Skip to content

Supreme Court blocks Democrats from seeing unredacted Mueller report

July 3, 2020

  Believe it or not the Democrats still have not given up on the Russia scandal. They have been trying to get their hands on the unredacted Mueller report but today the Supreme Court put the kibosh on that effort for the time being. Here is more:

Grand jury material from former special counsel Robert Mueller won’t be released to the Democratic-led House of Representatives at least for now, after the Supreme Court on Thursday granted the Trump administration’s request to take up the case next term.

The move means the documents won’t likely be released before the November election, even if the Democrats win the case.

The court’s move is a victory for the Justice Department, which is seeking to prevent the release of the information, which includes portions of Mueller’s report that were redacted to protect grand jury information and underlying grand jury testimony and exhibits that relate to certain individuals and events.

  The Supreme Court is going to take up this case during the fall term so this is not over, however the Democrats were hoping they could get their hands on the unredacted report in time for the 2020 election and that is not going to happen.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Governor Newsom’s winery will remain open despite new COVID-19 lock down

July 3, 2020

  When the house arrest orders were in full effect we saw a few politicians have their Chris Christie the-beaches-are-shut-for-thee-but-not-for-me moments: New Mexico Governor Grisham decided jewelry was essential for her and devised a scheme to purchase some during her State’s shutdown, Governor Whitmer’s husband had a “do you know who I am” moment when wanted to get his boat in the water over Memorial Day weekend during a lock down, and in California Gavin Newsom was seen violating his own social conditioning rules because he needed to shake hands and kiss babies.

  And speaking of Gavin Newsom, he liked the totalitarian measures and the thought of a government-dependent citizenry so much that he is in the process of doing it again. The Governor has ordered a new lock down which includes restaurants, wineries, and movie theaters.

  You may be thinking to yourself, doesn’t Gavin Newsom own a winery? The answer to that question is yes, but have no fear about Gavin Newsom losing all of that holiday weekend revenue because he made an exemption which will allow his winery to remain open. Here is more:

Wineries, a popular destination on a summer holiday weekend, were forced to close in the affected counties. Californians who’d planned on visiting places like Temecula or Santa Barbara or the Santa Ynez Valley or Fairfield or the Santa Clara Valley to celebrate Independence Day with some local wines face a tough choice: either stay home or find an open winery somewhere like San Diego County or Napa County.

Napa County, where Gov. Gavin Newsom’s business, PlumpJack Wines, operates four wineries – wineries with tasting rooms that are open all weekend long and booked solid.

Well, isn’t that convenient.

  Convenient indeed! Apparently the virus cannot cross county lines, how fortunate for Gavin Newsom…

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Supreme Court rules in favor of school choice

June 30, 2020

  The Supreme Court has been in the news quite a bit lately and earlier today the highest court in the land handed down another decision. The decision was on school choice and this time liberal Justice John Roberts sided with the four conservative justices on the court. Here is more:

In a huge win for backers of school choice including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with three Montana families who asked the court to declare that excluding religious schools from student aid programs is unconstitutional.

The case, which has drawn intense interest from the Trump administration, could have major implications for the use of public dollars to pay for religious schools. At the White House, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the ruling removes “one of the biggest obstacles” to better educational opportunities, preventing states from hiding behind rules “motivated by insidious bias against Catholics.”

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue looked at whether the Montana Supreme Court violated the U.S. Constitution when it struck down a tax-credit scholarship program that allowed students to attend private schools, including religious schools.

Justices held that the application of Montana’s “no-aid provision” discriminated against religious schools and families whose children attend or hope to attend them in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision.

Proponents of school choice said it was a major triumph in the courts. “The weight that this monumental decision carries is immense, as it’s an extraordinary victory for student achievement, parental control, equality in educational opportunities, and First Amendment rights,” said Jeanne Allen, the founder and chief executive of the Center for Education Reform.

  Not all agreed with the last statement in the block quote above, notably the teacher unions, but it seems to me as if giving children the chance to attend a better school would be hard to consider a bad thing. However, I do have to admit I have never followed this issue closely so I do not know all the arguments opposed and in favor of school choice.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion restrictions

June 29, 2020

Louisiana passed legislation several years ago which stated in order for a doctor to perform an abortion he or she had to have admitting rights to a nearby hospital, this law had been challenged in the courts and today the Supreme Court ruled against the law. Here is more:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that critics said could have forced all but one of the state’s abortion providers to close, granting a major victory for abortion rights supporters and signaling that the more conservative court isn’t ready to overthrow precedent on the divisive issue.

In a 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote, the court said the Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals created an unconstitutional undue burden for patients seeking an abortion.

