Nel's New Day

July 31, 2022

Alito Leads the Christian Nationalists

Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor (R-GA), a GOP leader, called on Republicans to rename themselves “The Christian Nationalist Party.” She said, “We need to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists.” In the past, Christian nationalists largely denied its existence or shouted name-calling if accused of the religious white supremacy. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) followed Greene by saying:

“The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church. I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”

Christian nationalists believe the myth that the U.S. was created as a “Christian nation,” that framers didn’t believe in neutrality in religion. The purpose of Christian nationalism is dividing the nation into “us v. them” with entitled White Christians controlling all governments and courts. The January 6 insurrectionist was a public example of the violence to obtain this privilege. The 2022 election has expanded the push toward Christian nationalism with candidates such as Doug Mastriano as a candidate for Pennsylvania’s governor.

When Greene ran for Congress in 2019, she attacked Muslim Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), accusing them of trying to impose “Sharia in America” and demanded they “go back to the Middle East.” No religious freedom there. Omar is a naturalized citizen from Somalia, and Tlaib was born in Detroit. Greene’s accusations violate the “freedom of religion” in the U.S. Constitution. Mastriano agrees with Greene in falsely claiming that elected Muslims “practice Sharia law” because they “respect neither the culture nor the rights of the original population.” Neither does he, because Native Americans, America’s indigenous peoples, did not practice Christianity.

Christian nationalism tries to enforce their belief that only White Christians have full rights, and the U.S. Supreme has gained a majority supporting that fascist belief. Justice Samuel Alito is leading the group to force his values on the entire nation. Last Thursday, he gave a political speech in Rome, supposedly about “religious liberty,” but ridiculing national opposition to his opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. In his writing, he went back to rulings from the 1200s to justify the rights of states to block all abortions, even one for a raped 10-year-old girl.

Justices now give faith-based speeches at faith-based events sponsored by faith-based parties who file briefs before the court. They have no obligation to publicize or record their speeches, but the University of Notre Dame released a video of his speech. To Alito, secularism is a threat to religious freedom although authors of the Constitution created a secular government with religious liberty. Alito’s justification for forcing religion on people is that an increasing percentage of the population is rejecting it.

In his speech, Alito attacked world readers to get cheap laughs about people who don’t meet his high “religious” standards. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed disappointment at Alito’s faulty ruling and opinion in eliminating abortion in the U.S., and the European Union’s parliament formally condemned the reversal of protections for this reproductive healthcare after the SCOTUS ruling of Roe v. Wade a half century ago. Alito sarcastically said that Johnson “paid the price” with his criticism by his resignation from the position, which had nothing to do with his comments about the supreme Court ruling.

Alito decried the “growing hostility to religion, or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors.” When he complained almost two years ago about safety restrictions precautions during the pandemic, his political speech railed against marriage equality, contraception, reproductive rights, and five Democratic senators. Last fall, Alito criticized U.S. journalists,Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CO) said that “judges turning into political actors, giving speeches attacking journalists, is terrible for the court and terrible for democracy.” 

Instead of a “new moral code,” however, the United States “has more non-Christian people to question the implied, often systemic primacy of Christian values and rules in American society,” wrote Philip Bump. He compared the change to the increase of non-White people who may be skeptical of a society in the U.S. that advantages Whites.  The “new code” which Alito sneers at, is recognition of people long excluded from power. This is the threat to Alito’s “traditional” beliefs.

Since Alito got on the Supreme Court, thanks to George W. Bush, he has followed the evangelical policy of denying rights to women. In 2007, he ruled against Lily Ledbetter’s lawsuit that Goodyear was guilty of pay discrimination by giving men higher wages than women for the same type of job. Ledbetter discovered the discrimination in 1998 and filed an EEOC complaint, and Alito stated that she should have followed the law by filing her claim within 180 days after he first paycheck. She filed as soon as she discovered, after nine years, the disparity, but Alito didn’t care. 

Known for rolling his eyes at female justices during oral arguments, Alito belonged to Concerned Alumni of Princeton, formed from outrage for women being admitted to the university. Appointed to the 3rd Circuit Court by Ronald Reagan, Alito argued that women must tell their husbands before having an abortion, indifferent to the possibility of domestic violence. He used the justification that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor held that position although she joined the ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) that “women do not lose their constitutionally protected liberty when they marry.” Angry about Casey’s reference to “undue burden” permitting abortions, Alito threw out the possibility of any abortions. His argument is that regulating abortion is not a “sex-based classification” of the sort that would trigger heightened constitutional scrutiny merely because it’s a “medical procedure that only one sex can undergo.”

During Alito’s speech, he took umbrage that he witnessed a young boy in Berlin ask who Jesus was, which he described as ignorance about religion. He described it as a “growing hostility to religion, or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors.” Thus  he makes Christianity is mandatory although Christians comprise under one-third of the people in the world. Alito’s speech was the emphasis on demanding all people being religious (aka Christian).  Quoting St. Augustine, he said, “Our hearts are restless until we rest in God.”

On the same day as Alito’s speech, Justice Elena Kagan warned that the hard-right majority of justices risks destroying the court’s legitimacy. At a conference in Montana, she said,

“I’m not talking about any particular decision or even any particular series of decisions, but if over time the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that’s a dangerous thing for a democracy. People are rightly suspicious if one justice leaves the court or dies and another justice takes his or her place and all of sudden the law changes on you.”

After the six Supremes removed women’s right to abortions, confidence in SCOTUS fell to 25 percent in a conservative Gallup poll. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) called Alito’s speech an “embarrassment to the Supreme Court.” Lieu tweeted:

“He doesn’t understand there are different religions in America. What makes America great is that we let you practice your faith, change your faith or have no faith at all. Some religions support abortion, some don’t.”

Norm Ornstein, Emeritus scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote:

“Alito is not just a partisan hack. He is the leader of this partisan and reckless court, and he is a clear and present danger to our basic system of governance and of justice.”

Samantha Marcotte tried to explain how Alito was wrong in why people abandon religion, that it has occurred because of evangelicals’ opposition to expanded rights for all regardless of race, gender, sex, and sexuality:

“If Republicans want to know who is to blame for young people abandoning the church in droves, they should look in the mirror. The more both Republicans and the Christian establishment reject these basic rights, the more they can expect to be rejected themselves, especially by younger people.”

Instead of protecting religious freedom, Alito wants to impose his religion on everyone as a baseline of morality and public policy. He ignores any separation of church and state but instead expresses rage and disgust that society shifts away from the beliefs that he wants to be central to society. His treatment of those presenting cases in his court displays a personal belief that they are all fools or idiots—Republicans in the first group and liberal justices disagreeing with in the second.

Both Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas lead the charge to do away with rights by appearing to keep them—just making them much harder to achieve. In the case of blocking abortion, they turned it into states’ rights with about 60 percent of the states determined to block the procedure and going so far as to prevent pregnant women from cross state lines and perhaps even execute women who obtain abortions. In Miranda, people must still be read their rights—if they know enough to ask for them; people can’t sue police for not receiving a Miranda warning. Criminal defendants can’t challenge convictions for bad legal help with lawyers missing deadlines for appeals.

In the past, sane people held out a hope that Congress could protect them from Christian Nationalists; now the Supreme Court will not be protecting the law.

June 24, 2022

SCOTUS Religion Consumes U.S., Destroys Women

[Mass Shooting: June 23, 2022 – In Philadelphia, two men were killed, another went to the hospital in critical condition, and a fourth suffered non-fatal leg wounds.]  

According to the website of the U.S. Supreme Court, “the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law.” This court is failing. The six Supremes (SS) overturned Roe v. Wade (1973), possibly the worst decision since Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which ruled that Blacks cannot be citizens even if they are “free.” After almost 50 years of moderate freedom, all women able to become pregnant can be childbearing slaves, incubators for the males who impregnated them—even molesters and rapists.  

The Supreme Court bucked popular opinion in only three major rulings during the past 60 years: permitting flag burning in Texas v. Johnson (1989), the 1966 court ruling for Miranda requiring law enforcement to inform suspects of their rights to be silent and seek an attorney in Miranda v. Arizona (1966), and supporting mandated integration busing of Black children to white schools in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971). Congress immediately passed the Flag Protection Act, overturning the Supreme Court, and on June 23, 2022, the SS overturned Miranda by removing the ability to sue law enforcement by not reading them these rights.

All three of these unpopular decisions expanded the rights of people; these SS vastly shrink people’s rights, favoring the U.S. minority of evangelical Christians, big business, and law enforcement—although police prefer not to have unfettered concealed carry of weapons. In the 21st century, the majority of Supreme Court justices uses religion and politics, not the law or constitution, to determine their decisions. Their inexcusable rational for “no” is “it’s not in the constitution” and the reverse for “yes.” 

Technically, Chief Justice Roberts only voted to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, but he’s still complicit in the plot against women’s rights because he said Roe should be overturned. Within hours after the ruling, abortion is illegal in 10 states, another seven will soon join the ban, and four more within weeks. The number changes minute by minute. (The map is from early June 24, 2022.) Other states will charge into legislation to take the rights from women in their states, resulting in women losing their rights in half the “united” states. Women’s health will be dependent on where they live, how much money they have, and who their supporters are, exaggerating the current problems of healthcare which also ties into their race.

