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.



Trump’s Supreme Court

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Here’s the list of potential Trump nominees,:

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he’s elected to the White House.

Trump’s picks include Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri.

Also on the list are: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas. Trump had previously named Pryor and Sykes as examples of kind of justices he would choose.

Reading through the TPM comments on the post there on this subject, it seems like we’ve got some cherce* ones here.

Any of our legal types care to chime in?

*Cherce.

Image:  William Hogarth, The Court c. 1758.   I know that I’ve used this before.  But it’s just perfect whenever the topic of GOP jurisprudencerecklessness comes up.



Open Thread: “This isn’t Kindergarten”

… If only because kindergarteners are expected to have achieved a higher degree of bladder control than most Congressional Repubs. From Buzzfeed, “Obama Says Republican Concerns About Trump Mean His Supreme Court Pick Should Get A Vote”:

President Obama told BuzzFeed News Monday that the GOP is “looking at a Republican nominee” — Donald Trump — “who many of them say isn’t qualified to be president much less appoint someone” to the Supreme Court. And that, he said, means his nominee should get a vote, which Republicans have vowed not to do.

Obama’s comments came during a live interview with BuzzFeed News Legal Editor Chris Geidner from the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

“it seems to me [Republicans would] be better off going ahead and giving a hearing and a vote to somebody that they themselves in the past have said is well-qualified, is fair, and to treat the Supreme Court with the seriousness and the sense that it’s beyond politics,” Obama said. “Precisely because this election year has been so crazy, precisely because you have a number of Republicans who have said that they’re concerned about their nominee, it shows you why you don’t want to politicize a Supreme Court appointment.”

The issue, Obama said, is that some members of the GOP “are on record saying this is a very well qualified candidate.”

“In that circumstance it is up to them, in terms of their constitutional obligation, to have a hearing and have a vote,” he said. “Now here’s the good news. Originally they said they wouldn’t even meet with the guy. And they heard from a lot of their constituents that said well, this isn’t kindergarten; just because you’re not happy with what’s happened, you don’t do your job.”

“My hope is that the closer we get to the summer, and the more pressure that viewers are putting on senators just to do their job, and to give the guy a hearing, give him a vote, then more and more Republican senators will recognize that the position they’re taking is not tenable,” he said…

When asked why Obama didn’t nominate someone who is not a straight, white man, he said, “I never think about it in terms of ‘this seat is for a Hispanic man, and this seat is for a gay black woman,’ that’s not how I think.” He added he nominated people who are “extremely well qualified.”

“Judge Garland was the perfect candidate for this moment for this seat,” he said. “You’re looking for a judge who will play it straight and apply the law.”…

Seriously, it’s a good interview with a sterling President. Who shows up at approximately the 4min mark on the clip below, if Geidner’s understandable pre-show anxiety is too much for you:



Friday the 13th “Rhymes with Bucket” Open Thread

A little gift to all the GOP senators now “home for the weekend” with their constituents, already faced with the delicate task of explaining why a megalomaniac reality tv star / real estate developer is the new voice of their party, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Nice one, President Obama!
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Apart from no longer giving a rat’s arse, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?



Breaking News: Alabama Chief Justice Moore Suspended (Again…)

Once again the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (h/t: RawStory) has brought charges against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Chief Justice Moore is being charged with violating judicial ethics in regards to same sex marriage by instructing Alabama probate judges to ignore both a Federal Court ruling and the Supreme Court rulings legalizing same sex marriages. He will be suspended with pay until his case is resolved before the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. Here’s a link to the complaint. Consider this a late night/early morning open thread.



No One Could Have Predicted, Garland Edition

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Barack Obama, Jedi Knight.

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