Wednesday, 07/01/2015

Deflating Cruz

Oh, Megyn:

Cruz argued that the Constitution’s framers had intended to limit the court’s power through the threat of impeachment, but he said that hasn’t even been a “scarecrow” for justices for two centuries.

“Even 200 years ago, the Supreme Court wasn’t afraid of it,” he said, but he conceded that impeachment would be nearly impossible in today’s divided U.S. Senate.

“We can’t even muster 50 votes to defeat Loretta Lynch, the attorney general who tells us she’s not going to follow the law or the Constitution, (so) there’s no universe in which there are 67 votes to remove Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court,” Cruz said, revealing the target of his wrath.

Kelly reminded Cruz that American voters had twice elected President Barack Obama, so she wondered how the Tea Party senator could be sure he would like the results of his plan to put Supreme Court justices before voters.

“Let’s be clear,” Cruz said, momentarily losing his footing. “What I’m talking about are judicial retention elections, which means you could have the same appointment, the same senate confirmation, but every eight years the people would have an up-or-down vote with the option to remove a justice.”

“But what if the people bounced out Scalia and Alito and Thomas and we had a President Obama in the White House?” Kelly said.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with Cruz's brilliant plan.  It's like a Swiss fucking watch.

ntodd

July 1, 8:41 AM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 06/30/2015

Momma!


Muppets v Kanye.

ntodd

June 30, 10:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ours Is Not To-morrow

Cotillion:

Youth’s the season made for joys,
          Love is then our duty:
She alone who that employs,
          Well deserves her beauty.
                    Let’s be gay
                    While we may,
Beauty’s a flower despised in decay.

John Gay.

ntodd

June 30, 9:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Devil's Tryin' To Break Me Down


True enough.

ntodd

June 30, 8:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Romans 1:18

Mustang Bobby:

I think Steve M is on to something: if states such as Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi won’t obey the federal laws or the rulings of the Supreme Court, then the next time they get hit by floods, tornadoes, or a hurricane, they can pay for their own disaster relief.

Yes, of course it would be cruel to deny assistance to the innocent people when a natural disaster strikes; why should they suffer because their governor or attorney general is a homophobic asshole?  (Well, for one thing, the people of the state elected them.  They bear some responsibility for putting them in office in the first place.)

The point is that the states can’t have it both ways: demanding to be left alone and stand for states’ rights (and Jesus!) until the going gets hairy.  It’s like a teenager who stomps out of the house swearing he’ll never have anything at all to do with his cruel parents and then demands they give him his allowance.

Wait, maybe Matthew 26:52 is more apt.  Whatthefuckever, these assholes could be taught a thing or two...

ntodd

June 30, 7:51 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0)

His Red Right Hand To Plague Us

Anthony:

If I had to choose to live under the words of Madison, Mason, Adams, Jefferson and Washington or to live under the words of Jesus, I'd never hesitate but to choose the later.   It would produce egalitarian democracy and, in accordance with the economic laws of Moses, a radically level and economically just society.  As the often misrepresented mentions of slavery by Paul,  slave owners were to treat those they legally held in slavery, not as slaves but as equals, as if they were members of their own families.   Under the teachings of Jesus, slavery as the Founders practiced and supported and embedded in their Constitution could not have been maintained. 

It's a fair cop.  But we work with what we have.

ntodd

June 30, 6:58 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Spittle Spattle

Oh noesTolerance vs. Pride? Spat on by parade-goers, Catholic priest has this message

Sure, being spat on is just like being denied civil rights, or being killed in hate crimes.  But I hope everybody reads beyond the hed:

“The two men who spat on me are probably very good man (sic) caught up in excitement and past resentment,” he wrote. “Most in that parade would not do that.”

He dismissed their act of ugliness as simply being caught up in the moment.

“Oh well, I deserve worse,” he wrote.
...
But Father Jonathan demonstrated that he not only preaches tolerance – he practices it.

A lesson for us all.

Yes indeedy, a lesson for all.  And I recommend the bigots should start learning it first.

ntodd

PS--To be fair, this minister who performed weddings didn't get spat on.

June 30, 6:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The whole world's gone to hell


But how are you?

ntodd

June 30, 4:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hobby Lobby As An Excuse For Murder?

Lovely people:

Can it be long before we hear about pastors being killed for performing gay marriages? The homophobic American Taliban is not about to take the gay marriage ruling last week in stride. Nay, they intend to fight with everything they've got, including calls for stonings and vengeance.

In the process, they've lost sight of what being a Christian is really all about.