Roe prevented states from banning abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy and limited the ability to regulate abortion during the second trimester. In 1992, the high court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey changed the trimester guideline to fetal viability. Samuel Alito, who wrote the decision, claimed the right to abortion doesn’t exist in the U.S. Constitution. As in his opinion, he repeated his ignorance of history demonstrated in the leaked draft by stating that the right to abortion “was entirely unknown in American law” until the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 as a fake excuse that “the Constitution and the rule of law demand” the question of abortion return to the states. And his “historical rationale” for overturning Roe from directions by a medieval judge and a 17th-century witch-burner,

Alito has wrongly argued that contraception could prevent almost all unplanned pregnancies. He complained about nonexistent “barbaric” medical procedures but refers only to the fetus and not the pregnant woman who will die without an abortion or who is carrying a dead fetus. For emotional reasons, anti-abortionists uses the term “baby” for any embryo, zygote, and fetus to create a sense of guilt.

Brett Kavanaugh, who violated the law as a judge when he tried to prevent an undocumented girl incarcerated at the southern border from obtaining an abortion, tried to appear “moderate.” He claimed that today’s ruling “does not outlaw abortion throughout the United States.” The SCOTUS majority hates precedent, however, and this ruling, joined by a concurring opinion from Clarence Thomas, endangers federal rights to contraception and marriage equality, words also not used in the constitution. He didn’t mention biracial marriage, but with a White wife, Thomas won’t go there. (Thomas’ wife leads the SS.)

Alito argued that no other rights are at risk, that abortion is unique because it deals with “potential life.”  The religious view that contraception is a type of abortion, as five justices granted in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014), makes all rights to contraception easy pickings for the SS. Roe is also based on Griswold v. Connecticut, which granted a federal right for married women right to birth control. The SS have claimed that privacy isn’t included in the constitution; all rulings remove that right—unless it deals with a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) says Roe’s overturn “will work out for everybody.” Praised for his choice of three justices, he answered, “God made the decision.” Former VP Mike Pence, a 2024 presidential hopeful, wants a national ban on abortion, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, another presidential wannabe, is enthusiastically calling for abortion restrictions in her state.

The dissent from Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor explains that, according to the ruling, “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”

In the New Yorker, Jia Tolentino wrote how much worse women’s lives will be than before Roe:

“We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization—of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much—an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide—are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse…”

Tolentino describes many of the ways women have already been criminally charged and the lengths to which fanatical anti-abortionists will go to hurt women.

“Search histories, browsing histories, text messages, location data, payment data, information from period-tracking apps—prosecutors can examine all of it if they believe that the loss of a pregnancy may have been deliberate. Even if prosecutors fail to prove that an abortion took place, those who are investigated will be punished by the process, liable for whatever might be found.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) described overturning Roe “one of the darkest days our country has ever seen.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called a hearing in the judiciary committee next month “to explore the grim reality of a post-Roe America.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talked about how the most recently nominated conservatives—three of whom overturned Roe—swore under oath that they “respected authority” and the “precedent of the court, that they respected the right of privacy in the Constitution.” In the past two days, Pelosi said, the court contradicted itself in its rulings. In overturning a 1913 New York law, the same SS ruled that states cannot make laws “governing the constitutional right to bear arms,” Pelosi said. “Today, they’re saying the exact reverse, that the states can overturn a constitutional right for 50 years, a constitutional right for women having the right to choose.”

She concluded, “Their hypocrisy is enraging, but the harm is endless.”  

About the ruling, Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) praised the SS who “rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states.” That description doesn’t fit a myriad of other decisions that force Supreme Court rulings on all the states. Recently, the SS ordered that state courts can order the execution of innocent people and that states must pay tuition at religious schools. 

Youngkin’s “power of the people” didn’t appear in the religious decision. A May CNN poll showed 66 percent of people don’t want a complete overturn of Roe compared to 34 percent who do. Back to 1989, no more than 36 percent have wanted the ruling overturned. Seven in 10 people think the decision to have an abortion should be left up to a pregnant person and their doctor rather than being regulated by law.

Both Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) expressed disappointment in Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, saying they trusted what the two justices said during the confirmation. Manchin further said that, although a Catholic and pro-life, he has “come to accept that my definition of pro-life may not be someone else’s definition of pro-life.” These senators, however, are not known for following through.

Republicans have what they said they wanted. Now they head into a vast swamp of problems they created—high infant mortality, lack of care for women and children, increased need for prisons by criminalizing all connected to any abortion, expensive health and life care for fetuses unable to permanently function without ventilators and other needs, more divorces, greater crime, need of support for child care, the growth of poverty, and increased need for foster care as Republicans take children from mothers because of GOP-legislated child abuse. Texas already has a law criminalizing parents who allow transgender children any medical care connected to their gender dysphoria. The GOP’s pattern of dealing with these problems: nothing and whining nonstop about lazy people who won’t work and women who have children only to get undeserved taxpayer money.

Rejoicing Republican women may not want to be in jail when their miscarriages are assumed to be a self-inflicted abortion. Or lacking medication for after a miscarriage from a doctor’s refusal to prescribe it because it’s same as the one causing an abortion. Or their names on data bases the minute anyone knows about the pregnancy to make sure they won’t get an abortion. Rachel Maddow has more on her program. 

Much more will be written about this Supreme Court travesty in upcoming days, but that’s it for me on “a day that will live in infamy.” 

The U.S. beacon of democracy is extinguished.

June 23, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearings – June 23, 2022 plus Breaking News

 In another bombshell ruling, six Supreme Court justices struck down a 1913 New York law requiring people to demonstrate they have a “special need for self-protection” to carry a concealed handgun in public. To an indifferent majority, Justice Stephen Breyer noted the 277 reported mass shootings, more than one per day, during fewer than the first six months of 2022. He added, “Gun violence has now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents.” Shootings in New York City doubled between 2019 and 2021, rising much more in the first quarter of 2022. Wayne Pierre, NRA’s executive vice president, took credit for the ruling; its opinion was written by Clarence Thomas.

The six Supremes also blocked people from suing police if they are not given their Miranda rights. Samuel Alito wrote the violation is not “a violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Therefore police are required to read everyone their Miranda rights, but not doing it doesn’t violate the law.  

By 65-14, the Senate passed its lukewarm “gun reform” bill that one media sourced called the “most significant gun legislation in three decades.” The anti-assault law, which saved many lives, passed in 1994 but expired in 2004, resulting in thousands of deaths. The bill now goes to the House for debate, revisions, and a vote.

Since the fourth hearing by the House January 6 investigative committee on June 21, the number of violent threats against committee members has been on the rise, probably requiring security detail for all of them. Even before that hearing, the wife of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) received a letter threatening to execute her and their five-month-old baby. He said that violence will not lessen until people believe the truth. Despite her security detail since last year, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has not been able to have publicized campaign events because of security concerns.

After his day in the sun on June 21 for his testimony about denying the demands of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to violate the law and the U.S. Constitution, Rusty Bowers, Arizona state House speaker, destroyed his credibility when he said he would still vote for DDT in 2024. He testified that DDT “wanted him to take illegal, immoral, unprecedented, and unconstitutional steps to overturn the 2020 election results in his state,” according to Oliver Knox. “And Trump never provided a shred of evidence for his false claims of voter fraud.”

DDT attacked Bowers for being a RINO, “Republican in Name Only,” and repeated his lie that Bowers had told DDT he believed “the election was rigged.” Bowers needs DDT’s base in his state senate run against against another Mormon during the August 2 primary as he leaves the House. DDT has also become increasingly angry with the failed strategy of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who tried to close down the House investigative committee by pulling his appointments after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused two of them, one of them now subpoenaed.

McCarthy advised Republicans to ignore all these hearings, but DDT isn’t following that advice. McCarthy said that appointing Republicans to the committee would create more difficulty if they attacked it as political, but DDT wants to know why no one is defending him on television. DDT has also not endorsed McCarthy for becoming House speaker job if the GOP takes over the chamber in 2022, and McCarthy needs DDT’s base.

The first GOP failure in blocking an investigation was their refusal to create an independent commission with five Republicans and five Democrats who would equally share subpoena powers and prepare the final report. McCarthy had agreed to the commission if Democrats agreed to five changes. The Democrats agreed with the changes, but McCarthy backed out. House Republicans said they voted against it after DDT opposed the idea. The five GOP members who McCarthy withdrew from the official committee have formed their own “shadow” group to center on “the real true story about what took place on Jan. 6” largely focusing on alleged security failures under Pelosi’s watch with a report released before the August recess.

The official committee is now able to investigate and present findings without distraction. It behaves in a highly professional manner, and obstructive Republicans have no information to prepare DDT’s defense, no way to influence the committee’s direction, no contrary questions, no leaking, and no diluting findings before the final report. Republicans other than DDT are upset with McCarthy.

The night before the June 23 hearing, law enforcement officers used an FBI-issued warrant to search the home of Jeffrey Clark, Assistant AG for the Environment. Warrants are given only with evidence of a crime. DDT had planned to install Clark as acting AG in January 2021 to replace Jeffrey Rosen and make Clark the third AG in two weeks, after DDT fired his own appointee Bill Barr. The proposal failed when hundreds of DOJ employees threatened to quit if DDT replaced Rosen with Clark who planned to tell Georgia officials the lie that the department had proof for the state to rescind its certification of Joe Biden for the presidency.

