees’ right to bathroom access. Rebecca Kastl, a trans woman, sued her employer when it forbade her from using the women’s bathroom until she could “prove completion of sex reassignment surgery,” then let her contract expire. The court acknowledged that Kastl had stated “a prima facie case of gender discrimination under Title VII on the theory [of] impermissible gender stereotypes,” which is mildly encouraging. But it then asked whether her employer had put forward some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its treatment of Kastl—and concluded that it had, by vaguely citing “safety reasons.” An unsubstantiated, irrational fear of trans people in bathrooms should not be considered a legitimate basis for workplace mistreatment, and Gorsuch’s vote to the contrary casts doubt on his willingness to thoroughly scrutinize the real intent behind laws like North Carolina’s HB2.

If confirmed, Gorsuch will probably not position himself as an openly anti-LGBTQ culture warrior in the mode of Justice Samuel Alito. But his more pleasant demeanor will not change the impact of his votes. And barring some kind of profound jurisprudential evolution, Gorsuch should be a consistent vote against gay and trans rights. From questioning the constitutional necessity of same-sex marriage to accepting pretextual defenses of trans bathroom exclusion, Gorsuch has repeatedly declined to defend the equal dignity of LGBTQ people. For a conservative, he may stake out some admirably unorthodox positions on the bench. But an embrace of LGBTQ rights will not be one of them.

January 31, 2017

New Justice Nominee Gorsush Life and Career

January 24, 2017

Top on List For SupmeJustice,Trump Says is Going to Make U Excited

Are You Excited Yet? Particularly if You are LGBT You will not!!
 Neil M. Gorsuch, No. 1 on the list
President Donald Trump’s transition team narrowed last month his possible selections for the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat down to five candidates. Now, one judge, perceived conservative Neil M. Gorsuch, has reportedly emerged as the frontrunner to fill the spot left open following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year, according to media reports.
Gorsuch’s name was part of a list of 21 potential nominees for the Supreme Court, which currently has only eight justices. His nomination is expected as early as next week, according to sources, ABC News reported Tuesday. 
“In the next week or so, we should have an update on a nominee,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a press conference Monday.
The 49-year-old Gorsuch, who is perhaps best known for defending religious rights in the face of Obamacare, currently sits on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado and leads a shortlist of potential nominees that includes four federal appellate court judges in William Pryor of the 11th Circuit, Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd, Steve Colloton of the 8th, Diane Sykes of the 7th, and Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court, according to Daily Beast.
Gorsuch was appointed to the 10th Circuit by former President George W. Bush in 2006 and was confirmed by a voice vote, as opposed to a regular confirmation vote. If he is in fact nominated, Gorsuch would be the youngest nominee in the last 25 years.
Before his most recent appointment, Gorsuch served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. He attended Harvard Law School and attained a Ph.D. from Oxford University.
Speaking at a luncheon Thursday, one day before his inauguration, Trump said he already had a good idea of who he was going to nominate for the bench, according to cell phone video attained by CNN.
"I think in my mind I know who it is," Trump said. “I think you're going to be very, very excited."

October 28, 2016

Presidential Candidate a P*Grabber and a Justice Who is an A*Grabber

 Clarence Thomas describes how big it was

An Alaska lawyer has accused Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her at a dinner party in 1999, a claim that Justice Thomas called “preposterous.”

The lawyer, Moira Smith, who was a 23-year-old Truman Foundation scholar at the time, told The National Law Journal that Justice Thomas had “sort of cupped his hand around my butt and pulled me pretty close to him” as she was making final preparations for the party, in a Washington suburb.

Justice Thomas, continuing to squeeze her buttocks, urged her to sit next to him at the dinner, Ms. Smith said. She declined. He asked if she was sure, Ms. Smith recalled. “I said yes, and that was the end of it,” she said.

Through a court spokeswoman, Justice Thomas told The National Law Journal that the episode “never happened.” The spokeswoman, Kathleen L. Arberg, said she had nothing to add to that statement.

