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For the past dozen years, the United States has been beset by a lawless conservative majority on the US Supreme Court: One that has on two separate occasions issued flagrantly partisan, arbitrary fiats out of thin air directly assaulting the right of the American people to a representative government - Bush v. Gore, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  As a result of Bush v. Gore, the man they put in power was able to maintain the conservative majority on the Court by replacing two of its members who subsequently retired, and this second majority issued the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United legalizing bribery and granting the wealthy double rights through ownership of corporations.  

This second case was only taken up after the GOP's crushing 2008 electoral defeat via small-donor fundraising, and the ruling unsurprisingly led directly to the Republican Party retaking the US House of Representatives in 2010.  Now, after the 2012 election where minority turnout was key in securing a Democratic victory, the infamous Five have decided out of the blue to review key portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that have stood for two generations - the landmark civil rights law that, among other things, grants the federal government approval of state election procedures in places with a long (and ongoing) history of attempts to suppress minority voting rights.  Remarks by the Five in the course of hearing the case have indicated a likelihood that they intend to strike down key enforcement mechanisms.  

If this ruling occurs as expected, it would be the final straw in a pattern of nakedly partisan rulings transparently designed to undermine and destroy rather then enforce the Constitution, and almost certain to directly compromise the voting rights of millions.  If it happens, impeach them.  Three strikes and you're out.  As rare as impeachment of any kind is, especially against the deserving, such a ruling would be the definition of abuse of power, and only the latest in an organized and clearly premeditated program of lawlessness in America's highest court.  

Unlike earlier calls for prosecution of Bush's war crimes, which failed due to the complicity of the entire State and both parties, striking down VRA would be a brazenly partisan act that directly attacks the rights of racial minorities: An area in which elected Democrats today are uniquely suited, if not politically required to intervene to defend their oaths of office.  In other words, this is not some quixotic demand: We can, and must impeach these corrupt judges if they gut VRA, and primary any Democrat in Washington who stands in the way.  It would be a rare instance where patriotic duty and partisan political necessity were identical, and neglecting both would be inexcusable even to the most cynical.  Details after the fold.

I.  The legal case for impeachment.

Abuse of power is one of the most fundamental and indispensable grounds for impeaching a public official, and one that does not require proof of specific crimes being committed.  For instance, Richard Nixon's firing of a succession of legal officials who refused to stop investigating him (known as the Saturday Night Massacre) was technically within his legal authority as President, but presented an acute case of abusing power that would have justified impeachment even if he had not been involved in the Watergate burglary.  Without the ability to impeach for abuses of power, all other possible charges would be far less likely to ever be brought, let alone succeed.

Frankly, the Five already act more like a Spartan oligarchy imposing their arbitrary will on the republic than judicial experts rationally reconciling and interpreting its laws within the Constitution, and at least a theoretical case that they should be impeached for abuse of power already exists for acts previously committed.  But if they undertake this final outrage, and seek to undo key achievements of the Civil Rights movement from federal law in a naked bid to preclude a repeat of the 2012 election, that not only seals the deal in terms of justifying impeachment, but also brings it within the realm of both Constitutional necessity and political practicality, as I discuss below.

Now, our system of government is designed so that the Judicial Branch is the most independent and least accountable to political tides, which is as it should be: Law is an expert profession that, somewhat like science, depends on a consensus of people with highly detailed knowledge peering into minutiae in order to tease out the practical implications of often confusing, disordered, or even conflicting laws.  By necessity, this requires a level of insularity from public opinion, which is why high judges are appointed for life.  However, this does not mean there are no limits on the arbitrary discretion of a judge in the performance of their office.  

For instance, although judges have broad discretion to hold people in contempt, if they used this authority in a brazenly lawless way - e.g., holding a woman in contempt for spurning sexual advances, holding black people in contempt for refusing to call them "Massa," etc. - not only would their citations be overturned, but the judges themselves would be investigated for disciplinary action including possible removal from the bench if the offending acts were part of a pattern.  The same standard applies to all authorities of the bench, and must apply even more greatly to the Supreme Court that is given veto power over the laws of elected authority.  

