In its infamous June 2005 Kelo vs. New London ruling, a Supreme Court majority allowed the city of New London to seize the properties of holdout homeowners in that city's Fort Trumbull area for the "public purpose" of economic development, not a "public use" as the Constitution's Fifth Amendment requires.
It has been eleven years since the litigation began, six years since the court's ruling, and almost five years since the final settlement between the City and final holdouts the Cristofaro family and Susette Kelo, whose former home now stands elsewhere as a de facto monument to the perils of overbearing government. The land involved is still vacant, and nothing of substance has since happened. In late 2009, Pfizer, the economic linchpin which supposedly drove the city's need to remake the area, announced that it was pulling out of New London.
After several false starts, the city is working with a new developer. As of February of last year, this developer wanted to put rental townhouses in an area where century-old, largely owner-occupied homes once stood.
Early Friday, the New London Day's Kathleen Edgecomb reported a new twist. Wait until you see what the developer wants before going forward.
HOUSTON -- On the day of the NCAA men's basketball final, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that is likely to produce champions for generations to come.
By a 5-4 vote, the majority upheld an Arizona tax-credit program that, writes David Savage of the L.A. Times, gives taxpayers a "dollar-for-dollar tax credit, up to $500 per person or $1,000 for a couple, for those who donate to organizations that in turn pay tuition for students attending private and parochial schools." The minority contends this violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, maintains that since such donations are with pre-tax dollars, the government never has the money, and thus, "there is no such connection between dissenting taxpayer and alleged establishment."
Greedy, deep-pocketed Wal-Mart went to the Supreme Court yesterday to argue it's "too big to sue."
That's the sort of rhetoric one might expect from Brad Seligman, one of the attorneys representing Christine Kwapnowski and a handful of other women who are suing Wal-Mart on the claim of gender discrimination.
Appearing with Kwapnowski on Tuesday's CBS "Early Show," Seligman used those words to deride Wal-Mart's argument about why the Supreme Court should not let his and numerous other discrimination suits across the country to be consolidated into a single class action case.
Handicapping a case heading to oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court today, Yahoo! Finance's Daniel Gross insisted that "Wal-Mart has to like its chances" because "[t]he Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has generally been pro-business and hostile to the cause of workers."
Gross, who is also a senior editor for Newsweek, cited the 2007 ruling -- erroneously writing that the ruling came down in 2009 -- in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire in which "[the Supreme Court] threw out on a minor technicality the compelling case of Lilly Ledbetter, who had fought Goodyear Tire over sexual harassment and discrimination for a decade."
But the "technicality" as Gross sees it was actually pretty clear legislative language fixing a deadline beyond which lawsuits could not be filed.
The Alinskyite left is not content with cramming its legislative agenda down the American people's throats. Next stop, the Supreme Court, where it is seeking to attack and discredit justices who will pass upon the constitutionality of its overreaching legislation.
Liberals were incensed when the Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, struck down a provision of the McCain-Feingold Act that prohibited all corporations and unions from broadcasting "electioneering communications" — broadcast, cable or satellite communications that mention a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. So incensed that President Barack "New Tone" Obama departed from years of custom and proper decorum and personally lambasted the justices for it in his 2010 State of the Union speech.
Apparently, someone who broke his vows and trashed his former church is a worthy guest, in CNN's eyes, for a discussion on the Supreme Court, as on Thursday's Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon turned to "Padre Alberto" Cutie for his take on the Court's recent decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church. Cutie took issue with the ruling: "I don't think the First Amendment should protect hatred in the public forum, and I think that's where the law makes its biggest mistake....Nobody has the right in the 21st century to propagate hate."
Lemon brought on the Episcopalian pastor, along with CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin and John Ellsworth of Military Families United, for a panel discussion segment 51 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour. After asking Ellsworth for his response to the Supreme Court ruling, the anchor raised Westboro's extreme beliefs with Cutie: "So Father, listen, do you consider Westboro- most people don't consider it a legitimate church, okay? But is this- aren't they saying the same thing that's reinforced by religion that's being preached from the pulpit in many churches on Sunday?"
Thursday’s New York Times led with the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision in the case pitting Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious roaming enclave that pickets funerals holding signs bearing messages like “God Hates Fags,” against the family of a Marine who died in Iraq, Matthew Snyder, whose funeral was picketed.
Today's Supreme Court ruling in Snyder v. Phelps is proving to be yet another occasion for the media to falsely describe the homosexuality-fixated Westboro Baptist Church as a "fundamentalist" congregation.
The Associated Press, MSNBC and NPR.org have been among the news outlets using that tag for the Topeka, Kansas, organization that protests funerals of soliders, celebrating their deaths by claiming God killed them because he hates "fags."