Justice Thomas, 68, took his seat on the court 25 years ago after a searing confirmation battle that also featured accusations of sexual harassment.

Ms. Smith, who is now general counsel of Enstar Natural Gas, declined a request for an interview. But in a statement, she said that while she had felt powerless at the time of the groping, “17 years later, it is clear that sexual harassment, misconduct and assault continue to be pervasive, having an impact on all women.” She added, “I choose to speak out now in the hope that this will change.”

In the National Law Journal article, Ms. Smith said her public accusation was prompted by the disclosure this month of a 2005 recording in which Donald J. Trump boasted about kissing women without their consent and groping them.

She said she might have been flattered by the attention of a Supreme Court justice had he not been so aggressive. “But it felt somewhat menacing, and I felt vulnerable,” she told Marcia Coyle, a reporter.

Three of Ms. Smith’s former housemates and her ex-husband said Ms. Smith had told them about the episode soon after it happened, according to The National Law Journal. But several guests at the dinner — held by the head of the Truman Foundation, which awards scholarships to young people who plan to pursue a career in public service — said they had no recollection of any inappropriate behavior. 

In Justice Thomas’s confirmation hearing in 1991, Anita Hill, a law professor who had worked for Justice Thomas before he became a judge, said he had tried to date her, used sexual innuendo and described pornographic movies in vivid detail.

Justice Thomas, then a federal appeals court judge, responded to the accusations with fury. “This is a circus,” he said. “It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching.”

The new accusation is not plausible, said Carrie Severino, a former law clerk to Justice Thomas.

“A justice of the U.S. Supreme Court was the guest of honor at a tiny event, surely attracting the sort of swarm the justices tend to attract, yet not a single witness can corroborate Smith’s outlandish story,” Ms. Severino said.

Mark Paoletta, who worked in the White House Counsel’s Office during Justice Thomas’s confirmation hearings, said the accusations were motivated by politics.

“Justice Thomas has hired more than 30 women law clerks over the years, has worked closely with them day in and day out, and none of them has ever accused him of any inappropriate conduct,” he said. “In fact, they hold him in the highest regard. I do not consider it a coincidence that this Democratic smear on Justice Thomas comes as he celebrates 25 years on the court, and in the heat of a presidential election.”

On Wednesday, after hearing of Ms. Smith’s accusations but before they were made public, Justice Thomas was interviewed at the Heritage Foundation. He was generally upbeat and expansive, but he turned serious when asked about his confirmation hearings.

“I think that we have decided that rather than confront the disagreements and the differences of opinion, we’ll simply annihilate the person who disagrees with us,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to work in a republic, in a civil society.”

By Adam Liptak [Twitter @adamliptak.]

August 25, 2016

He Poured Boiling Hot Water on Sleeping Gay Couple, Gets 40 Years

A jury has convicted an Atlanta truck driver accused of pouring boiling water over two gay men as the couple slept in February.
The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Wednesday before finding Martin Blackwell guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault, according to the Associated Press.
Blackwell was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The 48-year-old wasn’t charged with a hate crime because Georgia is one of five states that doesn’t have a hate crime statute. An FBI spokesman told Reuters that federal investigators are considering whether to charge Blackwell with a federal hate crime.
Anthony Gooden had told his family he was gay shortly before the attack, which happened as Gooden slept on a mattress in his mother’s living room next to Marquez Tolbert, according to the AP. The men had been dating for about six weeks.
Blackwell, a long-haul trucker who stayed at the house when he was in town, came in and saw the two unconscious men lying next to each other.
He went to the kitchen, pulled out a pot, filled it with water and set it to boil. Moments later, he poured the scalding water over the men, The Washington Post reported.
“I woke up to the most unimaginable pain in my entire life,” Tolbert said, sobbing frequently during his testimony, according to the AP. “I’m wondering why I’m in so much pain. I’m wondering why I’m wet. I don’t understand what’s going on.” 
Then Blackwell allegedly yanked him off the mattress and yelled, “Get out of my house with all that gay,” Tolbert recalled to WSBTV.
“They were stuck together like two hot dogs … so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out,” he said to police, according to the incident report. “… They’ll be alright. It was just a little hot water.”
Blackwell claimed the two men were having sex when he poured water on them. Vickie Gray, a friend of Tolbert’s, told the news station that’s not true; they were asleep after a long day of work — not that the alleged attack would have been justified in any case, she noted.
Tolbert must now wear compression garments 23 hours a day for the next two years, Gray wrote in an email to The Post, and is attending weekly counseling and physical therapy sessions to deal with his emotional and physical scars. It’s difficult for him to go outside because sunlight exacerbates the pain of his burns.
Gooden, who was burned even more severely, was in a medically induced coma for several weeks, Gray said. According to his GoFundMe page, more than 60 percent of his body was burned, and he had to undergo skin graft surgery to repair damage to his face, neck, back, arms, chest and head.

