Screw the Pearl-Clutchers — the Notorious RBG Did the Right Thing by Speaking Up

Yeah, she’s very sorry the media has turned itself into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Krazy Koalition, and y’all can go eat paste. Finley Peter Dunne, we salute you!
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I’m with Mr. Charles P. Pierce on this:

This is one of those days on which I’m glad I was raised Catholic and, therefore, was schooled in the difference between venial and mortal sin. Because anyone who thinks that RBG’s honest assessment of the vulgar talking yam is on a par with A.) Antonin Scalia’s hunting trips with Dick Cheney, or B.) the majority in Bush v. Gore including one justice (Scalia) whose son got a job with the administration that poppa helped install and another (Thomas) whose wife did, too, needs to seriously examine their consciences more than they did…

Ginsberg is not intolerant of conservatives; she and Scalia were opera buddies. But she’s 83, sharp as a tack, and a survivor of pancreatic cancer, which generally gives you the same odds as stepping in front of a westbound freight. Her big bag of fcks was empty long ago. She’s seen what’s happened to the courts first-hand, and she is right to warn us that a Trump administration is just as likely to put the gardener at Mar-A-Lago on the bench as not. Liberals, of course, are supposed to make sure they use the right fork when they sit down to dinner with barbarians.


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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Yes, It’s That Important

When SCOTUS struck down Texas’ HB2 regulations yesterday, Richard Mayhew predicted “A lot more from lawyers later.” Here’s a couple of respected legal analysts. Linda Greenhouse, in the NYTimes, “The Facts Win Out on Abortion“:

… There is no poetry in the 40-page opinion, which strikes down a Texas law that would have closed most abortion clinics in the state in the name of protecting women’s health. The dry, almost clinical tone could scarcely be more different from the meditative mood the Supreme Court struck the last time it stood up for abortion rights, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 24 years ago this week. “Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt” was Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s mysterious opening line in that opinion…

Although nearly one-third of American women will have an abortion in their lifetime, a goal of abortion opponents has been to carve out abortion practice from ordinary health care, to ghettoize and delegitimize it. Those days are now over, too. Singling out abortion for regulation that can’t be justified on medical grounds is unacceptable, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphasized in a concurring opinion.

When I first read Justice Breyer’s opinion, my sense of relief struggled against a feeling that something nonetheless was missing: not necessarily the aspirational rhetoric of the Casey decision but some explicit acknowledgment of what it means to women’s equality and dignity not to be trapped in an unwanted pregnancy.

Then I realized that while the court in Casey called upon “the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution,” it didn’t really work out. Maybe, after all, this is not a moment for poetry, but for facts. There’s not much in Justice Breyer’s opinion that’s quotable. But there’s not much that’s debatable either, and that’s what matters.

Linda Hirshman, in the Washington Post, “How Ruth Bader Ginsburg just won the next abortion fight”:

She has written into law the factual finding that abortion is safe.
… The strategy of purporting to help women, which has, until today, been stunningly successful, started with the attack on so-called “partial birth abortion” in 1995. It reached its high water mark with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s hotly contested 5-to-4 decision upholding the restrictions on such procedures in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007. Kennedy found medical disagreement about the safety advantages of the procedure. Importantly, he then deferred to the findings of the legislature that women would be safer and better off without partial birth abortion…

… When the news broke that RBG was concurring, the initial reaction was puzzlement. Why would Ginsburg need to write separately from a pro-choice opinion by her liberal colleague Breyer? Looking at her concurrence, however, the explanation is clear.
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Obligatory Texas Abortion Ruling Reaction

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You may now go about your day.








Open Thread: Good Work, Senator Warren!

Senator Elizabeth Warren went to the Senate floor on June 8, 2016 to call for unanimous consent votes for 15 federal district court nominees who have moved through the Judiciary Committee but have not been scheduled confirmation votes by the Republican majority. Senator Mitch McConnell objected to the unanimous consent request.

Listen to the whole thing. *This* is why we need to keep Elizabeth Warren in the Senate.

Orrin Hatch gets a cameo, looking like a man who’s just been given a choice between a colonoscopy without anesthesia and a total orchiectomy. And (yes!) in her closing statement, Sen. Warren goes there…



It is Important to Bear Witness: The Victim’s Statement in the Stanford Rape Case

The prosecution of former Stanford University student athlete Brock Turner was mentioned in the comments to several threads yesterday. Mention of it shouldn’t be buried in comments to other threads, it needs to be on every front page of every site that is willing to post it.

