Courts Decide

The Supreme Court recently did what they are empowered to do – make decisions based on their best interpretation of the constitution.

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary for a reason. We are a nation of laws where the power of the majority does not trump the rights of the minority. Our federal judges are appointed to reduce political influence.

The court also decides issues that we can’t resolve at the ballot box.

During this time of deep political polarization, every decision produces a backlash of second guessers. The same court they agreed with yesterday somehow betrayed them today. You’ll likely see some of that across the Internet with appropriate doomsday predictions.

Americans deserve leadership that can actually fix our broken health care system, and they are certainly not getting now from Washington, DC. Jeb Bush

From the beginning, it was clear that ObamaCare would fail the American people and this has proven to be true across the country and in Wisconsin. Scott Walker

The reality is that while not perfect, Obamacare is meeting its goals. Over 10M insured and the healthcare growth rate has slowed to its lowest rate in decades. This despite the fact that 25 Republican states have refused to expand Medicare. Also NOT ONE Republican candidate has produced a detailed replacement plan that can be scored against Obamacare.

I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat. Mike Huckabee

This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty. Bobby Jindal

The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage. Scott Walker

What is funny is that the founding fathers created the judicial branch to protect the people from an imperial exec and legislative branch. Also at the time of the decision, 39 states had already approved gay marriage.

Those that complain about the court being politicized, recommend packing the court with conservative justices as the remedy. Yet, it was supposedly conservative justices who participated in the majority in both cases.

Then there were the appropriate predictions of the apocalypse.

Santorum said stopping gay people from marrying was about “the survival of our country.”

Sen. Ted Cruz said it was “the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.”

Santorum might be correct if the country were exclusively populated by gay men, but it’s not. We are, in fact, in the midst of a baby boom. So clearly there are plenty of people still willing to contribute to the next generation even if that generation includes some married gay people.

As far as dark hours, at least from an existential perspective, this one isn’t very high on the list. Pearl Harbor, 9/11, the murders of the Kennedy’s, MLK, and Licoln; the Great Depression, the Great Recession, the Civil War, and Valley Forge all come to mind well before we get to this most recent SCOTUS decision.

Here’s what was actually decided.

Affordable Care Act The dispute was over six of the 363,086 words in the law. The part of the law said that insurance purchased through “an exchange established by the state” qualified for subsidies. Narrowly interpreting the law in this fashion, according to the court, led to many more serious contradictions throughout the rest of the law. The court decided (6-3) that Congress intended ACA subsidies to apply regardless of how insurance was purchased. The court encouraged Congress to be more careful in the future and left open the option for future legislation on the subject.

Same Sex Marriage The court decided (5-4) that adults have the constitutional right to marry. States can’t limit that right based on sexual preference. This decision doesn’t affect state laws regarding children, monogamy, or bestiality. It doesn’t affect who churches decide to marry. It doesn’t compel any business to change their practices. It only requires states to provide marriage licenses to all adults who apply for them and meet the requirements of that state (not already married, no sexually transmitted diseases, etc.).

There are certainly those who feel that this decision violates their religious beliefs. I would only remind them that similar religious arguments were used to support slavery, oppose female suffrage, support segregation, and oppose interracial marriage. Very few legitimate churches support those views today.

The courts aren’t perfect, but they do serve a vital role in our democracy. While I welcomed these decisions, I too was deeply disappointed by others (e.g. Citizens United). We all have the right to disagree, but we also have the responsibility as citizens to respect this constitutional process. If you want change, vote.

65 Responses to “Courts Decide”

  1. Keith says:

    I am very much enjoying reading the three day conversation with Camille Paglia. Today was day two. You show read this stuff. She’s priceless but her analysis is spot on. As you would imagine I share very little in common with her in terms of beliefs, but her spot on common terry of both parties is refreshing to hear.

    Today’s best two lines, and the headline
    Trump is a carnival barker
    Liberals think of themselves as open minded, but that’s simply not true.

    Please read

  2. Keith says:

    Are you really going to say “Obamas policy have slowed the deficit?” Every one earlier attributed this to the repubs austerity …

  3. Keith says:

    And please read the three part conversation with Camille Paglia in Salon. PRICELESS!!!!

