Tag Archives: SCOTUS

Emil Guillermo: See Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) opening statement at the first day of the Gorsuch hearings.

 

If you missed it, Asian Americans have Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to stand up to Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Gorsuch seemed to dwell on a metaphor that Sen. Ben Sasse   first alluded to in his own opening remarks, quoting Gorsuch talking about the importance of a judge’s robe that cloaks a sense of the real person under the robe, supposedly to assure independence and allegiance only to the facts.

But the robe analogy is limited. And the hearings are to make sure we know the man hiding in the robe. We know that Scalia didn’t hide much. Gorsuch deserves no pass because he says he’d be independent.

Gorsuch  sure tried to make it sound like he was some man of the people when he referred to his robe as “honest, black, and polyester.”

Well, polyester is unnatural, non-breathable,and totally fabricated.

In other words, fake.  Intractable.  Polyester is what it is. A chemical truth.

All things, we don’t want in a judge.

And judging from the news about  his decisions past, we’ve seen that Gorsuch has used the robe to turn a blind eye to compassionate, human and caring decisions.

Asian Americans will have Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) holding Gorsuch’s polyester robe to the fire.

If she does, note that polyester is flammable.

Let’s hope we see some flames.

If not, well, the Dems don’t seem to have a lot of fight in them to contest Gorsuch.

There was a real mix group of moderates and conservatives sitting  behind him including including Asians and African Americans.

But is the 49-year-old  Gorsuch the best guy to break the  4-4 deadlock weighing down SCOTUS?

Is he  the guy who we want dictating laws the next 30-40 years?

Here’s Hirono opening statement:

Emil Guillermo: The latest posts and thoughts from me!

Check the latest columns on SCOTUS, Unions, Brussels, Donald Trump and more on the AALDEF blog.

 

The Donald trails in Wisconsin. When he doesn’t talk about polls, what does he talk about? He is about the act of running. Policy? He’d rather outsource that.  By confusing capitalism with democracy, he isn’t taking the time to bother with the issues. If you heard his thoughts on abortion, nuclear weapons, and other things this week, then you know that the Donald sounded like he was channeling Gary Busey on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

BRUSSELS:  Here’s a picture of the Filipino American woman who was one of the victims.  She was with her husband and four children at the airport. They survived. She did not.

SEE my reporting on the NBCNews.com Asian America site.

gailmartinezandkato

Emil Guillermo: Scalia’s death has made everyone notice this election season.

 

 

If you were on the sidelines waiting for everyone to duke it out, then planning to very quietly cast a ballot in November, that all changed.

Now the stakes are as clear as ever.

The future of the nation isn’t about the presidency, nor the Senate.

But both play a role in choosing a Supreme Court justice.

You may not have considered that as important heretofore.

But you should now.

There’s a lot of guff about the Senate blocking Obama from naming a person.

But there is the constitution which says every nominee deserves an up/down vote. I don’t think the Senate can block an acceptable nominee indefinitely.

If Obama is shrewd, and he no doubt will be, his choice will be someone who has bi-partisan appeal.  Someone who has been supported by conservatives.

A few come to mind. And one is a Filipino American woman who heads the California Supreme Court.

See my column here on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

There’s much at stake in this current court year from Obamacare to affirmative action to union and labor issues.  there have been many 5-4 decisions. If there’s a 4-4 tie, the lower court rulings will stand.

It’s critical to get a replacement for Scalia now.

And that’s why every one will now be glued to politics.

Special interests? It’s in all our interests to get this right–the best interests of our American Democracy.

And it’s not just Scalia’s replacement. With a number of judges approaching retirement age, the next group of appointees to come will impact the nation for the next 25 years or more.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Scalia’s passing demands you pay attention now.

Emil Guillermo: I know I tend to bash SNL a lot (and it deserves it), but one joke made me laugh pretty hard last night

Actually, there was more than one good laugh in the show, but Weekend Update was better than normal with Kate McKinnon playing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a venerable and funky judge.

brunomars

As she spoke about Uptown Funkin’ with Bruno Mars (funny in itself), McKinnon as the Ginz came back and topped it: “I like my men like I like my  decisions…5-4.”

That’s as funny a Filipino short joke as I’ve ever heard.

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New #SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action passes the buck and says let voters decide

The best possible spin on the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in Michigan is that it doesn’t end affirmative action.

The decision did not say affirmative action was unconstitutional.

It merely narrowly decided that Prop.2, the Michigan initiative that voters passed to end race-based affirmative action in that state could be applied and that the equal protection clause was not violated.

It even sounds good. Let the voters decide, right?