Pastor Steven Anderson, of Faithful Word Baptist Church, called for stoning to death ministers who performed same-sex marriage ceremonies and repeated his call for the execution of all LGBT people.

"I hate them with a perfect hatred," Anderson shouted. "I count them mine enemies."

Anderson said the Bible consistently called Christians to "have the guts to stand up to our culture that is now accepts homos."

"Where's the call to repentance?" Anderson said. "Where's the hope, where's the love and the grace? It isn't there."

I really don't like Christian anarchists.

ntodd

June 30, 4:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

God Loves Fags!

Well, some of Her churches do, at least.  People ought to remember that.

ntodd

June 30, 2:45 PM in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

It's Not Like There Aren't Racists Up North

I recall a scene in Glory when the newly minted 54th is marching into camp, much to the cruel delight of white Union soldiers.  "Gettin' dark mighty early 'round here!"  Some wit remarked.  "I'd rather have a hog than a nigger; at least you could eat the hog."  Later there's a confrontation between white and "colored" troops and the first non-white non-com: "Stripes on a nigger; that's like tits on a bull!"

Etc.

It comes to mind because of this atrocityConfederate flag hung from Boston memorial for black soldiers.

Some people really just don't know what this war and the 54th were all about.

ntodd

PS--It's not like there aren't fucking idiots up North.

June 30, 8:19 AM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, 06/29/2015

Sway


I love the Dark City version.

ntodd

June 29, 10:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Disturbing The Dust On A Bowl Of Rose-leaves

Burnt Norton:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.

TS Eliot (listen to him read his Four Quartets).

ntodd

June 29, 8:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conscience Has Consequences

Good:

A county clerk in Arkansas intends to resign from her position because she doesn't believe in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Cleburne County Clerk Dana Guffey said Monday that she intends to step down June 30, according to ArkansasOnline, because she has a moral objection to same-sex marriage. 

If you can't do your job, find another.  Don't try to use the Bible--or MLK--as a Get Out Of Work Free card.

ntodd

PS--Here's somebody who apparently read all her Bible:

Over the weekend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested that local clerks with religious objections could opt-out of granting marriage licenses to gay couples in light of the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage. But at least one Texas clerk who opposes gay marriage on religious grounds doesn't see a need for the exemption.

“Personally, same-sex marriage is a contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Denton County Clerk Juli Luke said in a statement Sunday, according to the the Denton Record-Chronicle. “However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family Bible to uphold the law, and as an elected public official, my personal belief cannot prevent me from issuing the licenses as required.”

Her clerk's office oversaw its first gay marriage Monday morning, the Denton Record-Chronicle. The couple, Sara Bollinger and Whitney Hennen, received their license a little after 8 a.m.

Let her light so shine before Texas officials, that they may see her good works, and glorify their Father which is in heaven...

June 29, 7:25 PM in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

We Were Just Asking For It, Getting Elected That Way

LOL:

Even the liberal Joe Nocera wrote an article called “The Ugliness All Started With Bork” that ended:

The next time a liberal asks why Republicans are so intransigent, you might suggest that the answer lies in the mirror.

Indeed, impeaching Clinton over a blow job, destroying America for 8 years, then obstructing every damned part of Obama's agenda...all our fault.

ntodd

June 29, 4:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hahaha, Bless Your Soul


I'm still enjoying the unhinged reactions to last week's victory for justice.

ntodd

June 29, 1:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Happen To Have Mr. Marbury Right Here

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore asks about SCOTUS in the wake of their marriage ruling:

Just who do they think they are...?

Here, let me help:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court...

Holler if you have any other questions.

ntodd

June 29, 1:09 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Human Kindness


Perhaps bigots should try some ether...

ntodd

June 29, 11:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Apostle Paul Says, "Do Your Fucking Job."

RMJ examines the Texas AG's opinion that nobody has to do nothin' they don't want for teh Marrying Queers.

I'll just remind those G-d fearing clerks and JPs of Romans 13:

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Let's put this into words they'd understand: issue the God ordained marriage licenses or go to Hell.

ntodd

June 29, 11:02 AM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (2)

Byebye, Sitemeter

Gone are the days when I really cared about traffic, when I had wild dreams of avarice and monetizing.  But it's annoying that Sitemeter has been hosed for a week.  Time to break up with the POS and move to StatCounter.

ntodd

June 29, 9:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, 06/28/2015

Forward Motion, Life Promotion


To reverse is to repeat,

ntodd

PS--It was a tossup between this and Roundabout's isolated bass track.

June 28, 10:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

We Debate Feline Names Too Much In This Household

The Naming Of Cats:

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Thomas Stearns Eliot.

ntodd

June 28, 9:46 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (3)

"Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out."