  4. Keith says:

    And of course Jeff you are very aware from the media you follow about the barbaric behavior at planned parenthood? Please join me in sending a written letter asking from the defunding of this organization.

    (And the mainstream media has been all over this one right?)

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    On vacation this week. Will respond to the rest of your comments at another time. This last one, however, deserves a more immediate response.

    The Planned Parenthood “scandal” is another example of confirmation bias. You are being played by organizations who believe that their ends justify their means. Planned Parenthood offers the opportunity to donate fetal tissue obtained through abortions for medical research. The Nobel prize winning polio vaccine was developed using fetal tissue. That is not new news.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/science/news/articles/2015/07/29/human-fetal-tissue-long-used-for-variety-of-medical-studies

    What is new news is that an organization whose goal is to eliminate all abortions has created a highly edited video obtained under false pretense which claims that Planned Parenthood is in the business of selling fetal tissue on the “black market”. That’s simply not true.

    What is shocking is that you are so opposed to abortion that you are willing to believe the claim of an organization whose whole mission is based on deception.

    Here’s a video claiming Obama admitted that he was born in Kenya. It happens to be a clip from the Correspondent’s dinner where he was telling a joke. Look at the comments of all of the birthers who are willing to use this as proof of their claim.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se5zvGF6u9g

    Here’s another crudely edited one where Obama supposedly admits that he wasn’t born in this country. Obviously he didn’t make this speech, but there are a lot of people commenting on this video who believe that he did.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQcd41RO25k

    One of the great ways to tell an interview view is bogus is that you don’t see the person asking the question and the person answering the question in the same frame at the same time. That means the questioner can ask a question that will elicit the response they are interested in and then overdub an entirely different question. I could easily produce a video, for example, to support my claim that you are a pedophile. I would ask you if you like children. I would ask what do you like about children. I would then ask you about women and what you find sexually attractive about women. Then I would piece the whole thing together and get a video where you are talking about why you find children sexually attractive.

    The same thing happened here.

    Planned Parenthood’s practices are not secret. If they were in the business of selling fetal tissue for a profit, it would have been news that all of the major news organizations would have documented years ago. They are a big organization. It wouldn’t have taken much to document the process. It never became news because it isn’t true. There is regular research published every month by organizations making medical advances using this tissue, so it wasn’t a big dark secret. Definitely not the “black market” that the videos claim.

    But you and everyone else who shares your view are treating it like some big scary revelation. Guess what? There are people who donate body parts of their deceased relatives for research and transplants. There are costs associated with the extraction, preservation, and delivery of these body parts that the organizations receiving them cover. Some of these deceased are children. Some are infants. Some are stillborn or miscarried. You going to get upset about that too?

    The only difference between that process and this process is that the tissue is obtained through a legal medical procedure called abortion.

    If a pregnant mother had died in a car accident and her family decided to donate tissue from the fetus to medical science, would you have a problem with that?

    If the answer is no, then REAL issue is not the donation of fetal tissue. The real issue is that you don’t approve of abortion. So please stop pretending that this is anything else.

  6. Keith says:

    Well first off all enjoy your time away!! Hopefully somewhere nice and relaxing.

    Side note – They are selling the parts and bordering for more profit. This from a non profit who the govt gives millions too. Let it be private but not with my dolllars.

    To the point, I’m not being played. You have once again framed me for what I think… My concern is the causal manner over salad and wine one lady talked about what she was doing. It’s one of the coldest, most ruthless, irreverent, calloused, etc, things I’ve ever seen or heard.

    Again you tear into the group or person doing the “reporting.” And paying zero attention to what they are reporting. It will be interesting to get your comments to what Cammille has to say about the liberal progressive lefts ability to do just this and ignor real facts and issues. (From conversation #1)

    My other point to you was how much is this being covered, planned parenthood, by your bubble of media? Or is it simply disgarded for whatever reason including yours that these guys are birthers?

    Jeff you stand alone with your response. Even the head of planned parenthood condemned this woman. No one, no one is making the agreements you are making.

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Thanks for the good thoughts. Yes it has been a nice vacation, but most of our time was spent building a kitchen in our lake house. Happy that’s done.

    Couple of items.

