Supreme Court

Remembering Kelo

On June 23, 2005, the United State Supreme Court dealt a fatal blow to private property rights with the decision issued in Kelo v. New London. chinaThis landmark ruling allows state and local governments to use the previously redefined meaning of “public use” from the Fifth Amendment (also known as the Takings Clause) to use eminent domain to essentially steal property from one private entity and transfer it to another.

In case you’re not familiar with Kelo, here is some background. The City of New London, Connecticut sought to redevelop the Fort Trumbull neighborhood in hopes of increasing ballthe city’s tax base (“economic development”). Several property owners refused to sell to the city, including Susette Kelo, and condemnation proceedings were started by New London Development Corporation, a private body acting on behalf of the city. Ms. Kelo received her condemnation notice the day before Thanksgiving in 2000. oThe case worked its way through the courts and as we know, it was unsuccessful.

As of today, the property taken by New London sits vacant, with not even the slightest appearance of development.

Reid - Make A Choice - Politics or the Constitution?

No matter how you philosophically interpret it, one thing almost all of us can agree on is that the highest law governing this nation is the Constitution. Then why are Harry Reid and other Democrats pushing for a decision that is as unconstitutional as almost anything the Bush administration had done over the last 8 years? It’s simply politics.

While most wanted Gov. Blagojevich to refrain from making an appointment for US Senate to replace Senator Obama, everyone agreed that he does have the right under the US Constitution and Illionis law to do so, as he has yet to be impeached. And, so he did. His choice? Roland Burris, who will become the only African American in the US Senate. But too bad for Burris — Reid and fellow Democrats do not want him seated.

No Country for Old (White) Men

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At least within the ranks of the Democrat Party, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is officially dead.

On August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, civil rights icon Martin Luther King declared “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Today, the absolute last thing liberal Democrats want is for anyone to be judged by the content of their character, instead demanding everyone be judged by the color of their skin.

Then again, that is not entirely true. To the modern Democrat Party, the color of your skin must also be aligned with political ideology. That is why conservative blacks and Hispanics are not considered “authentic” blacks and Hispanics; because they are not also liberal/progressive, meaning they are open game for the most vicious, slanderous attacks.

A recent example of this comes in the form of the nomination by Obama of the milquetoast, boring old white guy, Garland Merrick, to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the passing of revered originalist Justice Antonin Scalia.

Bader-Ginsburg’s Trump Comments Beyond Inappropriate

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“The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.” ~ Joseph Story (U.S. Supreme Court Justice, called the “Father of American Jurisprudence”), 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution

I suppose we can finally abandon any pretense that the judiciary is still a neutral body rendering opinions based on an impartial interpretation of the Constitution as written. Rather, the judiciary, and especially the Supreme Court, has become a supra-legislative oligarchy of nine (or eight, for the time being) which imposes its own version of morality and “social justice” upon the roughly 315 million Americans who are expected to abide by its diktats.

Two recent examples tell us all we need to know in this regard.

First, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner a few weeks ago declared his unbridled contempt for the Constitution he is sworn to uphold, stating “I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries — well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century…Let’s not let the dead bury the living.”

SCOTUS accepts judicial sentencing tyranny in drug case

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It may sound like a case out of the kangaroo courts of North Korea or Cuba, but chillingly, it comes from the very heart of our republic.

In 2007 a Washington, D.C. man, Antwuan Ball, was convicted of one count of selling $600 worth of cocaine and acquitted of several other charges alleging a conspiracy of drug distribution, murder, and racketeering. However, the district court used the charges of which he was acquitted to increase his sentence from a few years for the one drug deal to 19 years for the conspiracy. Six years later, in 2013, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sentence. And in a final act of injustice, the Supreme Court this week refused to hear the appeal, rendering permanent Ball’s sentence on charges for which he was acquitted.

The level of tyranny being tacitly endorsed here by 6 members of the highest court in the land is hard to exaggerate and to fathom. Judges should have a certain measure of discretion to level appropriate sentences after a conviction, but using charges for which the defendent was specifically acquitted for that purpose is against the entire spirit of due process and the Bill of Rights.

Supreme Court defaults to liberty and federalism on marriage

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In the 15 months since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor in June 2013, which invalidated the strict federal definition of marriage from the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, seven other cases were appealed to the Court, all of which last ruled at the Circuit-level that the state same-sex marriage bans in question were unconstitutional.

