Tag Archives | Supreme Court

Mark Of The Beast: Obama’s Latest Monsanto Pick, Elena Kagan

from Doc Searls at Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Doc Searls (CC)

Rady Ananda writes for Thepeoplesvoices.org:

First, we spit out our coffee over President Obama’s appointments of former Monsanto goon Michael Taylor as Food Safety [sic] Czar and ‘biotech governor of the year’ Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Then we choked on our grits when he made Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui, the US Ag Trade Representative. Now, the real food movement has completely lost its appetite with Obama’s nomination of Monsanto defender, Elena Kagan, to the US Supreme Court.

In December 2009, in her capacity as Solicitor General, Kagan intervened in the first case on which SCOTUS will rule involving genetically modified crops, Monsanto v Geertson Seed. She defended Monsanto’s fight to contaminate the environment with its GM alfalfa, not the American people’s right to safe feed and a protected environment.

The lower court ruled that “contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa crops with the genetically engineered gene has occurred and defendants acknowledge as much.

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“Democratic War Room” Unleashed For Kagan Supreme Court Nomination

The political venom never flows more strongly than during the confirmation process. Will the Democrats run the table during this process, or is The Huffington Post just playing politics?

from Doc Searls at Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Doc Searls (CC)

In the hours following the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, the predominant feature of the debate has been the swift, campaign-like operation of Washington’s Democratic establishment.

Since President Obama introduced his Solicitor General as the choice to replace retired Justice John Paul Stevens, national airwaves and DC inboxes have been littered with a steady stream of material from Kagan backers.

One party official compared it (favorably) to a presidential campaign war room, with caffeine-aided staffers shooting out “rapid response” messages to Republican attacks and driving narratives either supportive of Kagan or mocking of the GOP.

It has been by design. At the White House, a team of aides overseen by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and run out of the office of the President’s Counsel had already outlined many of the key arguments they want to dominate the Kagan conversation: her eminent scholarly qualifications, her consensus-driven leadership qualities, and her bipartisan support.

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Who Really Won In The Supreme Court Animal Rights-Free Speech Decision?

dog FightingSo who were the winners from the big news First Amendment decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday? Free-speech advocates say the Supreme Court protected the First Amendment. Animal-rights advocates say it showed how Congress could pass a new anti-animal cruelty law, according to the Christian Science Monitor:

Free speech advocates praised Tuesday’s US Supreme Court decision striking down a federal law banning depictions of animal cruelty.

At the same time, animal rights groups are calling on Congress to enact a new, more targeted law, to prevent trafficking in photos and videos depicting acts of severe animal cruelty, including so-called “crush” videos.

In striking down the 1999 Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, Chief Justice John Roberts said the law was substantially overbroad and could criminalize depictions of entirely lawful conduct such as hunting videos and magazines. The vote was 8 to 1.

“It is clear from the opinion and the size of the majority that the court heard the many voices concerned about this law,” said David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition, a free-speech advocacy group.

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Juries Are Allowed To Judge The Law, Not Just The Facts

Here is another chapter from Russ Kick's classic bite-size Disinformation book 50 Things You're Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.

For more on Russ Kick, check out his website, The Memory Hole.

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GavelIn order to guard citizens against the whims of the King, the right to a trial by jury was established by the Magna Carta in 1215, and it has become one of the most sacrosanct legal aspects of British and American societies. We tend to believe that the duty of a jury is solely to determine whether someone broke the law. In fact, it’s not unusual for judges to instruct juries that they are to judge only the facts in a case, while the judge will sit in judgment of the law itself. Nonsense. Juries are the last line of defense against the power abuses of the authorities. They have the right to judge the law. Even if a defendant committed a crime, a jury can refuse to render a guilty verdict. Among the main reasons why this might happen, according to attorney Clay S. Conrad: When the defendant has already suffered enough, when it would be unfair or against the public interest for the defendant to be convicted, when the jury disagrees with the law itself, when the prosecution or the arresting authorities have gone “too far” in the single-minded quest to arrest and convict a particular defendant, when the punishments to be imposed are excessive or when the jury suspects that the charges have been brought for political reasons or to make an unfair example of the hapless defendant …
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The Supreme Court Has Ruled That You’re Allowed to Ingest Any Drug, Especially If You’re An Addict

Another chapter from my book 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.