July 14, 2016

JusticeGinsberg Vs.Trump, What Does Recent History Say? {Graph of issues}

[“Some of us say this is who I am but when you look is the next door neighbor. A Faker”] ]“Her mind is shot”]

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post was the first one to report on the issue of Ginsberg Vs. Trump and now after some people and important publications such as the New York Times are looking at what she said but they are not inserting it in the historical context it belongs. In other words, Was she the only Justice to insert herself into a political situation? Aaron takes it case by case in just recent years during this court and this executive administration in the White House. As he recounts other cases your memory will probably pop to remember those instances.
I don’t have to add what the Republicans are saying. If the NYTimes is critical imagine of the ideologue conservatives. Those were the same people that remained silent when it was a Republican Justice doing the *“Quack,Quack!” That’s what is called being political in Washington and Trump now is as much of it as is Speaker Ryan who has been very vocal in the last 48 hrs.

I first wrote about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's controversial comments about Donald Trump on Monday. Since then, the situation has erupted into an all-out feud, and now the editorial boards of both the New York Times and The Washington Post have weighed in against Ginsburg's decision to insert herself into the 2016 campaign.

But plenty on the political left are still defending Ginsburg. And their preferred argument is that Ginsburg's comments weren't actually all that remarkable. Justices have gotten political plenty of times before, they say, and the name they most often cite is Ginsburg's close friend and ideological opposite on the court, conservative Antonin Scalia.

But how similar were Scalia's controversial comments? And do other recent political tempests involving justices — most of whom make a practice of staying out of politics entirely — really compare to Ginsburg's?

I'll say at the top what I've said before: It's hard if not impossible to find a direct analog to what Ginsburg has said in recent days. Supreme Court experts I've spoken to were unaware of any justices getting so directly and vocally involved — or involved at all, really — in a presidential campaign.

But there are instances in which justices have been judged by some to have gone too far with comments that could be more broadly described as political. In some of these cases, there were calls for them to recuse themselves from cases.

Below is a recap of some of the more notable examples, listed by justice, starting with Scalia. You can judge for yourself how similar they are.

Antonin Scalia
June 2012: Criticizing President Obama in Arizona immigration dissent

In dissenting from the court's decision on a controversial Arizona immigration law, Scalia invoked President Obama. "Must Arizona’s ability to protect its borders yield to the reality that Congress has provided inadequate funding for federal enforcement — or, even worse, to the Executive’s unwise targeting of that funding?” He also criticized Obama's then-recently announced executive order to exempt young immigrants in the U.S. illegally from deportation, saying the fact that Obama declined to enforce the law "boggles the mind.”

Some said the comments were overly political — specifically by referring to Obama in a case that was about a state law. The Post’s editorial board said "Justice Scalia strayed far from the case at hand to deliver animad versions on President Obama’s recent executive order." Liberal Post columnist E.J. Dionne called for his resignation.

March 2006: Enemy combatants have no right to a jury trial

Newsweek reported that Scalia had told an audience in Switzerland that prisoners at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had no legal right under the U.S. Constitution to a jury trial. "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," Scalia reportedly said. "Give me a break."