Turner received a bizarrely short sentence after being convicted for raping a young woman, referred to as Emily Doe throughout the trial, attending a party at Stanford with her sister, who is a student at Stanford. As rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual harassment cases go, this one was fairly straightforward. There was no he said/she said here between the accuser and the accused. Turner was caught in the act of committing the rape by two men who stopped what they were doing, then stopped him, and kept him on site until the police arrived. Both of those men testified for the prosecution. Turner has failed to admit doing anything wrong other than being intoxicated and blamed his actions on being drunk. He has also blamed the victim’s also being intoxicated for contributing to his rape of her. Since his sentencing both Turner’s father and on of his friends have released letters of support for him that are, frankly tone deaf and also seem to ignore both what Turner did and the severity of the crime for which he’s now been rightfully convicted.

While there is a lot more that can be said about America’s attitudes to women, sex, bodily autonomy, disparities of the application and direction of Law, and how all this contributes to rape and sexual assault, those are topics for another day. Instead it is important to bear witness to the victim’s (survivor’s?) own words in the statement she gave to the Santa Clara Court prior to sentencing and to make sure it is disseminated as widely and broadly as possible. A statement that was seemingly ignored by the judge who presided over this case. Below is the video of CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield reading the victim’s statement, which is even more powerful when read; especially by a woman. For those that can’t make it through the video, I’ve posted the full transcript of the statement below the video and after the page jump as it is 12 pages long. The downloaded pdf of the transcript made available by the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office can be accessed by clinking on the link just before the video for those that prefer to read it that way.

Victim Impact Statement; Turner Prosecution.

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Today in Awesome (Open Thread)

Mantis-Ginsburg

Via Slate, a new praying mantis species discovered by a female scientist who identified the species by studying female specimens rather than male has named the creature after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Ilomantis ginsburgae, as the species is now known, was identified through a somewhat unusual scientific process. Typically, researchers study mantis specimens’ male genitalia to delineate their species. But Sydney Brannoch, the Ph.D. candidate at Case Western Reserve University who led the ginsburgae study, decided to study female mantis’ genitalia instead—and, thanks to her innovation, was able to distinguish Ilomantis ginsburgae as a new species. (The specimen she studied had actually been sitting around since 1967; you can learn more about Brannoch’s methodology here.)

“This research establishes the validity of using female specimens in the classification of praying mantises,” Brannoch concluded. “It is my hope that our work not only sets a precedent in taxonomy but also underscores the need for scientists to investigate and equally consider both sexes in other scientific investigations.”

Brannoch named the mantis after Ginsburg on account of the justice’s “relentless fight for gender equality”—an apt tribute, given the feminist-tinged method by which ginsburgae was discovered. The researcher also chose Ginsburg because of her love of jabots, the frilly lace collar the justice often wears on her robes. Brannoch sees a jabot-type quality in the mantis’ neck plate.

The only thing that could make this story any cooler is if some experiment goes awry in the lab, producing a giant, marauding mutant Ilomantis ginsburgae that travels to Washington, DC and bites the heads off Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy on President Hillary Clinton’s inauguration day. Open thread!








Actions Have Consequences

This cracked me up:

A federal judge blasted by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Friday has taken note of the fact that Trump isn’t happy with the way the judge is handling lawsuits over alleged fraud by the Trump University real estate seminar program.

Just hours after Trump used a campaign speech at a San Diego convention center to unleash a remarkable verbal fusillade against U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge — who also happens to be based in the same southern California city — acknowledged a much more measured fashion of the criticism Trump has aimed at the court.

“Defendant became the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue,” Curiel said in an order unsealing a series of internal Trump University documents that Trump’s lawyers asked be kept from the public.

The judge’s order didn’t make reference to Trump’s 12-minute tirade Friday afternoon in which the all-but-certain Republican nominee called Curiel a “hater” and again invoked his Latino heritage. However, the judge cited a series of news stories from earlier in the campaign, including an NBC story which noted Trump called Curiel “extremely unfair” and an Associated Press story titled, “Trump: Judge’s ethnicity matters in Trump University suit.”

“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel … I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself,” Mr. Trump said at Friday’s rally, echoing many of the same points he made in speeches a few months ago. “I’m telling you, this court system, judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace, OK?”

Curiel said in his order Friday that Trump’s presidential campaign and his criticism of the court were reasons to overrule his objections to the release of so-called “Playbooks” describing Trump University’s operations. The judge also noted that one version was published by POLITICO in March. “The entire 2010 Playbook has been posted online by Politico,” Curiel wrote.

His lawyers have to be screaming.