In a stunning decision Monday, the Court denied the appeals of all seven cases, meaning the Circuit decisions unanimously striking down those bans are upheld and same-sex couples will soon have equal marriage rights in all states under those Circuits’ jurisdiction.

Nearly everyone expected the Roberts court to grant certiori to the cases and bundle them together to issue a final sweeping ruling on the issue at the end of its next term in mid-2015, so the blanket denial shocked the legal and political communities. It only takes four of the nine justices to grant certiori, so in effect, this was at minimum a 6-3 default ruling in favor of marriage equality.

SCOTUS upholds large DNA databases

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled on Monday that states creating DNA databases with samples collected from felony arrestees is constitutional. The 5-4 decision had an interesting split, leaving liberal Justice Stephen Breyer taking sides with the conservatives, and conservative Justice Antonin Scalia writing the dissenting opinion.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority:

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy called the taking of a cheek swab from felony arrestees “a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” His opinion argued that the testing could be justified as a means of confirming the identification of suspects.

“In light of a valid arrest supported by probable cause respondent’s expectations of privacy were not offended by the minor intrusion of a brief swab of his cheeks,” Kennedy wrote, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Breyer. “That same context of arrest gives rise to significant state interests in identifying respondent not only so that the proper name can be attached to his charges but also so that the criminal justice system can make informed decisions concerning pretrial custody.”

Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit Against FISA

James Earle Fraser's statue The Authority of Law, which sits on the west side of the United States Supreme Court building, on the south side of the main entrance stairs.

American liberty took one more punch to the gut yesterday when the Supreme Court decided that Americans can’t sue the government’s spy machine in court:

A sharply-divided Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out an attempt by U.S. citizens to challenge the expansion of a surveillance law used to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects.

With a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that a group of American lawyers, journalists and organizations can’t sue to challenge the 2008 expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) because they can’t prove that the government will monitor their conversations along with those of potential foreign terrorist and intelligence targets.

The outcome was the first in the current Supreme Court term to divide along ideological lines, with the conservative justices prevailing.

Justices “have been reluctant to endorse standing theories that require guesswork,” said Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote for the court’s majority.

With ObamaCare, Liberals Love Their MegaCorps

I do not understand why so many liberals are cheering and whooping and hollering over last week’s SCOTUS decision on Obamacare. Perhaps it’s because Chief Justice John Roberts more or less rewrote the law to change the penalty into a tax. As we all know, liberals love to “tax and spend” (as long as its other people’s money.) We also know that they absolutely loathe big corporations, as we saw during Occupy Wall Street, as well as all the tax arguments that have been bandied about in order to deal with the deficit (not with Obamacare; that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.)

Yet, last week, Ed Morrissey noted something that should have all liberals crying about this law, rather than hooraying it:

 

After months and months of focusing on Anthony Kennedy as the weak link in the conservative chain at the Supreme Court, it turns out that Chief Justice John Roberts was the one the Right needed to fear.  With the more centrist Kennedy dissenting, Roberts signed off on the individual mandate in ObamaCare, not as part of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, or even the ludicrous reference to the “Good and Welfare Clause” from some Democrats, but from the more mundane and substantial power to tax.  The opinion actually ruled that the mandate violatesthe Commerce Clause, but as a tax that no longer matters.

UPDATED: Dear Erick Erickson: Libertarian’s WON’T and SHOULDN’T Hold Their Noses

Of all the commentary on the SCOTUS decision today, this one stood out to me. It’s from a post written by Erick Erickson over at RedState, titled “I’m Not Down on John Roberts.” (Really, at this point, who could be?) There’s one paragraph that got my attention. The italics are his; the bold is mine:

Fifth, the decision totally removes a growing left-wing talking point that suddenly they must vote for Obama because of judges. The Supreme Court as a November issue for the left is gone. For the right? That sound you hear is the marching of libertarians into Camp Romney, with noses held, knowing that the libertarian and conservative coalitions must unite to defeat Obama and Obamacare.

With all due respect, Mr. Erickson, that is balderdash.

As I have written, the entire reason that this decision was made, the entire reason that this abomination has passed, was because a conservative justice, appointed by a Republican president, made it so. In effect, Roberts pulled some random garbage out of left field with a Death Star’s tractor beam in order to make this work.

And so somehow, because a conservative had upheld this unrepetant bag of you-know-what, libertarians are going to jump to their side by electing the guy who created Obamacare’s prototype?

Excuse me, but just what in the name of the Father, Son, and the Unholy Ghost is Erick smoking?


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