The comments, notably, came as the court was weeks away from hearing an appeal from Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver. Hamdan said then-President George W. Bush's ordering of a military trial for him violated his rights.

"I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son, and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial," Scalia said, referring to his son, Matthew, who served in Iraq. "I mean, it's crazy."

A group of retired U.S. generals and admirals asked Scalia to recuse himself from the case. Scalia did not do so.

January 2004: Hunting trip with Dick Cheney — *'Quack, quack'

This one wasn't so much a Scalia comment, but rather concern about him being too close to the Bush administration. He went on a hunting trip with then-Vice President Dick Cheney "three weeks after the court agreed to hear a White House appeal in a case involving private meetings of the vice president's energy task force," according to the Associated Press.

After some cried foul, Scalia declined to back down, noting that the case wasn't about Cheney as an individual. "This was a government issue," Scalia said in February 2004. "It's acceptable practice to socialize with executive branch officials when there are not personal claims against them. That's all I'm going to say for now. Quack, quack."

November 2015: Comparing gay rights to child molesters' rights

Scalia has regularly inflamed the political left with his comments about gay rights and homosexuality more broadly. Perhaps his most controversial comment on this count came last year when he suggests the court's logic on protecting gay rights — the court legalized gay marriage in June 2015 — could also be used to protect child molesters.

"What minorities deserve protection?” he asked, according to the New York Times. “What? It’s up to me to identify deserving minorities?”

Samuel Alito
January 2010: An animated reaction to Obama's State of the Union

Obama opted to criticized the Supreme Court to its face during his 2010 State of the Union address. With the justices seated nearby, Obama attacked their opinion deregulating campaign finance in the Citizens United case: "With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections." Alito's response was caught on-camera, with the justice shaking his head and clearly mouthing the words "not true."

Alito's reaction was dissected frame-by-frame and deemed out of line by some. But in this case, he wasn't the only one drawing criticism; some said Obama's decision to question the court's decision so publicly and directly was out of line as well.

John Paul Stevens
July 1987: Supporting Robert Bork's nomination

The last Supreme Court nominee to be rejected by a vote of the Senate was Robert Bork. But as his nomination divided Washington, he got a vote of confidence from an unlikely source: then-Justice John Paul Stevens. The center-left justice said Republican President George H.W. Bush's very conservative nominee should be confirmed by the Senate.

"I personally regard him as a very well-qualified candidate and one who will be a very welcome addition to the court,'' Stevens said in a speech in Colorado that took two weeks to work its way into the national press. "There are many, many reasons that lead me to that conclusion."

Weighing in on other nominees to the Supreme Court, as the Times noted back then, is rare for a justice, because it's seen as the Senate's prerogative to confirm or deny them.

What some might have missed this weekend is that, while slamming Trump in her New York Times interview, Ginsburg also ventured into Stevens-esque territory, criticizing the Senate for not voting on Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Scalia on the court.

“I think he is about as well qualified as any nominee to this court,” she said. “Super bright and very nice, very easy to deal with. And super prepared. He would be a great colleague.”

Asked if the Senate had an obligation to assess Judge Garland’s qualifications, her answer was immediate.

“That’s their job,” she said. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.”
… which brings us to Ginsburg herself. If there was one justice who would break new ground in criticizing a presidential candidate, there was little surprise it would be her. Ginsburg has become increasingly outspoken on political issues in recent years. It has earned her a following on the political left and even cult-hero status.

The most prominent examples of Ginsburg ruffling feathers with her public comments have come on the issue of abortion. Below are some prominent examples:

“It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.” — to Elle magazine in September 2014

“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe [v. Wade] was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” — to the New York Times in July 2009. (Conservative Post columnist Michael Gerson said it appeared as though Ginsburg “is describing the attitude of some of her own social class — that abortion is economically important to a 'woman of means' and useful in reducing the number of social undesirables."

