Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

The Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision

June 17, 2018

The Supreme Court has decided in favor of the Colorado baker who declined to make a wedding cake for gay wedding.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, in one of the most closely watched cases of the term.

In a 7-2 decision, the justices set aside a Colorado court ruling against the baker — while stopping short of deciding the broader issue of whether a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people. The opinion was penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the swing justice in tight cases.

The narrow ruling here focused on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.

“The Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion.

 

There is a lot that has been written about this decision in the weeks since it has been handed down by the Supreme Court, and I don’t imagine I have too much to contribute to the discussion. Still, There are three or four comments I would like to make about it.

First, Jack Phillips did not refuse to serve the couple because they were homosexuals. He did not tell them that he didn’t serve their kind, as the couple asserted and he actually offered to sell them any pre-made cake in his store. What Mr. Phillips refused to do was to use his artistic talent in a way that was against his religious beliefs. He would not decorate a cake for a gay wedding because his religious beliefs were in opposition to gay weddings. Evidently, Mr. Phillips has long made a practice of refusing to go against his religious values, refusing to decorate cakes with adult themes or even cakes for Halloween.

This is not the same as refusing to allow Blacks to sit at a lunch counter, or forcing someone to sit at the back of the bus. It is more like a gay baker not wanting to bake a cake labeled, “God hates fags” for the Westboro Baptist Church. No one’s rights were being infringed because Jack Phillips declined to decorate a cake for a particular occasion. No one has the right to compel Jack Phillips to bake a cake for a particular occasion.

Second, you might ask how I would feel if someone would refuse to provide some such service to me. Well, I would be upset, of course, and would probably not patronize that particular bakery, or whatever, again, but I would not take them to court to force them to serve me. In fact, I would fight for the right of any baker to refuse to serve me.

Why would I do that?  Well, I wouldn’t want someone to be forced to bake a cake for me because would be afraid of getting the Yelper Special.

But, aside from that, I would support their right to refuse me service for a very simple reason, which leads into my third comment. It seems to me obvious that a government or a court with the power to force someone else to do something I like but they detest has just as much power to force me to do something I would prefer not to do. A government that can mandate a Christian baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding can just as easily force people to follow  Christian,values, whether they want to or not. It is simply astonishing to me that no one ever seems to consider this simple factor.

I have noticed that a lot of the people who believe that a “bigot” like Jack Phillips should be forced to bake the cake are also convinced that Donald Trump is a would-be Fascist dictator, or that the conservative Christians or alt-right racists, or both, are on the verge of taking over this country and eliminating all freedom. If this were even the remotest of possibilities, why on Earth would these people want to give any potential oppressors the tools they need to practice repression? Wouldn’t we be a lot safer with a smaller, more limited government that lets people live in peace. We would have less to fear from any dictator if the government had less influence on our daily lives.

And last, it is something of a scandal that this Supreme Court decision was a 7-2 decision. It ought to have been 9-0. If previous presidents had appointed Supreme Court justices who put the words and intent of the constitution first and their political ideology second, this decision,  and many similar decisions, would have been 9-0. But, consider this any conservative Never-Trumper who might be reading this. If Hilary Clinton were president and had appointed a Justice to replace Antonin Scalia, this decision could very well have been 6-3, with worse to come as Clinton would managed to appoint more Justices. Whatever you may think of Trump’s shortcomings, especially his boorish personality, there is no doubt that the cause of liberty has been better served by his winning the presidency than his opponent.

 

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Hobby Lobby Outrage

June 30, 2014

Today, the Supreme Court  ruled that a company need not cover contraceptives if it is against their religious convictions. This is a victory for religious freedom in this country, and really for freedom generally. If Hobby Lobby does not wish to pay for their employees’ contraceptives, they shouldn’t have to. If someone wishes to have their employer pay for their contraceptives, they should consider working for a company that does cover them.

Naturally the Democrats don’t see it that way. I have already received fund raising e-mails telling of their disgust and outrage over this decision and asking for money to elect Democrats to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Either they are quick writers, or they had already pre-written their appeals in the event of this decision.

Here is one from Stop the GOP.

Friend — It’s outrageous: Just hours ago, the Supreme Court handed corporations the power to deny women birth control coverage. It’s a sad day for America.

