Last month, Durbin’s committee approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) that would require the Supreme Court to follow a code of conduct and create a process to investigate potential violations. The bill now heads to the full Senate.
But on Friday, Alito told The Wall Street Journal that Congress should stop trying to pass such legislation, arguing that the Constitution does not give lawmakers “the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”
“Justice Alito is providing speculative public commentary on a bill that is still going through the legislative process,” Durbin said in a statement on Wednesday. “Let’s be clear: Justice Alito is not the 101st member of the United States Senate. His intervention in Article I activity is unwise and unwelcome.”
Alito, alongside conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, has been embroiled in ethics controversies. The justice, who wrote the opinion that overturned the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade, has been vocal in defense of his activities.
Alito and Thomas have both been accused of failing to formally report gifts on federal disclosure forms. ProPublica reported that Thomas for years accepted vacations, private jet travel, superyacht getaways and other largess from GOP megadonor Harlan Crow, and that Alito took a luxury fishing trip with a Republican billionaire who later had cases before the high court.
Alito's argument goes something like this: he correctly points out that "Congress did not create the Supreme Court"— the Constitution did. He is also correct that there is "no provision in the Constitution [that gives Congress] the authority to regulate the Supreme Court."
The fallacy in his argument is his failure to consider the history following the adoption of our Constitution. Over the years since our founding, Congress has in fact regulated the supreme court in numerous ways: it has changed the number of justices, their salary, and the location and premises of the high court. And of course, it may impeach a justice if it finds that he or she committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Although the Constitution lays out the mandatory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Congress has played a role in regulating even that important aspect of the Supreme Court's work.
Alito correctly points out that no specific provision of the Constitution deals with the role of Congress in regulating the ethics of the justices, but he fails to note that no provision of the Constitution explicitly authorizes the Supreme Court to overrule actions of Congress and other branches of the government. Yet they have been doing so since Marbury v. Madison in 1803 and its progeny.
Alito may be making an extremely broad claim, namely that the powers of Congress and the Supreme Court are limited by the explicit grants of authority enumerated in Articles 1 and 3 of the Constitution. He admits that his "is a controversial view," but it may be even more controversial than it sounds. It may challenge the very concept of judicial review, because of the absence of any provision in the constitution explicitly authorizing the Supreme Court to strike down legislative or executive actions.
Alito is an idiot and a crook. Claire Rush (AP) reports:
Justice Elena Kagan publicly declared her support for an ethics code for the U.S. Supreme Court but said there was no consensus among the justices on how to proceed, suggesting the high court is grappling with public concerns over its ethics practices.
“It’s not a secret for me to say that we have been discussing this issue. And it won’t be a surprise to know that the nine of us have a variety of views about this,” she said Thursday at a judicial conference in Portland, Oregon.
The Supreme Court is navigating a fraught moment in its history. It has come under growing scrutiny for its lack of an official code of conduct, and public trust in the body is at a 50-year low following a series of polarized rulings, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade and federal abortion protections last year.
“It just can’t be that the court is the only institution that is somehow not subject to any checks and balances from anybody else,” she said, adding, “I mean, we are not imperial.”
“We, too, are part of a checks and balances system,” she said.
Justice Samuel Alitolast month told The Wall Street Journal that “no provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period,” referring to Congress. The comments came after several ethical controversies over his decision to accept a lavish trip and private jet travel without disclosing it.
It's time to expand the Court. We need to take it to 12 members and we need to do it now.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
It would have been asking the impossible for Lindsey Keene's kids to wait stoically for her to walk into an airport terminal after a year in Iraq. And they didn't.
Oblivious to the hundreds of other people who were at Evansville Regional Airport Thursday to greet returning members of the Indiana Army National Guard, Lindsey and David Keene's three children tapped anxiously on their welcome home signs. Their faces lit up when they thought the 163rd Field Artillery's nearly 100 returnees were about to walk in — and sagged when bemused passengers of an American Airlines flight from Charlotte appeared instead.
Then it happened. Sgt. Lindsey Keene, a combat medic finishing her second deployment, swept in with other soldiers. Son Gerald Oshsner, 11, clapped his hands to his ears and cried out: "Mom!" In an instant the boy and sisters Marley Ochsner, 12 and Kiera Keene, 9, swarmed Keene, pressing their heads into her chest in an embrace charged with a year's worth of longing.
MaCabe Brown has a photo essay for the paper of the return. Adam Knight (WEVV) notes, "Approximately 300 soldiers with the 163rd Field Artillery Regiment were welcomed home from their deployment on Thursday." 14 NEWS has a video report here.
Again, all should be home. At some point we also need to be asking why the National Guard is being sent overseas -- to Iraq, to Kosovo, everywhere. We need to ask when the Guard is allowed to return to their role?
Questions? Let's grab a few from the e-mails.
In one video posted on social media, the woman in blackface, identified as Ersilia Campbell, approached employees at a Target in Aurora, Colorado, demanding they direct her to the Pride section of the store, per TMZ.
Florida is one of the top states with the most new leprosy cases in the country, according to a new research letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There definitely is leprosy in the United States,” said Dr. Nicole Iovine, chief hospital epidemiologist and an infectious disease physician at the University of Florida.
For many, leprosy may seem like a problem from biblical times. But Iovine said the disease is very much still around. In fact, the CDC letter said leprosy could now be endemic in Central Florida.
“Endemic means something that is circulating and is present at all times. And it can be at a low level,” said Iovine.
Although many news outlets have stated that the CDC is warning people regarding travel to Southeastern US states, the public health agency released a statement on August 2 saying it had “not issued a travel advisory for Florida, or any other state, due to Hansen’s disease.”
