Tag Archives: constitution

Invoke the 14th — and end the debt standoff – The Washington Post

Invoke the 14th — and end the debt standoff – The Washington Post.

Katrina vanden Heuvel
Opinion Writer

Invoke the 14th — and end the debt standoff

On its current course, the United States is four weeks away from defaulting on its debt for the first time in its history. If that happens, businesses will fail. Financial institutions will fail. Home values will decline. Mortgage rates will skyrocket. Spending and investment will all but disappear. Social Security checks will stop being mailed. Everything from military pay to food inspection will be compromised, if not fully cut off. The millions upon millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed will be joined by millions more.Across the world, America’s second financial collapse in three years will drag down already fragile economies in Europe, Latin America and Asia, potentially creating a “worldwide depression,” as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described it. In short, we would be thrown back deep into economic turmoil — only this time with even fewer tools to crawl our way out.In theory, this is unthinkable, and it will be remedied by reasonable political parties making reasonable concessions across the negotiating table. But Republicans have been negotiating in bad faith, unwilling to compromise even an inch on their extremist and absolutist positions. Some are no longer willing to come to the table at all.

With that backdrop, President Obama may find that there is only one course left to avoid a global economic calamity: Invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which says that “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.” This constitutional option is one that the president alone may exercise.

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Read the full story here: The Washington Post

See also: The Huffington Post

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The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law. – By Dahlia Lithwick – Slate Magazine

The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law. – By Dahlia Lithwick – Slate Magazine.

Operating Instructions

The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law.

Depending on how you count “big cases,” the Supreme Court has just finished off either a great (according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) or spectacularly great (according to a new study by the Constitutional Accountability Center) term for big business. The measure of success here isn’t just the win-loss record of the Chamber of Commerce, although that’s certainly part of the story. Nor is it news that—in keeping with a recent trend—the court is systematically closing the courthouse doors to everyday litigants, though that’s a tale that always bears retelling. The reason the Roberts Court has proven to be Christmas in July for big business is this: Slowly but surely, the Supreme Court is giving corporate America a handbook on how to engage in misconduct. In case after case, it seems big companies are being given the playbook on how to win even bigger the next time.

Read the full story here: Slate Magazine

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The Power of a Simple Majority – NYTimes.com

The Power of a Simple Majority – NYTimes.com.

When the New York State Senate legalized same-sex marriage with a simple majority last month, it was a reminder of how unthinkable that would have been in Washington. In the United States Senate, the most routine measures are filibustered and require 60 votes to pass.

Read the full story here: New York Times

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It Gets Even Worse – NYTimes.com

It Gets Even Worse – NYTimes.com.

If you thought the do-it-yourself anti-immigrant schemes couldn’t get any more repellent, you were wrong. New laws in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina are following — and in some ways outdoing — Arizona’s attempt to engineer the mass expulsion of the undocumented, no matter the damage to the Constitution, public safety, local economies and immigrant families.

The laws vary in their details but share a common strategy: to make it impossible for people without papers to live without fear.

Read the full story here: New York Times

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Colorful Judge Biery at eye of legal storm – San Antonio Express-News

Colorful Judge Biery at eye of legal storm – San Antonio Express-News.

Colorful Judge Biery at eye of legal storm

Since Medina Valley ruling, he has heard threats and calls for ouster.
Updated 02:18 a.m., Sunday, July 3, 2011

Federal Judge Fred Biery has issued rulings peppered with poems, laced with humor and sprinkled with references to baseball.

He once sent someone to jail for “aggravated stupidity” after the man uttered a four-letter profanity in court. When a prospective juror demanded to be paid $100 an hour for his service, Biery had a counteroffer: a “chauffered ride” by U.S. marshals to a contempt of court hearing.

The chief judge of the federal court system‘s Western District of Texas is no stranger to controversial legal fights, having ruled on toll roads, contamination of neighbors’ groundwater by the former Kelly AFB and San Antonio‘s attempts to regulate strip clubs.