Revoking key protections of the Voting Rights Act after an election where minority voting defeated the GOP would establish an ongoing pattern of lawless, partisan judicial decision-making on the part of the majority in direct opposition to both the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and require their removal from the bench.  Failure to impeach in that scenario would in essence nullify the Constitution and reduce our republic to an oligarchy of five.  To do anything they damn well pleased, all they would need is a single lawyer to file a case on the subject, arbitrarily put the case at the top of the pile, and then issue their "opinion" that up is down and slavery is freedom, regardless of what the Constitution says.  

This is exactly how Citizens United played out following the 2008 election, and how it looks like the destruction of VRA will play out following the 2012 election.  In other words, impeachment would not merely be "on the table," but an imminent necessity for Constitutional government to exist at all, let alone a society where racial minorities have a right to participate in elections.

II.  Practicalities

An impeachment investigation would have to begin in the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans thanks to Citizens United and the flagrant gerrymandering subsequently enabled: The majority of votes for House went to Democrats in 2012, so the Republican "majority" is not representative of anyone but their campaign contributors and the Five judges responsible for legalizing the purchase of public office.  However, don't take it for granted that an impeachment investigation could not be forced by Democrats: The Republican Party already looks (in fact, is) flagrantly racist, and standing in the way of a united Democratic "minority" demanding investigation with an overwhelmingly vocal role played by the Congressional Black Caucus and its Latino counterpart, would look very bad and only get worse the longer the confrontation continues while they obstruct.  

Do not underestimate the optics involved: Regardless of what technical fig leafs the actual decision involves to cloak its intent and practical significance, what the American people will hear overwhelmingly from us across the board is the basic truth that the GOP struck down the Voting Rights Act after losing an election due to minority voting and is obstructing attempts to investigate the fact.  In other words, that they are trying to undo the Civil Rights movement, reinstitute Jim Crow, and rig elections for their Party by stopping racial minorities from voting - which, in fact, would be the case.  And, we would hasten to add, that the "majority" through which they are undertaking this obstruction was never elected by the American people, but orchestrated through manipulation of the system in direct conflict with how most people voted.

Republicans with any remote sense of political competence would want to appear cooperative with the focused outrage of minority political leaders and citizens, and those in vulnerable seats with significant minority populations could be brought along at least on a superficial level.  Coupled with investigations in the Democratic Senate - which wouldn't yet have impeachment powers unless/until the House passed articles of impeachment, but would still be very potent at discovering facts and shining a spotlight on the Five's actions and ethics - I think it is entirely within the realm of possibility that at least one of the Five (Scalia) would end up becoming a liability to his own allies and be forced to resign.  But none of these outcomes are necessary - in fact, no cooperation from the GOP whatsoever is necessary - to move forward with substantive action, such as the following:

1.  The President should ignore any lawless ruling striking down enforcement provisions of VRA, and continue to enforce the rights of minority Americans against racist state governments that would otherwise deprive minorities of the right to vote.  The Constitution says what it says, and up does not become down just because five people say so.  Presidents swear to uphold and defend the Constitution, and sometimes the Supreme Court is the one attacking it.  This would create a Constitutional crisis with the state governments thus overseen, but in fact such a crisis would already exist due to the ruling, and continuing to enforce VRA as long-sustained by the courts would merely acknowledge an imminent fact: That the Constitution is under assault by the Supreme Court.  

It must be acknowledged that attempting to enforce VRA against a lawless SCOTUS ruling could lead to terrorism by white supremacist Republicans and their allies in various fields of government, but failing to enforce it would not mean that a crisis wasn't taking place - it would simply mean that we surrender to the other side.  I don't know what the prospects are for the President standing firm in such a confrontation or even standing at all, but he has surprised before - and not for nothing the man is such a student of Lincoln.  Moreover, it would be politically suicidal for Democrats to NOT act strongly against such a ruling, both because it effectively eliminates their 2012 coalition by judicial fiat, and because the racial minority alliance that underlies our party would no longer regard it as an effective vehicle for upholding their rights and interests.  But again, even POTUS is not necessary to make things happen, because...