When earlier called by the investigative committee to testify, Clark declared both attorney-client privilege—although he worked for an independent agency—and the Fifth Amendment over 100 times to not incriminate himself. He can’t do both. On January 3, DDT started calling Clark his acting AG, although he had not appointed him, to give Clark the power to endorse his lies about election fraud.  

[The hearings require an elaborate production as shown by this shot of the MSNBC control room.] 

Witnesses at the June 23 hearing included Rosen, acting AG during the January 6 insurrection; Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s top deputy; and Steven Engel, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. Both Donoghue and Engel had threatened to resign if DDT replaced Rosen with Clark. All witnesses detailed their clarifications with DDT about the invalidity of DDDT’s accusations of the “stolen election” theories. Donoghue testified that DDT asked him to tell the public that the election had “widespread fraud” despite no evidence. He said, “Leave the rest of it to us,” meaning himself and the “U.S. Congressmen.” DDT’s former White House attorney Eric Herschmann told Clark, considered incompetent because he knew nothing about criminal law, sarcastically told Clark he was perfect for the job because he was willing to commit a felony.  

Some of today’s revelations:

Congressional co-conspirators to overturn the 2020 presidential election: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), sworn into the House three days before the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) attended a December meeting at the White House to discuss strategy although DDT knew there was no evidence of fraud. Perry introduced DDT to Clark who had no connection to election fraud or criminal investigations outside environmental damage.

Request for DDT’s pardons: Among members of Congress asking for DDT’s pardons to cover their crimes were GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Mo Brooks (AL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Scott Perry (PA), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA). Both Gaetz, under investigation for federal child sex-trafficking and other crimes, and Brooks wanted blanket pardons for all possible crimes in the past and future, according to Mark Meadows’ former aide Cassidy Hutchinson. More members of Congress may have asked for presidential pardons. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also asked if DDT would be giving pardons to congressional members. Pardoned people have to testify because they cannot plead the Fifth Amendment, not incriminating themselves.

Links with DOJ to overturn the election: In addition to the hearing’s DOJ witnesses and news about Clark, new DOJ attorney Ken Klukowski worked with Clark and DDT’s lawyer John Eastman to overturn the election, according to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Their dual method was to overhaul DOJ for it to focus on fraud claims and persuade legislatures to sign off on alternate slates of electors.

Pentagon involvement: DDT told former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller to call a high-ranking official in Rome (Italy) about the conspiracy theory “Italygate” that an Italian defense contractor uploaded software to a satellite to switch votes from DDT to Joe Biden. It was just one of the conspiracy theories that DDT told the DOJ to follow.

Film footage: British filmmaker Alex Holder testified behind closed doors and showed the raw footage of DDT, his family, friends, and then-VP Mike Pence from September 2020 to after the January 6 attack. DDT told the filmmakers, “I think I treat people well, unless they don’t treat me well, in which case you go to war.”

Sedition: DDT’s daily pressure on members of an independent government agency presents a clear picture of his opposition to his own government which was searching for justice, support the will of the people, and following the Constitution.

After this evidence of DDT’s incessant push at the DOJ to make the independent agency an arm of his campaign to create a coup, the next hearings, expected to cover domestic extremism and DDT’s actions inside the White House, will be scheduled starting the week of July 11. The wait is to incorporate the “new evidence [the committee reveives] on a daily basis with enormous velocity,” according to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). The two hearings may not be the last before the panel issues final reports later this year.

A more detailed summary of the June 23 hearing by Heather Cox Richardson.

June 6, 2022

Draft for Overturning Roe – An Abuse on Religion, History

It’s June, and the U.S. Supreme Court has 33 cases yet to announce, including the possibility of overturning the almost 50-year-old Roe v. Wade permitting abortion for the first trimester and state regulation for the pregnant person’s health during the second and third trimesters. Samuel Alito’s rough draft for at least five conservative justices relies on mistaken religious, historical, scientific, and constitutional information.  

The cited religious freedom belongs only to Christian evangelicals who believe life begins at conception and fetuses are “babies.” The less religious conservative justices won’t believe constitutional “separation of church and state.” The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In theory, that line should give the same rights to Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Bahais, Buddhists, atheists, and agnostics as to evangelicals. Christian evangelicals,  taking control of law in the U.S., believe everyone must follow strict fundamental Christianity, like Islam shariah law.

Rabbi Robert B. Barr and Rachel Smith of Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland (OH) wrote an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer arguing that Justice Samuel Alito wants to impose a highly strict interpretation of Christianity on everyone in the United States.

“Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization proposes an alarming erosion of the vital wall that separates church from state—between personally held religious beliefs and our shared government. If the U.S. Supreme Court adopts the draft opinion, the Court will be issuing an historic, precedent-breaking opinion based on the religious beliefs held by many of the current justices. Religion will be dictating public policy.”

Their position is that freedom of religion should not be determined by Supreme Court justices. The op-ed explains:

“The establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits all levels of government from advancing or inhibiting religion. The Constitution prohibits the government from favoring one religious view over another or favoring religion over non-religion, and yet, that is exactly what this proposed opinion will do. This Court’s decision would adopt a narrow religious-based definition of when life begins and impose it on everyone in our nation. While some religions believe life begins at conception, others do not. Yet, the Court will impose one set of religious beliefs on everyone.”

According to Judaism, a fetus is “not a separate and independent life from the pregnant person.” The religion permits abortion if the pregnant person’s physical or psychological health is endangered. According to author Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, scholar in residence at the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Talmud declares the fetus as “mere water” for the first 40 days. Overturning Roe imposes one notion about the beginning life on everyone.

Reform Judaism permits abortion in case of rape or incest, when genetic testing determines the fetus has a disease causing death or severe disability, and the birth would be an impossible situation for the parents. Other reasons for abortion are for a single woman, age under 17, and risk to the woman’s health. This difficult decision is made by the pregnant woman with consultation with a trusted person such as a physician or rabbi.

Muslim scholars believe that a fetus is not a life until it’s “ensouled,” according to lawyer and commentator on Islamic law Abed Awad. Islamism allows abortions up to 120 days.

State lawmakers have flagrantly made it clear that they consider abortion a Chrisian issue in their drive to make the U.S. a “Christian” nation of far-right, fundamentalist views:

Louisiana: State Democratic Sen. Katrina Jackson said that “this is a God issue.” Last year, she said, “My goal in this office was to do the will of God… My concern is always, number one, that I not offend God.”

Alabama: GOP Gov. Kay Ivey said, “This legislation states as a powerful testament … that every life is a sacred gift from God.” GOP state Sen. Clyde Chambliss said, “I believe that if we terminate the life of an unborn child, we are putting ourselves in God’s place.”

Missouri: GOP State Rep. Holly Rehder gave her reason for forcing victims of rape and incest to remain pregnant: “We can do that with the love of God.”

Former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and VP Mike Pence echoed the “sacred gift from God” and “sanctity of every human life.”

Extremist anti-abortion laws forces extremist religious perspectives on state laws while all other religious perspectives are overridden. Contrary to the wishes of the Founding Fathers, these legislative laws will impose mandates on everyone, no matter what their religious beliefs are.

In addition to basing his decision on one decision of a minority, Alito demonstrated his weak grasp of history. He wrote:

“An unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.”

In early America, women could “restore their menses” until after “quickening,” the time when the pregnant person feels the fetus kicking and/or stirring which happens between the fourth and sixth month of pregnancy. Shared knowledge during this time, sometimes in published health manuals, gave directions for inducing miscarriages. The Married Lady’s Companion recommended quinine, black hellebore, or juniper; Indigenous women used black cohosh roots; and Black slaves had snakeroot, cotton root, and okra along with drugs sold by traveling salesmen in New England during the mid-1700s.

In writing about “deep history,” Alito used the words of a 13th-century judge who endorsed human slavery and a 17th-century judge who sentenced witches to executions and endorsed marital rape. [Right: Matthew Hale, Alito’s 17th-century legal authority.] 

The first anti-abortion laws in the U.S. passed by some states in the 1820s and 1830s banned drugs to induce miscarriages in women, “then quick with child.” Their purpose was to punish men who tried to escape marrying seduced women by giving them abortifacients and referred only to quickening. Alito ignored this legal history, including judicial rulings that cases could not be brought for abortion before quickening. He ignored this information in an amicus brief from two major professional associations of historians in the United States, representing the views of over 10,000 scholars and teachers. Instead he used the work of only one legal writer, rejected by most scholars because it “distorts the evidence.” 

Alito references laws from the 1860s and 1870s when pregnancies were criminalized because of a small group of self-interested white, male physicians anxious about their status as both doctors and as elite men who formed the American Medical Association. Women saw their treatment as “violent” and excessive, preferring midwives, homeopaths, and other “irregular” practitioners. Male doctors who massaged women’s vulvas to calm their “hysteria” also kept abortions legal to perform them for medical reasons.

The medical men were hostile to women’s activism and middle-class women preferring to restrict their families’ sizes and accused them of wanting “fashion” and politics over motherhood. Dr. Horatio Storer, the medical leader of the anti-abortion movement, wrote that “the true wife” did not seek “undue power in public life . . . [or] privileges not her own.” He and his AMA colleagues opposed women in the medical profession and pushed the racist fear of immigrants taking over the U.S. –the 150-year-old “replacement” theory—because white women didn’t want huge families. Instead, the U.S. would be taken over by “aliens,” Chinese, and Catholics. Alito claimed the words came from just “one prominent opponent,” but Storer was the underlying force driving criminalization of abortions as state and local medical societies used his essays, data, memorials, and letters to persuade lawmakers of the necessity to criminalize abortion at all states.