"How could you trust legislatures in view of the restrictions states are imposing? Think of the Texas legislation that would put most clinics out of business. The courts can’t be trusted either. … I don’t see this as a question of courts versus legislatures. In my view, both have been moving in the wrong direction.” — to the New Republic in September 2014. (Conservatives argued that Ginsburg was pre-judging the Texas abortion law, which the court struck down two weeks ago.)

Ginsburg also said in February 2015 — before the court legalized gay marriage nationwide and before oral arguments in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that led to that outcome — that the country was ready for it.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
  Follow @aaronblake

"The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” she told Bloomberg. “In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.’ And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor — we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.”

March 17, 2016

Get to Know Personal Details of Pres.Obama’s Pick for Top Ct.

President Obama has chosen to nominate federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, according to multiple sources. Garland has served as the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for almost two decades, and was confirmed to that position by a margin of 53 votes. 

February 25, 2016

Justice Scalia “Do you Sodomize your wife?”(NYU student)

Eric Berndt when he was a 24-year-old law student at NYU.
Eric Berndt when he was a 24-year-old law student at NYU.

In April 2005, Scalia gave a 30-minute address to students at New York University, and he got a stark –– perhaps embarrassing –– reminder that the personal is indeed political.
Eric Berndt was a 24-year-old NYU law student. As Duncan Osborne reported, Berndt had little use for Scalia as a legal profession role model, describing him as a “homophobic bigot” whose language is “demeaning” to the queer community. Two years before, the conservative justice, in his dissent in the Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case, had written, “The Texas statute undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable,’ the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity. [The 1996] Bowers [ruling] held that this was a legitimate state interest.”
Berndt was willing to challenge Scalia on his legal reasoning, asking him if he believed that the “liberty interest” identified in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in the sodomy case might outweigh the “state interest” he identified.
Then Berndt drove the point home, asking Scalia, “For example, do you sodomize your wife?”
According to the law student, there was a “huge collective gasp” among the 400 in the audience, though Berndt said he heard that in an overflow crowd of 300 watching a live feed in another room, a cheer went up. Scalia’s jaw dropped, Berndt recalled, and he looked toward his Secret Service protection.
Berndt worried little that Scalia never answered the question.
“He should not be morally shielded from that,” he said. “He is asserting that it is not a serious invasion of liberty… My question was a symbolic act, a gay man against a homophobe.”
Berndt’s symbolic defiance did not go unanswered by NYU officials, however. In a school-wide email, Richard Revesz, the law school dean, wrote, “One student posed an extraordinarily rude, immature, and inappropriate question. Such a show of incivility to any individual invited to be a guest of the Law School, let alone to a Supreme Court justice, has no place in our intellectual community.”
Berndt was not shy about responding, writing in his own mass email, “It should be clear that I intended to be offensive, obnoxious, and inflammatory. How am I to docilely engage a man who sarcastically rants about the ‘beauty of homosexual relationships’ (at the Q&A) and believes that gay school teachers will try to convert children to a homosexual lifestyle (at oral argument for Lawrence)?”
Later the same year, Scalia was back in Manhattan, this time as grand marshal of the Columbus Day Parade. There, he faced a protest from several dozen LGBT activists, who were joined by a longtime community ally, Chelsea Assembly member Dick Gottfried.
Gerard Cabrera, who was then president of the Out People of Color Political Action Club, told Gay City News’ Andy Humm, “I think generally Supreme Court justices are not viewed as public figures the way politicians are. But the fact that Scalia has so politicized his own office by going to extremes when writing about his animosity toward the LGBT community, he sets himself apart from the rest of the court — except for [Clarence] Thomas — who are supposed to be just interpreters of the law.”
Other politicians chose not to join Gottfried in picketing Scalia but rather to participate with him in the parade. Mayor Michael Bloomberg marched, though when his spokesperson, Ed Skyler, was asked whether the mayor was “happy, sad, or indifferent” about the justice’s role as grand marshal, the response was, “Indifferent.”
Senator Chuck Schumer also marched, explaining that it was appropriate that “the first Italian-American associate justice” on the high court serve as grand marshal. Schumer hastened to add, “But I’m fighting to keep people like him off the court.”
Scalia himself was not particularly chatty with the press that day. Asked how being grand marshal differed from his marching with Xavier High School as a Queens youth, all he would say was, “I’m older.” He became downright exasperated when asked where he saw gay issues going on the high court, saying, “I have no idea.”

