Trump’s Reasoning for Citizenship Question on Census Could Also Prohibit Most Citizens From Voting

Among the hallmarks of Donald Trump’s presidency is his brazen disrespect for, and ignorance of, the Constitution of the United States. When he isn’t flagrantly misstating its meaning, he is fiercely striving to subvert its purpose. To him it is an inconvenient sheet of parchment that gets in the way of him doing whatever the heck he wants.

Donald Trump, Constitution

Case in point, Trump’s current dispute with the Supreme Court over whether to include a question about citizenship on the decennial census. The Court recently ruled against Trump on the matter, but he is refusing to let it rest. Never mind that the Constitution clearly states that the census is an enumeration of “persons,” not citizens.

At first, Trump’s own Justice and Commerce Departments acceded to the Court’s decision and stated that the Census would be printed without the citizenship question. But this must have angered Trump, or more likely his “Shadow Cabinet” on Fox News. Because Trump later tweeted that he was still seeking ways of going forward with the question despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. He even called his own cabinet secretaries fake news:

On Friday morning Trump elaborated on this “quest” when a reporter asked him about it (video below). His response was a startling display of arrogance and ignorance. After babbling about his his many alleged options, Trump revealed his absurd justification for including a question that has been independently assessed to be discriminatory:

“I just spoke with the Attorney General. We have a number of different avenues. We could use all of them or just one. […] If you look at the history of our country, it’s almost always been asked.”

Let’s set aside the fact that Attorney General William Barr is once again acting as Trump’s personal lawyer, rather than the chief law enforcement official for the American people.

More to the point, Trump is arguing that because there was a citizenship question on the census in the past, there should be one now. But If you take Trump’s advice and look at the history of our country, what you’ll find is that African-Americans and women have almost always been prohibited from voting. So by the same ludicrous logic, it would be justifiable to restore those prohibitions. And that would literally prohibit most citizens from voting.

For the record, a citizenship question was not asked for most of the first fifty years the U.S. existed. Then it began to be asked just after the civil war, until around 1950. That’s curious timing, don’t you think? Thereafter it has been asked of only a small sample of the population. But now Trump wants to ask everybody. In his morning media scrum, he was also asked why the question was so important. And here he said aloud what his aides surely meant for him to keep secret:

“You need it for many reasons. Number one, you need it for Congress. You need it for Congress for districting. You need it for appropriations. Where are the funds going?”

So Trump is now calling his own Justice Department liars. Their original reason had something to do with needing the question to help enforce the Voting Rights Act. That, of course, makes no sense at all. And it’s one of the reasons they lost in the Supreme Court. Even worse, a few weeks ago Trump’s Solicitor General explicitly told the Supreme Court that redistricting was not the reason for the question. So much for that transparently dishonest excuse.

Worst of all, trump is now admitting that his reason for the question is to impact redistricting in a manner that would suppress the votes of a largely Democratic electorate, while helping Republicans to hang on to their white nationalist power base. What we have here is Trump getting caught in a complex web of lies in order to justify a partisan and racist policy that violates the Constitution. In other, business as usual in the Era of Trump.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Wannabe Dictator Trump Proposes Violating Constitution Due to Supreme Court’s Census Decision

The examples of Donald Trump trying to subvert the Constitution that he allegedly swore to defend keep piling up. Whether it’s his efforts to suppress the media that he calls “the enemy of the people,” or enriching himself with money from foreign governments, or his attempts to ban immigrants based on their religion, or his phony national “emergency” to get funding for his border wall, or his threats to engage in warfare without the consent of Congress. Trump has demonstrated that he has zero respect for the document that defines America’s principles.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

On Thursday morning the Supreme Court issued a ruling that dashed the Trump administration’s hopes of perverting the census by adding a question on citizenship. The Court sent the matter back to the district court that already ruled against Trump. But rather than respecting the decision, Trump lashed out on Twitter (of course) with a flagrantly contra-legal suggestion:

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that Trump is incapable of grasping why the citizenship question is improper and discriminatory. His only interest is in distorting the census results by smothering responses from immigrant residents. He doesn’t know that the census is a count of ALL those residing in the United States, without respect to citizenship. And his purpose – along with the Trump Republican Nationalist Party – is to repress the representation of districts that traditionally vote Democratic.