But the AP's own style manual strongly cautions against the use of the term "fundamentalist," noting that the term "fundamentalist has to a large extent taken on pejorative connotations except when applied to groups that stress strict, literal interpretations of Scripture and separation from other Christians."
"In general," the AP manual adds, "do not use [the term] fundamentalist unless a group applies the word to itself."
The Washington Post stoops to the tabloid level today. On the front of Wednesday's Style section is this promotional plug: "The Supreme Court justice is only one of many partners whose caresses McEwen graphically recalls in NC-17 prose."
The justice is Clarence Thomas, and the author of the steamy passages is Lillian McEwen, a former Joe Biden aide and Clarence Thomas girlfriend. Last October, the Post promoted McEwen coming out to criticize Thomas after being silent for decades, including during the Hill-Thomas hearings. Now McEwen has issued her memoir, titled 'D.C. Unmasked & Undressed -- a book so lacking in market appeal that its publisher is Titletown, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. But the Post is very interested in exploring Thomas's sexual activity, even as the paper's "Reliable Source" gossips pretended to care about his privacy:
Four months after Lillian McEwen broke a two-decade silence about her longtime relationship with Clarence Thomas, the retired administrative law judge has written a book.
A Friday New York Times editorial, “The Thomas Issue,” furthered the paper’s fevered crusade against Justice Clarence Thomas, piggybacking on Adam Liptak’s front-page Sunday story on the vital matter of Thomas’s failure to ask questions during Supreme Court oral argument.
The Times actually argued that Thomas should speak up more to ensure the public that he is open-minded, while claiming that Thomas's five-year “milestone” of silence (one first marked in the Times) “has stirred a wide conversation about his effectiveness as a justice.” Stirred up solely by the Times, by the available evidence.
When the Supreme Court hears arguments next week, it will mark the fifth anniversary of Justice Clarence Thomas’s silence during oral argument -- unless he chooses to re-enter the give-and-take. We hope he will.
This milestone has stirred a wide conversation about his effectiveness as a justice following another about his ethics. They are actually related. How Justice Thomas comports himself on the bench is a matter of ethics and effectiveness, simultaneously. His authority as a justice and the court’s as an institution are at issue.
ObamaCare's individual mandate is perfectly constitutional, arguments to the contrary are nonsensical "tea party stuff," and Chief Justice John Roberts shouldn't be counted as a solid vote against the health care purchase mandate when the case comes before the Supreme Court.
That's the perspective of former Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried.
In a February 14 story, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes cited Fried as a scholar with no dog in the ObamaCare fight:
For the past year, the left has cried foul at the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, which overturned laws prohibiting corporations and unions from broadcast election-related communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. More than a year after the court handed down its decision, misinformation still pervades liberal condemnations of the ruling.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the far-left magazine The Nation, pushed a near-comical distortion of the truth in a recent column in the Washington Post. She brazenly declared former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold a "victim of Citizens United spending," and linked to an interview with Feingold at The Nation.
Just one problem: in that interview, Feingold explicitly denied that campaign spending played any role in his defeat. Does vanden Heuvel even read the items she offers as evidence - or her own magazine?
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's David Mattingly continued his network's unbalanced coverage of homosexual issues with his proclamation that a lesbian couple raising kids in Jacksonville, Florida are "part of a new face on the old Bible Belt." Mattingly devoted four sound bites to the couple and the "pro-gay church" they attend, as opposed to only one from a local pastor who supports traditional marriage.
The correspondent began his report by noting that "Latisha Bines and her partner, Misty Gray of Jacksonville, Florida, are part of a new face on the old Bible Belt: same-sex couples, raising children, turning to pro-gay churches for support and acceptance." He also played two clips from Bines and Gray, one from a soccer game where they cheered on one of Bines's children.
Mattingly continued by highlighting a recent study about homosexual couples:
As NewsBusters reported in January, Newsweek's Editor at Large Evan Thomas believes ObamaCare "is a disaster."
On Friday's "Inside Washington," Thomas went even further with his criticism of this law calling it a "flawed bill" and claiming, "I think enough justices perceive that it’s not going to work, that will incline them to reach this high constitutional principle and throw it out" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Oops, they did it again. President Obama's grabby-handed environmental bureaucrats have earned yet another spanking from the federal judiciary over their "determined disregard" of the rule of law. Isn't it time to give these misbehaving government hooligans a permanent timeout?
Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department Wednesday for defying his May 2010 order to lift its groundless ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Nine months later, not a single permit has been issued. Several deepwater platforms have moved out of the area to take their businesses — and an estimated 5,000 jobs — overseas. Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue and Gulf lease sales-related rent have also dried up.
"If the majority [of the U.S. Supreme Court] agrees with [Judge Roger] Vinson, President Obama would find not only his health care bill undone, but also face the most significant scaling back of the government's power to use legislation to solve its problems in decades," Time's Michael Lindenberger warned in a February 2 post at the magazine's website.