    1. PP has to report all of its income and demonstrate every year that their funds are dedicated to their mission. It is not illegal for non-profit organizations to make a profit. The difference is that they are limited in how they use their profits. The question here is NOT whether or not they violated their non-profit status.

    The group that made the video is also a non-profit chartered as a biomedical charity. That mission appears to be just as much of a fraud as this video.

    2. PP does not make a profit selling fetal tissue. Their fees are based on their costs.

    3. Most of the government dollars that PP gets are for medical services billable to Medicare and Medicaid. Since the fees that PP charges for fetal tissues cover their costs, your tax dollars are not being spent on these services.

    4. You ARE being played if you assume that the conversation in the video is in any way representative of the conversation that actually occurred. The full two hour video of the conversation has been released and it is far different than the edited videos.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4UjIM9B9KQ

    The fault of this woman is that she was gullible, not criminal. But in the full conversation, she made it very clear that PP does not make a profit and patient consent is required before any donation is made.

    It is also remarkable that you chose to take your stand on this issue. What about the cold and callous way that law enforcement officers engaged black people in various unedited videos that have surfaced over the past year? You supported the police.

    5. What is being “reported” by the right wing media is a fraud. It is a lie. This is Drudge, Breitbart, and NewsMax sort of stuff. The reason you see it emerge from a fringe group rather than investigative journalism is because the fringe group MADE IT UP. There is no black market. There is no profit motive. There is no deep dark secret. There is only a group willing to lie to just about everyone in order to accomplish their goal of making it more difficult for women to obtain abortions. I suspect they also consider themselves good Christians.

    There is plenty of reporting on this from reputable sources. Their articles are much different than the trash you are going to read on Fox and friends.

    Here’s an example of straight up news reporting from the NYT.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/us/video-accuses-planned-parenthood-of-crime.html

    Here’s editorial expressing the NYT opinion.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/opinion/the-campaign-of-deception-against-planned-parenthood.html?_r=0

    Clearly I don’t stand alone.

    You really should get out more, or at least read more widely.

  8. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Camille Paglia
    Thanks for the reference.

    I enjoyed reading her opinions too. Not surprised that you feel some affinity. She is a libertarian and you appear to have some of those traits too.

    She also has a strong view of how women should act in both public and private life. That’s her big beef with Hillary.

    I obviously don’t agree with a lot of what she says, but I think that she is thoughtful in the positions that she takes. It is interesting to read her point of view.

    For example, her comments about politicians as “public” people wasn’t particularly insightful. But her conclusion that only “public” people could be effective politicians was surprisingly naive. Clearly we’ve had powerful and successful political leaders who weren’t particularly comfortable “public” people. Suggesting that Martin O’Malley will win the Democratic nomination solely on the strength of his “Irish” appeal, seemed to me a little self-serving.

    Her stated affection for Drudge is also a good example. She views the site as on-line homage to the sensationalist tabloids that dominated the NY scene in the 1890’s. She doesn’t care that much of the stuff is made up conspiracy theories. She doesn’t care that the site has an obvious political agenda that is completely disconnected from any sort of journalistic ethic. Instead, she celebrates the mix of working class and high-brow politics and laments that similar liberal sites (which were prevalent during the anti-war years) no longer exist.

    She is fundamentally an iconoclast. She is most comfortable being on the outside attacking existing institutions, whether that is feminism, political parties, or established politicians.

    Her irreverent approach combined with her conflicted affection for both populism and elite educational institutions makes her an interesting commentator. She has a little bit of something for everyone.

    I would not, however, call her a thought leader. She is much more of a provocateur. But that fits with her own self-image of being a 60’s style radical where being true to the cause was the most admired virtue. Her comments and tone remind me most of William F. Buckley.

  9. keith says:

    My comments about the video were directed at what I saw. The woman drinking wince, having a salad and very casually talking of savagely dismimbering a baby. It might be aboung the most barbaric things I’ve ever seen.

    You didn’t have a problem with it and of course took the progressive line, much like Elizibeth Warren on the floor of the senate yesterday, totoally deflecting from the topic. If everything were rosie what was Mrs Richards rushing to the camaras to apoligize for?