OK, but why do we leave it to the voters to decide on that issue and that issue alone, and not on every single item that the University officials oversee?

Why take that power away from the professional educators?

As I went through the 6-2 opinion, I wasn’t that surprised that someone liberal like Breyer would vote with Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas.

Breyer stated he was for some forms of affirmative action, but didn’t see why the voters shouldn’t be allowed to weigh in.

But then there was Sotomayor’s lengthy dissent, which took the hardline, that this ruling indeed was setting up the situation where down the line we might  see the tyranny of the majority, and see the violation of minority rights under the equal protection clause.

That’s what was at stake here.

The majority of justices seemed happy enough to see the voters figure out where they stand on affirmative action.

After reading Sotomayor’s minority dissent, I’m not sure if that’s such a great thing.

We know how fair elections are now, with money driving everything.

That means we’ll probably see  a lot more SCA-5 style battles–until the court makes yet another ruling on the constitutionality of race based methods in university admissions.

UPDATE: 4/23/2014

It’s not surprising that the courts want to get out of the race business. Just like the legislatures have gotten out of legislating by relinquishing their role to the initiative process for the tough issues.

So if the elections are so important, why do electoral rights seem to be under attack? From the Voting Rights Act provisions, to campaign finance, has there been a more activist Supreme Court to reverse  the rights of minorities?

And now elections are the preferred way to settle racial fights? Sounds like SCOTUS just gave itself cover for its horrendous decisions, putting it all on the electorate.

 

 

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DOMA done, challenge to Prop. 8 denied, let the June weddings begin again in California

I could sense something good was going to happen as early as this spring, but you never know.

http://aaldef.org/blog/the-national-coming-out-party-for-same-sex-marriage.html

And today, it happened.

The Supreme Court by it’s 5-4 ruling has declared Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

This really is a states rights issue. How could those legally married in states that allow gay marriages be denied federal benefits given to straight wedded couples? That’s discrimination, and shouldn’t be allowed. The court concurred.

So if you’re in one of the states where same-sex marriage is legal, this is an especially great day.

The DOMA refutation was expected. It wasn’t clear what the court would do with Prop. 8, the same-sex marriage ban voted in by the state.  When it was challenged and California officials wouldn’t defend the ban, the proposition’s leadership went to court to defend its constitutionality. But the high court in the way it acted, chose to sidestep ruling directly on same-sex marriage. It simply ruled that the Prop.8 folks didn’t have standing, or the right to argue the matter. So the case is sent back to the 9th circuit with orders to dismiss the case, and based on reports, same-sex marriages can resume again in California.

The Pride Parade in San Francisco on Sunday is going to be extraordinarily celebratory.

After the disappointing decisions on affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act this week, the Supreme Court gives us something to cheer about.

No warm champagne toasts on these decisions.

A back-handed slap at the Voting Rights Act that renders it useless

Shelby v. Holder was another good/bad decision by the Supreme Court, an indirect shot at the Voting Rights Act’s key Section 5 provision that allows for states with bad histories (when it comes to voting rights) to submit any changes it makes to the federal government for approval.

This provision has helped expand the voter rolls for the good.

Instead of invalidating this one section as many had feared, the majority by a 5-4 vote  (Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito) went after Section 4, which uses a formula to define which state and local governments must comply with section 5.

In a sneaky way, the court allowed Section 5 to survive (maybe in order to avoid be seen as racist). But it said Section 4 was unconstitutional. Thus the court struck down Section 4 with a forehand slap, and on the “innocent” backhand return swing just happened to knock down Section 5.

Now that was sneaky Solomonic style.

The Voting Rights Act now goes back to Congress to decide what happens next with Section 4. And you know how well Congress does with divisive racially charged issues. 

 So what do you think the justices were really thinking about the voting rights act’s viability?

If you read my reaction to the court’s hearing of the case, you know how Scalia viewed it.

http://aaldef.org/blog/white-robe-black-robe-what-was-justice-scalia-saying-to-us-about-voting-rights.html

Perhaps this was the way, they could get ALL the conservatives on this one, and not look so racist. Knock down Section 4, and well, you take care of Section 5. 

But it’s actually worse. The decision doesn’t just end Section 5 as was the real issue in Shelby. Now it appears the entire Voting Rights Act, one of the most significant parts of civil rights legislation, becomes unworkable.

In terms of black and white, that’s fine. But what about the new America that goes to the polls, or because of this SCOTUS action does not?

Where’s the protection for Asian and Latino immigrants and first time minority voters? Those who need language help?

Section 4 might help us if a new inclusive formula is derived. But until it does there’s no section 5. And that means there’s no help, or federal oversight, at all.