…and the Supreme Court says?

I didn’t intend to blog the decisions of the Court, but waddya know, I did anyway.  Read below the fold for all the updates as the decisions were released.  An article will come out later today with some analysis.

10:03a:  Windsor v. U.S. – 5-4 decision.  DOMA is unconstitutional under the 5th Amendment.

10:05a:  Here is the opinion.

10:07a:  Here’s some of the text decision, highlighting the reasoning:

DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.

10:09a:  By the way, good coverage at SCOTUSblog.

Read more ...

Political Tidbits – June 26, 2013

Anthony Weiner Leads in Race for New York City Mayor

Everyone loves a weiner, although the type depends on who you ask.  If you ask me, there’s nothing more adorable than these weiners.  If you ask a plurality of New York City Democrats, they prefer another type – notably, the disgraced ex-Congressman type:

[Former Congressman Anthony] Weiner has the backing of 25 percent of registered Democrats, while City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the early front-runner and a close ally of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, trails with 20 percent, according to Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal-NBC New York-Marist poll.

I’ll say this.  I’m happy I don’t live in New York, but I also don’t care that they choose to hire someone like this to run their city.  Sure, he’s an exposed liar.  Sure, he acted inappropriately using with his twitter account.  That said, I don’t care.  I live in Georgia for the exact reason that New York isn’t here (among other reasons).

Minnesota Legislator Plays the Race Card

I’ll vouch for the fact that twitter can cause problems if you don’t use it correctly.  That said, I’m not a state legislator in Minnesota.  That also said, I’m not a liberal state legislator that took to the twitterverse to call Justice Thomas a…well…I don’t really wanna say it:

Upon hearing that the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, [State Rep. Ryan Winkler] took to Twitter to attack Justice Clarence Thomas as an Uncle Tom. ”#SCOTUS VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas. Marriage decision may blur Court’s backsliding,” he tweeted. He quickly deleted the tweet, but it was archived by Topsy.

So, the goal here is to protect ourselves against racist acts by using a racial epithet to describe an African-American justice on the Supreme Court – actually, the African-American justice on the Supreme Court.  Hypocrisy.

Abortion restrictions aborted in Texas by an unruly Senate mob

Texas had a special session conclude last night, and the Democrats did everything in their ability to kill a bill similar to the one that passed here in Georgia last year.  The fetal pain bill would have limited abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Democrats made their last stand in the Senate, apparently with success, on the heels of a filibustering Senator and a mob in the Senate gallery:

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spent most of the day staging an old-fashioned filibuster, attracting wide support, including a mention from President Obama’s campaign Twitter account. Her Twitter following went from 1,200 in the morning to more than 20,000 by Tuesday night.

I think Republicans might do well to leave this one be, although I know they cannot help themselves.  Texas may have the luxury, though, of debating social issues considering their economy isn’t exactly bad.  However, I’m still of the philosophy that being pro-life means something more substantive than whittling away at Roe v. Wade.  I think we can do more to ensure single parents have economic opportunity through lower taxes, school choice, and other options.

SCOTUS strikes down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act

From Fox News:

In a major ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday voided a provision of the Voting Rights Act that determines which state and local governments have to seek federal permission to change their voting laws.  [Chief Justice Roberts] clarified that the provision requiring advance approval of voting law changes — known as Section 5 — was not being struck down. Rather, the court found that the provision pertaining to the formula, known as Section 4, was unconstitutional.

My Facebook and Twitter have been blowing up with conservative friends hailing the decision.  I’ve not seen too much from my more liberal minded friends, but it may be because they resigned themselves to this fate a while ago knowing the makeup of the Court.  As it stands, there is an important distinction to make between these two provisions of the law and how that may come to make conservatives not-too-happy in the future.

Section 5 – the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act – allows for the Department of Justice to give “pre-clearance” to any change in a state’s election provisions.  Section 4(b) is what creates the test determines if the enforcement provision apply to the various jurisdictions on which it is enforced.  It reads:

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply in any State or in any political subdivision of a state which (1) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 percentum of the persons of voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 percentum of such persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964.

In striking down that part of the law, as opposed to Section 5, the law is not permanently dead and finding ways to truly fight racism in voting.  With a liberal enough Congress and President, a conceivably more expansive and arbitrary formula can be devised and be wholly permissible under CJ Roberts’s decision.

Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in §2. We issue no holding on §5 itself, only on the coverage formula. Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions. Such a formula is an initial prerequisite to a determination that exceptional conditions stillexist justifying such an “extraordinary departure from the traditional course of relations between the States and the Federal Government.” Presley, 502 U. S., at 500–501. Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks tocurrent conditions.