It’s a purely political motivation that is driving Trump. But his intention to delay the census for his partisan benefit is also unpatriotic and unconstitutional. The census is stipulated to take place by Article I, Section 2 of the US Constitution. It isn’t voluntary or discretional. And federal law goes even farther to assign an April 1st date for the census to be undertaken. Trump’s tweet, therefore, expresses a blatant desire to breach the Constitution and federal law – again. Ironically, the census is found in the same section of the Constitution that grants Congress the sole power of impeachment. Maybe that’s why Trump is avoiding it.

The fact that Trump can announce these criminal acts so publicly is reflective of his disrespect for the law and his aspirations for the powers of the tyrants he admires (Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, etc.). He often comments on his jealously of their despotic rule. And remarks like these refute any claim that he might have just been joking.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The American people want and deserve an accurate census. And Trump’s efforts to undermine that for his own purposes have – for the time being – been blocked. But the real patriots in this country need to remain vigilant, because Trump has shown that he will continue to defile the Constitution every chance he gets if he isn’t stopped. It’s shocking and sad that we are all now conscripted into having to defeat the President’s unconstitutional ambitions.

Clarence Thomas Opinion Would Muzzle the Press for Donald (the Media is the Enemy of the People) Trump

There is much that Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Clarence have in common. For instance, their starkly conservative principles (although Thomas actually believes them, while Trump holds them as long as it’s convenient to do so). And they are also notorious abusers of women who have managed to escape the consequences of their repulsive behavior.

Clarence Thomas, Donald Trump

And now Thomas has written a new opinion that will surely please Trump. In a case involving another sexual predator, Bill Cosby, Thomas called for a total rewrite of a fifty year old precedent that shielded journalists from hostile lawsuits that would impose on their First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press. The case is known as New York Times v. Sullivan,” and it prohibited the recovery of damages for defamation unless it could be shown that the alleged offense was made “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” As reported by ThinkProgress:

“Truth traditionally was not a defense to libel prosecutions,” the justice writes. “The crime was intended to punish provocations to a breach of the peace, not the falsity of the statement.” Thus, a journalist (or anyone else with a platform, for that matter) could face criminal prosecutions even if their reporting is 100 percent accurate.

Imagine that. A reporter could be held criminally liable for publishing a true story if the truth caused the subject harm. This is something that Trump would absolutely love. He is fond of slandering the media as “fake News” whenever they write accurate stories about what he actually does and says. If the law were rewritten in the manner that Thomas advocates, Trump could then sue the media enterprise that published it.

Trump has literally called for such a change in the law. At his cult rallies he has insisted that he should be able to sue the media when they publish stories that he regards as negative. And in one of his staged photo-op cabinet meetings, Trump said that:

“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts. If somebody says something that is totally false, and knowingly false, that the person that has been abused, defamed, libeled, will have meaningful recourse.

“Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness. So we’re gonna take a strong look at that. We want fairness. You can’t say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account.”

First of all, the law already provides for recourse if someone is “knowingly” and “falsely” maligned. What Trump wants is to be able to sue anyone who criticizes him, even if the criticism is warranted and documented. Ironically, what Trump is calling for would put him in far more legal jeopardy than the journalists he is hoping to punish for being honest. Most reporters make conscious efforts to get their stories right. But Trump cavalierly lies whenever he gets the urge to attack his perceived foes.

This opinion by Thomas could not be more obedient to the whims of the President if were dictated by him. And for all we know it might have been. Trump’s goal has long been to incite hostility toward the press and to diminish its reputation. That’s how Trump seeks to soften the blow from all the deservedly negative press he generates.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

He isn’t interested in truth. He’s seeking the sort of tyrannical control of the press that all dictators lust after. It’s precisely the same sort of intimidation that he aimed at Saturday Night Live recently when he called for “retribution” against them for a satirical bit featuring Alec Baldwin. If Trump had his way he would revoke the First Amendment. And if Thomas has his way, it will be a big step toward that nightmarish end.

Sean Hannity of Fox News Goes Off on ‘The Apocalyptic Left’ in Defense of Trump Nominee

On Monday night Donald Trump unveiled his second Supreme Court nominee in as many years. He did it in a splashy primetime ceremony that was wholly out of proportion to any actual news value. The fact that TV networks continue to cater to Trump’s insatiable appetite for attention is one of the most troubling failings of the media in the Trump era.