To reach such a conclusion, however, Lindenberger must have misunderstood Vinson's ruling on Monday in State of Florida v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, which sought not to "turn back the clock" on commerce clause interpretation but merely prevent its overextension into an unprecedented and dangerous arena: forcing Americans to buy private health insurance under the flimsy illogic that such economic inactivity actually amounts to commercial activity.
"I am required to interpret this law as the Supreme Court presently defines it. Only the Supreme Court can redefine or expand it further," Vinson noted on page 43 of his 78 page opinion. The Reagan appointee noted that no less legislative authorities than the Congressional Research Service and the Congressional Budget Office have found Congress requiring Americans to purchase private health insurance under penalty of law to be "novel" and "unprecedented"
My guess is that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is an amateur zoologist. Vinson is the federal judge who ruled Monday in Pensacola, Fla., that those who confected Obamacare cannot compel the citizenry to buy health insurance. Moreover, he found that because the 2,600-page bill was created without any "severability clause," the entire law is unconstitutional. The authors of Obamacare declared that without mandatory insurance, the whole bill would have been unworkable. Mandatory insurance was not severable from the law. Hence Judge Vinson, because of the way the bill was constructed, threw the whole law out. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to breathe life into this legislation or to bury it. I say R.I.P.
As learned as Vinson indubitably is — in the course of his meditations on Obamacare, he reread the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, James Madison's notes at the Constitutional Convention, certain cogitations of former Chief Justice John Marshall and more — the erudite judge surely noted a zoological curiosity. Conservatives and liberals are so different as to be drawn from distinct species of political animals. To me, the conservative always has appeared to be some form of mammal. The liberal is reptilian. I could be wrong. I wonder what Judge Vinson might say.
At the New York Times, apparently a belief in first principles and the wisdom of the founders is enough to be labeled a Tea Partier. On Wednesday the Times alleged (passively, of course) "political bias" by a federal judge in Florida, who on Monday ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional.
The smoking gun? Judge Roger Vinson cited colonial-era restrictions on the sale of tea that helped lead to the American revolution. For the Times, Vinson's originalist approach to the Constitution makes him politically biased - presumably a disregard for original intent would not - and portions of his written opinion referencing the founders represented "a deliberate nod to the Tea Party movement."
Hall failed to bring on a representative from the other side of the dispute, even though there are 26 state attorneys general to choose from for that purpose, not to mention any number of conservative legal scholars who could defend the conservative position on the matter.
What's more, Hall failed to challenge any of the complaints Pollack raised, such as his lament that although Judge Roger Vinson dwelt mostly on the "individual mandate" provision that forces Americans to buy health insurance under penalty of law, he ruled the entirety of the 906-page "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" unconstitutional.
A classic form of media bias is this: if someone the liberal media considers to be a dummy (Sarah Palin, or for an older example, Dan Quayle) says something that suggests serious confusion, it's a big gaffe story sent directly to the desks of Leno and Letterman. But if we put the same words in the mouth of say, a liberal Supreme Court justice the media considers a genius, then no one blinks. At National Review's Bench Memos, Matthew Franck offered an example:
First I read it in the New York Times this morning, but it didn't hit me. Then my coffee kicked in, and by the time I was reading the Washington Post, I was awake enough to say "huh?" It seems that [Tuesday], during oral argument at the Supreme Court--the context is unimportant--Justice Stephen Breyer said that if a certain course of reasoning were to be adopted, "we are not just throwing a monkey wrench into the gears of government contracting; we're throwing the whole monkey."
Time's Kate Pickert sees trouble on the horizon for ObamaCare with another federal judge hinting he may find the individual mandate provision of the legislation unconstitutional.
Pickert promises such a ruling by federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson "would be a second brutal court blow to the Obama Administration."
Nowhere in her brief December 16 blog post did Pickert entertain the notion that the individual mandate itself is a "brutal blow" to individual liberty or the notion of limited constitutional government.
Ever since Justice Samuel Alito mouthed "not true" after an inaccurate partisan applause line at President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year, some in the mainstream media have been keen on presenting the conservative wing of the Supreme Court as partisan political actors with an eye on sticking it to the Obama administration wherever possible.
Today, New York Daily News writer Richard Sisk dusted off the meme in a short item chock full of loaded language painting Alito and Chief Justice Roberts in a negative light (emphasis mine) for opting to "boycott" the 2011 State of the Union Address:
CNN continued its one-sided coverage of homosexual issues with two segments on Monday's Newsroom which featured only liberal activists. Anchor Kyra Phillips endorsed the work of Kamora Harrington and her "True Colors" group, which "organizes the largest LGBT youth conference in the country." Correspondent Dan Simon played a sound bite from one of the opponents of Prop 8 without playing any from supporters.