2.  Governors of states that attempt to use the ruling to block minority voting can be recalled or impeached, and the same with legislators who enable or defend them.  Boycotts of those states can be undertaken, as well as of their electoral process until people are convinced they will be allowed to vote and their votes counted.  Moreover...

3.  Senators and Congressmen "elected" by those states in processes that disenfranchise minorities can be expelled from either body, or at very least unified attempts to expel them undertaken and their careers forever tarnished as unelected crooks put in office by apartheid systems.

4.  The professional lives of the Five can be directly impacted by the fact that all minorities with cases before the Court would now be able to demand their recusal on the basis of that ruling - especially Antonin Scalia, with his bald-faced dismissal of voting rights as a "racial entitlement."  Whether or not any of them agree to be recused, the demand can be plausibly issued on the record, tarnishing them and the legitimacy of their subsequent decisions, and making it more likely that lower courts will ignore them rather than legitimizing them as precedent.

As this process unfolds, Antonin Scalia should be the poster-child for the Five, as he is in fact the epitome of the naked partisanship, lawlessness, and corruption at the heart of their majority.  Everything he touches becomes infected with his Pig Pen-like cloud of sleaze, racist arrogance, criminality, and disrepute, and he of the Five is by far the most likely to be impeached or forced to resign by his own allies in a protracted firestorm.

So, in conclusion, this is where I draw the line and hope you will draw it with me.  If the Five strike down the ability of the government to enforce the voting rights of millions of Americans, I will be exercising my mind and effort to see that they are impeached; that Democrats in office who fail to recognize the seriousness of the situation get an education fast; that Democrats in office who stand in the way of holding criminal tyrants on the bench accountable are expelled from the Party; and that Republicans either hop on board with investigations into these crooks or be labeled within the halls of power and mainstream discourse as segregationists and election thieves.  

Of course, it's possible that no part of the VRA will be struck down, so we'll just have to wait and see whether conservative domination of the Court has its own best interests in mind or if they've decided to self-destruct in an act of reckless arrogance.

2:59 AM PT: I should have anticipated from previous experience that advocating holding anyone in the legal profession accountable for anything would bring out the John Yoo-school authoritarian loons to attack the idea.  A while back I advocated a "lawyer draft" similar to jury selection to guarantee that people have equal access to quality representation, and it brought all sorts of freaks out of the woodwork calling me a "Communist" and shrieking hate at me personally.  Some of the (chuckle) "criticism" this diary is getting reminds me of that.


Poll

Should the Five be impeached if they strike down voting rights enforcement?

51%60 votes
8%10 votes
9%11 votes
2%3 votes
0%1 votes
27%32 votes

| 117 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

    by Troubadour on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:46:29 PM PDT

  •  Oh Come On. (7+ / 0-)

    Republicans cannot be impeached.

    Do I really have to enumerate the reasons?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:51:18 PM PDT

  •  it's a nice idea (14+ / 0-)

    but republicans control the house, the democrats couldn't even bother to investigate bush's crimes, and reid can't even manage to make an effort on filibuster reform.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:51:27 PM PDT

    •  You didn't even read the diary. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OregonWetDog

      I specifically addressed everything you just said.  

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:03:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heh - Remember when were DFH's for wanting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, happymisanthropy

      to impeach Bush?

      Don't trust anyone over 84414

      by BentLiberal on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:31:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  correction: when *we* were nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis

        Don't trust anyone over 84414

        by BentLiberal on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:35:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I supported that too, but the situation (0+ / 0-)

        was completely different.    

        Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

        by Troubadour on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:41:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  to me (6+ / 0-)

        that was where it all started- all the failures and capitulations of the last several years. the template was set when they wouldn't even bother to investigate- not "impeach now," as some misrepresented or misunderstood the position- but just to investigate, openly, honestly letting the facts lead wherever they would lead. and when we couldn't even get that, it was clear that there was no will to change.

        it's all in the game.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:45:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Investigation is, of course, the first step. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy

          I am merely stating that if their actions are as they appear, then impeachment would be justified and Constitutionally necessary.  That is, if they do in fact strike down VRA enforcement.