Fox News, Sean Hannity

The unveiling of Judge Brett Kavanaugh went off as expected, so long as you were expecting a rose granting ceremony on the finale of The Bachelor. Trump gave a speech that could have been written by a computer programmed to emulate Republican talking points. And Kavanuagh’s address could have been copied verbatim from “Right-Wing Judicial Nomination Speeches for Dummies.” The whole event was a predictably partisan political sham that wasted everybody’s time.

Well, except for Fox News. The reason that Trump requested this primetime slot was solely to boost his favorite cable news network and, not coincidentally, right during the time period of Sean Hannity’s show. It worked. The ratings for the Trump infomercial spiked for Fox News with 6.6 million glassy-eyed Deplorables glued to their sets.

Following the announcement, Hannity returned to surprise no one with his unreserved praise and adulation for Trump’s selection (video below). But he had more on his mind than the alleged qualifications of Kavanaugh. Hannity actually spent far more time attacking Democratic critics of Kavanaugh than he did applauding him. And he held nothing back in his assault on the liberal demons set on destroying America. He began by asserting that the left’s attacks were “bordering on insanity.” He continued saying that:

“You have the left, the Democrats, and their friends in the media, their echo chamber, always conducting what is a malicious campaign to impugn the character of good people. The track record of good people. Frankly anybody that President Trump would have nominated to the Supreme Court. The language gets downright apocalyptic, and this time is no different.”

Coming from someone who is casting Democrats as the harbingers of the apocalypse, it’s hard for a rational person to take Hannity seriously. Likewise, the accusation by someone on Fox News that Democrats are employing an echo chamber is hysterical. But he was just getting started. He went on to play some clips from CNN and MSNBC of people with criticisms of Trump and his potential nominees. The striking thing about these clips is that none of them were remotely apocalyptic or insane. Each one exhibited a rational – and truthful – argument against Trump’s shortlist of Supreme Court candidates. And while Hannity blasted these criticisms in the most hostile terms, he never offered a single substantive rebuttal to any one of them.

Following that intellectually vacant harangue, Hannity reminded his viewers of the confirmation fights that occurred during the nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. He felt that it was important to show how committed Democrats were in opposition to such strident and extremist conservatives. Funny thing though, Hannity didn’t bother to show any examples of Republicans viciously maligning – and lying about – the nominees of Democratic presidents.

In short, this televised tantrum was fairly typical of Hannity’s nightly bluster. He was even kind enough to provide a summary of what makes the GOP so offensive and out of touch with most Americans. In an attempt to dismiss liberal critics, Hannity noted that criticisms of Kavanaugh would fit the mold wherein his rulings would “lead to dirty air, dirty water, the rise of racism, sexism, misogynism, etc.” Exactly. Thanks for that succinct rundown of the Republican agenda and what we can reasonably expect from Kavanaugh if he is confirmed.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s Supreme Court Pageant is a Fake News Farce that the Media Should Not Cover

For several days now Donald Trump has been hyping the announcement of his choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He has been rolling it out like a new episode of Celebrity Apprentice. The trivialization of this process is typical of a president whose only prior experience was hosting a reality TV game show. However, the nation’s press ought to know better than to be taken in by such flagrant self-promotion.

Donald Trump

Trump has asked the major television networks for a primetime spot on Monday night. It’s the sort of thing that is generally reserved for declarations of war or death notices for prominent government officials. Clearly this doesn’t meet that high standard. Trump’s potential nominee short list has been widely reported, and the names on it have been analyzed in great detail. So the urgency for a primetime preemption of American Ninja Warrior and The Bachelorette is hardly justified. Nevertheless, Trump’s Twitter feed has been firing up the unveiling of his nominee for over a week:

It’s curious that the President is impressed by having “long heard” of the Supreme Court’s importance. It isn’t common knowledge to him, but more like a rumor that’s been going around. And all of the mystery and suspense of his already anti-climatic decision is about to blow up. All that’s missing from this charade is the advertising sponsorship notice that “This event is being brought to you by Capital One: Who’s in your pocket?”