Phillips led her segment with Harrington, which began 38 minutes into the 10 am EST, by hyping the apparently dire situation with homosexual teens: "Gay bullying, gay suicides- they're sad stories that we keep hearing over and over again. But if the anecdotes weren't enough, there is a pair of new studies detailing just how hard it is to grow up gay." After playing a clip from a student discussion group which her guest regularly holds, the anchor turned to her and gave her first hint that she endorsed her organization's work:
In a softball interview with retired liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Sunday's 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley touted Stevens's opposition to the court ruling on the 2000 presidential election: "He thinks [Bush v. Gore] is one of the Court's greatest blunders....There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush."
Pelley introduced the segment by proclaiming that Stevens "has shaped more American history than any Supreme Court justice alive" and made "decisions that have changed our times." The decisions Pelley focused on were the Justice's most liberal: "It was Stevens who forced a showdown with President Bush over the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and Stevens who tried to stop the court from deciding the presidential election of 2000."
Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled "that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same in-state tuition breaks that are offered to citizens who attend public colleges and universities."
The Associated Press reports that "[t]he high court unanimously upheld a state law that says any student, regardless of immigration status, who attended a California high school for at least three years can qualify for in-state tuition that's much less than what out-of-state students pay."
The losing party in the case plans an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, so this may not be the final word on the issue.
Given that the Golden State is flat broke and illegal immigration is a hot button issue nationally, this sounds like a story worthy of mainstream media attention.
Yet it appears the story has been largely ignored or buried by the MSM thus far.
On Election Day, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchants Association. The irony of this case name was obvious: the celebrated violent-action-hero governor of California had signed a bill into law in 2005 forbidding the sale of ultraviolent video games to minors, a law that lower federal courts prevented from ever going into effect.
Why should the Supremes care about this? After all, a year before that, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a law making it illegal for anyone under 14 years old to tan indoors under any circumstances. (Children from 14 to 18 can tan – with parental consent.) The fine for salon operators for each violation is as much as $2,500 per day. Somehow this did not become a cause celebre, and was not fought all the way to the Supreme Court. Indeed, 32 states are inhibiting the freedom of minors to tan, and no one cares.
But interfere with their right to fry their minds and there’s hell to pay. Video-game manufacturers don’t want politicians tampering with their sales to minors, so here comes the march of the First Amendment fundamentalists, who argue that the principle of freedom of speech covers the enthusiastic distribution and sale of every kind of child-corrupting media horror. For them there must be no helpful hurdle or brake for children to go around their parents and grab what Justice Samuel Alito called “the most violent, sadistic, graphic video game that can be developed.”
One wonders how Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center managed to get a hold of a private letter sent to President Obama by Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe advising him against nominating Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, but be that as it may, its contents are quite interesting and show just how nakedly political Tribe’s view of a justice really is and also how little he thinks of Sotomayor.
In the May 2009 letter (PDF link here), Tribe advises Obama to refrain from choosing Sotomayor because “she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is” and also that she is a “bully” who would would be unable to try to persuade frequent SCOTUS swing vote Anthony Kennedy to a “pragmatically progressive direction,” something that Tribe believes former justice David Souter had managed to do on occasion.
In the wake of Virginia Thomas requesting an apology from Anita Hill, on Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge used the story to raise questions about Thomas's political involvement: "That phone call is bringing up new scrutiny upon Virginia Thomas, who is not just an angry spouse but also a long-time advocate of conservative causes."
In the report that followed, CBS chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford implied that since Virginia Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas her conservative activism in a conflict of interest: "She has long advocated for conservative causes....she formed a grassroots conservative group called Liberty Central and has spoken at tea party conventions....Critics have raised questions about her role in the group as the wife of a sitting Justice, and Mrs. Thomas, not one to suppress her opinions, has felt the heat."
In broadcast network stories on how Ginni Thomas left a phone message for Anita Hill (“I would love you to consider an apology sometimes and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband”) , a revelation which ABC and NBC decided merited their lead slot, the network journalists couldn't resist scolding her for her conservative political activity.
“Ginni Thomas has long stretched our idea of what a spouse of a non-partisan Supreme Court justice should be,” ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi contended, explaining: “A long-time conservative activist, she now heads Liberty Central, an advocacy group opposing what she characterizes as the leftist tyranny of President Obama.”
On CBS, Jan Crawford declared the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “has come under scrutiny” because “she formed a grass-roots conservative group and speaks at Tea Party conventions.” NBC's Andrea Mitchell echoed: “Recently, Virginia Thomas has emerged as a high-profile Tea Party activist and skilled fundraiser,” calling that “an unusually partisan role for a Supreme Court spouse, as the New York Times wrote on the 19th anniversary of the hearings, the same morning Mrs. Thomas called Anita Hill.”