In an email, the CDC wrote, “[We] do not believe there is a great concern to the American public,” noting that the number of cases remain very small.
However, the endemic nature of a disease that usually affects “persons who had immigrated from leprosy-endemic areas” raises significant concerns about the general state of public health in the United States, and the outright dismissal on the part of the CDC is extremely problematic. Moreover, the concerns about leprosy come on the heels of recent reports by the CDC of endemic malaria in Florida and Texas.
[. . .]
Specifically, leprosy cases in Florida account for 20 percent of all national cases, and 81 percent of these have been reported in central Florida. One-third of new cases between 2015 and 2020 were acquired locally. The report notes: “Several cases in central Florida demonstrate no clear evidence of zoonotic exposure or traditionally known risk factors.”
In its report, the CDC highlights the case of a 54-year-old man, landscaper by trade, who sought medical attention at a dermatology clinic with a complaint of a painful and progressive red rash involving his hands, trunk and face.
The patient reported no significant travel history, having resided in Florida his whole life. He was eventually diagnosed with leprosy, though he reported no contact with immigrants from endemic regions nor anyone with leprosy. He had never had exposure to armadillos, which are known as zoonotic sources.
He was referred to an infectious disease clinic, where he began prolonged therapy with a triple regimen of dapsone, rifampin and clofazimine, which has been the mainstay of treatment for more than four decades.
The authors of the article observed: “Our case adds to the growing body of literature suggesting that central Florida represents an endemic location for leprosy... travel to this area, even in the absence of other risk factors, should prompt consideration of leprosy in the appropriate clinical context.”
Tacky Onassis and her husband wanted to lead Florida. So get your ass back to the state and do so. And it shows real gall on Ronald's part that he criticizes Vice President Kamala Harris for visiting Florida when he can't seem to find his own way back to the state he's supposed to be governing.
On the topic of crazy grudge f**king hate, their offspring Marjorie Taylor Green just gets more and more demented. Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) reports:
Drawing many conspiracy theories and rightwing myths together into a grand, unified rant, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) claimed that Donald Trump’s third criminal indictment for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election is something that “they” are using to distract the American people from how kids are being brainwashed into being transgender.
Trump was indicted on four counts related to an alleged plot to overturn the 2020 elections and install himself as president for another term. His actions culminated in the January 6, 2021 Capitol Insurrection, where five people died as a result of a mob of Trump supporters breaking into the Capitol and trying to kill Mike Pence for presiding over the Senate as it ceremonially accepted each state’s electoral votes.
Greene, a loyal Trump Republican, couldn’t handle her golden calf being held accountable for his alleged actions, and she blamed, well, everyone and everything. She ranted on Twitter about a variety of topics that she suspected “they” – used in the way conspiracy theorists use that word – are trying to distract the American people from, claiming that there are “record numbers” of homeless people now (homelessness is down since the mid-2000s, according to the 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report), that 63 million abortions occur in the U.S. (an outlandish rightwing myth), that the U.S. is “number one for child pornography and sex trafficking,” and several other topics.
“They tell women abortion is healthcare & birth control – killing over 63 million, that men can get pregnant, they brainwash children they can change their gender and amputate their growing body parts,” she said. It’s not clear who “they” is in this context and most transgender people’s experience is the opposite – they had to either hide their trans identity from intolerant adults as children or they came out and had to fight for even basic recognition as their gender. No one is brainwashing kids into being transgender and no one can be brainwashed into changing their gender identity. Moreover, trans men can get pregnant.
This week, REBEL HQ noted some of Marjorie's many incoherent ravings.
Let's note Paul Rudnick.
+ There’s some comfort in seeing how badly DeSantis is getting crushed by Trump (54% to 17%). But it’s pretty cold: “Mr. Trump still received 22% among voters who believe he has committed serious federal crimes — a greater share than the 17% that Mr. DeSantis earned from the entire G.O.P. electorate.”
+ In Iowa, a 15-year-old interested in military service told DeSantis, “I can’t vote, but I struggle with major depressive disorder.” DeSantis interrupted the teenager with a bizarre joke: “It’s never stopped the other party from not letting you vote.”
+ Some New Hampshire residents were stunned to hear DeSantis vow “we are going to start slitting throats [of federal bureaucrats] on Day One.” Throat-slitting seems to be a favorite metaphor (assuming it is a metaphor) for the man who as a JAG at Gitmo mocked detainees as they were being tortured. The Florida governor also claimed that he wanted a Defense Secretary with “a sharp blade” and a “killer instinct” who would have to be willing to “slit some throats.” DeSantis also said that under his administration the Mexican drug cartels would be “shot stone cold dead.”
+ DeSantis reminds me of Phil Gramm, the TX politician who amassed millions from banks and oil companies and seemed to be the prohibitive favorite in ’96 GOP primaries, but was soon exposed as just a mean SOB with no real political skills at all other than shaking down corps for PAC $$$.
+ When DeSantis’ campaign ran low on money and he began firing staffers, he hired them to fill government-funded positions in Florida instead.
+ More than half ($5 million, in fact) of the funds in RFK, Jr’s SuperPAC came from Timothy Mellon, scion of the Mellon banking fortune, who has denounced social spending as “slavery redux,” donated $53 million to state of Texas border wall construction fund, and gifted $1.5 million toward the legal defense of Arizona’s vicious anti-immigration law.
[. . .]
+ DeSantis claims the new history standards for Florida schools, the one’s that proclaim the benefits of slavery, were needed to prevent the indoctrination of school kids. Yet, some of the materials which will now be inflicted on Florida students are produced by Prager U., whose founder, Dennis Prager, openly brags about indoctrinating children:
+ Florida has now effectively banned AP psychology in the state. A lot of students hoping they’ll ban Trigonometry next!
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