At this point there is absolutely nothing newsworthy about this brazen hypesterism. There is no reason that the American television viewer can’t wait until their local news program to learn which Trump flunky got a rose. There will still be be weeks or months of confirmation hearings and the Court doesn’t reconvene until October. So why the rush to put Trump on TV to conduct what will be just another of his partisan rallies? We all know what he’ll say:

“My nominee for the Supreme Court is a tremendous person. Everyone says so. He will rule according to the original interpretation of the Constitution as defined by Founding Fathers like Antonin Scalia, that I can tell you. He will be strong on taxes and the border and national security, and he loves the military. He will respect the right to life and the values that all Deplorable Americans share. Believe me. The enemy of the American people, the media, who are broadcasting this (so dishonest), will try to tear him down. But they are going out business in a couple of years so that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you, my people, will love and support this nominee because I said so. Thank you for listening. Good night, and God bless my nominee, the Supreme Court, and the United Soviet Soc… I mean the United States of America.”

There you go, media. Now you don’t have to air Trump’s speech. Why bother when it will just be an extension of the revival meetings he has been holding around the country instead of, you know, doing the work of the president. If the press does air this propaganda it will be they who doing the work of this president, and that isn’t the media’s job. They should decline Trump’s request for time, and then report on anything newsworthy that comes from it after the fact.

For anyone who simply can’t wait, there is always State TV (aka Fox News), who will air virtually everything that Trump says like the obedient hype machine that they are. And Fox will follow their coverage of the announcement with a couple of hours of “analysis” explaining why Trump’s choice was so brilliant. However, the rest of the media should have more integrity. They should shun this undeserved demand for attention. Unfortunately, as of Monday morning, they all seem to be falling in line with the wannabe dictator in the White House. #SAD!

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Supreme Court Ruling On Trump’s Muslim Ban Makes No Friggin’ Sense At All

Monday morning the Supreme Court announced that they will allow a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States to go into effect. The ban was part of an Executive Order by Donald Trump that was blocked by lower courts, rewritten, and blocked again. In the Supreme Court’s decision the ban will be partially reinstated until the the full court considers it in October.

Donald Trump

For the record, the Court did not side with Trump on the constitutionality of the ban. They only reversed the lower court decision to suspend the Order pending a final ruling. But there is a more important reason why the whole matter is absurd. In order to understand what’s wrong with this decision we need to look at what the Order originally called for. Which was this:

“I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order. […] The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.”

Trump’s attempts to ban immigrants and refugees were limited in scope to 90 and 120 days respectively. That ban was was ordered on January 27, 2017. So it is has already been 150 days since the order was effective. His reason for imposing the ban was to review the processes and procedures related to immigration and the security considerations thereof. There was nothing stopping him from conducting that review for the past 150 days. Had he done so it would have been completed by now and the ban would be moot.

Why didn’t Trump conduct those reviews that he was so insistent were critical to national security? Why isn’t he conducting them now? If he really cared about the safety of the American people he would have done that while the courts were hashing out the Executive Order. This exposes the lie in his statement celebrating the Supreme Court’s temporary ruling. He said that “My number one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is to keep the American people safe.” Obviously that wasn’t true. Because instead of fulfilling that responsibility, he did nothing at all. And that is pretty much the story for his entire short presidency.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox News Celebrates Supreme Court Decision Upholding Christian Theocracy

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America includes a stipulation that the government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The legal interpretation of that clause, with more than 200 years of precedence, holds that proceedings of official bodies of government may not engage in sectarian religious activity as it puts the imprimatur of the state on the particular spiritual practice.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court just ruled in favor of the town council of Greece, N.Y, to offer prayers in the opening of their council meetings. The Court explicitly stated that they regarded these prayers as permissible even though they were predominantly Christian. The justification for the ruling was based on the absurd notion that the prayers were merely ceremonial and not religious.

“As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance.”

And joining the celebration of what is ostensibly ceremonial is Fox News, who cheered the decision with a joyful declaration that it was “A Win For Religion.”

Fox News Theocracy

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The language that Fox News used to report this decision demonstrates that it was indeed a matter of faith. After all, they didn’t declare it to be a “A Win For Ceremony.” The ceremonial argument is a thinly veiled excuse to permit proselytizing for Christianity. What’s more, the argument that reciting exclusively Christian prayers does not violate the establishment clause of the Constitution is a gross misunderstanding of the law. Such activity blatantly favors a specific belief and excludes all others with differing beliefs. To illustrate the point, just imagine the reaction if the town council decided to offer a Muslim prayer at the opening of the session. It would create a deafening outcry from Christians insisting they were offended by the invocation.

For evidence of that, take the example of a recent event in Colorado. The students at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins were led by another student in the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “under God” replaced by the words “under Allah.” This was met with harsh criticism by Christianists in the community and the media, including Fox’s own resident religious bigot, Todd Starnes.