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:54:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  when anonymous hinted (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DeadHead, Victor Ward, wu ming

            that they might be going after some members of the court, i started wondering what would happen if they dug up some emails that clearly proved that scalia, thomas and rehnquist were openly discussing shutting down the florida recount, even before bush v. gore had been filed. and i mean explicit proof that they were colluding to stop any recount, for purely political reasons, before it was even a court case. would that lead to impeachment? and i concluded that it probably wouldn't, that the village media would do its usual, bygones be bygones, gotta move forward, etc. and the democrats would flop around trying to figure out what to do, and the republicans would say it was ancient history and irrelevant, and nothing would happen. even with something that big.

            i'm not arguing justification, i'm just saying that with the twin dynamics of a gop house and a timid democratic senate, it just won't happen. the shifts you posit are tectonic and paradigmatic. i'd love to believe otherwise, but i don't.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:12:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The circumstances are radically different. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dogs are fuzzy

              For one thing, Bush v. Gore was the first instance of the pattern, so there was no context in which to assert what is now apparent.

              Secondly, while its rationale was overwhelmingly partisan, it was also superficially plausible because the Florida vote was virtually tied.

              Thirdly, we have since gone through eight years of Bush, so we can place the case in its proper historical context, which was obviously not possible at the time.

              Fourthly, we have since gone through the events preceding and surrounding the Citizens United decision.

              Fifth, the influence of DLC types in the Democratic Party is far below what it had been in 2000, and the same goes for the State Media (aka, Villagers) who represent insider consensus.

              Sixth, while Bush v. Gore was a partisan decision, it did not directly attack the rights of racial minorities.  It can't be overstated how politically potent racism is against conservatives, and the fact that the Five are only taking up the case because they lost the 2012 election due to minority voters would be very easy to communicate to the public - it's blatantly obvious.

              Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

              by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:01:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  but bush v. gore WAS racist (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DeadHead

                black voters were disenfranchised, and the rationale for the decision was equal protection, turned upside down, with hypocrisy not only on that but also on states' rights. there was as much of a plausible rationale for it as there will be for overturning the vra. and because there have been no investigations of bush, there is no historical perspective- the prevailing narrative is that he was an unpopular president, not a corrupt one. and citizens united, like everything else is just assimilated into the background noise. no one but us cares. we don't need dlc types to derail the democrats. the leadership can do it all on its own.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:20:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The disenfranchisement of minorities (0+ / 0-)

                  was only a part of that scandal, and was not the direct substance of the case as it is with VRA.  Citizens United, meanwhile, is also too rarefied to mobilize people - it dealt with regulation of campaign contributions, not something that ordinary people get emotional about.  

                  But if you don't think minorities could be mobilized by hearing that the Five on the Supreme Court had gutted the Voting Rights Act in order to prevent their votes from being counted in revenge for the 2012 Democratic victory, then I don't think you understand what motivates people.

                  The biggest progressive success story of the past few years has been gay rights, and gay people are like 1% of the population.  Why?  Because conservative assaults on their rights directly attacked them rather than indirectly attacking them by undermining everyone's rights equally.  Something like 30% of the US population consists of racial minorities, and most of those are people who are targeted for disenfranchisement by states monitored under VRA.

                  There will be hell to pay if the Five gut VRA, and I'm here to say I'm going to be staunchly on board with making sure of it if they issue the expected decision.

                  Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                  by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:32:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Why??? (11+ / 0-)

    Did one of them get a blow job?