February 17, 2016

Why No Autopsy on Justice Scalia

 In this picture two of the most powerful homophobes, anti women’s right in this c country. Scalia on right and now dec eased appointed by anti gay Reagan and the left, this Justice appointed by conveniently anti gay Bush. 
  The Texas county judge who decided no autopsy was needed on Justice Antonin Scalia has disclosed new details about his health in the days before he died.
Antonin Scalia, Justice on the Supreme Court, Dead on FEB. 13, 2016
Judge Cinderela Guevara of Presidio County said on Monday that she spoke with Justice Scalia’s doctor on Saturday, shortly after he was found dead in his room at a remote Texas ranch. She said the doctor told her that Justice Scalia, 79, had a history of heart trouble and high blood pressure, and was considered too weak to undergo surgery for a recent shoulder injury.

Unlike presidents, the Supreme Court’s members do not provide regular health disclosures.

Judge Guevara said that she consulted with the physician and local and federal investigators, who said there were no signs of foul play, before concluding that he had died of natural causes. She said she spoke with a “Dr. Monahan” after 8 p.m. on Saturday to discuss Justice Scalia’s health history.

Rear Adm. Brian P. Monahan is the attending physician for Congress and the Supreme Court. A Supreme Court spokeswoman could not confirm that he had examined Justice Scalia, and Admiral Monahan did not respond to a phone message.

Texas law allows an inquest to be performed by phone. Judge Guevara said she followed the procedure because both justices of the peace serving the region were out of town and she was about 65 miles from the resort.

July 3, 2015

George Takei Calls Clarence Thomas a ‘Clown in Blackface’


 Clarence Clown and his Clown wife
Gay rights activist and former “Star Trek” star George Takei recently told a local Fox affiliate in Arizona that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is a “clown in blackface.”             
Mr. Takei told a Phoenix station that the justice was “a disgrace to America” over his Obergefell v. Hodges dissent. The 5-4 ruling prohibits states from banning same-sex marriage.
“Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,’ they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built,” Justice Thomas wrote in his dissent, the media watchdog News Busters reported Thursday.
“The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away,” the justice continued. 
 George Takei
Mr. Takei blasted that reading of American history, saying “Doesn’t he know that slaves were in chains? That they were whipped on the back. If he saw the movie ‘12 Years a Slave,’ you know, they were raped. […] My parents lost everything that they worked for, in the middle of their lives, in their 30s. His business, my father’s business, our home, our freedom, and we’re supposed to call that dignified? Marched out of our homes at gun point. I mean, this man does not belong on the  Supreme Court.”

- The Washington Times 

February 13, 2015

Sprme Justice Ginsburg “Americans Are Ready for gay Marriage”


Americans are prepared to accept a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, pointing to what she described as a sweeping change in attitudes toward gays.

In an interview Wednesday in the court’s oak-paneled east conference room, Ginsburg also said President Barack Obama’s health-care law, which is under attack in a case before the Supreme Court next month, will be a central part of his legacy.

The 81-year-old justice discussed the public’s increasing acceptance of gays against the backdrop of resistance by Alabama officials to a federal court order that took effect Monday and made it the 37th gay-marriage state. With the high court set to rule on the issue by June, she said it “would not take a large adjustment” for Americans should the justices say that gay marriage is a constitutional right.
“The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” Ginsburg said. “In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.’ And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor -- we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.”

The number of gay-marriage states has soared in recent years, largely because of court rulings. Only 12 states permitted such unions in June 2013, when the Supreme Court threw out part of a law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. The majority’s reasoning in that case prompted lower courts to strike down bans on gay marriage.
Ginsburg joined the majority in that case. Later that year, she became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex wedding, in Washington.