First of all it should be noted that Allah is the Arabic (not Islamic) word for God, and both Muslims and Arab Christians use it. Secondly, why would it be offensive for Muslim-Americans to pledge their allegiance to the American flag? Isn’t that something we should encourage, or are we only open to recognizing Muslims who hate us? More to the point, the criticism reveals the true intent of the religious extremists who aspire to force their religion onto everyone else through the use of official forums in government and schools. That is precisely the behavior that the conservatives on the Supreme Court sanctioned today.

For Fox News to report this decision with a headline that describes it as “A Win For Religion” is further evidence that they regard the issue as one of faith, despite their denials and those of the Court. Their own words betray their not-very-hidden motives.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts: Koch Brothers = Flag Burning Nazis

The recent decision by the Supreme Court to permit unlimited contributions to political candidates and committees represents a further degradation of democracy as an experiment in self-rule. Along with the Citizen’s United case, this ruling puts more power into the hands of an elite minority of wealthy plutocrats whose only interest is in feathering their own already luxurious nests.

The decision impacts about five hundred people whose political contributions have reached the previous limits. That leaves the rest of the 350 million Americans who don’t have private fortunes to struggle for recognition from politicians who feast off of money. It is incomprehensible that five legally trained justices can plausibly deny the fact that big donors are able to extract favors from congressmen and senators, and that such favoritism corrupts the electoral system.

The reasoning articulated by Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the decision, defies logic. It is evidence that he and his conservative comrades on the Court were more interested in producing a desired result than in interpreting the Constitution. Here is the key argument presented by Roberts:

“Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades – despite the profound offense such spectacles cause – it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opinion.”

John Roberts Political Speech

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The problem with this argument is that it confuses the content of political speech with the manner of it. Everyone would agree that content, regardless of its popularity or lack thereof, is protected speech. But this case had nothing whatsoever to do with content. The plaintiff was contesting campaign laws that put limits on the amount of aggregate contributions any individual may make to candidates and/or political action committees. These laws were intended to prevent the sort of manipulation and influence peddling that existed prior to their enactment. The laws in no way prohibit free expression and the plaintiff never alleged that they did so.

The manner, or process, in which speech is made, however, is constitutionally subject to regulation. Everybody knows the legally justified consequences of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. In addition, you cannot slander or libel someone; you cannot claim that your pomegranate smoothie cures liver cancer; you cannot spray-paint your message onto a citizen waiting for a bus; you cannot hack the satellite feed of a television network and broadcast your speech instead of American Idol; and, until this week, you could not spend unlimited sums of money to buy an election and a candidate or candidates.

The statement above by Chief Justice Roberts illustrates the faulty logic of content vs. process. Flag burning is an example of the content of speech. But contribution limits are an example of process. The process can be regulated without ever affecting any content, opinion, or exercise of free expression. Not being able to continue making donations after you have reached a proscribed limit does not prohibit you from continuing to speak. Put up a billboard. Publish an editorial. Call into the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Buy yourself a half hour of primetime television. Your rights are obviously still in effect. But it is perfectly reasonable for legislatures to enact contribution limits that protect the democratic process from being co-opted by wealthy special interests.

The right to donate unlimited sums of cash to a candidate exists nowhere in the Constitution. This court has invented a right on the shaky premise that it is tied to free speech. However, if I can’t stand in front of Donald Trump’s mansion with a bullhorn day and night, I still have other means of expressing myself. The same is true for the Koch brothers if they are not allowed to pour unlimited funds into the bank account of GOP hack who will do their bidding.

However, the irony of Roberts invoking free speech in his decision delivers a rather appropriate juxtaposition of ideas. By trying to conflate process with content, Roberts produced an example that puts extravagant campaign spending in the same category as repugnant behavior like flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades. On that measure, I’m gonna have to agree with him.

This is How Hobby Lobby Practices Their Allegedly ‘Christian’ Values

This week the Supreme Court heard a case brought by the arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby. The company seeks an exemption from the mandate in the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) that requires employers to offer insurance plans that include coverage for contraceptives. The basis for their request is that they are a “Christian” enterprise and that they believe that certain methods of contraception are de facto abortion.

The problem with their legal argument is that science does not regard contraception as abortion, so the belief of the company’s owners is factually false. What’s more, they are asserting that a corporation can have a religious affiliation just like a person. That’s a strained proposition unless you believe that a corporation also has a soul, is capable of sin, and is subject to divine judgement. Do good corporations go to Heaven?