That frightens me.  To give Congress that authority now or in the future fails to reasonably address what creates the conditions for racism today, and it isn’t de jure discrimination on the part of a governing body.  It’s a philosophical problem when racism exist, and it is something that can only be remedied by better educating our public and recognizing the value of individual people in our society.  Frankly, our government does a horrible at that aspect.  Conservatives can rejoice today, but I fear there is the possibility of a short lived victory.  The enforcement provision lives, and that’s a scary thought indeed.

Colorado Tidbits – June 24, 2013

Colorado’s the highest state in the nation, both in terms of elevation and in terms of marijuana.  It’s also where I went to college, and still love being a Westerner at heart.  When I tell people why Georgia is so great, I always try to say it’s just like being where I grew up…except that people have an accent here.  Here are few tidbits of goodness coming from the Centennial State.

Denver Nuggets hire Brian Shaw to replace George Karl:

The Denver Post reported earlier Monday that the Nuggets agreed to hire Shaw, one of the more coveted coaching candidates this offseason.  Citing a league source, the Post reported that the Nuggets chose Shaw over former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, who was Denver’s other top candidate.

Hopefully this is a good hire.  Karl did a lot of good for the Nuggets, but on the same token couldn’t take us deep into the playoffs with a team built to win.  Learning from Phil Jackson, though, will provide a good foundation for Shaw.  Plus, Indiana didn’t do too bad themselves this season.

Colorado GOP taking the fight to two Senate Dems:

This is just further evidence that Coloradans are tired of being ignored by elected Democrats.  Hopefully these recall elections will open the eyes of out-of-touch liberals like Gov. Hickenlooper, Senate Pres. Morse and Sen. Giron who have spent more time pandering to their special interests than listening their constituents.

Ryan Call is doing a great job as Chairman of the Colorado GOP.  Here’s hoping they can recall and replace these two Democrats in the State Senate.


Late Night Sunday Obligatory Post

So, after the long day Saturday and a fun filled day today, I’m making my obligatory late night post.  That said, a couple of things.

First, the good folks up in Cherokee County and Bartow County deserve a ton of credit for hosting the Proud to be a Republican event today up at Red Top Mountain State Park.  It also reminded me why exactly I’m proud to call myself a Republican, especially here in Georgia.  We’re going to disagree with policy and candidates in a particular election.  That much is clear, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I had good conversations today with folks that are damn good people, and I believe I can call them friends.  Philosophically I have a lot in common with these folks, and the fact that I can enjoy a nice Sunday afternoon with them makes it better.  Events like today should remind us of that.

Another topic of conversation that I had with a few folks is the State Committee meeting in Milledgeville yesterday.  I stood opposed to the original resolution concerning the GAGOP switching to a nominating convention from the current primary system.  I also opposed to “alternative” resolution concerning the creation of a study committee.  Here is why, part of which includes my comments from yesterday and part of which includes some additional reasoning.

The nature of the original resolution spoke about how the grassroots is insulted in the current primary process, so I don’t understand how a committee of 14 (or 15 with a Chairman if independently appointed) is an any way a better way to determine the facts.  We have 800k voting Republicans in this state that have a concern about what party principles look like and sound like, and while they may not be party activists, I don’t buy the bold assertion they are “uninformed” voters.  They deserve a seat at the table the same as I do, and I find it insulting that a committee can decide the facts for everyone.  I’d find it insulting if the State Committee felt the need to make that same determination.

Moreover, another point that I think was well made by Gus Makris (a fellow Cobb County resident located in the 6th Congressional) is that passage or failure does nothing to prevent this debate from continuing where it should – in the public and our communities.  In fact, I’d find a resolution like this far more damaging to that conversation and the people who would in engage in it.  At the point where they are removed, the “Republican Party” will now speak to the legislature after the debate of fourteen people in a (virtual) room.  Opponents of a nominating caucus do not get to speak with the amplified voice they would have by vociferous opposition.  Proponents, and rightly so, would have grounds to say they couldn’t have had a reasonable opportunity to fight the “establishment” if the study committee would have recommended nothing be done.  By allowing the voters to debate and ultimately decide for themselves the best method of choosing their candidates in contested primaries, we allow true grassroots participation to do what it does best – influence change.

Brant Frost and I have had a chance to speak over the phone about possibly having a debate on this very topic.  Whether the logistics of that are feasible for both of us remains to be seen, but what’s most important is that it reflects a true opportunity to clash on these ideas.  Hopefully it takes place, but if it does not, the debate will continue as it should.  Personally, I see why proponents of the caucus system would want the rules changed.  I don’t agree with their why, though, and I certainly don’t condone the impact it would have on hundreds of thousands of Georgians.

Maybe a system like Colorado or Utah is warranted, maybe it’s not.  Maybe we close our primaries to registered Republicans, or maybe we maintain the status quo of declaring at the polls.  Either way, the debate will continue and take place exactly where it should – anywhere that isn’t a select committee appointed by the Republican Party.