Mitch McConnell’s reaction? He’s gloating, and he just vowed to vote on “limiting abortions if Republicans take control of the Senate in November,” according to Rachel Maddow.

But mark our words: If we let the GOP steal the momentum in the wake of this decision and take the Senate, we will DEEPLY regret it. You MUST stop McConnell and the GOP.

With just 12 hours to go before the most critical FEC deadline of this election, please pitch in to stop a GOP Senate takeover. Your gift will be triple-matched.

Supporter Record: VN96C28FDA1
Mid-year Deadline: 12 hours

If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your contribution will automatically be processed when you click the links below:

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Republicans are ALREADY seizing on this ruling to push even more extreme policies.

Their Tea Party candidates are fighting for EVEN MORE radical policies — a COMPLETE ban on some forms of birth control and EXTREME abortion restrictions.

Don’t let them take the momentum and deliver a crushing blow to women’s rights.

Pitch in immediately to fight back against extreme Republicans before the deadline hits in 12 hours.

Thanks for your support,
Stop the GOP

But the Supreme Court didn’t vote to allow corporations to deny women birth control nor was this a crushing blow to women’s rights. They simply said a corporation could not be forced to pay for something that is against its religious convictions. There is nothing to stop a woman, or man for that matter, from paying for their own contraceptives. Hobby Lobby is not preventing them from doing  whatever they want with their own money. Why should Hobby Lobby, or any other company, pay for contraceptives if they don’t want to? Where did these people get the idea that if I choose not to pay for something someone else wants, I am preventing them from getting it?

Here is another, this one from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Friend — It’s disgusting: The Supreme Court just ruled that corporations can deny women insurance coverage for birth control.

It’s a shameful day for our country. But we CAN’T let the GOP use this to steal the momentum, erase our lead, and take over the Senate. The consequences would be dire.

With just 14 hours to go before the most critical FEC deadline of this election, please pitch in to stop a GOP Senate takeover. Your gift will be triple-matched.

If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your contribution will automatically be processed when you click the links below:

EXPRESS DONATE: $3

EXPRESS DONATE: $8

EXPRESS DONATE: $17

EXPRESS DONATE: $25

EXPRESS DONATE: $35

Or donate another amount.

This outrageous decision shows that some Supreme Court justices are just politicians in robes. They’re simply another wing of the Republican Party.

It’s revolting — but if we let the Republicans take the Senate because of this, we’ll never forgive ourselves. PItch in immediately — before the most crucial deadline of the election.

Thanks for your support,
DSCC Breaking News

I am getting just a little tired of the phony outrage these people are always writing about. They seem to be eternally outraged and disgusted by the latest foul deeds and extreme positions of the Republicans, conservatives, the Tea Party, or the Koch Brothers. It has a little of the 1984 Hate Week mentality behind it.

As for what happens next with Hobby Lobby, they have dared to oppose the State and Leader and have resisted the process of Gleichschaltung. I am sure they will be punished for it. I would guess that next year the IRS will find all sorts of irregularities in their taxes. Meanwhile, attempts to drive Hobby Lobby out of business, threats of boycotts, etc. Now might be a good time to shop there.

Democracy is Dead

June 28, 2012
English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

The Nine. There were nine Nazgul too. I wonder if that is a coincidence

The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare today. This is not good and I think it might be fair to say that the cause of liberty suffered a setback. Still, you won’t see me crying and sobbing that democracy is dead, like that idiot in Wisconsin. We lost a battle, but the war continues.

Obviously, we have to elect a Republican president and gain both Houses of Congress. Even then repeal will be harder than many might think. We can count on the liberal media to scream about Conservative selfishness and cruelty every step of the way and I am sure that some of our less stalwart Congressmen will cave at the first hostile editorial from the New York Times. What I mean to say is that it is not enough just to send Republicans to Congress. We are going to have to keep on them until this obamanation is ended.

I have not read the actual ruling and dissents yet. I am not a lawyer and I am not sure if I could really understand the legal jargon. I think I will make an effort to plow through it if I ever have the time, or an incurable case of insomnia. I gather, however, that Justice Roberts struck down the use of the interstate commerce clause as a justification for the law, but joined the more liberal Justices in upholding the law on the basis that the individual mandate could be considered a tax. In other words, Congress can not mandate everyone must buy insurance, or any other product, but it does have the authority to levy a tax to fund a program that provides health insurance. I hope that any lawyer reading this will correct me if I have made a mistake here.

