Supreme Court Watch

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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#701  Postby arugula2 » Oct 27, 2020 5:52 pm

Republicans Rushing To Confirm 6 More Supreme Court Justices Before Election (The Onion)

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WASHINGTON—Explaining that they were under a tight deadline, Senate Republicans told reporters Monday they were rushing to confirm six more Supreme Court justices before the election. “We’ve been moving so fast with the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation because there are six more sets of hearings and votes we want to finish within the next week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, noting that Republicans wanted to make sure, while they still held power to sidestep any Democrat complaints, that they curated a diverse selection of nuanced conservative opinions on the court to rule for the next few decades. “We’re already planning to double up on a couple of the hearings by simultaneously questioning a judge from Virginia with two months of experience and some other judge I’ve never heard of but who’s already been vetted by the Federalist Society. Hopefully, all six are confirmed and sitting on the bench before the American people have their say at the polls.” At press time, all six conservative justices had been confirmed to the Supreme Court and Republican senators had announced they were going to try to fit in 10 more spontaneous confirmations before election day.
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#702  Postby felltoearth » Oct 27, 2020 6:08 pm

While not their first choice, there certainly are Dems that are happy with a “business friendly” SCOTUS.

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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#703  Postby Alan C » Oct 28, 2020 12:45 am

Unsurprisingly her swearing in was a political event.

Barrett's first decision as a justice was the wrong one

Last night, the former reality-show personality turned the dial to 11, hosting a prime-time spectacle at the White House. It was, for all intents and purposes, a campaign celebration, held for the cameras, just eight days before Election Day.

The merriment had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer: Barrett stood in the spotlight, on a White House balcony in front of the presidential seal, alongside Trump who beamed with pride before an applauding audience, which included Republican senators who spent last week pretending they have no idea how the far-right ideologue will rule on cases of lasting import.

Barrett was then ceremonially sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas -- arguably the high court's most reactionary conservative -- as if to drive home the point that the right had taken over the judiciary.
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#704  Postby arugula2 » Oct 28, 2020 6:52 pm

A repeat Bush v Gore aside, it'll be interesting if the court strikes down Obamacare 1 week after the election, and Dems have won both houses of Congress and the WH. An interesting opportunity for a do-over of what was essentially a Repub health plan that enriches insurance companies. Which also makes me wonder if SCOTUS is making those same calculations. If it's a serious idea (I'm not sure it is, but it plays out that way in my head), then Roberts probably wants to side with the remaining 3 non-ghouls on the bench, and it would've been 4-4 (undecided). But now here comes Barrett...

The 4-4 decision on Pennsylvania's vote is more ominous. The Pennsylvania supreme court noted that the state's constitution has a right-to-vote provision. (Anyone want to guess if the American constitution does? You'll be disappointed.) Based on that, it ruled that mail-in ballots with illegible postmarks could still be received & counted within 3 days after election day. The state's Repub legislature objected, of course. Roberts sided with democracy. But now here comes Barrett...

The Pennsylvania supreme court decision will stand for now, I suppose, so she can't fuck that one up... And the Wisconsin case was decided Monday, with SCOTUS voting 5-3 against reversing a federal appeals court ruling that struck down a 6-day extension for ballots there. So Barrett's been denied 2 opportunities to personally stab democracy in the eye... Makes a Trump v Biden scenario all the more sexy to her, I bet.
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#705  Postby laklak » Oct 28, 2020 7:21 pm

I don't understand your take on the Wisconsin decision, arugula. Isn't that what the GOP wanted?
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#706  Postby arugula2 » Oct 28, 2020 8:28 pm

Yep. It was a GOP win. But she missed her chance to chime in. ;)
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#707  Postby arugula2 » Nov 10, 2020 11:07 am

Oral arguments are scheduled for California v Texas and Texas v California (consolidated) today at 10am Eastern (3pm GMT) to determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

This page should have a link to the stream (scroll down):


The individual "minimum coverage" provision (Section 5000A) in the ACA originally required every eligible person to register for health insurance by 2014 or to opt out and pay a fine, to be collected by the IRS. A series of challenges culminated in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012), in which plaintiffs argued that the individual mandate was a government compulsion to a purchase, and therefore unconstitutional. The four liberal judges believed government did have the right to compel people to buy insurance, but they instead joined with Roberts in the majority to envision the mandate as a tax, which is a constitutional power of Congress. The dissenting judges insisted it wasn't a tax, but an unconstitutional mandate with a fine attached, ie with punitive damages for noncompliance.

The 2017 tax cut included an amendment which reduced Section 5000A's penalty for non-coverage to zero. This was done to eliminate any possibility of enforcement of the "minimum coverage" requirement. The Trump administration boasted as much. Senate rules limited the amendment process, so the "minimum coverage" language is still in the law, but is unenforceable.

A Texas federal district court ruled in 2019 that the remaining language (without the tax/fine) renders it an unconstitutional mandate. A court of appeals agreed. The court of appeals interpreted Sebelius as having limited it to two possibilities: a tax, or an unconstitutional mandate, and since it was no longer the former, it had to be the latter. The court of appeals asked the lower court to interpret how essential that provision was to the ACA ("inseverability"), and the lower court decided that without it the entire law must be struck down.

That's obviously deranged (it's a pretext). The same majority thinking which interpreted it as a tax in Sebelius still holds, but now the tax is zero. The dissenting judges in Sebelius argued it was an unconstitutional mandate by pointing to the fine as a punitive action for noncompliance. That "fine" is now gone - Trump and McConnell killed it. So even by the reasoning of the four dissenters, the Trump administration, and the Senate leadership, there is no "mandate", and therefore no fear of government compulsion. It's now merely a request without consequences.

