The Roberts Court will likely go down in history as one of, if not the worst Supreme Court in our relatively short history.
Today, we were anticipating the final four decisions for this session. But this ego-maniacal set of justices are prolonging our misery for one more weekend. Today, they gave us two unanimous decisions that make any reasonable person ask what these idiots are smoking!
The first decision offered today was written by one of the “liberal” justices, Stephen Breyer. In NLRB v. Noel Canning, SCOTUS decided the fate of “recess appointments.” At issue:
(1) Whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate, or is instead limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate; (2) whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during a recess, or is instead limited to vacancies that first arose during that recess; and (3) whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised when the Senate is convening every three days in pro forma sessions.
The court in this case held that recess appointments made during pro forma sessions of the Senate are invalid. In plain English, this means:
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to fill slots on the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 were unconstitutional.
The unanimous opinion, written by liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, said that Congress, and only Congress, decides when it is in session and when it is in recess. It ruled the Senate was not in a formal recess when Obama made the 2012 appointments — therefore, they were illegal.
Oy. If that wasn’t bad enough, the second and final decision offered today should satisfy anyone’s perverse need for something horrendously sickeningly abusive and dead wrong.
In McCullen v. Coakley, the justices were considering the question of buffer zones at Women’s Reproductive Health clinics
:(1) Whether the First Circuit erred in upholding Massachusetts’s selective exclusion law – which makes it a crime for speakers other than clinic “employees or agents . . . acting within the scope of their employment” to “enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk” within thirty-five feet of an entrance, exit, or driveway of “a reproductive health care facility” – under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, on its face and as applied to petitioners; (2) whether, if Hill v. Colorado permits enforcement of this law, Hill should be limited or overruled.
The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.
The law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives to abortion.
The court was unanimous about the bottom line but divided on the reasoning. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote a relatively narrow majority opinion. He was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. He suggested that the state could pursue other alternatives.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in a concurrence joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, said the majority’s approach was too tentative. The law, he said, is “unconstitutional root and branch.”
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. filed a separate concurrence.
In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld a similar Colorado law in Hill v. Colorado. That law established 100-foot buffer zones outside all health care facilities, not just abortion clinics. Inside those larger zones, the law banned approaching others within eight feet for protest, education or counseling without their consent.
Massachusetts experimented with a similar law but found it inadequate.
That leaves two more cases for them to weigh in on, including the Big Kahuna on religious rights of corporations to impose its owners religious beliefs on its employees in Sebelius v Hobby Lobby, which will be handed down on Monday.
Today, in response to the buffer zones (McCullen v Coakley), I was joined by Katie Klabusich who blogs about her work as a dedicated activist who helps establish clinic defense escort programs, providing logistical and moral support to reproductive access groups at KatieSpeak.com.
Needless to say, this was not the decision they’d been counting on. While the groups fighting for women’s rights regroup and decide up a proper response and course of action, Katie suggests following the Clinic Vest Project on Twitter. While you’re at it, add NARAL and the Center for Reproductive Rights to you follow list too. And stay tuned…
On Thursday mornings, we have two regular segments, both of which were quite fitting for today.
Amy Simon, cultural herstorian and the woman behind She’s History joined us to talk about some fabulous females who challenged religious zealotry – from Katie Kelly, a lifelong Mormon who was trying to become a Mormon minister and was expelled from the church this week, to Anne Hutchinson back in the 16th century who dared to challenge the the authorities who charged her with violating the “Fifth Commandment”!
And, as was truly needed today, Stephen Goldstein joined in for the No More Bullshit Minute! The author of The Dictionary of American Political Bullshit joins in every Thursday morning to help us extricate the bullshit from American politics. Today, in response to the bullshit from the Supreme Court, we examined the bullshit surrounding “The Constitution” and “activist.”
If you’d like to review a copy of The Dictionary of American Political Bullshit for Amazon just send me a note with your name and address. We’ll send them out to the first five who request!
And that’s it for a Thursday. Back tomorrow for Flashback Friday when we’ll dig into my archives for my first interview with Ray Davies of The Kinks. That’s one you don’t want to miss. See you tomorrow… radio or not!