    In the susiquent videos that have been released I think you’ll need to revise the nature of the activity…
    No one is telling those ladies what to say. The videos are choped up, but the words spoken are the words spoke BY THOSE WOMEN… your way off base in your analogy of making me look like a pedophile by chopping of a video… you would not have complete incriminating sentences. You would never have the wine, salad and the “crunchiness of the baby in the same uninterupted sentence…

    as to my getting out more, do you think I found the Carmilla conversation on FOX? I repeat, I watch very little FOX… My reading, watching listening,in no order.

    The Detroit News
    The Wall Street J
    Bloomberg News
    Huffington Post
    Fortune MAG
    Drudge
    MSNBC
    Rush 15/20 mins around the 1:15 EST mark while napping
    FOX – O’Reilly opening monolog/Megan Kelly…. Shawn H is a hack

    Hardly an echo chamber…

  10. keith says:

    Why no Dem debates? (Are you all really just going to have a coranation?)
    Any chances the Clintons were running a shadoww government? She’s toast over this. Please tell me you’ll never EVER vote for her? SHE decided to delete 30,000 emails, if that number is even correct , and asks us to trust her about her handling of that? Maybe, just maybe someone else but she has too big a history of files being missing, appearing, disappearing, etc. She has earned NO TRUST…. It’s sad, and in my opinon pathtic, she is even running….

    Why could Debbie W/Shultz not tell Chris M the difference between a dem and a socialist?

    Hope your vaction was good…. enjoy the rest of the summer.

  11. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Planned Parenthood Video:

    What you saw was only half the conversation. Here is a good example from a politifact article.

    The basic claim of the videos is that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue for a profit. When you look at the whole tape which was also posted, you find this conversation.

    Actor: “I understand what you’re saying. This cannot be seen as, ‘We’re doing this for profit.’ “

    Nucatola: “No. Nothing, no affiliate should be doing anything that’s not like, reasonable and customary. This is not — nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here.”

    Actor: “Right. And, I never see that as, I don’t look at it that way, we’re not selling tissue, we’re selling the possibility of what the research can offer.”

    Nucatola: “I think we all would agree with you. That’s just not the perception, sadly, for everybody.”

    Actor: “I mean, researchers are paying for procurement, they’re not paying for — You’re not buying a brain, you’re buying a procurement service.”

    Nucatola: “Exactly. Exactly.”

    The conversation indicates that at least some Planned Parenthood clinics do sell aborted fetal tissue. But Nucatola plainly argues that the money they’re charging is trying to offset the costs associated with tissue procurement — a legal service.

    The group who made the video, however, promoted it a evidence that Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts for profit on the black market. Those are all lies.

    The rest, as I pointed out before, is just sensationalism.

    If you flipped the script and used the example I had proposed before of a pregnant woman killed in an auto accident, there is no outrage. The family consults with physicians about the best way to donate organs including fetal tissue. The physicians discuss methods with the family that can maximize the number of donations.

    The outrage is based ENTIRELY on the concept that women are having abortions and some of those women are choosing to donate some of the fetal tissue from those abortions for medical research.

    The philosophical construct is basically flawed. Women are not choosing to have abortions because they want to donate fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood is not performing abortions because they want to harvest fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood is not assisting women in donating fetal tissue for medical research because they see this as a way to make money.

    You can talk all you want about how horrible it is to be confronted with the details about what actually occurs in an abortion, but the various medical procedures used for abortions are well documented. The fact that someone is able to describe those procedures over lunch is no more shocking than someone describing any other surgery.

    What bothers you is that this person is treating the fetus just like any other part of a women’s body and not as a human. If we were talking about the techniques of removing a uterus rather than a fetus and doing so in a way that would preserve some of the tissue for research, I suspect you wouldn’t have a problem.

    So please admit that this is at the root of your issues and we can move on because I’m never going to convince you that until a fetus is viable outside the body of the mother, it is part of the mother. And you are never going to be able to convince me that the moment of conception is the point in time when a new human life begins.

  12. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Democratic debates.

