Earlier this year, after Wisconsin voters lined up in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) assault on union workers, an unknown candidate named Joanne Kloppenburg started to rapidly close a 25 point polling gap against incumbent Walker ally Justice David Prosser. Realizing they could lose their corporate majority on the state supreme court, corporate front groups — some of with close ties to the Koch brothers — began dumping money into an effort to keep Prosser on the bench. Their corporate cash dump succeeded and Prosser won a narrow victory.
The 4-3 Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion upholding Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive union law shows a sharp partisan divide on the high court. . . .
Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote a blistering dissent of the court’s ruling, accusing Justice David Prosser of appearing to have a “partisan slant” with his concurring opinion.
Although Prosser’s key vote in favor of Walker’s law is a clear victory for corporate union busters, this victory does not have to be permanent. Six of Walker’s GOP allies in the state senate are subject to a recall election next month, and Walker himself can be removed from office next year.
[T]he presumption that “all people in same-sex relationships think alike” is an unreasonable presumption, and one which has no place in legal reasoning. The presumption that Judge Walker, by virtue of being in a same-sex relationship, had a desire to be married that rendered him incapable of making an impartial decision, is as warrantless as the presumption that a female judge is incapable of being impartial in a case in which women seek legal relief. On the contrary: it is reasonable to presume that a female judge or a judge in a same-sex relationship is capable of rising above any personal predisposition and deciding such a case on the merits. The Motion fails to cite any evidence that Judge Walker would be incapable of being impartial, but to presume that Judge Walker was incapable of being impartial, without concrete evidence to support that presumption, is inconsistent with what is required under a reasonableness standard.
ThinkProgress filed this report from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
During last night’s GOP presidential debate, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain was asked about an interview with ThinkProgress earlier this year where the Georgia Republican said he would not be comfortable appointing Muslims in his administration. Cain has since modified his stance slightly, shifting from an outright ban on Muslims to simply requiring they take a special loyalty oath — a standard he explicitly said would not apply to people of other faiths.
Cain defended his call for higher loyalty standards from Muslims during the debate, saying:
When you interview a person for a job, you look at their work record, you look at their resume, and then you have a one-on-one personal interview. During that personal interview, like in the business world and anywhere else, you are able to get a feeling for how committed that person is to the Constitution.
ThinkProgress spoke with Cain after the debate to ask about how his proposed job interview standard would jibe with the Constitution’s prohibition on religious tests as a qualification for office. Cain immediately backtracked on whether he was advocating asking job applicants about their religion. The Georgia Republican then accused ThinkProgress of deception — “Don’t try to trick me again like you tried to trick me once before” — after his Islamophobic remarks to us in March grew to define his candidacy:
KEYES: Mr. Cain, you were asked about Muslims in your administration. Is it constitutional to ask job applicants their religion?
CAIN: I never said I was going to ask job applicants their religion. Don’t try to trick me again like you tried to trick me once before.
It’s unclear how Cain plans to administer a special loyalty oath aimed just at Muslims if he (rightly) does not plan to ask applicants about their religion. Indeed, this is just one of many questions that remain regarding Cain’s heavy reluctance to include Muslims in his administration. Those questions include:
- When Cain brought up the notion of asking certain job interview questions during the debate, what questions did he specifically have in mind? And why, as debate moderator John King asked, would those questions only apply to Muslims and not people from other faiths?
- Can Americans reasonably expect that Cain will appoint people in his administration that he’s not “comfortable” with, as he has repeated numerous times about Muslims?
- How does Cain, a Tea Party favorite, reconcile his support for special loyalty oaths with his love of the Constitution, which includes a ban on religious tests in Article VI?
Boehner Hit With Ethics Complaint For Pursuing Defense Of DOMA |
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics today against Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for allegedly violating federal law and House rules when he hired outside counsel to defend cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). CREW alleges that Boehner violated the Antideficiency Act by hiring conservative super lawyer Paul Clement to defend DOMA, despite the fact that Congress has appropriated no money for this purpose. Clement is charging the American taxpayer $520/hr for his services. “In an era of fiscal austerity,” CREW said it is “surprised that Boehner would be willing to spend money he doesn’t have.” Boehner has yet to respond.
The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.
As those on all sides of the immigration debate in the United States have noted, this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.
To be sure, the Mormon church’s statement is far from a beacon of hope to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It also floats the possibility that undocumented immigrants “continue to work” in the United States “without this necessarily leading to citizenship” — a position that could leave many immigrant workers open to exploitation by their empl0yers.
Nevertheless, the statement is also a clear break with many of the church’s most hardline members. Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce (R), the lead sponsor of that state’s harsh anti-immigrant law, has justified his nativism by citing his own Mormon faith.
Yesterday, California’s anti-gay Proposition 8′s supporters tried to convince a federal judge to throw out retired Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision striking down the discriminatory marriage ban because Walker might someday want to marry his same sex partner. In a telling sign of just how weak this claim is, even Fox News thought it was garbage. During a discussion shortly after the court hearing concluded, both Fox guest host Gregg Jarrett and Fox legal analyst Andrew Napolitano agreed that the case against Walker is wholly without merit:
JARRETT: Alright, look. Over the years black judges have decided civil rights cases, Hispanic judges immigration cases, and, of course, women judges have decided women’s rights cases. So why can’t a gay judge decide this case?