  John Roberts claimed he disagreed with the decision however was forced to vote in favor of it due to precedent:

Justice Stephen Breyer, in an opinion joined by rest of the court’s liberal wing, wrote that the Louisiana law would make it “impossible for many women to obtain a safe, legal abortion in the State and [impose] substantial obstacles on those who could.” Roberts, in a separate concurring opinion, disagreed with the liberal justices’ reasoning but said he was bound by the precedent the court set just four years ago when it rejected a similar law in Texas.

“The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons,” wrote Roberts, who had voted to uphold the Texas restrictions in 2016. “Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

  He seems to have forgotten it was his court which set the precedent in the first place. When can we stop saying John Roberts sided with the four liberal justices and just say the five liberal justices?

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Sunday, June 28th open thread: ‘Screaming for Anarchy’

June 28, 2020

open-threadThis is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 KJV)

  Here is this week’s open thread. Please feel free to post links to interesting articles and to discuss whatever issues arise during the course of the day. Nothing is off-topic here.

 You can subscribe to America’s Watchtower to receive email updates and you can also follow America’s Watchtower on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links on the right.

  Here are Street Bulldogs and “Screaming for Anarchy”

Federal Judge rules Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio violated religious freedom

June 27, 2020

boot_stamping  We have seen the not so subtle media bias when it comes to the coverage of the small groups of people who were protesting the house arrest orders compared to the coverage of the much larger Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests, which led to the takeover of a portion of Seattle, in regards to the potential spread of COVID-19.

 There is no need to go into that here, it has been well-covered already, but it is interesting to note that politicians have also shown a bias in how they have reacted to the two scenarios. But the politicians’ hypocritical reactions to different issues during this pandemic is not limited solely to these protests, it also relates to how they have handled the crisis and gatherings in general.

  Back in April  Bill de Blasio threatened to arrest people if they attended the funeral of a beloved religious leader and in March he threatened to “permanently” close houses of worship. While restricting this first amendment protection, Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo came out in favor of the recent George Floyd protests even though there is a ban on large gatherings. This double standard did not go unnoticed and several religious leaders filed a lawsuit. Yesterday a judge ruled that Andrew Cuomo and Bill deBlasio exceeded their authority by limiting church services while letting the protests go on unchecked. Here is more:

A federal judge said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “exceeded” their executive limits by limiting worship services and condoning mass protests as the state continues to reopen from coronavirus restrictions.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction Friday on behalf of two Catholic priests — Steven Soos and Nicholas Stamos — and a trio of Orthodox Jewish congregants — Elchanan Perr, Daniel Schonborn, and Mayer Mayerfeld — in Brooklyn, represented by the Thomas More Society.

They filed the suit in the Northern District of New York after mass protests and looting occurred in the Big Apple following George Floyd’s police-related death in May.

De Blasio had “simultaneous pro-protest/anti-religious gathering messages” when he “actively encouraged participation in protests and openly discouraged religious gatherings and threatened religious worshipers,” Sharpe said in his federal order.

“Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests, short of condemning their message, in the name of public health and exercised discretion to suspend enforcement for public safety reasons instead of encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules,” the judge added. “They could have also been silent. But by acting as they did, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”

And here is more about another example of the hypocrisy:

“Suddenly, the limit on ‘mass gatherings’ was no longer necessary to ‘save lives,’” Ferrara said in a statement to Fox News. “Yet they were continuing to ban high school graduations and other outdoor gatherings exceeding a mere 25 people.”

He added, “This decision is an important step toward inhibiting the suddenly emerging trend of exercising absolute monarchy on [the] pretext of public health. What this kind of regime really meant in practice is freedom for me, but not for thee.”

  Okay, back to the original decision. If I am reading this article correctly this is not a straightforward victory for religious freedom, the judge did not rule the State governments cannot restrict the freedom of religion but rather that all restrictions on our freedoms have to be equally restrictive. In other words if you are going to violate one right you must violate them all.

  But still it is a victory at a time when we desperately needed one to help stem the tide of authoritarianism that is creeping across the nation with the approval of the people…

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Appeals Court freezes $2 billion in border wall funding

June 26, 2020

  Back and forth we go on Donald Trump’s battle to reallocate some defense monies to build the border wall. When last we left this fiasco the Supreme Court reversed a freeze a lower court put on $2.5 billion.

  The Supreme Court decision allowed the President to begin spending the $2.5 billion while the lawsuit made its way through the court system. Well, that lower court has now made its decision and not surprisingly the 9th Circuit Court has ruled against the President. Here is more:

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled against the Trump administration in its transfer of $2.5 billion from military construction projects to build sections of the U.S. border wall with Mexico, ruling it illegally sidestepped Congress, which gets to decide how to use the funds.

In two opinions, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a coalition of border states and environmental groups that contended the money transfer was unlawful and that building the wall would pose environmental threats.