    More evidence that you need to read more widely. The first debates are scheduled for September in Iowa. Those running against Hillary clearly would like more than the six currently scheduled, but that’s something the underdogs always complain about. Just ask those that weren’t part of Fox’s “Top 10”.

    http://onpolitics.usatoday.com/2015/08/05/omalley-criticizes-dnc-for-limiting-2016-debates/

    The FBI is trying to determine if Hillary’s email server was secure. They are not investigating the issues of what sort of email was deleted.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/fbi-looks-into-security-of-clintons-private-e-mail-setup/2015/08/04/2bdd85ec-3aae-11e5-8e98-115a3cf7d7ae_story.html

    As we talked before, the whole discussion about deleted email misses the point. Hillary deleted HER copies of personal email. ALL of that “personal” email that she sent and/or received either came from someone else or went to someone else. There is NO evidence that ANY OTHER email has been deleted by ANYBODY. So it should all still be out there on servers and available for review.

    She claims that ALL of the official email that she had was turned over to the state department.

    The ONLY thing that Republicans have to do is find an official email that was sent or received by someone else in the government that was not part of the email that Hillary turned over to the State Department. This is a little bit of a needle in a haystack search, but you can believe that there are plenty of conservative resources focused on this search.

    If they are able to find an example and it is obviously something that would have been embarrassing (rather than just casual conversation about dinner with the Swiss ambassador), then she is toast.

    The other key detail to remember is that she had a law firm do the deletion. So if there are questions about why particular emails were deleted, she will have a third party who can help her explain how they applied whatever rules they used. But I don’t think it will ever get to that because if there were a smoking gun, someone in the government would already have leaked it. It is possible that Republicans may be holding this for some November “surprise”, but a story that big is REALLY difficult to keep under wraps. If there were email evidence that would damage Hillary, I think it would already be out there in the media.

    I also agree that it was stupid for her to put herself in this position. But that is the risk she chose to take and she is going to have to live with the consequences.

    What you have instead is just a lot of innuendo, which does not impress. This whole discussion about a “shadow” government is just one of many examples of right wing conspiracy theories which aren’t going affect voters who might otherwise be inclined to vote for her.

    The political reality is that, in the absence of any smoking gun, those who will have to vote on this have already decided. No conservatives are going to vote for her, but they weren’t going to vote for her anyway. Most liberals will vote for her if she is nominated because they weren’t going to vote for anyone the Republicans would nominate anyway. She will get the women’s vote because liberal and moderate women want to see a woman in the white house. She will get the minority vote because the Republicans have been openly hostile to minorities regarding voting rights, economic opportunities, and institutional racism. She will get the immigrant vote because the Republicans are openly hostile to immigrants. She will get the educated professional vote because Republicans are anti-science. She will get the young vote because Republicans are anti-education and anti-gay.

    The issue, as always, is how to get people to turn out. She has an advantage here too, because if she IS nominated, she will be attacked mercilessly by the whole conservative media machine. That will likely infuriate many women who might otherwise be on the fence and drive them to the polls. The same is true with minorities. I think the key will be young people and whether or not they will be motivated to go to the polls. I think young women will. Not so sure about young men.

    Her big challenge is not going to be the email issue, which in the absence of a smoking gun will be old news by next November. Her big challenge will be how the economy is doing next year. If the economy is doing better, she may be able to buck natural headwinds democrats will have of putting another democrat in the White House after 8 years of Democratic executive branch control. If the economy goes sideways for the next 12 months, her campaign may be in trouble because people will want to give the Republicans a chance.

    There is still a LONG way to go before this sorts itself out. But to suggest that Republicans are going to be able to turn Hillary’s use of a private email server into a substantive issue, in the absence of any evidence that she deleted embarrassing official email, is wishful thinking.

  13. Keith says:

    We agree on your final comment on planned parenthood. So we shall agree to stop the conversation… I say it’s a life and am appalled by her discussing it casually over salad and a glass of wine. You see it as equivalent to toe nail removal. We agree to disagree.

    Dem debate schedule announced just this morning is Oct. I don’t know where the sept came from.

    Hillary knew better. She is stupid. Period. The third person law firm is not the federal govt who decides. However, tell me you honestly trust her and what she says. Jeff this isn’t hard.

    Also white women are bailing on her quickly.

  14. Keith says:

    Why did you think the debates were in September and why did you think I was demonstrating more evidence I don’t read enough? Appears you were incorrect. Again the schedule was announced today.

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