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:55:18 PM PDT

  •  If the SCOTUS struck down just Section 5 (14+ / 0-)

    I don't think you could find 50 Democratic House members who would vote for an impeachment inquiry. Impeachment is a political act not a criminal trial, but most members of Congress think of it as reserved for removing someone for criminal activity and certainly not for their legal opinions. The House has only impeached one sitting member of the SCOTUS, who was not convicted and removed by the Senate. We have yet to remove a member of the SCOTUS by impeachment and no member of the current Court will be the first.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:58:50 PM PDT

    •  First of all, you're pulling that out of thin air. (0+ / 0-)

      I specifically cited the reasons why this would be an extraordinary abuse of power by the Court, and why the nature of that abuse lawlessly attacks the Democratic Party and the voting rights of millions who support it.  That is not a "legal opinion" - that is five partisans using their position on the bench to determine the outcome of elections with arbitrary fiats having nothing to do with the law, for a third time in a dozen years.  

      And if your standard for doing anything is that other people have done it before, I'm glad you weren't in Congress when VRA was originally passed.  The objections you and other have made were easily anticipated, and I addressed them fully.  

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:12:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am just telling you what to expect (14+ / 0-)

        There is no legal consensus that Section 5 is necessary so it is preposterous that any Justice would be impeached because they held the opinion that it was time to sunset Section 5. And yes, that is a legal opinion and one supported by many legal scholars. Members of Congress don't believe that Justices should be impeached for opinions.  Section 2 is an enforcement mechanism that is used throughout the rest of the states and communities that are not subject to Section 5. While you stated your opinion that doesn't mean that members of Congress will agree with you and it is my opinion that there will be no series effort to impeach any SCOTUS Justice in the 113th Congress, regardless of how they opine on the law.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:12:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What a bunch of corrupt Villager horseshit. (0+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Hidden by:
          Victor Ward
          There is no legal consensus that Section 5 is necessary
          Except for the consensus that passed it in the first place and the two generations of courts that didn't see a problem with it until the GOP lost an election due to minority voting.  Try again.
          And yes, that is a legal opinion and one supported by many legal scholars.
          Gee, you mean there are partisan Republican hacks with law degrees other than the Five on the Supreme Court?  I did not know that - I must have been asleep during Bush v. Gore, the torture memos, and Citizens United.  Strike two.  
          Members of Congress don't believe that Justices should be impeached for opinions.
          1.  Stop making up straw men to defend abuse of power.  Being a judge does not make someone Judge Dredd.  They can be impeached for abusing their power.

          2.  Stop projecting your opinions on to institutional authorities.  I've explained the political circumstances that would make this is an extraordinary case.

          3.  Stop engaging in wishful thinking.  Just because you disagree with impeaching people who abuse power, and have contempt for Americans who stand up for themselves, does not make it the fate of this country to passively accept partisan judicial tyranny that seeks to reimpose Jim Crow.

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:22:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  4. Stop trolling your own diary. As much as... (12+ / 0-)

            you might wish it to happen, no SCOYUS judge is going to be impeached anytime soon.

            You couldn't impeach Chimpy and crew, and they're war criminals. Think about Chimpy McClusterfuck as you re-read your #3.

            So, stop abusing people who have a different opinion to you.

            'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

            by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:48:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I addressed your points in the diary. (0+ / 0-)

              And I've already dealt with this ludicrous John Yoo-school claim that abuse of power is a legitimate legal opinion elsewhere.

              Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

              by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:58:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, I totally forgot about Yoo... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wisper, Victor Ward, DeadHead

                getting disbarred after that OPR report... oh wait, that never happened.

                It's too late. You're too late. Your noise should have happened 30 years ago if you were to have any chance, and unless you have the money to buy your judges and politicians back, nothing good that you want to happen, will.

                And things have only gotten worse since Carlin died. You've got Obama, a Democratic Prez entertaining cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, FFS.

                So go ahead and launch a futile crusade against something that hasn't happened yet. A man needs a hobby, I guess. Just so you know, your behaviour in the threads isn't winning many converts.

                'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

                by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:04:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And you agree with Yoo not being disbarred, right? (0+ / 0-)
                  It's too late. You're too late.
                  Don't take this wrong way, but just because you don't intend to help doesn't mean the rest of us are doomed.
                  Your noise should have happened 30 years ago if you were to have any chance
                  I wasn't born 30 years ago.  And I don't care what any previous generation failed to accomplish.  
                  So go ahead and launch a futile crusade against something that hasn't happened yet.
                  Nice attitude.
                  A man needs a hobby, I guess.
                  Yeah, voting rights are a hobby - like gardening or knitting.  (shakes head)  Jesus.  
                  Just so you know, your behaviour in the threads isn't winning many converts.
                  What behavior is that?  

                  Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                  by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:21:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  asdf... (0+ / 0-)

                    1. It's 'too late' when torturing prisoners is excused and nobody has yet been prosecuted. It's too late when your telephone companies are turned into data collection agencies for the State, and that shit isn't shut down.

                    It's too late when your Habeas corpus rights are removed.

                    2. The collective 'your' and 'you'. Not everything is about you. (That last 'you' really is all about you - and so on.)

                    3. Nothing has happened, therefore a preemptive action in retaliation to nothing happening is not only futile, but inane.

                    4. 'Voting rights' is a noun. 'Gardening' or 'knitting' are verbs. Completely different. If you had said 'fighting for voting rights', then you would have produced a valid simile.

                    5. What behaviour? This behaviour.

                    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

                    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:48:46 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Why are we here, again? (0+ / 0-)

                  It's to mobilize to fight.

                  Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                  by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:07:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Troubadour - wishful thinking? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Victor Ward, DeadHead

            That would be you.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:32:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Separation of powers (0+ / 0-)

          "There is no legal consensus that Section 5 is necessary"

          There is a legal consensus that it passed Congress. There is clear Constitutional authorization for it in the Fifteenth Amendment.

          Overturning the VRA would not be a matter of finding Congress to be in violation of constitutional law. It would be an assertion that the Supreme Court can overturn political actions for political reasons.

          The "political question" rule is in full force in this case, and it is widely accepted in the legal community.

          Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

          by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:06:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  There are others out there who quite (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Victor Ward, DeadHead

        agree with you. They also think a judge should be impeached for nothing more than issuing a ruling that Congress doesn't agree with.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        •  And there are others who agree with you (0+ / 0-)

          that nothing a legal professional does in the course of abusing power is worthy of removal from office.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          Or maybe we can dispense with the straw man game?  Do you have any reality-based criticisms?

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:13:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Now you're just flailing (5+ / 0-)

            Bybee and Yoo never addressed the issue of judicial impeachment.

            And you've got some nerve to ask for "reality based" criticism when you claim that a Republican House will impeach a judge solely for a ruling (that probably aids them politically themselves!) and a Senate with 45 Republicans in it will find a 2/3 majority to convict.

            To quote Barney Frank, what planet do you live on?

            •  Bybee and Yoo are examples of abuse (0+ / 0-)

              of the law by officers of the court, and based on your comments, I take it you would have been against even investigating them let alone removing and disbarring them.

              And you've got some nerve to ask for "reality based" criticism when you claim that a Republican House will impeach a judge solely for a ruling (that probably aids them politically themselves!) and a Senate with 45 Republicans in it will find a 2/3 majority to convict.
              I've already addressed your ludicrous demand that the entire process be guaranteed in advance before even investigating.
              To quote Barney Frank, what planet do you live on?
              The one where America has a Constitution.  You must live on the other planet.

              Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

              by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:45:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You use the term "abuse of the law" (6+ / 0-)

                as though you understand what it means. You don't. It isn't an "abuse of the law" to develop and hold a legal opinion that you find faulty and/or morally objectionable. If that were the standard,  it would have been perfectly acceptable for the justices on the Warren court to have been impeached and removed. And consider whether justices who had to be worried about being removed from office based on the popularity of their rulings would be willing to issue a decision as controversial as Brown v. Board of Education.

                I don't demand that an investigation's outcome be "guaranteed," just that it be based in reality, at least somewhat.  What you are suggesting is essentially a witch hunt. Be honest. You know there's no witch.