But a recent case has drawn more than criticism — along with threats. There’s also a movement to oust him.

In a lawsuit filed in May by the parents of an agnostic student, Corwyn Schultz, the judge granted the family’s request for a temporary order barring organized public prayer at the Medina Valley High School graduation.

Appeals judges disagreed and allowed prayer at the ceremony in Castroville. But long after the prayers, pomp and circumstance, the fallout continues, with Biery as its target.

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Biery’s rulings can be colorful, quoting from works of philosophy, theology — including religious scripture — and citing even more unusual authorities like songwriter James Taylor.

He occasionally titles them in blunt nonlegalese: “Righteous Indignation Order Concerning Shameful and Unscrupulous Greed by Two Physicians,” for example.

Biery’s summary of arguments in the form of poetry may seem flippant, and his actions to jail those who disrupt his court may seem extreme, but they’re within ethical and legal bounds, observers said.

Read the full article here: San Antonio Express-News

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The D.A. Stole His Life, Justices Took His Money – NYTimes.com

The D.A. Stole His Life, Justices Took His Money – NYTimes.com.

In an important prosecutorial-misconduct case this term, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority threw out a $14 million jury award for a New Orleans man who was imprisoned for 18 years, including 14 on death row, for a robbery and a murder he did not commit. One month before John Thompson’s scheduled execution, a private investigator discovered that prosecutors had hidden evidence that exonerated him.

Read the full editorial here: New York Times

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Some With Histories of Mental Illness Petition to Get Their Gun Rights Back – NYTimes.com

Some With Histories of Mental Illness Petition to Get Their Gun Rights Back – NYTimes.com.

PULASKI, Va. — In May 2009, Sam French hit bottom, once again. A relative found him face down in his carport “talking gibberish,” according to court records. He later told medical personnel that he had been conversing with a bear in his backyard and hearing voices. His family figured he had gone off his medication for bipolar disorder, and a judge ordered him involuntarily committed — the fourth time in five years he had been hospitalized by court order.

Read the full story here: New York Times

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Ohio gun law: Gov. John Kaisch signs law allowing concealed weapons in bars.

Ohio gun law: Gov. John Kaisch signs law allowing concealed weapons in bars.

New law also permits carrying firearms into malls and stadiums.

Because nothing goes better than guns and crowded places, Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill on Thursday that will allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms into bars and other places where alcohol is served.

Read the full story here: Slate Magazine

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Supreme Court video game ruling: Is it worse for a child to see pornography or graphic violence? – By Brian Palmer – Slate Magazine

Supreme Court video game ruling:�Is it worse for a child to see pornography or graphic violence? – By Brian Palmer – Slate Magazine.

Is it worse for a child to see pornography or graphic violence?

The Supreme Court struck down a California law regulating the sale of violent video games to children on Monday. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia noted that, unlike sexual content, which can be regulated, violence has been part of children’s entertainment for centuries. History aside, do we know whether exposure to sex or violence is worse for children?

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A Supreme Court win for political speech and political money – The Washington Post

A Supreme Court win for political speech and political money – The Washington Post.

By , Published: June 28

The fate of Arizona’s Clean Elections Act, which the Supreme Court on Monday declared unconstitutional, was foreshadowed March 28, during oral arguments. Lawyers defending the law insisted its purpose was to combat corruption or the appearance thereof. The court has repeatedly said this is the only constitutionally permissible reason for restricting the quantity of political speech. The law’s defenders insisted its purpose was not to “level the playing field” by equalizing candidates’ resources, which the court has declared an unconstitutional reason for regulating speech. But Chief Justice John Roberts replied: “Well, I checked the Citizens Clean Elections Commission Web site this morning, and it says that this act was passed to ‘level the playing field’ when it comes to running for office.” Game over.

Given the clarity and frequency with which the court has stressed the unconstitutionality of laws empowering government to equalize candidates’ speech by equalizing their resources, Monday’s ruling was predictable, but gratifying. Also predictable, but depressing, were four justices (Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor) finding no constitutional flaw in a law that did this:

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