Tag Archives | Supreme Court

“Herr Prösser?!!”: The Madison Uprising to Shift Gears on April 5th

>Click Here<The madness surrounding Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to destroy trade unionism continues apace, but outsiders are likely to be deceived into thinking momentum of the Madison Uprising has been dissipated from its previous well-defined orbit. They couldn’t be more wrong and the turnout for Wisconsin’s April 5th supreme court contest between Prosser (R) and Kloppenburg (D) will prove that.

Current reports from Madison consistently describe a hard core of about one to two dozen protestors haunting the capitol building these days. Some Right Wing supporters of the union-busting tactics have publicly taken courage from this decrease since March 11th, when Walker signed the contententious bill. That, however, would be to focus on the hole, rather than the doughnut, so to speak.

While massive 100+ person rallies like those that continued for 3+ weeks in the capitol building are hugely important for gathering momentum and mobilizing latent energies, they really only represent the tip of an ungodly horror being whipped up for Walker and his supporters in places where it will do some real damage — the home districts of Republican legislators.  Here is but a brief sampling of highlights from the blog TMPDC:

— The wife of Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) and their household help have signed petitions demanding Hopper’s recall in a very public way.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules ‘Hurtful Speech’ of Westboro Baptist Church is Protected Under First Amendment

WBCWarren Richey writes in the Christian Science Monitor:

Supreme Court Justice Alito is the lone dissenter in the 8-to-1 ruling on free-speech principles, saying the conduct of the Westboro Baptist Church ’caused petitioner great injury.’

In an important reaffirmation of free speech principles, the US Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that noxious, highly offensive protests conducted outside solemn military funerals are protected by the First Amendment when the protests take place in public and address matters of public concern.

The high court ruled 8 to 1 that members of the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church are entitled to stage their controversial antigay protests even when they cause substantial injury to family members and others attending the funeral of a loved one.

“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and – as it did here – inflict great pain,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

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Tyson Foods Revokes Activist Chicken Farmer’s License To Raise Chickens; Farmer Sues & Loses Appeal in U.S. Supreme Court

TysonFoodsMark Sherman reports on the AP via Yahoo News:

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from a former Tennessee poultry farmer who sued Tyson Farms after losing his contract to raise their chickens.

The justices did not comment in turning away Alton Terry, who said Tyson cut him off because he helped organize area farmers and complained about the company’s practices. Lower courts had previously dismissed the lawsuit.

Terry, essentially, argued that he lost his contract to raise chickens on his 12-acre farm, because he squawked too much.

Terry was a poultry farmer who brought together a group of area farmers and told them they had the right to complain about Tyson’s practices. He also raised concerns directly with Tyson, among the world’s largest meat companies.

Terry says Tyson and other big companies have too much sway over farmers, and federal courts also have bowed to agribusiness interests by setting too high a standard for the farmers to succeed in court.

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Vermont Proposes Resolution To Ban ‘Corporate Personhood’

0Talk about a victory for common sense, in the face of one of the most harmful and breathtakingly idiotic judicial precedents in U.S. history. AlterNet reports:

A year ago today, the Supreme Court issued its bizarre Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections as a form of “free speech” for the corporate “person.” Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the dissent, had the task of recalling the majority to planet earth and basic common sense.

“Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires,” wrote Stevens. “Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

Fortunately, movements are afoot to reverse a century of accumulated powers and protections granted to corporations by wacky judicial decisions.

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Rep. Peter DeFazio Investigating Impeachment For Chief Justice John Roberts

Rep. Peter DeFazio

Rep. Peter DeFazio

From the Huffington Post:

With Democrats increasingly outraged over the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that allowed unlimited corporate spending in elections — a change conservatives have been more successful at taking advantage of — a Democratic congressman is raising the prospect of impeaching the Supreme Court’s chief justice over the issue.

“I mean, the Supreme Court has done a tremendous disservice to the United States of America,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. “They have done more to undermine our democracy with their Citizens United decision than all of the Republican operatives in the world in this campaign. They’ve opened the floodgates, and personally, I’m investigating articles of impeachment against Justice Roberts for perjuring during his Senate hearings, where he said he wouldn’t be a judicial activist, and he wouldn’t overturn precedents.”

In his 2005 confirmation hearings, Roberts famously said, “Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around.

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The Real Loss in the Midterm Elections

Citizens UnitedAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Now that the polls have closed and American voters are either flaunting their victories or crying in their post electoral concession beers, voters can rest easy that they helped facilitate some change or did their civic duty.

Major corporations, “super” PAC’s and the candidates they backed can run at least one victory lap though, even if their horse actually lost the race. Meanwhile, once the balloons shrink and the cocktails go flat, expect more Americans to feel marginalized. Partially thanks to the Citizens United decision, this mid-term election season saw record spending on campaigns nationwide. Between party spending and independent interest groups it’s possible campaign spending will top $4 billion.

Nearly half a billion dollars (over 12%) of that money came from private interests, many of which did not disclose their political interests thanks to the GOP blocking legislation that would’ve required disclosure.… Read the rest

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Man Threatens President’s Life on Craigslist: Gets Two Years in Jail

CraigslistRobert Wilonsky writes in the Dallas Observer:

You remember Brian Dean Miller, right? Sure you do. He’s the 43-year-old Northeast Dallas man who, back in March, posted to Craigslist’s “Rants & Raves” section an item titled “Obama must die.” Among its highlights, reminds the U.S. Attorney’s Office today, he wrote: “People the time has come for revolution. It is time for Obama to die. I am dedicating my life to the death of Obama.” That was his first post. Then came another one in which he wrote, “I am actively working to kill the president and destroy the U.S. government. … This is war. Join me. Or don’t. I don’t care. I’m not laying down anymore.”

Right. That guy.

Anyway. The U.S. Attorney’s Office just sent word: Miller, whose postings were brought to Secret Service’s attention by a concerned citizen in Arlington, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge David C.

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U.S. Supreme Court Takes On Westboro Baptist Church Hate Case

WBC_protestJess Bravin reviews the upcoming docket of the U.S. Supreme Court, starting with a case relating to the Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for its “God Hates” placards, for the Wall Street Journal:

Free speech stands front and center in the Supreme Court term beginning next week, in a pair of cases testing the First Amendment’s reach in the digital age.

On Oct. 6, the justices will weigh whether the First Amendment protects a Kansas church’s campaign to publicize its beliefs by picketing military funerals with vulgar placards and insulting fallen soldiers’ survivors in online screeds.

The father of a fallen Marine is seeking damages for emotional distress from the church, which believes that God is killing American soldiers to punish the U.S. for its tolerance of homosexuality.

A month later , the court is to consider whether states can bar minors from buying violent videogames, on the theory that these games cause damage to developing minds and this outweighs young people’s constitutional rights.

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Supreme Court Extends Handgun Rights

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

What do you think – was the Supreme Court right to uphold U.S. citizens’ right to carry handguns, even in major cities? I can appreciate both sides of the argument, but as a New York City resident I’d prefer not to see handguns in an urban environment. David G. Savage reports for the Los Angeles Times:

The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago’s ban on handguns Monday and extended the reach of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe on the “right to keep and bear arms.”

The 5-4 decision appears to void the 1982 ordinance, one of the nation’s strictest, which barred city residents from having handguns for their own use, even at home.

The ruling has both local and national implications.

Two years ago, the high court ruled in a case from Washington, D.C., that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals to have a gun for self-defense.

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