Prosecuting abortion providers and sometimes women seeking abortions was combined with shaming and punishing them through humiliation investigations. Abortions went underground where it wasn’t regulated, or women performed harmful practices on themselves. Chicago’s Cook County Hospital had an entire ward for septic abortion cases until 1973 when Roe made the procedure legal.

[Information thanks to Leslie J. Reagan, a professor of history and law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and author of When Abortion Was a Crime and Dangerous Pregnancies.]

The term “opinion” when referring to Alito’s rough draft is accurate: his assertions about fetal development, abortion procedures, and international laws are disputed or are open to interpretation. Even pregnant women know he’s wrong. In the Atlantic, Chavi Karkowsky, a medical doctor in New York City and author of High Risk: Stories of Pregnancy, Birth, and the Unexpected, points out Alito’s separation from reality.

All Alito’s mistakes may not be his own: his rough draft shows an uncanny similarity to a brief by Texan Jonathan F. Mitchell for the state’s anti-abortion law allowing people to sue anyone supporting an abortion, even verbal discussions. Filed for Texas Right to Life, the brief was coauthored by Mitchell’s colleague Adam K. Mortara. The words and ideas are much alike—rejection of stare decisis, the language of the constitution disallowing the right to abortion, and the lack of reason for retaining the “contract” of Roe. Both believe that women won’t lose their autonomy without abortion because they can “control their reproductive lives.” As usual, they use the term “unborn human beings” instead of correct terminology.

The question is whether Alito will fix all these mistakes in his final draft.

June 2, 2022

Elections ‘Rigged,’ in Limbo

A mass shooting today: At a Racine (WI) cemetery during the funeral of Da’shontay L. King Sr, who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop, at least five members of his family were injured. The shooter is still at large.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is eagerly waiting to see if he has to declare the Pennsylvania GOP primary for U.S. senator “rigged,” but conservative Justice Samuel Alito has tossed a clinker into the process. Candidate David McCormick sued to have undated or wrongly-dated ballots counted, and the 3rd Circuit Court, using an earlier ruling, agreed. These ballots arrived on time, but the voter had to write a date on the envelope. A judicial candidate, however, appealed to the Supreme Court to block them, and Alito put a stay on the lower ruling until the Supreme Court makes a decision. The deadline for the results is June 8.

DDT’s endorsement, Mehmet Oz, declared himself the “presumptive” candidate although 1,200 GOP mail-in ballots and 4,000 provisional ballots from all parties remain to be counted. McCormick has been receiving two-thirds of the votes from the mail-in votes. Oz is leading by only 923 votes, requiring a mandatory recount. To run, Oz changed his address from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

Straightening out the mess will be difficult. Some counties include undated ballots; others don’t. Some areas haven’t finished the first count. Defects in mail ballots require decisions about acceptance or rejection. Counties must research voters of provisional ballots to decide whether they count. Campaigns have a two-day waiting period to appeal these decisions to county court before they are rescanned in a South Philly mail ballot delivery challenged by McCormick and Oz campaigns. And in Allegheny County. Today, a Commonwealth judge ordered counties to count undated ballots but keep them separate.

Federal judges ruled that the dating requirement is immaterial to voters’ qualifications and not counting them violates federal civil rights law. Ballots arrived on time with no indication of fraud. But Alito halted the decision with no deadline for a ruling. DDT may have to wait a long time.

David Perdue, GOP loser for Georgia’s governor, isn’t shouting “rigged” about his predictable failure, but the other losing opponent to incumbent Brian Kemp complains she was cheated. Kandiss Taylor, who believes that DDT really won the 2020 election, got only 3.4 percent of the GOP gubernatorial primary compared to PDDT-endorsed Perdue who received 21.8 percent.

DDT’s allies believe the Kemp win is fraud. Former Newsmax correspondent Emerald Robinson circulated this reason in DDT’s “Save America” PAC:

“On Primary Day in Georgia, Kemp gets 74% and Perdue gets 22%. Nobody in any election in America gets 74% of the votes. Ever. It doesn’t happen. Obvious fraud.”

Uncomfirmed claims of election fraud arise only when Republicans—or DDT’s endorsements—lose elections. To the GOP, any other election is legitimate. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), headed for a runoff on June 13 after he came in second for the GOP U.S. Senate primary, confirmed the GOP hypocrisy. About his second place to another Republican, he said, “At some point, you have to hope that the election system is going to be honest.” Brooks was one of 147 legislators to oppose the electoral college vote on January 6, 2021, and support the illegal plan to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win in favor of DDT. Brooks said the 2020 fraud took place “in predominantly Democrat parts of the state” despite the 100+ lawsuits disproving any election fraud in 2020 and DDT-appointed AG Bill Barr’s statement that the 2020 election was fair.

Thus far, 55 lawmakers objecting to Biden’s election have participated in competitive primaries using the same rules and regulations as in 2020, and the GOP has cried fraud about only DDT’s losses in Georgia. Pennsylvania may come under that category if Oz doesn’t win. No winning Republicans in 2020 denied their victories because of “rigged” elections. The rare factual election fraud in past years came from Republicans, for example the North Carolina in 2018 requiring a redo of a House race.   

After four years, DDT’s EPA secretary Scott Pruitt, known to treat his staff like servants, has been reported in violation of federal policies and “endangered public safety” for forcing his security detail to drive at dangerous speeds on routine trips. Typically late, he also made them use sirens and emergency lights. Once he ordered the driver to plow into oncoming traffic because he needed to pick up his dry-cleaning. The internal report had been kept secret until now although it was finished a month before he resigned in July 2018.

The EPA also reversed its exoneration of Pruitt for his installation of a $43,000+ secure phone booth in his office, used only once, and now states Pruitt violated the appropriations law. Pruitt also committed more violations in expenditures for decorating his office.  Pruitt is running for U.S. Senate from Oklahoma with a dozen opponents and no endorsements, not even DDT.    

Three congressional Republicans are facing ethics charges for insider trading:

  • Reps. Pat Fallon (R-TX) and John Rutherford (R-FL) violated the STOCK Act by not reporting their stock trades. According to the Office of Congressional Ethics, Fallon has “a pattern of late disclosure of reportable transactions, which continued even after he was on notice of his STOCK Act filing obligations.” When he did not cooperate with the probe, the OCE recommended the House Ethics Committee subpoena Fallon.
  • Rutherford is on the Ethics Committee which usually does not investigate its own members. The OCE, however concluded he has “a pattern of late disclosure of reportable transactions made in [IRA] accounts, which continued even after he was on notice of his STOCK Act filing obligations.”
  • Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY) was investigated. The OCE, however, “failed to reach a determination on the allegations against Jacobs after its nonpartisan board reached a tie vote on referring the matter further, but House Ethics said in a statement they would continue to investigate the issue.”

Last week, the OCE announced an investigation into Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-SC) cryptocurrency promotional efforts and an alleged relationship with a congressional aide. Cawthorn lost his primary last month.

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) allegedly misused campaign funds to pay dues at a private social club in Texas, and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) allegedly enlisted congressional staff to complete personal tasks.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), third highest-ranking Republican in the U.S. House after Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stripped Liz Cheney (R-WY) of the position, hopes to become DDT’s vice-president in 2024. With an A+ rating from NRA, Stefanik’s husband, Matthew Manda, is public affairs manager for the Newton (CT) based National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and a plaintiff in a lawsuit attempting to block a New York law increasing liability for gun manufacturers. In April, Manda coordinated dozens of gun industry leaders to speak with elected officials—including Stefanik. A reporter asked Stefanik’s adviser Alex deGrasse if Manda’s work influences Stefanik’s stance on gun rights, deGrasse called the journalist “a very sick person” and called the employer, the Albany Times Union, “sexist.”

In South Dakota, AG Jason Ravnsborg probably won’t run for re-election. He was impeached for a hit-and-run after he killed a pedestrian in September 2020 but allowed to plead to a misdemeanor. Ravnsborg is on leave until after the impeachment trial beginning on June 21, but he announced last Friday that his office will not charge billionaire T. Denny Sanford, the state’s richest man, with possession of child pornography. The affidavits are still sealed despite requests for them from news outlets, Argus Leader and ProPublica. Anti-pornography positions are becoming popular among conservatives—just not for billionaires.

South Dakota GOP legislators are so opposed to Medicaid expansion that they put a constitutional amendment on the June 7 primary ballot to restrict initiatives because of one for the expansion scheduled on November 8. The proposed amendment would prevent measures spending over $10 million for five years and require 60 percent of voters, not 50 percent, to approve the initiative. GOP lawmakers admitted that the purpose of the constitutional amendment was to block the Medicaid expansion. Voters in five states—Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah—have already approved the expansions after the legislature refused to accept it.

In 1898, South Dakota was the first state in the U.S. to establish the popular initiative process. Initiatives have raised the minimum wage, created an independent ethics commission, and legalized cannabis in the conservative state. After the ethics commission approval in 2016, the legislature overturned it and tried to make the initiative process more stringent. In 2020, the all-GOP Supreme Court struck down the cannabis legalization initiative for having more than one subject. Last year, GOP legislatures increased the font size of the ballot petition while mandating that the text fit on one page.

