Posts Tagged scalia

The Death of A Wretched Human Being: Antonin Scalia

downloadLast week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at the age of 79 in some luxury resort in West Texass. He did not pay to stay at that luxury resort owned by John B. Poindexter,  a Texas native and decorated Vietnam veteran who owns Houston-based J.B. Poindexter & Co., a manufacturing firm with  seven subsidiaries and a  combined annual revenue of nearly $1 billion. Poindexter told The Washington Post that Scalia was not charged for his stay, something he described as a policy for all guests at the ranch.

I did not pay for the Justice’s trip to Cibolo Creek Ranch,” Poindexter wrote in a brief email Tuesday. “He was an invited guest, along with a friend, just like 35 others.”

A friend, indeed.

One of Poindexter’s companies was involved in a case that made it to the high court. Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving an age discrimination lawsuit filed against one of these companies, court records show.

Is it just mere coincidence that a year later we see a Justice of that very same court invited to the luxurious home/ranch of the owner of the company involved in a case which the Supreme Court refused to hear?

Nothing about who Scalia was suggests that it could be a mere coincidence. What is for certain, however, is that it constitutes a conflict of interest.

Interesting to note is that this was not the first time Scalia acted unethically (that we know of).  In 2004, he joined then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney on a hunting trip while Cheney was the subject of a lawsuit over his energy task force, and in response to calls that he sit out the case, Scalia issued a highly unusual 21-page argument explaining why he refused to do so.

While judges have to file financial disclosure statements, including reporting of gifts they receive and disclosing when someone who is not a relative gives them “transportation, lodging, food, or entertainment” worth a certain amount (see 1978 Ethics in Government Act passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal), there is really no one who enforces that. And while every other federal judge below the Supreme Court and the decision about whether or not they should be recused from cases where there could be a potential conflict of interest is potentially subject to the review of a higher judge or other judges on his court, no one reviews the decision of a Justice and thus Supreme Court justices essentially become the final arbiters of whether or not to recuse themselves from cases that may constitute a conflict of interest.

Why am I bringing this up on the day of Antonin Sacalia’s funeral? Because while much of the mainstream press was quickly lining up to offer glowing commemorations of his career as a public servant and brilliant man, I want to be sure that Scalia’s destructive judicial legacy is  not completely whitewashed.

He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues”…  Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr  said in a statement confirming Justice Scalia’s death. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”

No it is not. Antonin Scalia’s death is great news and this nation’s salvation. He did not serve this country loyally.  On the contrary,  he used and abused his position in the highest court of the land to align himself with power, against the powerless.

Scalia was a contemptible human being who once during oral arguments in a pivotal affirmative action case suggested that African American students might belong at less rigorous schools than their white peers, and that perhaps the University of Texas should have fewer black students in its ranks.

He decided his cases based on what the Catholic church preaches about women and reproduction.

He repeatedly and casually equated LGBT and its advocates to apologists for incest, rape, bestiality, child pornography and murder.

He has been nothing but an antagonist to social justice ever since he took seat on that bench/ivory tower of his. Heck, his last official act was denying a stay of execution.

Scalia’s death is not a loss to this nation or the Supreme Court. Scalia was the disease that’s been gnawing and eating away at our Democracy like a malignancy.  His death is our salvation as a nation.

And that is what I have to say about him on this day of his funeral.

May he rest in the hell he believed in so much and which he created for others during his short time in this world.

 

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Your Garbage Anti-Choice Supreme Court

Looks like it will be, once again, up to some old, male asshole, this time in the form of Justices Anthony Kennedy as well as Roberts, to decide what rights as pertaining to reproductive choices and bodily autonomy, women should be granted.

Justice Kennedy believes that the government’s case would basically “force corporations to pay for abortions” – making many believe that Kennedy’s belief that this is an abortion case was an indicator that the Supreme Court was going to side with Hobby Lobby and other plaintiffs. Kennedy has not cast a pro-choice vote in 22 years and is not likely to change his position this time.

It is interesting to note that Hobby Lobby objects to four forms of contraception on the mistaken ground that these contraceptive methods are actually forms of abortion — a brief filed by numerous medical organizations explains that they are not (not that even if they were, it should matter)

Roberts, however, suggested that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger a religious exemption to federal law.

Let me repeat what you just read:

Justice Roberts suggests that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger a religious exemption to federal law.

Beautiful. Now we are at a point where the highest court of the land and its Justices state that someone’s “mere belief” – absent any factual evidence – “is enough to trigger a religious exemption.”

When a Chief Justice is advocating for superstition in the from of religious belief to write the law of the land as opposed to facts, then we are in far more trouble than I had even imagined we could be. For such a notion to hold sway in a court of law is profoundly disturbing.

How can someone make a legal decision based on what someone “believes”?

If this goes through, you will have corporations filing for religious exemption on any and all laws they can find to pretty much discriminate against anyone they want – as long as they say they “believe” it, of course.

See, your Honor, playing the piano causes abortions, even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting this, so I want to be able to ban my employees from playing the piano on their off time.”

See, you Honor, paying minimum wage violates my religious beliefs (and just take my word for it that it does, good sir), so I really don’t think I should have to pay abide by minimum wage laws.”

“See, you Honor, hiring blacks violates my religious beliefs (and just take my word for it that it does, good sir), so I really don’t think I should have to hire them.” 

“See, you Honor, having a black person sit at my lunch counter violates my religious beliefs (and just take my word for it that it does, good sir), so I really don’t think I should have to let them sit at the lunch counter of my restaurant.” 

Etc., etc. etc.

The SCOTUS is going to ensure that the “Slippery Slope/Hobby Lobby Act of 2014” passes, ensuring all employers that worship flying spaghetti monsters in the clouds and who believe that said flying spaghetti monsters who prohibit them from paying for any and all medical coverage because of “religious conscience” will be legally allowed to do so. Have cancer or heart disease? Too bad because your employer believes that prayer and herbal tea cures these things.

This is religious supremacy.

Now we are at a juncture in our history where those writing the highest law of the land (and not, as one would think, some “extremist religious nut jobs” – a strawman a lot of god and religion apologizers like to use as ostensible “proof” that religion is misunderstood because, allegedly, only a few on the fringe are like that, not everyone. Uh.huh)  really think that a person’s mere belief in something, regardless of the facts, was grounds for legally discriminating against another group in the grossest and most transgressive way possible.

See how religion and god have managed to stick and lodge their rancid, oppressive tentacles into the very fabric of society to the point where lawmakers assert that mere belief in something, whether based in reality or not, was enough to enact a law based on such a belief?

These are not the principles that this nation was founded on and making laws respecting establishments of religion or religious belief does not only go against the First Amendment but makes us a mere theocracy.

I find it frightening to think that in this day and age, and when presented with  the scientific fact that birth control is not abortion, people who “feel” that it is, can get their way and thus get to make decisions that affect millions – all over how they feel.

Religion really is a disease. Always interjecting, always fucking it up for everyone else and no one is allowed to talk about it openly because doing so is “rude” and non-PC.

It’s a good thing that with all these righteous, pious men who are only doing god’s work blah blah fart,  it is atheists who are the least trusted entities in the country, aside from rapists, that is.

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