NAPOLITANO: There’s no reason why he can’t. And it is utterly unprecedented to inquire into the personal life of a judge after the case has been ruled on and over the judge left the bench because of what the judge revealed about himself. This Reagan appointee, who had been a state court judge appointed by then-Gov. Reagan, has never manifested any kind of bias whatsoever.
Setting aside Jarrett’s somewhat odd suggestion that immigration is an issue that only applies to Hispanic people, there’s very little in Fox’s analysis that should be the least bit controversial. Indeed, there is no better sign that Prop 8′s supporters have gone off the deep end than the fact that even Fox has abandoned their offensive legal argument.
ThinkProgress filed this report from the Republican presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has had his struggles with the Constitution lately, confusing it and the Declaration of Independence, misunderstanding a clause about bankruptcy, and failing to grasp the unconstitutionality of religious tests in determining someone’s fitness for employment.
At last night’s GOP primary debate in New Hampshire, Cain stretched his misunderstanding of the Constitution into a new subject: birthright citizenship and the 14th Amendment. During the debate, Cain said the law needed to be changed so children of undocumented immigrants were not granted citizenship upon birth. He elaborated on his position after the debate:
CAIN: The 14th Amendment doesn’t talk about people that were here illegally. The 14th Amendment applies to slaves, black people, and their descendants who were here.
REPORTER: So you’re suggesting that the 14th Amendment does not say that people who are born in this country are naturalized citizens?
CAIN: …It does say people who are born here. But when it was written, it was written in the spirit of the slaves who were brought to this country. It was not written in the spirit of people who came here illegally. That’s where I’m coming from.
While the 14th Amendment was ratified following the Civil War and granted citizenship to blacks and former slaves who had previously not been considered citizens, its language in no way limits its protections to former slaves: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has ruled that the amendment’s protections extend to anyone under the jurisdiction of the United States, even undocumented immigrants:
…the Fourteenth Amendment extends to anyone, citizen or stranger, who is subject to the laws of a State, and reaches into every corner of a State’s territory. That a person’s initial entry into a State, or into the United States, was unlawful, and that he may for that reason be expelled, cannot negate the simple fact of his presence within the State’s territorial perimeter. (Plyler v. Doe)
Cain said he did not believe in changing the 14th Amendment but wanted to change the law or add an amendment to clarify it, and he pleaded ignorance when asked if he’d support legislation proposed by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and David Vitter (R-LA) that would significantly narrow the amendment’s scope. But recent polling shows his view is out of touch with primary voters in New Hampshire, where 65 percent of Republicans prefer not to change America’s birthright citizenship laws.
The Constitution guarantees that all persons born in the United States are U.S. citizens with only a handful of very rare exceptions. Nevertheless, in last night’s GOP candidate’s debate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized the Supreme Court for following the Constitution’s unambiguous language and promised to appoint justices who would strip many Americans of their citizenship:
This issue of birthright citizenship, again, brings up the importance of appointing conservative justices. That result is because the U.S. Supreme Court determined that that right exists, notwithstanding language in the Constitution. I’m the only one up here — I believe I’m the only one up here — whose appointed solidly, reliably conservative appointees to the court.
Pawlenty would do well to actually pick up a copy of the Constitution before he pretends to know what it says. Under the 14th Amendment, “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” This language is unambiguous; it grants citizenship to all persons born in the US unless they are not subject to American “jurisdiction” — a very narrow exception that applies only to children of foreign diplomats and a handful of other people.
Moreover, the first Supreme Court decision recognizing birthright citizenship was hardly the product of excessive liberalism. The Court first acknowledged this right in an 1898 decision called U.S. v Wong Kim Ark. Three of the justices who joined the majority in Wong Kim Ark also voted with the majority in Lochner v. New York, an infamous Supreme Court decision holding that essential laws protecting workers from exploitation violate the Constitution. Five of the justices in the majority in Wong Kim Ark also voted to uphold Jim Crow in Plessy v Ferguson. So when Pawlenty promises to appoint justices who are more conservative than the ones in Wong Kim Ark, he is essentially calling for a Supreme Court that will immunize sweatshops from the law and uphold segregation.
Sadly, Pawlenty was not the only person on the stage to come out against the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. When asked whether he thinks the children of undocumented immigrants “should be considered a citizen of the United States,” former pizza executive Herman Cain replied, “I don’t believe so.”
[The government’s only basis for supporting DOMA comes down to an apparent belief that the moral views of the majority may properly be enacted as the law of the land in regard to state-sanctioned same-sex marriage in disregard of the personal status and living conditions of a significant segment of our pluralistic society. Such a view is not consistent with the evidence or the law as embodied in the Fifth Amendment with respect to the thoughts expressed in this decision. The court has no doubt about its conclusion: the Debtors have made their case persuasively that DOMA deprives them of the equal protection of the law to which they are entitled.
In an unusual move, 20 of the court’s 24 judges signed the opinion, although the typical practice is for just one judge to handle bankruptcy trials — a move that was likely made to show overwhelming support for the court’s decision.
Welcome to Justiceline, ThinkProgress Justice’s morning round-up of the latest legal news and developments. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @TPJustice.
The Supreme Court split 4-4 in a case considering whether a federal law that made it easier for U.S. citizen mothers to pass on citizenship to children born outside the country than similarly situated fathers. The practical effect of the decision is that the law stands, for now, although it could be struck down if the Court reconsiders the issue in a case where Justice Kagan is not required to recuse.