Speaking of alternate names, here's a favorite Arthur C Clarke short story I remember from my childhood, when I was known as Pretzel to some friends.

ntodd

June 28, 9:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trump's TRADITIONAL MARRIAGES Literally EXPLODED!

Heck with his birth certificate; I wanna see Trump's marriage certificates.

ntodd

June 28, 7:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

My ROCKET Literally EXPLODED!


"Our rockets always blow up."  But at least private industry is perfect.

ntodd

June 28, 5:43 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

My HEAD Literally EXPLODED!

Oh Alan West, I wanna gay marry you:

YEEhaw! This side-effect of the gay marriage ruling will make liberals EXPLODE

Prediction: it won't.

The Court used Section 1 of the Fourteen Amendment to justify its argument, which reads: Amendment XIV Section 1. 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. No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Now here is the kicker, as the writer articulately brings to light: “By using the Constitution in such a manner, the Court argues that the Due Process Clause extends “certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy” accepted in a majority of states across the state lines of a handful of states that still banned the practice. The vast majority of states are “shall issue” on the matter of issuing concealed carry permits, and enjoy reciprocity with a large number of other states. My North Carolina concealed carry permit, for example, was recognized yesterday as being valid in 36 states, which just so happened to be the number of states in which gay marriage was legal yesterday. But 14 states did not recognize my concealed carry permit yesterday. Today they must.

Here is the kicker: that's not how SCOTUS decisions work.  IANAL, but it seems clear they rule on very specific issues within a case, which are applied to similar cases, not generally without further controversy.  Situations often differ even if similar logic can be applied to settle matters.

Anyway, there's already been a case based on the 14th Amendment regarding the RKBA.  Might've heard of McDonald v Chicago, which (selectively) incorporated the 2nd Amendment against the states.  The majority also reaffirmed Heller's observations that some gun restrictions are still permissible.  

While I wouldn't be surprised--nor upset--if a challenge against non-reciprocity were successful, up to this point I am unaware of any, and last week's ruling doesn't change that.  So have fun stormin' da castle!

But this is my favorite section, natch:

Perhaps I should probably remind folks of some of the quotes of the Founding Fathers on the Second Amendment:

  • “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” — Benjamin Franklin  

    [Nope.]

  • “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” — George Mason

    [Nope again.  See above link.]

  • “No free government was ever founded, or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…such area well-regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.” — Richard Henry Lee

    [Status unclear.  See below.]

  • “[W]hat country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” — Thomas Jefferson

    [Yeah, well, West must've learned his lesson...]

  • “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent on others for essential, particularly for military, supplies.” — George Washington

    [Yeah, well...]

That Richard Henry Lee one has to be spurious.  I see the same exact quotation, including ellipses, all over the place, always with the same alleged citation of "State Gazette (Charleston), September 8, 1788."

Whenever I find a quotation everywhere with something elided, and never any larger context, my alarm bells go off.  What's more, it appears in his contemporaneous letters, including his famous rebuttal to Dickinson, that he rarely used 'freeholders' in any context, amongst other terms.  And does "such area well-regulated militia" even make grammatical sense?  Also, I suppose it's not a big deal, but the truncated name of the paper (State Gazette of South Carolina) doesn't ring true.

If anybody has a link to an original source document, they're mum out there.  Imma say this is fake.  Which would be unsurprising in the context.

Maybe I should ask West for help.  It could just make him EXPLODE!

ntodd

June 28, 5:06 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (5)

I Am Spartacus

It's a difficult matter:

Facebook likes to think of names as a one-to-one mapping. You have one name, and that name is how people refer to you at all times. It’s a very WASP notion of how names work, and the reality is far more complex. Names are a tool for description, a shorthand for quickly communicating the idea of a person or thing. They change based on context. Each person has many names, because each person has many contexts and social groups. Like the government, Facebook tries to warp all of these contexts into one identifier. And like the government, it demands the final say in what you are called.

I've gone by NTodd for so long that even people IRL call me NTodd, not Todd.  But in my life I've been called many, many different things.  I really only have ever been called Nathaniel by new teachers on the first day of class, and my parents when I was in trouble.  

My last name lends itself to myriad variations, some playful, some rather mean.  And back before the No Call List, I could always tell who was a telemarketer when they asked for NuhTodd Pertinksy.

