Friday, July 31, 2020

RIP John Lewis

John Lewis's last words should inspire all of us. 

"Together, you can redeem the soul of our nation

 though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe."

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

John Yoo returns... and is advising Trump

Seems our famous torture lawyer-- the one who advised GW Bush on how to "legally" torture people is back to advising presidents on legally dubious (and immoral) prinicples...  Now professor Yoo -- yes for those who don't know it -- the morally corrupt (in my opinion) Yoo has tenture at Berkely law school. So it seems Yoo is advising our morally corrupt president on how to rule by decree--- because hey, following the actual law is cumbersome for the likes of criminals like Trump and Yoo is the perfect person for this job.
You can read more here and here.

The fact that Yoo is even in the position he is in is a failing of Obama (and of course Berkely law schhol) who decided to look forward... and not hold any of the torturers responsible.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian...

Let's start with the good news:

A gangster in the White House

SCOTUS rules on Electoral College voting ... Sexual identity and civil rights ... Native-American reservations ... Dreamers ... Presidential tax records ... The power of theocrats and churches ... Some helpful rulings, others less so ... Justice Department habitually supporting Trump's personal battles in court ... Curious belief that a mentally unfit president could be reelected ... Maybe it is possible ... Roger Fitch reports from Washington 

The 2019 supreme court term has ended. Here's who won and who lost.

First the good news. 

"Faithless electors" can be punished; the decision was unanimous - dealing with situations where members of the Electoral College seek to defy the will of a state's voters. 

In a Louisiana case, the court ended non-unanimous jury verdicts in state felony trials. Linda Greenhouse was fascinated by the hidden agendas revealed in the individual opinions.

In Bostock, a majority supported a literal reading of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so as to cover sexual identity and orientation. The conservative Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch joined the court's liberals and wrote the opinion. The Atlantic recounts the fortuitous presence of the word "sex" in American anti-discrimination law.

Bostock will affect overtly discriminatory Health and Human Services regulations recently announced by Trump and under legal attack, but religious zealots hope to use their claims to circumvent the new ruling. Some observers suspect Gorsuch laid landmines in Bostock to further future conservative initiatives.

In Indian Country (as we say) there was the momentous McGirt decision, again featuring Justice Gorsuch, who affirmed the enduring validity of Native-American reservations covering vast areas of eastern Oklahoma.  

In the DACA decision (Trump v NAACP), Chief Justice Roberts joined the court's liberals in finding that the Trump administration's efforts to abolish President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  failed, not because it couldn't be done, but because of the sloppy way it was attempted. 

Citing respect for precedent, the newly-fluid CJ also joined a liberal majority in June Medical Services v Russo, striking down a Louisiana abortion restriction almost identical to one found unconstitutional by a differently-composed court in 2016. 


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Trumps war against the International Criminal Court

I have been meaning to write about this for over a month but things keep getting in the way....All of the men at Guantanamo (past and present) are victims of US war crimes.

Bush jr pulled us out of the International court (ICC) as one of his first acts when he was "elected" back in 2000.  Obama ignored the issue when he could have reinstated the US (when he had a majority in both houses) and of course Trump would never recognize the ICC.

So it looked like the US was going to get away with its war crimes in Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan is a member of the ICC and when the prosecutor started to look into the war crimes it was with Afghanistan's blessings. 

So now the US can be held accountable for our war crimes in Afghanistan even if we have not signed on to recognize the court. Bad news for the US but good news for justice.

Of course the Trump administration is vehemently opposed to any scrutiny by the ICC -- the US believes it is not accountable to anyone, nevertheless the ICC. And so the bullying begins.....or I guess I should say, the bullying continues. 

More here

Saturday, July 4, 2020