Obama Support
Obama came out in favor of gay weddings in 2012, and he told BuzzFeed News Tuesday that he expects the court will agree.
“Same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else” under the equal protection clause of the Constitution, the president said.
Ginsburg said she met Obama soon after he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. Her son, James, had worked on Obama’s campaign, and Ginsburg asked to be seated next to him when the justices held their traditional dinner for new members of the Senate.

“There was a rapport from the start between us,” said Ginsburg, who receives a hug from the president every year as he walks to the podium to deliver his State of the Union address.
The high court upheld Obama’s health-care law in 2012, only to agree to hear a new challenge during the current nine-month term. The latest dispute seeks to gut the law by barring people in most of the country from receiving the tax credits designed to make insurance affordable.

Obamacare Legacy
Asked about the president’s legacy, Ginsburg pointed to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which she voted to uphold in the 2012 case.
“Our country was just about the only Western industrialized country that didn’t have universal health care for all of the people, and he made the first giant step in that direction,” she said. “That’s certainly one of the things he will be remembered for.”

Ginsburg declined to speak directly about the new health-care case, set for argument March 4.
Ginsburg, the oldest justice and a two-time cancer survivor, said she has no plans to retire.
“I think I should do this job as long as I can do it full steam,” she said. “When I begin to slow down, I think I will know. It hasn’t happened yet.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at; Matthew Winkler in New York at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Gordon at; Patrick Oster at Mark McQuillan, Justin Blum

December 21, 2013

Scalia was Right for Once on the Domino Effect and Gay Marriage


When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia handed down a scathing dissent in United States v. Windsor — the case in which the high court deemed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional — he warned of the domino effect it would have on state bans on gay marriage.
His prediction came true on Friday, when U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah's 2004 ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. And Shelby even made note of Scalia's dissent at points in his ruling, citing it as part of his reasoning in striking down the Utah law.
Scalia warned that the Supreme Court's reasoning that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act — which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples — could be used to strike down state laws banning same-sex marriage. Scalia, who's notoriously anti-gay marriage, was saying this was a bad thing. In an interesting twist, Utah's Judge Shelby quoted Scalia's negative prophecy in his pro-gay marriage opinion:
"In my opinion, however, the view that this Court will take of state prohibition of same-sex marriage is indicated beyond mistaking by today’s opinion. As I have said, the real rationale of today's opinion ... is that DOMA is motivated by 'bare ... desire to harm' couples in same-sex marriages. How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status."
Shelby then wrote that he "agreed" with that part of Scalia's opinion, and offered his response. Though Scalia meant it as some kind of dire warning, Shelby cited the Supreme Court's decision as a reason to overturn Utah's law:
The court agrees with Justice Scalia’s interpretation of Windsor and finds that the important federalism concerns at issue here are nevertheless insufficient to save a state-law prohibition that denies the Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the law.
Shelby also cited Scalia's dissent in 2003's Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled that laws banning sodomy were unconstitutional:
The court therefore agrees with the portion of Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion in Lawrence in which Justice Scalia stated that the Court’s reasoning logically extends to protect an individual’s right to marry a person of the same sex.

October 11, 2013

Supreme Justice Kennedy Speaks On Gay Marriage and Shutdown on Interview

 Comments Come in Address to Students at University of California Washington Center