Just don't call me late for dinner.

ntodd

June 28, 3:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

We Have Have Heaven


RIP, Mr Squire.

ntodd

June 28, 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Heartless

Yeah, that's pretty much it:

The chief justice criticizes the majority for “order[ing] the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?” We’re pretty sure we’re not any of the above. And most of us are not convinced that what’s good enough for the Bushmen, the Carthaginians, and the Aztecs should be good enough for us. Ah, the millennia! Ah, the wisdom of ages! How arrogant it would be to think we knew more than the Aztecs—we who don’t even know how to cut a person’s heart out of his chest while’s he still alive, a maneuver they were experts at.

The only effort the chief justice makes to distinguish the Loving case from the same-sex marriage case is that it did not alter “the core structure of marriage as the union between a man and a woman.” But the states that forbade miscegenation considered the prohibition an important part of the core structure of marriage. For they thought part of the core was that marriage be uniracial—that whites must just marry whites and blacks just marry blacks—just as Orthodox Jews believe that the core structure of (their) marriage culture is both spouses subscribe to Orthodox Judaism.

The chief justice worries that the majority opinion has mounted “assaults on the character of fairminded people” who oppose same-sex marriage, by remarking that they impose “ ‘[d]ignitary wounds’ upon their gay and lesbian neighbors.” But of course they do, even if innocently, because a married couple doesn’t appreciate being told that their marriage, though legal, is sinful. That isn’t to say that people are forbidden to oppose same-sex marriage; it is merely to remark on one of the costs of that opposition and one of the reasons to doubt that it should be permitted to express itself in a law forbidding such marriage.

Related to the preceding point, the chief justice’s dissent is heartless. There is of course a long history of persecution of gay people, a history punctuated by such names as Oscar Wilde, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Alan Turing. Until quite recently, many American gays and lesbians took great pains to conceal their homosexuality in order to avoid discrimination. They value marriage just as straight people do. They want their adopted children to have the psychological and financial advantages of legitimacy. They are hurt by the discrimination that the dissenting justices condone. Prohibiting gay marriage is discrimination.

But please don't be mad at us for our earnest believe that queers are yucky and sinful and inferior!  Because bigots are the real victims.

ntodd

June 28, 8:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, 06/27/2015

And Don't Forget The Porkchops, Schweetheart!


Yummy.

ntodd

June 27, 11:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Tribute To Scalia's Favorite Food (Second To Broccoli)

Applesauce:

It was raining and he laughed - 
A bareheaded boy
Laughed for joy.

"Put on your hat," I said,
And frowned - 
You'll be drowned!"

"Applesauce!" he cried.
"Rain makes me grow - 
Daddy says so."

What reply could I
Make a boy
Who laughed for joy

When rain poured down,
And said "Applesauce!"
To my frown?

Charles Oluf Olsen.

ntodd

June 27, 10:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Loving The Loving

Praise be:

In Obergefell v. Hodges, Kennedy and the four liberal justices who joined his opinion went all in on the idea of a living Constitution.

"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times," Kennedy wrote. "The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.…The Court, like many institutions, has made assumptions defined by the world and time of which it is a part."

Adam Winkler, a constitutional law expert at the UCLA School of Law, calls Kennedy's opinion "an ode to living constitutionalism." With Kennedy's ruling, he says, the court makes clear that "the due process clause protects an evolving notion of liberty."

Justice Holmes approves.  As do I.

ntodd

June 27, 10:04 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Someone's Got To Be Oppressed!

RMJ on Roberts' deep concern that tax exempt status could be threatened if bigots aren't free to discriminate:

[T]he reference to the candid acknowledgement of the Solicitor General was to whether an institution like Bob Jones University could lose its tax exempt status.  It was not a reference to taking away the tax exempt status of the Roman Catholic Church or the Southern Baptist Convention, either wholesale or one congregation at a time. 

But the almost dog-whistle code in the Chief Justice's comment (or am I just hearing things because of the reaction in Texas?) is to Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, especially about the "exercise" of religion.  Because while the rest of us have always held with the doctrine that your freedom stops at the end of my nose (although threatening gestures can be an assault, or just knocking a tray with a plate of food out of someone's hand, which is a long way from the end of one's nose; so the aphorism is, like most, more apophatic than true), the Supreme Court dissent (and others) seem to think Hobby Lobby weighed in on the side of "exercising" religion against someone else.  In matters of religion, the Chief Justice seems to imply, you don't have a nose at all; at least, not one the Court need consider.
...
But people of faith are not free to discriminate against mixed-race marriages in college campus housing, and haven't been since 1967, if not since 1964.  The arguments now really aren't any different than they were then.  So, again, I fail to see the relevance of the argument here; except for the handle Hobby Lobby v. Burwell gives to a club that is sure to soon be wielded; and at that point someone will have to learn the difference between a Constitutional right, and one granted by statute.

