The Supreme Court is used to having its decisions publicly criticized, but rarely in R-rated language spouted by a federal judge, who says the justices should just “stfu.”
The remarks come from Nebraska-based Judge Richard Kopf, who has a reputation for provocative commentary on his personal blog.
Kopf, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, criticized the high court’s ruling last week in the so-called “Hobby Lobby” case.
The decision gave some for-profit businesses the right to deny birth control coverage to their employees if they opposed on religious grounds. The 5-4 decision against a provision of Obamacare was predictably divided in public opinion.
“Five male Justices of the Supreme Court, who are all members of the Catholic faith and who each were appointed by a President who hailed from the Republican party, decided that a huge corporation, with thousands of employees and gargantuan revenues, was a ‘person’ entitled to assert a religious objection to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate because that corporation was ‘closely held’ by family members,” he wrote. “To the average person, the result looks stupid and smells worse.”
And he went further. “Next term is the time for the Supreme Court to go quiescent— this term and several past terms has proven that the court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the court has the power to avoid. As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu.”
Lawyers for two Guantanamo Bay detainees have filed motions asking a U.S. court to block officials from preventing the inmates from taking part in communal prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The lawyers argue that - in light of the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision - the detainees’ rights are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
I’m actually in agreement with the detainees here, since this is the kind of thing the RFRA was supposed to protect. Expect the wingnuts to blow a gasket though, since when they say “religious freedom”, they mean “for rich, Christian (usually white) men only”. They keep forgetting that other religions exist.
I hope he’s right about this. I felt like posting his entire argument here, but that would be against the rules. Anyway, I’d like to know what you think of his idea. I’m no legal scholar, but I think it might work.
This thought suddenly occurred to me Monday night as I was prepping for a Google Hangout to discuss the Hobby Lobby ruling: The majority opinion gave a roadmap for how the Obama administration can essentially moot the ruling unilaterally. In fact, they can do it today if they want. Let me explain.
For nearly two years, Americans United has detailed the truth behind Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, a case brought by a chain of craft stores that claims it has a religious freedom right to deny important preventative health care to its employees.
We’ve spread the word about the consequences should the U.S. Supreme Court grant the owner of a for-profit corporation the right to make highly personal decisions for his or her employees based purely on religious dogma. The creation of a fictional “corporate conscience” that allows a company to “exercise religion” under the First Amendment is dangerously absurd.
And yet, it seems some people still don’t get what’s really going on here.
In an opinion piece published yesterday by Religion News Service, Cathy Lynn Grossman wrote that Hobby Lobby is not interested in imposing its fundamentalist Christian faith on anyone. She criticized Americans United for implying that Green has theocratic leanings.
On Thursday the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 35-foot protest-free “buffer” zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts. The justices ruled that the zone violates the First Amendment rights of protesters.
The Supreme Court “buffer zone”.
No not the straw man we call out here every once in a while. In brief-The gun purchase law that applies to Federally licensed gun dealers and anyone in a private transaction that knows of a criminal intent. Which also points out why we need national universal FFL registration of most guns. And how the current SCOTUS is upholding regulation even as they have struck down a couple near bans.
The Court majority, in an opinion written by Elena Kagan, found that Abramski’s entire argument rested on only one true fact, namely that he was able to pass a background check at the point of sale. But to find in favor of Abramski’s larger argument, according to Kagan and the majority, “would undermine — indeed, for all important purposes, would virtually repeal — the gun law’s core provisions.” In other words, this case really was about whether or not the government could regulate firearm transactions at all, not just about the behavior of a particular individual at the time he purchased a gun.
While we were all being entertained by the slandering of a returning POW, and then by the road company production of Weasel’s End in Virginia last night, the Supreme Court quietly accepted for review yet another case that involves the franchise, and the rights of minority voters to exercise it. Before we get to what it all might mean for the country that is still in the throes of John Roberts’s Day Of Jubilee, we should pause for a moment and gaze in awe at the glorious legal hypocrisy of the state of Alabama.
You may recall that the Day Of Jubilee was first declared when the Supreme Court ruled for Shelby County, Alabama in gutting Section V of the Voting Rights Act and, thereby, rendering the entire act virtually toothless. The current case involves the creation of gerrymandered majority-minority districts the defense of which Alabama has based in…wait for it…Section V of the Voting Rights Act. Pity me, Your Honor. I’m an orphan.
In dissent, Judge Myron H. Thompson said “there is a cruel irony to these cases” in light of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in the Shelby County case. “Even as it was asking the Supreme Court to strike down” Section 5 “for failure to speak to current conditions,” Judge Thompson wrote, “the State of Alabama was relying on racial quotas with absolutely no evidence that they had anything to do with current conditions, and seeking to justify those quotas with the very provision it was helping to render inert.”
In the context of the Court’s declaration of the Day Of Jubilee, and the huge effort in the states to suppress votes and restrict the franchise, an effort that the Court itself largely has put beyond the reach of federal law, this case is part of a generalized assault not only on the voting rights of targeted populations, but also to put in place a de facto suppression of the mind, to inculcate in those targeted populations that the system has been so rigged against them that there isn’t much point in putting in the effort it would take to exercise your right to vote. Get an ID. No, sorry, get another ID. No, still the wrong one. Register sometime between 4 and 4:03 on the fourth Tuesday of Nevermember. The most effective form of voter suppression is to convince people that the franchise is out of their reach. Couple that with the increasingly deadening effect of money on our politics — something that this Court also blessed when it gave First Amendment protection to influence-peddling — and you see a kind of democratic malaise settling in, and this in a country where too many people have to be pried off the couch to vote even in the best of times. This is the way rights evaporate. First, you make their exercise inconvenient, or dangerous. Then you can easily make them disappear.
I think this is a great idea! The Voter fraud that the right seems to obsess about, isn’t really much of a problem in the real world, people being denied their right to vote however, is. This is a way that we could put the teeth back into the voting rights act.
Recently one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation that Congress has ever passed was gutted: The Voting Rights Act.
The Supreme Court removed a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that required states with a history of voter discrimination get federal approval before making voting changes like moving polling places or redistricting. Within months of the ruling, some states immediately enacted potentially discriminatory laws including Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, South Dakota, Iowa, and Indiana.
The good news is that we have the chance to fix it now. Congress can pass a new set of protections that work together to guarantee our right to vote - it’s called the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. Supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers this bil will protect critical civil rights.
This bill is simple, it will require any state with five violations of federal voting rights law in the last 15 years to receive pre-clearance for any election changes. That means states with a history of discrimination that want to redistrict, change election procedures close to an election, or move polling places, must have these changes reviewed. It’s common sense.
Voter discrimination is a real problem. When the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized in 2006, Congress held over 20 hearings and amassed a record of 15,000 pages documenting widespread evidence of voting discrimination.
Ask Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation — the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014.
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing governing bodies to open meetings with a prayer, an atheist group has signed up to give its own sort of blessing before a Sioux Falls City Council meeting.
After reading Mayor Mike Huether’s reaction to the ruling in Tuesday’s Argus Leader, Siouxland Freethinkers President Amanda Novotny contacted him about giving her own address.
Huether said the city offers volunteers to give prayers or motivational reading, accepting this from all denominations to “represent the increased diversity of our town.”
“It is extremely important for people to be engaged and active in government on all levels, and opting out on account of a prayer prior to the meeting is simply not a viable option, especially for a minority group (such as non-theists) that need to be aware of decisions that are being made and advocate for the rights of non-theistic citizens as needed,” she said.
Novotny will give a secular opening remark at the Aug. 5 City Council meeting.