Chief Justice John Roberts has come under a lot of criticism from Conservatives. Some have speculated that he has been pressured or even intimidated to rule the way he did. Others have wondered if he wants to impress the Washington D. C. political elite. I am not so sure. I think that he simply is not inclined to legislate from the bench as other Justices have done. He seems to have the opinion that Obamacare is a deeply flawed piece of legislation but that it is not his job to correct it.  I think, I am no expert on these matters, that his reasoning was sound. Congress does have the right to levy taxes. I also think that he might be taking a broader perspective than most. He did oppose the use of the interstate commerce clause, which is the clause that Liberals have been using to justify the expansion of government in the private sphere for decades. If Congress can impose such a tax, then maybe we need to have a long delayed discussion on what should be taxed and what the government should be really be using that money for. I think then that Roberts was subtly undermining the whole basis for the decades long, relentless expansion of government.

In the end, repealing Obamacare is not enough and if we focus just on that than we run the risk of ignoring the wider fight. We need to do more than repeal one law. We need to reverse the whole entitlement mentality that allows so many people to think that they can get something for nothing. We have to somehow educate people like that foolish woman who believed that Obama was going to pay her mortgage. We must teach them that nothing is really free, and if they do not pay for the goodies they want, than their grandchildren will.

This will not be an easy fight. Our enemies are weaker than they used to be, but they still have control of our educational systems, our entertainment industry, and much of our news media. They will not stop until everyone is a serf and freedom is a forgotten word. But, we have the truth on our side and the knowledge that we fight for freedom, while they stand for tyranny.

Obama Questions the Supreme Court

April 3, 2012

I found this editorial in the New York Sun through Instapundit and found it interesting enough to comment on. It would seem that Obama expects that his health care legislation has a good chance of being overturned by the Supreme Court but is trying to convince himself that it won’t happen.

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard a presidential demarche as outrageous as President Obama’s warning to the Supreme Court not to overturn Obamacare. The president made the remarks at a press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. It was an attack on the court’s standing and even its integrity in a backhanded way that is typically Obamanian. For starters the president expressed confidence that the Court would “not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Reuters’ account noted that conservative leaders say the law was an overreach by Obama and the Congress. It characterized the president as having “sought to turn that argument around, calling a potential rejection by the court an overreach of its own.” Quoth the president: “And I’d just remind conservative commentators that, for years, what we have heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism, or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”

It is outrageous enough that the president’s protest was inaccurate. What in the world is he talking about when he asserts the law was passed by “a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress”? The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act barely squeaked through the Congress. In the Senate it escaped a filibuster by but a hair. The vote was so tight in the house — 219 to 212 — that the leadership went through byzantine maneuvers to get the measure to the president’s desk. No Republicans voted for it when it came up in the House, and the drive to repeal the measure began the day after Mr. Obama signed the measure.

It is the aspersions the President cast on the Supreme Court, though, that take the cake. We speak of the libel about the court being an “unelected group of people” who might “somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” This libel was dealt with more than two centuries ago in the newspaper column known as 78 Federalist and written by Alexander Hamilton. It is the essay in which Hamilton, a big proponent of federal power, famously described the Court as “the weakest of the three departments of power.” It argued that the people could never be endangered by the court — so long as the judiciary “remains truly distinct from both the legislature and the Executive.”

I think it more than laughable that he would consider Obamacare to be passed by a strong majority of Congress. As I recall, they had to use every trick they could to get that mess through. A majority of the people still oppose the health care reform and it is not likely Obama will be saying very much about it on his campaign stops.

Looking over his remarks, I am struck by how ignorant he seems to be of the basic concepts of American government. The whole point of the Constitution was not to allow any one faction or branch of government to become powerful enough to dictate policy. This is why the Constitution has the balancing act between the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches along with a federal system of shared power between the national government and the states. Since the framers of the Constitution feared tyranny by the majority as much as they feared tyranny by a king or dictator (and perhaps they knew from history how often tyrants come to power by appealing to mobs),  they wanted the system to be democratic but not too democratic. I am sure they must have covered all of this some time in his classes at Harvard Law School.

Of course, it is more likely that he knows more about constitutional law than I ever will and ending the balances is part of his plan to fundamentally change this country.


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