If you can't afford to lose your tax status, don't be a hateful ass.  Besides, when you get to Heaven you'll be blessed!  So it's probably all for the best...

ntodd

June 27, 9:40 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Constitution Itself Is Unconstitutional

Clearly it's not unconstitutional on its face, asshat:

Huckabee issued a statement evoking the Revolution in the wake of the ruling vowing: “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court...We must resist and reject judicial tyranny.”

“What does that mean?” Kelly asked Huckabee. “You have to accept this ruling, right? I mean, are you planning on not accepting this ruling in a way?”

“How do we accept something that is – on it’s face – unconstitutional? Has the Congress yet acted?” Huckabee responded.

But Kelly was undeterred, laying into the GOPer: “It’s the Supreme Court’s job to interpret the Constitution and tell us what it means. And like it or not, they get the final say unless the people decide to pass a Constitutional amendment.”

“Glad you brought that up, that’s the whole point, the people do have a right to say, and in over thirty states they did say, and they said very clearly that they want to affirm the laws of nature, and the laws of nature’s god, words from the Declaration of Independence, and keep marriage what it’s always been,” Huckabee said.

The candidate then compared the decision to the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott ruling, which ruled African Americans were not citizens, to the same-sex marriage decision.

How nice it must be to be an unappointed pundit who can wave a hand to dismiss Article III, Article VI, and Amendment XIV.  Oh yeah, and making sure people who are citizens are equal under the law is precisely the same as a ruling that protected the propertied class whilst denying a black person could even be a citizen, free or not.

ntodd

June 27, 9:07 PM in And Fuck..., Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

I've Laid With The Devil


To bring you my love...

ntodd

June 27, 8:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Framers Never Had Constitutional Confrontations

If the gentleman was the Pythia in the temple, ought he not to explain the ambiguous language of the oracle?

 - William Vans Murray on the House floor (March 23, 1796)

So a few days ago I'd mentioned Jay's Treaty, but my cold and other more exciting SCOTUS developments pushed it down the priority list.  I've been chomping at the bit, however, because it brought up some constitutional disagreements early in our Republic's infancy.

After some kinda secret negotiations (it wasn't published until Jay brought it back to America), President Washington submitted it for advice and consent on June 8, 1795.  The Senate, after various motions, gave it the nod (20-10) on June 24.

I'll make a brief aside that my least favorite scene in HBO's John Adams series portrays the vote.  It's a complete fabrication of what happened, wholly ignorant of what the Constitution says about such matters.

Anyway, that's not really what interests me.  The real fun is just how puzzled The Father of The Constitution is about the Senate's power to advise and consent to treaties.  No, really.

James Madison was concerned, very concerned, on October 12, 1795, about how the House didn't get to have a say on ratification:

The President and Senate by ratifying this Treaty, usurp the powers of regulating commerce, of making rules with respect to aliens, of establishing tribunals of justice, and of defining piracy. A formal demonstration of every part of this complex proposition is not requisite. We will prove that this Treaty is dangerous to liberty, and that the constituted authorities who have given it their sanction, have flagrantly violated their duty by an appeal to the constitution itself, to that explicit instrument which we formed as the unerring guide of our representatives, but which some of them have dared to violate.

He brought his concerns to the House floor on March 10, 1795, after Congress was asked to appropriate funds to implement the treaty: 

On comparing the several passages in the Constitution, which had been already cited to the Committee, it appeared, that if taken literally and without limit, they must necessarily clash with each other Certain powers to regulate commerce, to declare war, to raise armies, to borrow money &c &c, are first specifically vested in Congress. The power of making Treaties, which may relate to the same subjects, is afterwards vested in the President and two thirds of the Senate. And it is declared in another place that the Constitution, and the laws of the U States made in pursuance thereof, and Treaties made or to be made under the authority of the U States shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges, in every State, shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of any State, to the contrary notwithstanding.

The term supreme, as applied to Treaties, evidently meant a supremacy over the State Constitutions and laws, and not over the Constitution & laws of the U States And it was observable that the Judicial authority & the existing laws, alone of the States, fell within the supremacy expressly enjoined. The injunction was not extended to the Legislative authority of the States or to laws requisite to be passed by the States, for giving effect to Treaties, and it might be a problem worthy of the consideration, though not needing the decision of the Committee, in what manner the requisite provisions were to be obtained from the States.

It was to be regretted, he observed, that on a question of such magnitude as the present, there should be any apparent inconsistency or inexplicitness in the Constitution, that could leave room for different constructions. As the case however had happened, all that could be done was to examine the different constructions with accuracy & fairness, according to the rules established therefor, and to adhere to that which should be found most rational, consistent, and satisfactory.