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said he was surprised the issue of gay marriage came to the high court so soon, before the nation had time to become more accustomed to the idea.
Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks at the University of California Washington Center.
 Beth Greene/University of California
WASHINGTON—Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said he was surprised the issue of gay marriage came to the high court so soon, before the nation had time to become more accustomed to the idea.
Justice Kennedy, often the deciding swing vote on important decisions, in June wrote the majority opinion striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act—the third pro-gay-rights opinion he has written since 1996.
This week, speaking at the University of California Washington Center, where he addressed students after the start of the Supreme Court’s 2013-14 term, Justice Kennedy said that he never expected same-sex marriage to emerge as a cutting-edge cause—or that he would be recognized as the legal champion of gay rights.
“Most of us, even in your own young lifetimes, probably didn’t talk much about it,” he told the students. “So I think all of us were surprised at the speed of the thing.”
In some ways, he said, it was unfortunate that the issue arrived at the court so soon, instead of at some future date when society may have been more acclimated to same-sex marriage.
“We come in too soon and too broad, we terminate” the democratic debate, Justice Kennedy said. On the other hand, he said, “suppose you have a person with an injury, a person is hurting. He comes to court seeking relief.” The court could say, “You go away for 10 years, then I’ll see you,” Justice Kennedy said. “That would be maybe better for the court,” but the individual might be denied his or her rights in the interim.
Justice Kennedy, a Sacramento, Calif., native, was appointed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan elevated him to the Supreme Court.
The justice most often casts the deciding vote in cases that split the nine-member court along ideological lines. Although he generally sides with the court’s conservative wing, he has broken with it on some high-profile cases.
Justice Kennedy, answering questions from students and a moderator, also called on the White House and congressional leaders to resolve the federal budget impasse, saying a prolonged government shutdown could imperil public safety at home and undermine America’s influence abroad.
“You must chart a reasonable, rational course. You can’t just have name-calling and posturing,” he said at Monday’s event.
“The rest of the world is watching. Half of the world is deciding whether they want democracy or not,” Justice Kennedy said. “And they are looking at you to see what that verdict ought to be.”
The Supreme Court itself, which accounts for a tiny fraction of the federal judiciary’s budget, could continue to operation at least through the end of the year, he said. But the budget stalemate was jeopardizing many of the judicial branch’s routine functions, he said, including parts of the criminal-justice system.
“When they cut our funds, the courts, the first thing that goes are the probation officers,” he said. “And then we have an unsupervised criminal population. That’s very dangerous.”
Justice Kennedy also criticized the Senate for injecting ideological tests into the confirmation of federal judges, often stalling lower-court nominations for months and even years.
“It’s become too politicized, in my view,” he said. “The Republicans, I think, started it in the ’70s, asking what the district judge [nominee] thought about the right to life. I don’t think it makes any difference what the district judge thinks about the right to life—he’s not going to decide it, anyway,” Justice Kennedy said.
The justice made comparisons between gay rights and abortion rights. Some critics, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have said the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision recognizing abortion rights may have contributed to polarization over the question.
“There wasn’t even the opportunity for different people to formulate their views or the polity to express its view, and she [Justice Ginsburg] was quite right about that,” he said.
All three gay-rights decisions have pitted Justice Kennedy against his fellow Reagan appointee, Justice Antonin Scalia. They have disputed not only the result, but also the method of constitutional interpretation used to reach it.
Justice Kennedy criticized the method Justice Scalia champions, originalism, which involves attempting to apply constitutional text as its authors would have understood it when it was adopted.
“I don’t think Madison and Wilson and the members of the drafting committee spent a lot of time with the dictionary. I think they wrote in expansive terms: Life, liberty, property,” Justice Kennedy said.
“You have to recognize that if the framers [of the Constitution] knew all the specifics of a just society, they would have written them down. They didn’t do that. They weren’t so cocksure,” he said. “But they had some very strong ideas, and they used words that appeal over time to our sense of justice and our sense of freedom.”
By example, he cited the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which held racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional—even though it had been practiced for centuries. And yet, even when the ruling was delivered, Justice Kennedy said he was himself blind to other forms of discrimination still in play.
“I thought, ‘Injustice is over! No more discrimination!’ ” he said. Yet he then assumed his sister would have a career as either a nurse or a secretary. “The nature of injustice is you can’t see it in your own times,” Justice Kennedy said.
When asked what injustices he saw today, he cited the criminal-justice system, which he said emphasizes harsh punishments over rehabilitation. “It isn’t working,” he said.
By Jess Bravin
Write to Jess Bravin at

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