As SCOTUS judges go, Thomas and Kavanaugh are uninspired, stupid, and craven. They might twist themselves to reinterpret the old argument for ideological ends. Barrett hinted in a 2017 essay that she thought the majority decision in Sebelius may have been an improper overreach to safeguard a popular law - and also, she's a proven hypocrite. I'd tentatively put her with the other two, but who knows. Alito is a tossup, but let's put him in the shitty column too.

I'm sure Roberts will want to reverse the appeals court ruling, and side with the 3 remaining non-ghouls on the court. That leaves Gorsuch. Unlike Kavanaugh and Thomas, Gorsuch is not stupid, and unlike Barrett he doesn't seem like a hypocrite. My gut tells me if it comes down to a tie breaker, he's siding with Roberts.

But it might even be unanimous or close to it (reversing the appeals court ruling, and preserving the ACA) because it's a pretty barren & self-contradicting GOP argument that should never have made it this far.
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#708  Postby arugula2 » Nov 10, 2020 5:37 pm


Only getting to it now, but at a glance it sounds like it was Kavanaugh that was leaning more to siding with Roberts? (About severability.) What a terrifying institution. :)
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#709  Postby arugula2 » Nov 10, 2020 8:20 pm

Alternative stream: SCOTUS-Toons...

Against the motion (and for preserving ACA): Mongan is California's solicitor general. Verrilli was US solicitor general under Obama.

For the motion (and for invalidating ACA): Hawkins is Texas's solicitor general. Wall is current acting US solicitor general (representing the DOJ).



[Reveal] Spoiler: alternate link?


[Reveal] Spoiler: C-SPAN stream
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#710  Postby arugula2 » Nov 26, 2020 7:26 pm

:picard:

Nvm... Gorsuch is an idiot. And Kavanaugh starts to look half-reasonable the more Ι read his opinions.

The court ruled that Cuomo imposed unfair restrictions on houses of worship, lifting a ban that no longer applied to the plaintiffs anyway, by the time of the ruling. Key to the restrictions was the imposition of a limit on how many people may gather in one place.

Roberts dissented, siding with Bryer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. So of course, the deciding vote was the evil demon that replaced Ginsburg’s vanity.

Gorsuch took the time to write a separate opinion, and it’s a doozy. It starts on page 8 of the full court opinion here. Here’s a representative quote:
At the same time, the Governor has chosen to impose no capacity restrictions on certain businesses he considers “essential.” And it turns out the businesses the Governor con- siders essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores. Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too. So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians. Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?

Refund please.

SCOTUS Blog article here.
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#711  Postby felltoearth » Nov 26, 2020 9:08 pm

Well, if he wants to go down the road of discounting acupuncturists as a form of medical treatment, I will welcome that.


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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#712  Postby SafeAsMilk » Nov 26, 2020 9:55 pm

Hey Gorsuch, you ever had to be around a giant mass (see what I did there?) of mask-fearing morons when you've been in a wine store or bike shop? No? Then shut the fuck up, you church-fellating windbag.
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Re: Supreme Court Watch

#713  Postby arugula2 » Jan 18, 2021 8:16 pm

In an unsigned, last-minute intervention on Friday (Jan 15), SCOTUS bypassed two lower court rulings to grant Trump/DOJ one last execution.

From Sotomayor's dissent:
Throughout this expedited spree of executions, this Court has consistently rejected inmates’ credible claims for relief.
The Court has even intervened to lift stays of execution that lower courts put in place, thereby ensuring those prisoners’
challenges would never receive a meaningful airing. The Court made these weighty decisions in response to emergency applications, with little opportunity for proper briefing and consideration, often in just a few short days or even hours. Very few of these decisions offered any public explanation for their rationale. This is not justice. After waiting almost two decades to resume federal executions, the Government should have proceeded with some measure of restraint to ensure it did so lawfully. When it did not, this Court should have. It has not.


From Breyer's dissent:
None of these legal questions is frivolous. What are courts to do when faced with legal questions of this kind?
Are they simply to ignore them? Or are they, as in this case, to “hurry up, hurry up”? That is no solution. Higgs’ case
illustrates this dilemma. The District Court ruled against the Government and the Government appealed. The Fourth Circuit denied the Government’s request to dispense with oral argument “in light of the novel legal issues presented” and set oral argument for January 27... The Circuit then stayed the execution pending further order. ... (Jan. 13, 2021). The Government now seeks certiorari before judgment, an extraordinary remedy that is to be granted only upon a showing that “the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice.” ... Given the finality and severity of a death sentence, it is particularly important that judges consider and resolve challenges to an inmate’s conviction and sentence. How just is a legal system that would execute an individual without consideration of a novel or significant legal question that he has raised?

Yet, to consider these questions, some of which (such as mental competency) may not arise until a few weeks before an execution, takes time. That time means delay. The recent federal executions are again illustrative. The Federal Government executed Lee 21 years after his conviction; Brandon Bernard 20 years after his conviction; Alfred Bourgeois 16 years after his conviction; Wesley Purkey 16 years after his conviction; and Lisa Montgomery 12 years after her conviction. Today, the Government executes Higgs 20 years after his conviction. The longer the delay, the weaker the basic penological justifications for imposing the death penalty in the first place become, and the greater the psychological suffering inflicted on the death row inmate. I remain convinced that this dilemma arises out of efforts to impose the death penalty. Together with other problems that I have previously described, it calls into question the constitutionality of the death penalty itself.


Kagan also dissented.

In light of its own standard of only allowing such "remedy" when the case is of "such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice", these members of the court are advertising their hard-on for killing prisoners:

Image Image Image Image Image Image(*)

(* No profile photo of Barrett yet on SCOTUS website, so relying on artist's rendition.)
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