This speechifying came in the midst of debate over the House's demand that Washington hand over documentation pertaining to the treaty, allegedly so they could determine if monies were truly warranted.  Federalists objected.  For example, Vermont's Daniel Buck on March 7:

I am opposed to the resolution now under consideration ; not from an apprehension that the papers referred to will not bear the public scrutiny, or from a belief that there would be the least reluctance on the part of the executive to deliver them, on account of any such apprehensions of his ; but I am opposed to the resolution in point of principle, because I conceive those papers can be of no use to us gratify feelings of resentment, or a vain curiosity...

The treaty is negociated, assented to by the Senate, ratified by the President [ahem], the ratifications exchanged. It is now promulgated, communicated to us, and the President has made solemn proclamation enjoining it upon all persons bearing office civil or military, within the United States, and all other citizens or inhabitants thereof, to execute and observe the same.

Was this the proclamation of George WASHINGON considered as a man, detached from the powers vested in him by the people, it would excite ridicule : Was it the proclamation of a king or despot who arrogated to himself the right of dictating laws to men without their confent, it would excite contempt; and if it is in fact the proclamation of the President of the United States, who under colour of his office has asumed powers not delegated to him, it must excite indignation ; but if it be neither of these, but is indeed the voice of United Ainerica, founding through the President as the only organ of the nation in this particular case, this gives it a different stamp, and in this sense to me the found is heavy as thunder, majestic as heaven, and the height of treason to disobey it

This is the tenor of debate for a couple weeks until the Executive came back with an answer to their requests: I'd prefer not to, thank you.  Madison took the floor again on April 6:

If there were any question which could make a serious appeal to the dispassionate judgement, it must be one which respected the meaning of the constitution; and if any constitutional question could, make the appeal with peculiar solemnity, it must be in a case like the present, where two of the constituted authorities interpreted differently the extent of their respective powers.

It was a consolation however, of which every member would be sensible, to reflect on the happy difference of our situation, on such occurrences, from that of governments, in which the constituent members possessed independent and hereditary prerogatives. In such governments, the parties having a personal interest in their public stations, and being not amenable to the national will, disputes concerning the limits of their respective authorities, might be productive of the most fatal consequences. With us, on the contrary, although disputes of that kind are always to be regretted, there were three most precious resources, against the evil tendency of them. In the first place, the responsibility which every department feels to the public will, under the forms of the constitution, may be expected to prevent the excesses incident to conflicts between rival and unresponsible authorities. In the next place, if the difference cannot be adjusted by friendly conference and mutual concession, the sense of the constituent body, brought into the government through the ordinary elective channels, may supply a remedy. And if this resource should fail, there remains in the third and last place, that provident article in the constitution itself, by which an avenue is always open to the sovereignty of the People for explanations or amendments as they might be found indispensable.

If, in the present instance, it was to be particularly regretted, that the existing difference of opinion had arisen; every motive to the regret, was a motive to calmness, to candor, and the most respectful delicacy towards the other constituted authority. On the other hand, the duty which the House of Representatives must feel to themselves and to their constituents, required that they should examine the subject with accuracy, as well as with candor, and decide on it with firmness, as well as with moderation.
...
On the whole, it appeared that the rights of the House on two great constitutional points, had been denied by a high authority in the message before the committee. This message was entered on the journals of the House. If nothing was entered in opposition thereto; it would be inferred that the reasons in the message had changed the opinion of the House, and that their claims on those great points were relinquished. It was proper therefore that the questions, brought fairly before the committee in the propositions of the gentleman (Mr. Blount) from North Carolina, should be examined and formally decided. If the reasoning of the message should be deemed satisfactory, it would be the duty of this branch of the government to reject the propositions, and thus accede to the doctrines asserted by the Executive: If on the other hand this reasoning should not be satisfactory, it would be equally the duty of the House, in some such firm, but very decent terms, as are proposed, to enter their opinions on record. In either way, the meaning of the constitution would be established, as far as depends on a vote of the House of Representatives.

Agree to disagree, then.  They moved on to the resolution for carrying Jay's Treaty into effect.  More disagreement.  In the end, opponents narrowly lost on April 30 (51-49), and Washington signed the appropriations into law on May 6.  Jemmy came up short (heh) again.  

These guys argued just the way we do today.  So who should you cite when making a point about separation of powers and constitutional prerogative?  The losers or the winners?

ntodd

PS--For more context, one could add Madison's Political Observations of 1795 from which that misused quotation about continual warfare comes.