The rulings were the latest twist in the legal battle that has largely gone Trump’s way. Last July, the Supreme Court allowed the $2.5 billion to be spent while the litigation continued, blunting the impact of the latest appeals court action.

The 9th Circuit ruled that the Trump administration not only lacked the authority to authorize the transfer of funds, “but also violated an express constitutional prohibition designed to protect individual liberties.”

The vote on both rulings was 2-1 with judges appointed by former President Bill Clinton in the majority and a Trump nominee dissenting.

  Much of the money has already been spent and this is sure to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which has largely ruled in the President’s favor on border wall spending.

And on and on it goes…

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

The Supreme Court hands Donald Trump a victory on deportations

June 25, 2020

It really is hard predicting which way the Supreme Court is going to rule on any given issue nowadays and here is the latest case in point; just last week the Supreme Court ruled against the President’s attempt to rescind the DACA program with John Roberts siding with the liberals, and then yesterday in a 7-2 decision with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer voting with the conservatives the highest court in the land ruled for Donald Trump’s fast track deportation policy. Here is more:

The U.S. Supreme Court handed the Trump administration a major victory on a signature issue Thursday, ruling that asylum-seekers whose claims are initially denied by immigration officials have no right to a hearing before a judge.

The decision authorizes the Trump administration to fast-track deportations for thousands of asylum-seekers after bare-bones screening procedures.

Immigrants who make a claim for asylum must initially prove to immigration officials that they have a “credible fear” of persecution in their country of origin to proceed with the full asylum process. If they fail, they can be deported without ever having the opportunity to make their case in court.

He said that neither the right of habeas corpus nor the right to due process of law requires a hearing before a judge for those turned down in their initial asylum screenings. This framework, he said, was properly authorized by Congress in a 1996 law aimed at speeding deportations at the border.

  While voting in favor of the policy in the one particular case before the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer did not agree with Samuel Alito majority statement because they felt it was too broad and that the decision should be limited to this one case.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Senate Democrats block police reform bill

June 24, 2020

  In response to the George Floyd murder and the subsequent protests the Senate Republicans began to craft a police reform bill. This bill included the following reforms:

Among other things, the JUSTICE Act creates a federal system to track police shootings, requires police departments to report no-knock warrants such as the horrific incident in which police officers shot Breonna Taylor, institutes a grant program to help police departments gain access to more body cameras, requires police training on alternatives to the use of force and de-escalation, makes lynching a federal crime, and reforms law enforcement hiring and education. The act also creates economic incentives for local police departments to ban chokeholds.

  Despite demanding action on this issue Democrats in the Senate blocked the legislation, calling it unsalvageable even though the Republicans were going to allow Democrats to make amendments to the legislation. 

  Yet while the Democrats are calling this legislation “unsalvageable” according to the above-linked article it is not all that different from their own version of this bill which is in the House. If the Democrats were truly interested in reforming the police it would seem as if they should have at least debated and amended the Senate bill, and if passed something could have been worked out between the two versions of the bill when it went to conference committee. You know, the way things usually work…

  What this shows us is simple, the Democrats are not interested in police reform. Or I should say, the Democrats are not as interested in police reform as they are in using police reform as a political issue during an election cycle or in assuring the Republicans cannot claim any type of victory on police reform before an election.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Donald Trump extends and expands ban on foreign worker visas

June 22, 2020

  Back in April, after 35 or so authoritarian governors decided to shut down the economy by putting millions of Americans under house arrest, Donald Trump tried to stem the tide of self-destruction by banning some foreign work visas for 60 days.

  With that Executive Order set to expire today it is being reported here that the President is preparing to extend and expand the visa ban until the end of the year. Here is more:

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order extending a freeze on green cards and barring most categories of foreign workers through the end of the year, the White House announced Monday.

The order extends restrictions originally enacted in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, which blocked most people from receiving a permanent residency visa, or green card. The new order also temporarily freezes H1-B visas for highly-skilled workers

The Trump administration is arguing the immigration restrictions are necessary to protect American jobs during a period of historic unemployment, the result of the country’s lockdown this spring to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The executive order applies to H1-B visas, which allow U.S. employers to temporarily hire non-immigrant workers in specialty occupations; H4 visas for spouses of H1-B workers; L visas for temporary workers and most J and H2-B visas. J visas are for work-and-study-based exchange visitor programs and their spouses and dependents — au pairs are exempt, but professors and scholars are not — and H2-B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers.

  According to the article it is estimated this will free up 525,000 this year. You already know how the Democratic leadership is going to react to this news, they are going to claim Donald Trump is using the COVID-19 crisis to implement his racist policies because, quite frankly, they are happy with the self-inflicted economic downturn.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium