Category Archives: supreme court

Supreme Court Slants Toward Free Speech

slants

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court spoke up for free speech. The kind that offends.

The Court ruled unanimously in favor of The Slants. The Slants are an Asian rock band whose federal trademark application was rejected on the grounds that its name is offensive.

Justice Alito took offense at that. Here’s what he had to say about the Trademark Office rule: “It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

That should please the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians.

Four liberal and three conservative justices agreed with Alito.  Rookie Justice Gorsuch sat this one out.

 

Nuclear Options Players

nuclear options

As expected, Mitch McConnell pulled the trigger and made Chuck Schumer’s filibuster glow in the dark. As for the boy in the husky pants who runs North  Korea: he’s keeping his nuclear options open for now.

Democrat’s Self-Immolate Over Filibuster

 http://bokbluster.com/2017/04/07/self-immolate/ ‎

Well, Chuck Schumer went with the filibuster. And that caused the Democrats to self-immolate when Mitch McConnell applied the nuclear option. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch rose from the ashes.

Here’s how they voted.

Now that the filibuster has been vaporized, Senate Democrats are defenseless against the Republican majority’s future high court whims. Which does make for a nice fund raising theme. Not to mention that Republicans will be in the same boat when the tide turns.

Harry Reid’s Nuclear Winter

161209nuclear

During Harry Reid’s tenure as Senate Majority Leader he didn’t get President Obama’s nominees approved at a pace to his liking. Democrats had a simple majority but not the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. So Harry invoked the “nuclear option”.  Which is to say he changed the rules. Now, under the new Senate rules, only a simple majority of 51 votes is required to approve most presidential nominees. Supreme Court appointments not included.

Nuclear Option

Until the November 8 shocker, the Majority Leader had expected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency. In October  he bragged that he had set the table for easy approval of  future Supreme Court nominees too. And so he had.

But what he didn’t count on was a Republican president and 52 Republican senators.

Now, as Harry Reid retires to his own personal nuclear winter, he leaves his colleagues glowing in the dark.

Flag Burning

161203flag burning

Trump tweet of the week: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”

The Huffington Post reported that most people think President-elect The Donald goes too far. They think flag burners should keep their citizenship. However, they’re cool with the jail part.

Flag Burning

Justice Scalia, for his part, wasn’t cool with either jail or loss of citizenship for burning a flag. Here are a few lines from a Pittsburgh Post Gazette editorial on Scalia’s opinion of flag burning:

“If I were king,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said in an interview, “I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged. … Burning the flag is a form of expression. Speech doesn’t just mean written words or oral words. … Burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning is a protected form of free speech. And Salon said Trump was cool with that when he appeared on The David Letterman Show in 2015.

Of course, the court also ruled that campaign issue advocacy spending by corporations and unions is  a protected form of free speech.   We know Hillary’s not cool with that. The Citizens United case involved  a movie critical of her. Here’s the trailer.

My favorite example of the exercise of free speech by flag burning occurred at the RNC convention in Cleveland last summer. The burner became the burnee. He caught himself on fire.