PPS--There was also significant debate in 1794 when Jay was first appointed to negotiate in the first place.

June 27, 7:38 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Changing Gears


The artiste drawing a little portrait.


I just need you to hold your chin up a bit.


NOW IT'S TIME TO FEEEEED!

ntodd

June 27, 6:21 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Ran From The Hounds Of Hell


After the US is destroyed for not helping the poors, I will totes be the sole survivor with all my skillz.

ntodd

June 27, 3:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The War On Tlacaxipehualiztli

[T]he Court...orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.

 - Chief Anthropologist of the Supreme Court, John Roberts

 

I wonder what other things the Aztecs did would gain John Roberts' favor.  Gladiatorial sacrifice?

The victim, with white feathers in his hair and a shield with the signs of the five directions of space, fights a warrior dresssed in jaguar skin holding a war club and shield, and wearing a feathered headdress. This sacrificial rite was celebrated on the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli in honor of Xipe Tótec, "our flayed lord," the god of agriculture, death, rebirth, and the seasons. At his festival in the spring, men were sacrificed by tying them to the temalacatl (an altar stone). Once defeated, the victim was flayed and eaten. 

One would at least think under current jurisprudence, such ritual battles would be exempt from US laws against murder.  Thanks, Hobby Lobby!

We should also probably bring back the Divine Right of Kings.  And if they are the basis for such rulings, perhaps we should ban cars.  I mean, the Aztecs didn't use wheels for transportation.

ntodd

PS-Also, too (via FB).

June 27, 2:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shining Ever Brighter Till The Full Light Of Day


Let's have some wine!

ntodd

June 27, 1:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

We're All Sodomites Now

America's dumbest Congressman, ladies and gentlemen:

[I]f Moses, Jesus, and contributors to the Bible were correct, God’s hand of protection will be withdrawn as future actions from external and internal forces will soon make clear. I will do all I can to prevent such harm, but I am gravely fearful that the stage has now been set.

Methinks we'd been damned well before teh Queers got any rights.  But he's most likely correct that God's pissed at us, because Sodom:

Rabbi Ze'era said: The men of Sodom were the wealthy men of prosperity, on account of the good and fruitful land whereon they dwelt. For every need which the world requires, they obtained therefrom...

But they did not trust in the shadow of their Creator, but (they trusted) in the multitude of their wealth, for wealth thrusts aside its owners from the fear of Heaven, as it is said, "They that trust in their wealth" (Ps. xlix. 6).

Rabbi Nathaniel said: The men of Sodom had no consideration for the honour of their Owner by (not) distributing food to the wayfarer and the stranger, but they (even) fenced in all the trees on top above their fruit so that they should not be seized; (not) even by the bird of heaven, as it is said, "That path no bird of prey knoweth" (Job xxviii. 7).

Rabbi Joshua, son of Korchah, said: They appointed over themselves judges who were lying judges, and they oppressed every wayfarer and stranger who entered Sodom by their perverse judgment, and they sent them forth naked, as it is said," They have oppressed the stranger without judgment" (Ezek. xxii. 29).

They were dwelling in security without care and at ease, without the fear of war from all their surroundings, as it is said, "Their houses are safe from fear" (Job xxi. 9).

They were sated with all the produce of the earth, but they did not strengthen with the loaf of bread either the hand of the needy or of the poor, as it is said, " Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, fulness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy" (Ezek. xvi. 49).

Rabbi Jehudah said: They made a proclamation in Sodom (saying): Everyone who strengthens the hand of the poor or the needy with a loaf of bread shall be burnt by fire. Peletith, daughter of Lot, was wedded to one of the magnates of Sodom. She saw a certain very poor man in the street of the city, and her soul was grieved on his account, as it is said, "Was not my soul grieved for the needy?" (Job xxx. 25).

What did she do? Every day when she went out to draw water she put in her bucket all sorts of provisions from her home, and she fed that poor man. The men of Sodom said: How does this poor man live? When they ascertained the facts, they brought her forth to be burnt with fire. She said: Sovereign of all worlds! Maintain my right and my cause  (at the hands of) the men of Sodom. And her cry ascended before the Throne of Glory.

In that hour the Holy One, blessed be He, said: "I will now descend, and I will see" (Gen. xviii. 21) whether the men of Sodom have done according to the cry of this young woman, I will turn her foundations upwards, and the surface thereof shall be turned downwards, as it is said, " I will now descend, and I will see whether they have done altogether according to her cry, which is come unto me."