South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, spoke at the NRA convention three days after the Uvalde (TX) massacre, explaining the need to carry all guns without any permits because leftist protesters want to tear down Mt. Rushmore. With presidential aspirations, Noem reconnected with DDT’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after he allegedly sexually harassed a female donor at a political event in Las Vegas.

In Missouri, a first-time Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Anheuser-Busch heir Trudy Busch Valentine, was scheduled to have an NRA fundraiser until she got caught. With ten opponents and lots of money, she also campaigned on “commonsense gun legislation,” promising to be leader.

May 18, 2022

 Sad Events of the Week

Monday the Supreme Court legalized bribery—again. A 6-3 vote struck down another McCain-Feingold campaign finance act provision, eliminating the restriction on candidates’ ability to collect donations post-election to pay off personal loans to their campaigns. The winning case by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) permits lawmakers to give political favors to donors who put money directly into their bank accounts. In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote the decision will “bring this country’s political system into further disrepute.” Cruz, who put over half the justices onto the high court, still hadn’t paid back $545,000 of the $1 million plus he loaned his campaign.

Cruz opposed the law limiting the $250,000 payoff with money raised more than 20 days after the election. It used the rationale that donations after the election don’t go toward political speech but only line candidates’ pockets. Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion stated that the law fails even lenient constitutional scrutiny because it “burdens core political speech without proper justification.” Yet after-the-fact donations don’t fund any “electoral speech.” Kagan condemned the practice as “sordid bargains” and “dirty dealings,” but Roberts called “influence and access.” Wealthy political candidates (aka Republicans) won’t have to suffer “non-existent” burdens, but the Supreme Court will force real burdens on pregnant women searching for legal abortions—at least legal in some states after SCOTUS finishes with them.

Mark Joseph Stern writes:

“Kagan and Roberts’ disagreement runs much deeper than the facts of this one case. It is, at bottom, a dispute about the government’s authority to safeguard democracy by outlawing the kind of self-dealing that makes lawmakers responsive to a small set of oligarchs rather than the people. [Kagan] provided multiple examples of these contributions facilitating corruption: In Ohio, the governor handed out more than 200 state contracts to his postelection donors. In San Diego, three city council members voted to benefit lobbyists who raised money to retire their campaign debts. In California, a congresswoman raised donations from lobbyists to pay off her personal campaign loans—at 18 percent interest. There’s nothing to stop politicians from using postelection contributions to pay off interest payments, allowing them to ‘turn a tidy profit,’ in Kagan’s words.

“There is an undercurrent of disgust in Kagan’s opinion, an evident revulsion toward the majority’s endorsement of a captured democracy. Her previous dissents in campaign finance cases evince outrage over the damage inflicted by the court; in Cruz, she sounds not just angry but horrified and sickened by what her colleagues have wrought. Our political system, she suggests, is already in ‘disrepute,’ and Monday’s decision will only ‘further’ its collapse by granting First Amendment protections to bribery.”

Scientific American has a piece by Wendy E. Parmet on how the Supreme Court has become bad for people’s health:

“For most of American history, courts treated the protection of health as an important aspect of the social contract, one that is implicitly woven into our laws. This centrality of public health to law—encapsulated by the legal maxim salus populi suprema lex (the health and well-being of the public is the highest law)—was widely accepted in 19th- and 20th-century state and federal court decisions. The most famous constitutional case evincing health’s centrality was the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which upheld a Cambridge (MA) vaccination mandate. In it, Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote, ‘There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis organized society could not exist with safety to its members.’”

In a 1987 case about whether a school could legally fire a teacher with tuberculosis, the high court adopted the legal test from the American Medical Association and stated, “In making these findings, courts normally should defer to the reasonable medical judgments of public health officials.” Gone, however, are the days of using medical information. Now the conservatives’ anti-science aggression rules the court with no concern for health or expertise, especially after Amy Coney Barrett joined the four ultra-conservative justices.

They ignored OSHA’s “vaccine or test” mandate although agreeing it would avoid 65,000 deaths. Some justices said that preventing deaths from COVID may not be a compelling state interest. In his draft opinion overturning Roe, Samuel Alito ignored any harm to women’s health. Gone is any attention to evidence of scientific experts; now conservative justices use their “intuition.” In the Roe argument, Roberts even said “put that data aside” about scientific evidence. Alito based his opinion on the practice of law before 1868 back to medieval times instead of the 21st century position that abortion is safe and critical to women’s health.

In his statements about the killings of ten and wounding another three, most of them Black and over 50 years of age, President Joe Biden condemned the action by an 18-year-old White man in Buffalo as “domestic terrorism.” He and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, visited Buffalo and met with first responders and victims’ families on Tuesday. In his brief address, he talked about the hate coming from the “great replacement” theory running “through the media and politics, the internet [that] “has radicalized angry alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced.” That theory supported by half the Republicans is Democrats are deliberately replacing “white Americans” with minorities, especially immigrants. In calling on people to “condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit,” Biden said, “White supremacy is a poison … running through our body politic.”

The Israel army admitted they “might” have killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but it didn’t stop police from attacking mourners of the beloved woman when they tried to carry her casket on their shoulders. Abu Akleh was fatally shot while covering an Israeli raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.  Fellow journalists witnessing the shootin said Israeli forces had fired on them. Israel’s prime minister and other senior officials initially tried to blame Palestinian militants. At an East Jerusalem hospital, mourners were beaten with clubs, horrifying viewers watching it on live television. To support its claim that mourners waved Palestinian flags and changed nationalist slogans, Israeli police edited drone video to remove the police first charging the mourners and then slowed down footage of a man waving his arms in frustration to claim he was throwing objects at the police. 

Thousands of people joined the procession to a funeral at a Catholic church in Jerusalem’s Old City. Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, top Catholic clergyman in Israel, condemned the beatings and accused authorities of violating human rights and disrespecting the Catholic Church. When Abu Akleh was killed, the Palestinian-American, Catholic reporter who worked 25 years for the Al Jazeera satellite channel wore a blue vest clearly marked “Press.” The international researchers at the Dutch Bellingcat supported witness accounts that Israeli fire killed Abu Akleh.

If you face price gouging at the gas pump, thank a Republican. Along with other GOP legislators, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) slammed the investigation of oil companies making excessive profits as “socialism” like in “Soviet Russia.” (Never mind that Russia stopped being “Soviet” over 30 years ago.) A week ago, she blamed Biden for the high prices and tweeted it’s time to “get these prices under control” because they are “taking a devastating toll on the pocketbooks of families.” Thanks to Rodgers and her colleagues, huge oil company profits—which they call free enterprise—take precedence over families—and maintaining higher inflation will get them re-elected. The bill didn’t set price caps; it just permitted the Federal Trade Commission to look into the possibility of price gouging. Republicans on the House Rules Committee blocked the advancing of H.R. 7688, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act; the GOP calls it the “Socialist Energy Price Fixing Act.” Wait until Republicans take over the house and then decide to investigate—maybe even block—price gouging. Voila! Republicans reduce inflation!  

Fox’s Tucker Carlson again gets an award for being the most disgusting host on the network. In another program for appearance on Russian state TV, he called Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) “Eyepatch McCain” because Crenshaw criticized congressional members voting against aid for Ukraine. Crenshaw said:

“People are saying ‘we can’t put baby formula on our shelves, but we are sending money to Ukrainians? My response to that is, do you know how much baby formula you can buy with $40 billion? None, because it is not a money issue, it is a manufacturing issue.” 

Crenshaw wears an eyepatch because he was hit by an IED in Afghanistan during the Navy Seal’s third tour there. In a medically-induced coma, Crenshaw was sent to Germany where the remains of his right eye were scraped out and a copper wire was removed from his other eye, requiring two years for complete recovery. After treatment, he deployed to Bahrain and South Korea. Crenshaw said that a glass eye is “very distracting to people” and makes him feel “self-conscious.” He wears the patch primarily when he meets strangers or appears at political events.

Born in 1969, Carlson was a child during the later years of the Vietnam War, ending in April 1975. The military draft ended two years earlier, and the U.S. created an all-volunteer force. Carlson never got closer to the military than criticizing it during his talk shows.

One really bizarre story! Nick Fuentes, the 23-year-old far-right founder of group for the principles of American Nationalism, Christianity, and Traditionalism (aka bigotry), also leads the unofficial “Groypers,” who think extreme right-wingers aren’t far enough right. Sometimes considered gay because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, he said:

“I think if anything—if anything—it makes me less gay. If anything, it makes me not gay—as opposed to less gay, not that there’s any gay, but it makes me not gay.”

He continued by saying that never having a relationship or sex with a woman makes a man more heterosexual because “dating women is gay.” Hmmm. The question is why right-wingers, including Christian evangelicals, are so obsessed with sex.

May 15, 2022

Republicans: The Cult of Death

David Barnhart, a pastor in Alabama, wrote the following about the anti-abortion, so-called “right-to-life” movement banning abortions:

“’The unborn’ are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe. Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.”

The anti-abortion movement—actually the anti-choice movement because they don’t want to give rights to people—calls itself the “right to life,” but it’s actually only rights for the human zygote, embryo, or fetus. Conservatives’ respect for life by conservatives disappears at the instant a fetus emerges from the uterus. From then on, they embrace death:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to starve migrant babies held in custody for crossing the southern border because selfish baby formula manufacturers have caused a shortage.

New state anti-abortion laws block treatment for ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tube, cervix, abdominal cavity, ovary or scar from a cesarean section instead of in the uterus. They never result in a birth and are guaranteed to kill the pregnant woman without surgery. A Louisiana bill would permit the charge of murder for anyone who miscarries or needs surgery for ectopic pregnancies. An Ohio bill would mandate doctors to “reimplant” an ectopic pregnancy, medically impossible. An Oklahoma state senator disagreed with permitting surgeries for these pregnancies. Texas law does not define exceptions for medical emergencies, and a doctor denied a woman treatment for her ectopic pregnancy before she was rejected at an emergency room. At least one pharmacy refused to fill prescriptions for this condition. Ignorant legislators create these bills which are then supported by more ignorant people. If laws allow ectopic pregnancies, the confusion may keep women from seeking help. In some states, medical students receive limited education about abortion which means they also don’t know how to care for patients who have had miscarriages. The women who die don’t have the “right to life.”

The Supreme Court supporting “right to fetuses” opposed life for Clarence Dixon, a schizophrenic executed in Arizona last week. His lawyers said he didn’t understand why he was being put to death and suffered for over 25 minutes during the procedure. Age 66 and blind, Dixon is the first execution since Joseph Wood was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours, repeated gasping until he died. Witnesses reported that prison had trouble finding a vein for the lethal injection, and Dixon was in pain for 25 minutes until they injected him in the groin. An AP journalist said, “They did have to wipe up a fair amount of blood.” Arizona also has a gas chamber which uses hydrogen cyanide, the same gas used at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Arizona can still kill another 112 people on death row. Supreme Court decisions determined justices shouldn’t meddle in state lethal injections so Arizona can handle the situation any way it wants.  

Republicans virtuously permit people with COVID to infect and kill others with the ridiculous claim of needing freedom from wearing masks. Studies have shown over and over that social distancing, vaccinations, and masks will block the transmission of the disease killing people in a little over two years. Even those who refuse all these precautions have learned how their loved ones have died the hard way, and many of them have admitted this fact. 

In another way to kill people, Republicans block any kind of sex education for young people so that they can protect themselves. Without that knowledge, girls employ myths to avoid pregnancy, myths that don’t work. Their solution is sometimes self-induced abortions, killing the young girls.

In 2008, before President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, over 26,000 people died because they lacked health insurance. Since it passed in 2010, the Republicans have tried non-stop to block health insurance for the poor. Even ten years after the law passed, 45,000 people are still dying each year from lack of health insurance. Even if they don’t die, 25 percent of people in the U.S delay health care for serious illnesses.

GOP hatred for LGBTQ people also promote violent deaths by those with anti-LGBTQ fear and loathing with the attitude that they are following God’s will.   

The deaths of at least ten people in a Buffalo story also shows how cavalier conservatives are permitting mass shootings through the freedom to buy guns. An 18-year-old who had previously threatened a school shooting and posted a “manifesto” on the website murdered people peacefully shopping because they were black. The GOP party line will be that he was a “lone wolf” although the persuasion to stop white people from being “replaced” by minorities has come for the far-right media, especially Fox’s Tucker Carlson, and GOP leaders. This mass shooting was #198 in the first 19 weeks of 2022.

Deliberate income inequality in which Republicans ensure that the wealthy and big business collect the vast majority of assets while people in poverty die from lack of resources.

The conservative anti-science aggression is also causing hunger and starvation by refusing to recognize climate change. Republicans also permit toxic chemicals and other pollution to kill people—if they are poor—to benefit big business.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), possibly the biggest liar in the Senate, said the loss of abortion rights won’t bother most voters although it “might be a little messy for some people.” He blithely commented that women can just drive across state lines for the procedure. No worry about lack of resources, distances from blocks of states banning choice, laws blocking getting an abortion in another state, prosecution for getting an abortion at all. Republicans want to have it both ways—get rid of all abortions while persuading the 70 percent of pro-choice voters that he’s not really against women having reproductive rights. The GOP just wants the discussion to disappear before the 2022 election.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agrees with Johnson that voters for congressional members don’t really care. And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that “angry leftists … don’t even know that overturning Roe means.” They haven’t noticed that 26 percent of respondents to a Monmouth University poll rated their top concern, only one percent below the economic policy. That’s far above the nine percent of them rating abortion policy as the top concern a year ago. McConnell also tries to persuade people that getting an abortion won’t be any problem because it’s up to the states. People who have seen their rights disintegrate won’t believe that either.

In Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft of the ruling that overturns Roe, he bases part of his opinion on the “great” and “eminent” legal authority, Sir Matthew Hale. The English judge and lawyer who died in 1676 at the age of 67, he presided over a witchcraft trial in which he sentenced two “witches” to death.  His “History of the Pleas of the Crown,” published posthumously in 1736, stated that authorities should distrust women who claimed to have been raped, a position still popular in the second half of the 20th century and used even in the 21st century. He wrote the marital rape exemption protecting a man from prosecution if he raped his wife because marriage means the woman has put her body under her husband’s permanent dominion “which she cannot retract.” In the U.S., no state could prosecute a man for raping his wife—even brutally—until 1970. At the current time, 21 states are still more lenient toward marital rape than rape outside the marriage. Men will cling to a legal system in which men complete control their wives.  

His claim about the “deep roots” of history ignores common law in the first decades of the United States that did not regulate abortion before “quickening”—the first feeling of fetal movement occurring as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy. Alito ignored Hale’s description declaring abortion as a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” And he uses as his justification the man who sentences women to death as witches, knows women are liars, and believes women own their wives’ bodies.

Blocking abortion will lead to preventing other human rights such as contraception, same-gender relationships and marriage, biracial marriage, transgenderism, etc. All these rights will be blocked by Republican legislators and their activist partisan judges in a huge government overreach eliminating freedom and liberty for half the people in the country. The GOP has claimed they objected to this practice with Democrats but are now allowing only Christian evangelical laws.  

May 5, 2022

Overturning ‘Roe v. Wade’: The Bombshell

Monday, May 2, 2022, Politico dropped a bombshell: a 98-page draft, supposedly from an initial majority vote for Supreme Court justices and authenticated by Chief Justice Roberts, overturning the 50-year-old decision Roe v. Wade giving women the right to have abortions during the first third of the pregnancy. The article provides extensive information, including Alito’s caustic, non-caring language, and the draft. An analysis of the draft. The biggest leak in SCOTUS’ history, ramifications are overwhelming. 

Republicans who have long sought this action don’t want to talk about the substance of the draft. Instead, they focus on the leak to distract the nation from their corruption of the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Chief Justice John Roberts initiated an investigation, but Republicans demand a DOJ criminal investigation. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the leak has done irreparable harm to the nation—as if the court isn’t already doing that.

GOP accusations don’t hold much water: the draft lacks national insecurity information, meaning that a prosecution is unlikely. Republicans, however, manage to play the victim despite the possibility that a conservative is behind the action. Yet their feeling of victimization isn’t the loss of a human right; it’s the act of a leak illustrating this loss. Following the old adage “be careful of what you wish for,” overturning the right to abortion loses GOP political funding. Even worse for Republicans, the GOP could lose the election because 69 percent of the people want to keep Roe.

Samuel Alito, author of the leaked draft, may be avoiding the public eye now. He canceled his appearance at the 5th Circuit Court judicial conference in New Orleans. Both Justice Clarence Thomas and Roberts were also to speak at the 11th Circuit’s judicial conference in Atlanta this week, but no one knows if they will appear.

With Roe overturned, women and children impregnated by rape will be forced to carry the fetus to full term in over half the country, mostly in the South and midwestern states. After the announcement of overturning Roe on Monday, Democrat Carol Glanville defeated GOP Robert “RJ” Regan in a special Michigan House election for a seat always been occupied by a Republican. He received only 40 percent of the votes with almost 8 percent going to write-ins. About rape, Regan said he told his daughters to “just lie back and enjoy it.”  He also called feminism a “Jewish program to degrade and subjugate white men” and the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “fake war just like the fake pandemic.” State GOP leaders denounced his comments but didn’t call on him to withdraw because they were positive any Republican could win the election. 

Another male misogynist, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who is being investigated for sex-trafficking of minors and other crimes accused women protesting against the anti-abortion draft of being “under-loved millennials” and “no Bumble matches.” The term refers to a location-based dating app using Tinder’s “swipe right or left” format. He said the women “who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats.” One protester said, “I’ll take my cats over a man like this ANY day. Because they aren’t trying to take away my rights.” He’s up for re-election this fall.

According to the Turnaway Study, denial of an abortion can have negative effects with both health and financial impacts. The research compares women who received an abortion with women denied them because they were just past the legal gestational cutoff.

Issues for those denied abortions:

Worse mental health. These include anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, giving up life goals and staying with an abusive partner. This bad mental health can lead to chronic pain.

Greater health risks for carrying pregnancies to full term. (Two women in the study doing so died after giving birth.) Banning abortion will lead to a 21-percent increase in pregnancy-related deaths, jumping to 33 percent among Black women. Maternal mortality rates have skyrocketed to an all-time high and the U.S. has the highest maternal death rate among developed nations. States with the greatest restrictions on abortions have the highest maternal mortality rates.

Poor credit. Women seeking abortions having the same credit scores before pregnancy suffered far more financial problems after denial.

Debt and bankruptcy.

Children more likely to live in poverty. Women forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term have a four times greater chance of being below the federal poverty level.

Children less likely to achieve developmental milestones.

When women have abortions to wait, their children do better than those of women denied abortions in terms of emotional bonds between mother and child, economic well-being, and less poverty. The current anti-abortion decision is based only on ideological reasons because Roberts specifically ordered justices to ignore data. Dr. Jennifer Kerns, associate professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, said the leaked document illustrates how the court is no longer a neutral group, “It really lays bare how out of touch their rulings are with people’s lives.”

Michele Norris addressed the issue that most of the media—and Republicans—ignored: What about the children? She wrote:

“The sanctity of human life is all-important right up to the point when that flesh-and-bone child enters a world where programs designed to support women, the poor or households teetering toward economic ruin are being scaled back by a party that claims to be about family values.”

Many states with the most restrictive bans on abortion spend the least for health and economic benefits for expecting mothers and children once they’re born. Evidence comes from state rankings on maternal morbidity, infant mortality, premature birth, child poverty, birth weight, access to health care, day care, food stamps and housing. The Mississippi case, basis for Alito’s draft, ranks dead last in preterm births, neonatal mortality and overall child well-being. George Carlin’s acerbic comic routine is going around the internet. As he says at the finish, “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine, if you’re preschool, you’re f*cked.”

Tanya Lewis concludes the Scientific American article:

“For people who are unable to get their abortion because the Supreme Court just lets states ban abortions, we’re going to see worse physical health, greater economic hardship, lower achievement of aspirational plans, kids raised in more precarious economic circumstances, and people’s lives upended.”

People have misconceptions about abortions. The facts:

Abortions are safe and effective; complications from all types of abortions are rare. Abortion barriers and restrictions passed by health-ignorant lawmakers jeopardize the health of women.

Some state laws require doctors to lie to patients, for example the falsehood that abortions cause cancer, infertility, and mental health issues.

Many women feel relief after an abortion so mental health issues may come from forced pregnancies. Unwanted pregnancies can cause significant and long-lasting maternal depression and parenting stress which can last for decades.

Avoiding pregnancy is not easy. Birth control is not 100-percent effective.

So-called anti-abortion “heartbeat bills” are based on falsehoods. The electrical activity which people call a heartbeat at six weeks doesn’t indicate a functioning heart which doesn’t form until 16-18 weeks of development. Even cardiac activity doesn’t equate to fetal survival.

Anti-abortion Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has a concern—her loss of privacy because of COVID contact tracing on cell phones. Trump’s administration started the program two years ago to anonymously track individual’s exposure to the coronavirus. Subscribed users could opt out from notifications that they were at risk of contracting COVID based on proximity to infected people. The CDC did no tracking and bought the program from a company bankrolled by Peter Thiel, DDT’s ally and one the biggest donors to his 2016 campaign. Blackburn appears to have ignored Alito’s draft of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe. It states that neither privacy nor self-determination exists in the Constitution because they are “not deeply rooted in history.”

Barbara Quade, former U.S. attorney general, theorizes that conservatives may have leaked the draft, hoping the release might dull the roar in late June when the actual ruling is released. A leak might also lock in the ruling, with the hope that those voting for the majority won’t have the courage to reverse their opinions which would give the impression “they are caving to public pressure.”

People told Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that she could not trust Brett Kavanaugh’s promises to her during his confirmation that Roe was settled law. She got re-elected despite voting to confirm a person accused of sexual assault for a life-time SCOTUS justice. Now she just can’t understand how both Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch could have lied to her and under oath in hearings. She did point out that the final vote hasn’t come out yet. Will she be stunned about her “betrayal” then?

Roberts’ rogue court will go down in history—not only for denying women their reproductive fights but for erasing many voting rights and letting the wealthy control the election of candidates—such as Peter Thiel donating $10 million to elect J.D. Vance in the GOP Ohio primary. With the overturning of Roe, Roberts’ court can then move on to block any rights to contraception and marriage equality for biracial couples and same-gender couples.

Not satisfied with the Supreme Court destroying reproductive rights for about half the women in the nation, Republicans are laying plans to ban abortion everywhere after six weeks, before most pregnant women are aware of their status. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) would introduce the legislation in the senate—a good look to have a woman take on the task. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) already introduced anti-abortion bills in the House.  

October 1, 2021

Another Conservative Justice Whines about Criticism

Samuel Alito, one of the biggest partisan hacks on the Supreme Court, is furious about being called a partisan hack. In a speech at the University of Notre Dame, he defended the use of the “shadow docket,” a procedure with no oral hearings, arguments, reviews, decision rationales, and signed opinions to make significant decisions and claims critics want to “intimidate” and “damage” the court. His excuses don’t hold water as these statements and the refutations demonstrate:

Criticism comes only from disagreeing with the result. Questions about the propriety of making unsigned rulings in the middle of the night, however, come from whether these decisions lack due diligence, inconsistency, and methods which go farther than they should. A major objection is permitting the Texas anti-abortion law that violates the Constitution to go into effect because it is seen in any court. Another one is the frequency of the shadow docket from eight in 16 years, four presidential terms, to 41 in the four-year term of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). Alito admitted that DDT received far more responses in shadow dockets but excused this by saying it was necessary because “a number of the President’s important initiatives were enjoined by a district court judge.” In 2020, the high court granted 10 of 11 emergency requests from DDT and 10 of 15 from religious groups but only one-third of state and other government groups’ requests, and none from private parties. Recent shadow dockets have obviously been more substantial and favorable to the political right.

“Shadow docket” is a loaded political term created by the left. The person who brought the term into common use is William Baude, Chief Justice John Roberts’ former clerk. In 2015, Baude pointed out that lawyers can’t know the legal standards in re-litigating the issue in the future with no opinions or whether justices are principled and consistent from case to case. This need applies to both conservative and progressive lawyers. Even far-right legislators such as Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) want names and viewpoints on Supreme Court rulings. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas called the shadow docket denying a request to stop same-gender marriages in Alabama “indecorous” because it could be “a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question.” Thomas disagreed with this process being “the proper way to discharge our Article III responsibilities.”

The court didn’t nullify Roe v. Wade in its shadow docket ruling. In the Atlantic, Adam Serwer used the term “nullify,” not “overturn,” when criticizing the high court’s actions with no oral arguments. In fact, the court permitted the unconstitutional anti-abortion law to go into effect on a technicality. The conservative justices impeded women from obtaining legal abortions—nullifying the protection of a legal right.

Rulings on what Alito calls “emergency applications” don’t create precedents. In April, the Supreme Court chastised the federal appeals court in California for not following its earlier “emergency applications” rulings about restrictions on religious gatherings during the pandemic.

The unconstitutional permission from five conservative Supreme Court justices to flout Roe v. Wade did receive a scornful dissent from another justice, Sonia Sotomayor:

“The court silently acquiesced in a state’s enactment of a law that flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents. The act is a breathtaking act of defiance—of the constitution, of this court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”

Justice Elena Kagan may have been milder in her response but no less critical of the shadow docket when she wrote that the unsigned order “illustrates just how far the court’s ‘shadow docket’ decisions may depart from the usual principles of appellate process. Without full briefing or argument, and after less than 72 hours’ thought, this court greenlights the operation of Texas’ patently unconstitutional law banning most abortions.” According to Kagan’s dissent, the ruling was of “great consequence” but had only been “hastily” considered by the court, the majority decision “emblematic of too much of this Court’s shadow docket decisionmaking—which every day becomes more unreasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend.” 

Shadow decisions for DDT include the travel ban directed at Muslim nations, prohibition of transgender people in the military, and asylum decisions. Since Biden became president, shadow decision have blocked the CDC prevention of evictions, reinstated DDT’s “Remain in Mexico” policy putting asylum seekers in extreme danger south of the U.S. border, and the unconstitutional violation of Roe v. Wade. Basically five Supreme Court justices are setting both domestic and foreign policy, the constitutional prerogatives of Congress and the president. Missing in the current court is its deferential approach toward the executive branch’s setting the foreign policy which they cited in DDT’s cases.

In the past, Alito has also freely given his opinions about how he will rule. Last fall, in another speech before the highly conservative Federalist Society which selected most of DDT’s “partisan hacks,” he bitterly complained about the pandemic’s public-safety restrictions, marriage equality, reproductive rights, and five sitting Democratic U.S. senators. After his most recent speech, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) responded to Alito’s most recent complaints:

“Judges turning into political actors, giving speeches attacking journalists, is terrible for the court and terrible for democracy.”

University of Baltimore law professor and former federal prosecutor Kim Wehle wrote:

“Unscrupulously biased, political, and even angry. I can’t imagine why Alito did this publicly. Totally inappropriate and damaging to the Supreme Court.”

Adam Serwer wrote:

“The shadow docket has begun to look less like a place for emergency cases than one where the Republican-appointed justices can implement their preferred policies without having to go through the tedious formalities of following legal procedure, developing arguments consistent with precedent, or withstanding public scrutiny…

“The justices in the majority argued in their unsigned opinion that because the case presented ‘complex and novel antecedent procedural questions,’ their hands were tied… This ruling is less a description of a complex legal challenge than a road map. As Mary Ziegler writes, the Texas law was strategically designed to evade legal restrictions, and the majority read the script that was handed to it. Republican-run legislatures now know that they can pass such laws and the Supreme Court will pretend to be unable to block them…

“Five conservative justices invalidated the constitutional right to an abortion simply because they could, because they felt like it, and because they don’t believe anyone can stop them.”

And those same five justices will stop anything else that doesn’t fit into their world picture.

Despite the Supreme Court’s permission to continue vigilantism and unconstitutional law in Texas, the DOJ fought the new law in federal court today during a three-hour virtual hearing. The district court judge agreed with DOJ attorney Brian Netter that the purpose of the vigilante enforcement was to protect the Texas government from any legal challenge and questioned why the state went “to such great lengths” to hinder judicial review.

Texas attorney Will Thompson claimed the empowerment of private individuals to enforce state law in state courts was not at all unprecedented. Thompson also told the judge he couldn’t issue an injunction because no one is responsible for enforcing the law. Texas AG Ken Paxton used the same argument and asserted challenges must come in state court after a lawsuit by a private citizen against the person getting an abortion.

During the hearing, Thompson said he didn’t know what he would do if the judge issued an order against the state because of no streamlined state access to track lawsuits under the law. Netter suggested the judge could issue an injunction to stop proceedings begun under the law. Thus far, three cases from private citizens have been filed under the Texas law that went into effect on September 1. An injunction could not definitely protect people from the vigilante law: if it is later dissolved on appeal, lawsuits can be brought retroactively up to four years after the abortion.

The bill’s concept has started to spread across the nation. In Illinois, a state representative introduced a bill allowing any resident to sue someone who “causes an unintended pregnancy” or commits domestic assault. It also allows lawsuits against anyone who “aids or abets” the pregnancies. Like the Texas law, a successful litigant suing the person “causing” the unwanted pregnancy will get $10,000, but half the money, however, would be put in a state fund paying for abortions for people denied abortions in Texas.

Brett Kavanaugh has become the second Supreme Court justice to contract COVID after testing positive the day before the 2021 session begins. Amy Coney Barrett had the coronavirus last summer.

September 30, 2021

SCOTUS Justices Need a Code of Ethics

The Supreme Court returns Friday, October 1, and approval of the Supreme Court has dropped to the lowest in history. The reason is not only the agreement from six justices that vigilantism can stay alive and well in Texas until the anti-abortion law is litigated, perhaps many years from now. Without Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to clamp down on news, the public now knows that the FBI suspected serious problems about Brett Kavanaugh before 49 Republicans and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin voted to put him into a lifetime Supreme Court term. It was the closest vote since 1881. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she voted for Kavanaugh because he promised her Roe v. Wade was “settled law.”

Without DDT’s AG Bill Barr, the Department of Justice confirmed the FBI received over 4,500 tips against him and sent “relevant” ones to DDT’s White House where they disappeared. Accusations of Kavanaugh’s sexual assaults from two other women than Christine Blasey Ford were also negated. “Yay” senators also ignored the appointee’s misleading them, possibly lying under oath in 2004 and 2006 as George W. Bush’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit about his partisanship as a young lawyer. The tirade at the televised confirmation hearing in 2018 dismissing his misconduct allegations as a “political hit” should have been obvious to Manchin if not to the other Republicans. Kavanaugh claimed then, “What does around come around,” and he’s living up to it. In addition to anti-choice decisions in the Supreme Court this year are disputes about guns, voter-suppression, and elections—possibly even insurrections after January 6. By now his decisions are becoming predictable.

Kavanaugh adds to the solid block of conservatives voting for Republicans: unlimited corporate spending on elections, elimination of federal “preclearance” of voting changes in regions demonstrating discrimination, permission of partisan gerrymandering on the part of the GOP, etc. Like DDT, he has openly criticized mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day although some states make them legal. And like his conservative compatriots, there is no such thing as “settled law.”

People wanting to give partisan Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt forget he worked to put George W. Bush into the White House in Bush v. Gore after he spent four years with Ken Starr investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton. This work was rewarded by his appointment to the D.C. appeals court where a columnist wrote he was “nothing more than a partisan shock trooper in a black robe.” As a White House operative, Kavanaugh’s confirmation was blocked for three years until 2006. Democrats refused to accept protestations that he had nothing to do with warrantless surveillance, torture of terrorism suspects, and “Memogate” about a Republican aide who stole thousands of Democrats’ emails from 2001 through 2003 and shared them with Bush advisers.

During his earlier confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh lied about promoting three judicial extremist nominees despite emails proving he was involved in staging events, reviewing promotional material, attending meetings, drafting statements for Bush officials, providing advice, and recommending one of the nominees. And “Memogate” when he was often listed as either the first recipient of the emails or the only one. In 2004, he swore he had not received any of these emails and in 2006 said he was “not aware of the memos.”

Facing his former lies under oath in 2018, he moved from ignorance to admission he had received some emails but assumed that the aide found the information through typical information-trading between Republican and Democratic aides. One email told Kavanaugh exactly what questions Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) would ask him at a hearing, and another was a 4,000-word strategy memo a Leahy adviser sent her employer. A third email, marked “confidential,” stated that “Leahy’s staff is only sharing with Democratic counsels.”

Supreme Court justices are the only ones in the judicial branch who cannot be impeached, and the same goes for unethical behavior. Chief Justice John Roberts sent scores of complaints about Kavanaugh, primarily about his lying under oath, to the 10th Circuit Judicial Council for review; they were returned two months later, dismissed as moot because federal ethics rules don’t apply to Supreme Court justices. The Council did confess that “the allegations contained in the complaints are serious.”

Kavanaugh is not alone in needing a code of ethics. A year after his confirmation, Kavanaugh joined Justice Samuel Alito in meeting privately with representatives of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and posing for photos with them. Opposing marriage equality, NOM was participating at that time as a friend of the court in a case involving LGBTQ rights. Lower federal court judges would have been censured for this behavior, but both Kavanaugh and Alito dissented against the six justices supporting LGBTQ rights in the case. 

A year later, Alito gave an “ireful” speech to the highly conservative Federalist Society, delivering his strong views against gun rights, abortion, LGBT rights, and pandemic-related restrictions on religious gatherings. His statements left no doubt about future rulings. All federal judges except those on the high court must comply by the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.

Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni may top lack of ethics in the current set of justices because of their mutual scams. She collects unlimited dark money for her Tea Party-connected nonprofit, Liberty Central, and organizes Republicans on issues often reaching the Supreme Court. He works the court, including the ones in which spouses have financial interests.

A recent example is the issue of big tech when Republicans complain about censorship of conservative positions despite evidence that many of these, especially Facebook, have favored Republicans. Ginni promoted a website and “influence network” about big tech’s “corporate tyranny.” Clarence wrote a concurring opinion in a case dealing with DDT’s blocking his critics on Twitter and railed railed against the control “of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties” and the “glaring concern” for free speech.

Ginni started Liberty Central in 2009 with secret donations enabled by that year’s Supreme Court Citizens United decision. Legal ethicists questioned the existence of those secret donations, but the ruling’s permission of secrecy makes investigation difficult. Since then, she opposed the Affordable Care Act, which Clarence always opposes in the Supreme Court.

In the Pennsylvania decision permitting mailed-in ballots counted up to three days after Election Day if postmarked before Election Day, Clarence wrote a scorching dissent using DDT’s argument of fraud, especially in mail-in ballots used primarily by seven states. Yet the number of ballots involved totaled about 10,000 which would not have changed the majority for Joe Biden who won the state 3.4 million votes to DDT’s 3.3 million. Ginni endorsed the rally that led to the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Last year’s SCOTUS decisions set the tone for the upcoming term. The majority voted in favor of the GOP Chamber of Commerce 83 percent of the time and moved to the right in “religious liberty” and voting (non)rights in its shadow dockets.

The court’s power in blocking votes was obvious in gutting another part of the 56-year-old Voting Rights Act after destroying much of it in 2013 by supporting Arizona’s voting-restriction law, struck down by the 9th Circuit Court. One provision was blocking anyone except a relative or caregiver from dropping off a ballot, and the other requiring the tossing of all ballots cast in the wrong precinct. Alito said that courts should use voting rules made in 1982 to make its decision.

In Arizona, precincts are hard to determine because the state seems to change them for every election, and the absentee ballot drop-off restriction is especially damaging to Native Americans on reservations and people who may count on friends to drop off their mail-in ballots. Alito said just because voting may be “inconvenient for some,” doesn’t mean unequal access. but the Tohono O’odham Nation reservation, almost four times the size of Rhode Island, has only one post office, trouble with transportation, and difficulty in mail delivery. 

The 4-4 decision in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s small extension in the mail-in ballot deadline before Amy Coney Barrett moved onto the Supreme Court bodes future decisions like Bush v. Gore, nullifying thousands of legal ballots. Trying to block state judiciaries from protecting state voting rights under state constitutions goes farther than the decision putting George W. Bush into the White House when Florida later found a majority of votes for Al Gore.

Packing the Supreme Court? That’s what the Republican senators and DDT did before Joe Biden’s presidency.

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