Thursday, June 30, 2016


I omitted a decision by SCOTUS that unanimously upheld Arkansas In dependent  Redistrict Commission’s plan which the  protagonists had complained that the redrawn  favored Republicans  and tended to include mass Democrat populations in other districts.

Justice Breyer explained that the Constitution requires states to try to distribute residents evenly among legislative districts, but it “does not demand mathematical perfection.” In particular, states can draw districts with populations that aren’t perfectly equal if there is a good reason to do so – for example, to draw districts that are compact or to ensure that a city or county is not split up.

And the fact that districts aren’t perfectly equal, standing alone, does not mean that a redistricting map violates the Constitution, Breyer explained, if the largest deviation from perfect equality is less than ten percent.

In effect in this decision and one on Texas’s redistricting the Court upheld gerrymandering.
Gun control remained a subject that Congress wished to only pay lip service. By failing to pass three Republican and three Democrat sponsored bills no action was taken until the Senate came up with a bipartisan compromise bill

The Senate voted on Thursday to keep a proposal to block gun sales to terrorism suspects alive, but placed it in a procedural limbo that made its adoption unlikely anytime soon.

"The compromise measure, drafted by Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, had emerged as the one piece of legislation since the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., with a chance of winning bipartisan support and passage in Congress.

The measure, which had been in danger of failing because of Republican opposition, would block gun sales to anyone on the government’s no-fly list or the so-called “selectee” list of people subjected to heightened screening before they are allowed to board a plane.

Republican leaders, however, had expressed deep misgivings about the bill because they said it would deny due process to individuals who might have ended up on the lists without just cause.

That left them in a quandary of how to stall the measure without allowing Democrats to gloat that Republicans were so opposed to tighter gun restrictions that they defeated even a bill offered by a member of their own party.
The solution was a procedural maneuver by which the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, scheduled the bill for a vote on a motion to table it. By voting not to table it, Republicans could keep it alive without advancing or defeating it outright — putting it in a sort of legislative purgatory".

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


A full morning resulted in the delay in this blog's posting. Tomorrow's may also be late or early afternoon
SCOTUS closed its 2015-16 session with a bang. It was supposed to be the ultra-right’s year. However Scalia’s death and the Republican Senate’s refusal to consider Obama’s Nomination created a new ball game.

Like Congress itself it was felt that the 4:4 political orientation division among the Judges would result in no actions. Never the less SCOTUS adjudicated 80 cases this session.

Among them was at least two important rulings; one by a 5:3 vote with Justice Kennedy joining the liberal bloc the court affirmed a woman’s right of choice when it found that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion

Earlier with Justice Kagan abstaining the Court 4:3 upheld the University of Texas’s right to use race as a criteria for admission.

By a 6:2 vote the Court ruled that any law in which domestic violence was a criteria to prohibit owning a gun was illegal.

The 8:0 verdict that vacated the conviction of former Virginia’s Governor under the Hobbs Act will make a reassessment of accepting gifts fin exchange of using influence a criminal act more difficult to prosecute

The Courts’ 4:4 deadlock and referral back to the 5th District Court of Appeals in essence blocked Obama’s DAPA program that would permit immigrants to avoid mandatory expulsion...

By a 5:3 vote SCOTUS held that the search incident to arrest doctrine permits law enforcement to conduct warrantless breath tests but not blood tests on suspected drunk drivers. 

By a 7:1 SCOTUS ruled that in a federal criminal prosecution under the Hobbs Act, the government is not required to prove an interstate commerce element beyond a reasonable doubt. The basis of this decision was a 2005 ruling where Congress may ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes.

Also 5:3 the Court upheld the right of search if a valid arrest warrant that is outstanding is discovered at the time the individual is stopped.

And by a 6:2 vote in a case involving a Paterson NJ policeman who was demoted because he had picked up a lawn sign, the Court held that a public employee's constitutional rights might be violated when an employer disciplines them for the belief that the employee was engaging in protected speech, even if the employee never actually exercised their constitutional rights.

The next court term starts in October. It is sad that our court system is a political football and politics as always determine the law of the land.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


What a remarkable 4 days. The latest polls have Clinton’s lead over Trump to be in double figures. Of course the Donald has an answer; all the pollsters and the media are Democrats and their sample are picked from Democrats.

To the surprise of all the pundits and politicians the Brits voted to leave the EU.

The British Prime Minister submitted his pending resignation and called for Parliamentary elections WHICH WILL TAKE Meanwhile no one in the Conservative Party wants to become Prime Minister, and there I a strong movement in the opposition Labor Party to oust its leader.

The British government in order to firm economic relationships with other EU countries wants to take its time to formally break ties while the EU leaders want it to be immediately.

French President Fran├žois Hollande said Britain needs to get out quickly to end the uncertainty. “We must not lose time, neither for dealing in a suitable way with the question of the United Kingdom’s exit, nor for providing a new impetus for the E.U.,” Hollande said. (BBC)

Germany, France, and Italy insisted the EU will not hold informal talks with the UK until it triggers Article 50 to leave the voting bloc.

Cameron the Prime Minister is adamant; “It will be for Britain and Britain alone to take.” He also said that there will be no new vote to undo what has been done. The People have spoken.

Without trying to anticipate the economic impacts both on the UK and globally, as well as the potential political effects on Great Brittan with should try to understand why.

This was apparently triggered by a reaction against the influx of foreign labor, mostly Muslim, and the financial stress on the Blue Labor Class. It is “Trumpian” in character and fueled by the same fears that the Donald has played upon to gain a majority of delegate votes at the Republican Convention.

The vote was not rational but an urban workers revolt against a political system that did not seem to have their interests affecting policy. The overall impact of this action was not considered and may be reflected in countries such as the US where there is an available jobs problem.

SCOTUS’s landmark decisions over the weekend deserve a separate blog as does the political scene.

Noon newsflash" : 
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn loses no-confidence vote
The defeat adds to pressure on the leftist politician to step down amid deepening political fallout in Britain from last week’s E.U. referendum.