This morning, the Supreme Court dropped its much-anticipated opinion on faithless electors in Chiafalo v. Washington, which was consolidated with Colorado Department of State v. Baca. Ruling unanimously, the Court held that a state may enforce an elector’s pledge to support their party’s nominee – and the state voters’ choice – for president in the Electoral College.
For many, the Court’s opinion puts to rest the argument that electors have the freedom to depart from the will of the voters to instead cast their vote as they please; however, the Court’s decision leaves open two methods by which electors can remain faithless – (1) when the state has no law in place to compel faithfulness, and (2) when the penalty is a monetary fine that the elector can pay in exchange for his unfaithfulness.Read more
Today, the Supreme Court held in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that, under the Free Exercise Clause, if a state has a program giving public dollars to citizens to use at private schools, it cannot tell those citizens that the money can only be used at non-religious private schools. Montana had decided that its scholarship program funds could not be used at religious schools under the state's Blaine Amendment, a legacy of a failed anti-Catholic amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many First Amendment advocates hope this opinion proves to be a fatal blow to the discriminatory anti-religious Blaine Amendments still found in many state constitutions.Read more
Today’s decisions by the Supreme Court were a mixed bag. First, any way you look at it, Chief Justice Robert’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo is hard to reconcile with his dissent in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. From SCOTUSblog:
Four years ago, by a vote of 5-3, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that (among other things) required doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at a nearby hospital. In that case, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined his four more liberal colleagues in holding that, although Texas has a genuine interest in protecting the health of pregnant women, there was no evidence that the law actually did anything to promote that interest – but it did make it more difficult for women to get an abortion. Kennedy is no longer on the court, but today it was Chief Justice John Roberts who joined the court’s four liberals in ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo that a similar law from Louisiana is unconstitutional – even as he maintained that he continues to believe that the Texas case was wrongly decided.Read more
While the Democrats seem to continuously reward bad actors who falsely accuse, such as Rep. Adam Schiff, with leadership roles, it looks as if they know will award the original such bad actor with their party's Presidential nomination. The original bad guy Chairman may have been presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden. Biden was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when the term “borking" was created after the travesty done to Judge Robert Bork. As Webster’s defines "bork": “to attack or defeat (a nominee or candidate for public office) unfairly through an organized campaign of harsh public criticism or vilification.”Read more
Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words is a great movie. I saw it this weekend and came away with three thoughts, none of which are on his legal philosophy, which is just touched on in the movie. But two of them are very relevant for today.
From Left-Wing Revolutionary to Conservative Supreme Court Justice: Created Equal–Clarence Thomas In His Own Words
Set to be released in early 2020, Created Equal–Clarence Thomas in His Own Words is a two-hour documentary that allows viewers to get up-close and personal with Justice Clarence Thomas as he discusses firsthand the numerous hurdles he faced en route to the Supreme Court of the United States. The purpose of the documentary is to “tell the Clarence Thomas story truly and fully, without cover-ups or distortions.”Read more
For being a black conservative, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been subjected to an entirely different set of standards in the criticism of his judicial leanings and his personal life, according to an upcoming documentary highlighting his career and path to the Supreme Court.
“If you criticize a black person who’s more liberal, you’re a racist. Whereas you can do whatever to me, or to now [Housing and Urban Development Secretary] Ben Carson, and that’s fine, because you’re not really black because you’re not doing what we expect black people to do,” he added.'Read more
The left is again regurgitating the vomit of fake accusations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And the Democrats running for President are ready to impeach Justice Kavanaugh. Of course, there is no evidence for the allegations and it is important to begin with what the goal is. As Paul Mirengoff writes over at Powerline:
The left has managed to keep Anita Hill’s trivial and uncorroborated allegations against Clarence Thomas alive and talked about for nearly 30 years. Thus, it’s not surprising that the left is still out to smear Brett Kavanaugh along similar lines. The focus now is on how Kavanaugh behaved, or is alleged to have behaved, towards women at parties during his freshman year at Yale 35 years (or so) ago.Read more
Supreme Court Declares Partisan Gerrymandering Cases Nonjusticiable; Issues Confusing Opinion in Census Case
The Supreme Court issued two opinions with direct implications for redistricting this morning, on the last day of the October 2018 Term. In a consolidated opinion for Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, the Court held that "partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts." In Department of Commerce v. New York, the Court remanded the "census" case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with its rather confusing opinion that held both that it would be permissible for the the Department of Commerce to ask a question regarding citizenship on the census and that the Department did not provide an accurate reason for the question's inclusion.Read more
Joe Biden's announcement that he is running for President was unique in that the prelude included several apologies or near apologies for his behavior toward women. Among those apologies was one to Anita Hill, who falsely accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. As former Associate White House Counsel Mark Paoletta wrote a few years back when the Hill-Thomas subject was being brought up in relation to the Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes matters:Read more