However, even if we were to accept their assertion of a religious objection to the mandate, Hobby Lobby can cannot seriously claim to have a spiritual conflict with the law as regards contraception, or even abortion. That’s because, despite the company’s owner saying that “Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions,” their business does engage in practices that violate their professed beliefs.

Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby pays millions of dollars to stock their shelves with cheap products made in China, a country where abortion is legal and is even provided by the government for free – when they aren’t forcing it on women who want their babies. It is impossible to accept that the company is unconditionally opposed to a voluntary form of preventive health care that obviates the need for an abortion, while supporting a system that encourages abortion outright. If Hobby Lobby can do business with China when the profit motive compels them to, they cannot simultaneously pretend that an American woman having access to an insurance policy that includes coverage for contraception is some sort of abomination against their Lord.

Hobby Lobby’s hypocrisy, of course, is not the only reason they should lose this case. It would be frightening if the Supreme Court ruled that a corporation can have a religious belief. That would set the stage for any business to discriminate against employees for anything from race or sexual orientation to facial hair or consumption of pork. It would enable some companies to seek an exemption to ObamaCare if they believe that only faith healing is in accordance with their religion.

For Republicans, and their PR division, Fox News, to cheer on the Hobby Lobby case represents a severe departure from their professed principles. While they falsely allege that ObamaCare allows the government to come between the patient and the doctor (in fact, the government is merely attempting to prevent insurance companies from doing so), they are embracing a ruling that would give that power to every corporation.

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Permitting businesses to dictate what sort of health care their employees can have is not an expression of the individual liberties that conservatives pretend to favor. And it’s even more offensive when corporate high priests impose their religious beliefs on the people who work for them. Especially when those beliefs are discarded in order to increase profits.

DOMA vs. Voting Rights: Justice Scalia’s Jaw-Dropping Hypocrisy

The rulings today from the Supreme Court will undoubtedly dominate the part of the news cycle that isn’t filled with testimony from the George Zimmerman trial.

The decision on California’s Prop 8 was essentially a punt wherein the Court ruled that the plaintiff did not have standing to bring the case. The result is that the lower court ruling that struck down Prop 8 remains in effect and gay marriages will resume shortly in California.

The decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was the more profound ruling as it struck down the legislation congress had passed in an attempt to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Consequently, the federal government is now prohibited from discriminating against same-sex couples with regard to marriage.

Not surprisingly, the media has pounced on these events with analysis, interviews, and opinions from across the political spectrum. However, one fairly obvious observation seems to have been ignored by many in the mainstream press. And that is the rank hypocrisy of Justice Scalia when you juxtapose his opinion from yesterdays ruling on the Voting Rights Act (VRA) with today’s dissent on the DOMA case. On DOMA Scalia complained that…

“We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation […] That is jaw-dropping. It is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s Representatives in Congress and the Executive.”

But just the day before Scalia had signed on to the Court’s majority decision to strike down the Voting Rights Act – which, of course, was democratically adopted legislation by the people’s representatives. In fact, the law was just reauthorized by congress in 2006 with a vote in the senate of 98-0 and in the House by 390-33. The reauthorization was signed by then-President George W. Bush who effusively praised the bill.

Nevertheless, Scalia condemned the VRA previously despite its broadly bi-partisan approval in congress. He belittled it as a “racial entitlement” that was somehow immune to the “normal political process.” He even noted the huge majority vote it received, but portrayed that with derision as if it were a defect.

“And this last enactment – not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same. Now, I don’t think that’s attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. […It is] a phenomenon that is called ‘perpetuation of racial entitlement.’ Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political process.”

So on one day Scalia takes a position that congress is incapable of making valid decisions on behalf of the people and, consequently, the Supreme Court must step in to make the decisions for them. That was his justification for striking down the VRA. However, the very next day Scalia bitterly castigates his colleagues for taking action to invalidate a law that had been enacted by the people’s representatives, and he repudiated the notion that it is the Court’s role to second guess the congress. That was the gist of his dissent on DOMA.

Literally overnight, Scalia went from asserting the Court’s authority over congressional actions, to asserting that the Court had no such authority. So the question is: Is that just Scalia being a hypocritical jerk, or is the 77 year old jurist suffering from a cognitive disorder?

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Antonin Scalia