Hey, the poors will be with us always, so we might as well do nothing.  It's not like anything bad will happen to us...

ntodd

June 27, 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Flashing Lights Against The Sky


Giving up, I close my eyes...

ntodd

June 27, 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wondering How Much I Can Take

Lithwick:

Scalia is just dripping with contempt for this “select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine.” He takes a whack at his colleagues—and, I guess, himself—for separate and concurring opinions loaded with “silly extravagances.” He invites his readers to feel as impotent in the face of this judicial tyranny as he feels.

Thomas also rails at the fact that a “bare majority of this court” is able to “grant this wish, wiping out with the stroke of a keyboard the results of the political process in over 30 states.” And all I could keep thinking was, “Where was all this five unelected judges chatter when you all handed down Citizens United? Or Shelby County? Why does this rhetoric about five elitist out-of-touch patrician fortune-cookie writers never stick when you’re in the five?”

Did she forget Hobby Lobby?  Or Bush v Gore?

ntodd

June 27, 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Revelation In The Light Of Day


You can't choose what stays and what fades away.

ntodd

June 27, 9:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Greater Light To Rule The Day, And The Lesser Light To Rule The Night

Dear Clarence:

Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action...Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a “liberty” that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect. Along the way, it rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the Government.

Orly?

[A]mong these [rights] are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted...

Brown v Board:

The words of the [14th] amendment...contain a necessary implication of...exemption from legal discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society...

Who needs dignity when God ordained separation of the inferior from the superior, amirite?

The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

I suspect Thomas prefers this ruling:

[T]he language used in the Declaration of Independence, show that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument.

Would that he remembered this:

[I]f there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

But he's not much of a Loving guy.  The self-loathing tool does appear to love his neighbor as himself, which would explain his dissent.

ntodd

June 27, 8:29 AM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, 06/26/2015

A Brick Wall


Chief Justice Roberts' children and friends are unhappy with today's ruling.

ntodd

June 26, 11:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speaking Of Logic

Well, now:

Roberts: Marriage is only about children (and the couples who can biologically have them).

The premises supporting this concept of marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child’s prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways. Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond.

Society has recognized that bond as marriage. And by bestowing a respected status and material benefits on married couples, society encourages men and women to conduct sexual relations within marriage rather than without. As one prominent scholar put it, “Marriage is a socially arranged solution for the problem of getting people to stay together and care for children that the mere desire for children, and the sex that makes children possible, does not solve.”

Do tell:

[A]fter the Robertses married nine years ago when they were both in their 40's, they tried to have children. After a several failed adoption efforts, he said, they "got lucky" with two children, Josephine and John, now 5 and 4.

So a marriage can be maintained without biological children?  And adopted children could benefit from a stable, committed family?

ntodd

June 26, 10:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

When Logic And Proportion Have Fallen Sloppy Dead


Ask a hippie when she's ten feet tall.

ntodd

June 26, 10:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speaking Of Obstacles

The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.

 - SCALIA, J., dissenting, Footnote 22, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

Really, Nino?

Ask the nearest hippie.

Roger B. Taney is chortling in his grave.  Here, have a cookie, asshole.

ntodd

PS--Never forget Scalia's gem from Romer: "The Court has mistaken a Kulturkampf for a fit of spite."

June 26, 9:48 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0)

Makes You Wonder Why The Framers Included A Third Branch

Fox asks: the Judiciary, what is it for?

JULIE ROGINSKY: I'm dying. Look, we've had this before, Loving V. Virginia, which allowed and legalized marriage between a black man and a white woman, or vice versa, I don't remember who was who in that situation. That came from the courts. And there was a religious furor about it and people used religion back then, as ridiculous as it sounds, to say that we shouldn't have mixed races, we shouldn't promulgate biracial families. And the reality is it was done by the courts. Can you explain to me how this is any different? Love is love and people should marry whom they want and I don't understand how that's not --

AIDALA : That's not the argument I'm making. The argument I'm making is the court is not the proper branch --

ROGINSKY: But, they've done it before.

AIDALA: So they've made mistakes before, that doesn't mean you should make mistakes again.

[...]

ROGINSKY: But then why go to a courthouse and have a judge marry you if it's not a legal issue? And I'll leave it at that, because I know --

AIDALA: Because Congress is supposed to be the one who decides whether they can do it or they can't do it. Congress empowers the judiciary. So it should be Congress' job along with the executive.

ROGINSKY: So Brown V. Board of Education was the same thing, that Congress should have done it?

ARTHUR: Probably, yes.

Which is totes consistent with how Congress passed campaign finance reform then the non-activist Justices said Congress should do the stuff that Congress should do because rich people should be able to buy elections as the Framers intended.

ntodd

June 26, 9:11 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)