supreme court

Chuck Schumer Has a Problem with Free Speech

Chuck Schumer's upset.

He's upset that the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that corporations (and unions) have First Amendment in that government can't tell them that they can't spend their own money to communicate their own message when it comes to elections.  And he's going to hold hearings!  (Oh no!)

Seems he has a problem with that whole "if the First Amendment protects ANY speech at all, it must first protect POLITICAL speech" thing...  Which isn't much of a surprise, as incumbent politicians always seem to be the ones who have the biggest problems with "too much" freedom of speech.

But Tim Carney has another ideas as to why Chuckie might be upset.  He took a look at the biggest recipients of contributions from corporate America and guess who's right up at the top of the list?  (three guesses and the last two don't count)

You see, if those evil corporations are free to spend their own money on campaigns, they won't have as much reason to give it to politicians like Schumer.


Religious Freedom Issue Comes to the Supreme Court

Should Christian clubs or oganizations be forced to accept non-Christian members?  That's essentially the question that the US Supreme Court is about to take up.

And it's a question that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the wrong answer to recently... ruling that Christian clubs at universities could not be officially recognized by those schools unless they open up to non-Christian voting members - and even leaders.

Go figure.

The Washington Examiner puts it this way:

Think of it this way: Should a Young Democrats club on a university
campus be compelled to elect Republican officers? Should a student
chapter of PETA be forced to be led by an ardent hunter and taxidermist?

The case revolves around that fact that the group Christian Legal Society has rules that require that its officers and members sign a statement attesting to their Christian faith.  (Imagine!)  Hastings University says they can't do that.  And the Ninth Circuit agreed.  But in a similar case from Chicago, a federal court took the side of the local branch of the same group.  Which brings us to an important test of the 1st Amendment.

I smell another five to four decision in the offing.

Senate Republicans should put Democrats on the spot with Sotomayor

With a newly minted sixty-vote Democrat majority in the US Senate, the approval of the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is all but assured.
But what isn't assured is that it won't cost the Democrats something before all the dust settles.  And that's up to the Republicans.

Do they have what it takes to make her positions on hot-button issues so toxic that the Democrats from "purple" or "red" states who support her will find themselves in political hot water back home?
Her record represents just such an opportunity.

Before becoming a judge, Sotomayor was a leader of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), even serving as the Chairman of its Litigation Committee.  And there we get a glimpse of some of the issues she was willing to lend her support to.

Confirmation conversions: Sotomayor, then and now

Who says people can't change (or flip-flop)?  Sotomayor has proven that you certainly can...especially when you get nominated to the Supreme Court and you've got some otherwise inconvenient statements or actions in your past that you need to have people overlook.

For example:

On impartiality, Sotomayor had previously suggested that "there is no objective stance"...

In the hearings she stated: "The process of judging is a process of keeping an open mind.  It's the process of not coming to a decision with a prejudgement ever of an outcome. (7/14/09)

But previously...

"There is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives...aspiration to just that, an aspiration..." (Women in the Judiciary, Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, 4/30/99)

On whether "predjudices" are appropriate, she said "predjudices are appropriate"...

In the hearings, she stated, "[I] Would Not Prejudge Any Question That Came Before Me If I Was A Justice On The Supreme Court."  And, "I Don't Pre-Judge Issues."

But previously...

"I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and gender but attempt...continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate." (Women in the Judiciary, 40th National Conference of Law Reviews. 3/17/94)

Sotomayor vows to guard the constitutional henhouse

In her bid to pooh pooh conservative fears (brought on by her judicial record) that she can't be relied upon to apply the law, instead of being a judicial activist, Sotomayor vowed "fidelity to the law" and told the Senate that she had not advocated for policy since she became a judge.

Of course, "advocating" for policy isn't necessary when you can "set policy", as she herself admitted that the Court of Appeals does.  And presumably she would know, since she's on the Second Circuit for the Court of Appeals.

In her statement to the Senate, she said:

"In the past month, many senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law," Judge Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The task of a judge is not to make the law - it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court."

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