For more on me, check out: The Memory Hole.

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Supreme SealIn the early 1920s, Dr. Linder was convicted of selling one morphine tablet and three cocaine tablets to a patient who was addicted to narcotics. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction, declaring that providing an addicted patient with a fairly small amount of drugs is an acceptable medical practice “when designed temporarily to alleviate an addict’s pains.” (Linder v. United States.)

In 1962, the Court heard the case of a man who had been sent to the clink under a California state law that made being an addict a criminal offense. Once again, the verdict was tossed out, with the Supremes saying that punishing an addict for being an addict is cruel and unusual and, thus, unconstitutional. (Robinson v. California.)

Six years later, the Supreme Court reaffirmed these principles in Powell v.Read the rest

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U.S. Supreme Court Set To Extend Gun Rights

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a landmark gun rights case that could apply the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms to both cities and states. Warren Richey reports for the Christian Science Monitor:

The US Supreme Court appears to be on verge of extending the constitutional protection of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms to every jurisdiction in the nation.

During an hour-long oral argument at the high court on Tuesday, several justices exhibited a willingness to enforce their landmark 2008 gun-rights decision at the state and local level.

If they do so, the decision may doom not only the Chicago handgun ban at the center of Tuesday’s case, but other handgun bans and some of the toughest state and local gun-control laws in the country.

The only remaining question in McDonald v. Chicago was which constitutional mechanism the majority justices might use to apply the 2008 holding to state and local governments.

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Maybe They Are After Us

David R. Jones, Esq., President and CEO, Community Service Society of New York, at Huffington Post:

I’ve always been particularly contemptuous of conspiracy theories, whether it’s U.N. sponsored black helicopters, the dangers of the Trilateral Commission, or alien abduction. It’s never been the way I see things, although as a kid I had a period of concern over sitting on toilets and baby alligators that kids bought at the circus and flushed into New York City sewers.

But now I am joining mainstream America in its paranoia. This week we’ve witnessed the dissolution of ACORN, the leading national advocacy group for the poor, shut down with the active help of the Congress from both parties, and the stunning decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission which allows unlimited spending by corporations and labor unions in political campaigns. ACORN was forced out of business despite the fact that the expose´ that led to repeated attacks on it was perpetrated by a conservative activist now charged with a wiretapping attempt against U.S.

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Does The Patriot Act Violate Free Speech?

Do monkeys eat bananas? Come on Supremes, do the right thing. Report from NPR:

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case that pits an individual’s right of free speech and association against a federal law aimed at combating terrorism. At issue is part of the Patriot Act that makes it a crime for an American citizen to engage in peaceful lawful activity on behalf of any group designated as a terrorist organization.

Federal law makes it a crime to provide material support to any organization designated as a terrorist group by the secretary of state. But the definition of material support includes not just providing weapons or money or bomb-making skills; it includes providing any sort of expert advice, training or personnel — including advice on how to resolve disputes peaceably or training on how to make human rights claims before the United Nations.

The nonprofit Humanitarian Law Project has a long history of engaging in such activity, mediating international conflicts and promoting human rights.

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Justice for Sale: What Can ‘The People’ Bid to Have Democracy in America?

Justice For SaleBill Moyers and Michael Winship writes on Huffington Post:

That famous definition of a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything — and the value of nothing — has come to define this present moment of American politics.

No wonder people have lost faith in politicians, parties and in our leadership. The power of money drives cynicism deep into the heart of every level of government. Everything, and everyone, comes with a price tag attached: from a seat at the table in the White House to a seat in Congress, to the fate of health care reform, our environment, and efforts to restrain Wall Street’s greed and prevent another financial catastrophe.

Our government is not broken; it’s been bought out from under us, and on the right and the left and smack across the vast middle, more and more Americans doubt representative democracy can survive the corruption of money.

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Corporation Says It Will Run for Congress

CATHERINE RAMPELL writes on the NY Times' Economix:
Following the Supreme Court decision implicitly granting corporations the right to free speech (by determining that political spending is a kind of speech), a corporation has decided to take what it believes to be “democracy’s next step”: It is running for Congress. With more than a twinge of irony, Murray Hill Incorporated, a liberal public relations firm, recently announced that it planned to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Here is the company’s first “campaign” ad:
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