                •  Basically you're saying abuse of power (0+ / 0-)

                  is impossible in the Judicial branch of government.  Absolutely nothing that a judge or lawyer does in the course of their job, even if deliberately designed to subvert or outright eliminate Constitutional law by fiat, represents an impeachable offense.  

                  This negates the very concept of the law, since it means they can arbitrarily interpret laws to be whatever they want, no matter what is actually written in the law.  Just rule whatever you want, making up non sequitur excuses that have no rational basis, and that magically becomes The Law, right?  "I hereby declare jury trials to be unconstitutional, because they violate the 1st Amendment.  Arguments that jury trials are protected in the Constitution are unpersuasive.  Because I say so."

                  I don't demand that an investigation's outcome be "guaranteed," just that it be based in reality, at least somewhat.
                  So the clear and immediate appearance of wrongdoing is not a valid reason to investigate unless such an investigation would be moot?  In other words, the whole legislative oversight and investigative function of government is, as you see it, totally worthless and redundant?

                  Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                  by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:37:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Of course I'm not suggesting anything like (4+ / 0-)

                    the strawman argument you concoct. And let's be clear here: when a lower court judge goes off the rails, the judicial system has a self correction mechanism through the appellate courts. No single judge gets to say what the law is.

                    With respect to the Supreme Court, of course, there is no appellate review. But a ruling of the Supreme Court does require a majority to join it, at least in the result if not the reasoning.

                    I notice that you do not even bother to try to attempt a legal analysis of the issues in question in the Voting Rights Act case before the Court now. Let's just say that the real legal issues are not the cartoon level stuff you imagine in your comment.

                    I note that you are calling for impeachment of judges if they should happen to vote in future in a particular case in a way you dislike, without even caring to read what their legal reasoning is. You do realize that Supreme Court opinions include often quite lengthy analysis and discussion about why the judges are ruling the way they are ruling, right?

                    I'm sure that Justice Warren's detractors were just as convinced of his "clear and immediate wrongdoing" after the Brown decision as you are now of the five Justices you suspect of political bias on the Supreme Court.

                    You're just as wrong as they were, sorry.

                    •  So only judges below the Supreme Court (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Musial

                      can commit abuses of power?  I'm having a hard time understanding what position you're taking here: Is the Supreme Court above the law, or are they subject to a set of plainly-written rules like everyone else and merely given authority to interpret and reconcile where there is some rational basis to dispute?  

                      But a ruling of the Supreme Court does require a majority to join it, at least in the result if not the reasoning.
                      Which is why holding the Supreme Court above the Constitution would make the United States a five-person oligarchy in the same way that holding a President above it would make it a dictatorship.  But that's never been part of the social contract, and certainly not part of any philosophy of liberal democratic governance ever articulated - courts are bound by the logic of the Constitution they apply and interpret, which is why Congress has judicial oversight authority including the authority to impeach judges.  
                      I note that you are calling for impeachment of judges if they should happen to vote in future in a particular case in a way you dislike, without even caring to read what their legal reasoning is.
                      My point is that there would be a face-value appearance of wrongdoing if they were to strike down parts of the VRA in a 5-4 ruling via the same majority involved in Citizens United, and Congressional investigations would be justified - preferably in both chambers, although of course the House has initial impeachment authority.

                      And if you seriously equate the lawless, nakedly partisan actions of the Five seeking to subvert the electoral process on numerous occasions with Earl Warren upholding the Constitution...I just don't know what to do for you.

                      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 10:22:00 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  this is a separation of powers crisis (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Troubadour

                        between a supine Congress and a usurping court. FDR was involved the last time with a popular New Deal and Congress. Now it's different, more like educating the public as did Lincoln in his Douglas debates which provide a sense of the type of legal education required to get a political consensus during a constitutional crisis. That means being prepared to answer questions about the political question doctrine, while you're demanding that it be restored.

                      •  You seem to be making the argument (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Villanova Rhodes

                        that the Supreme Court is "above the law" if they rule in a way you don't agree with. You don't bother to describe what your legal analysis is. Do you have any? Do you think any is necessary, or do you think the only thing that matters is the bottom line?

                        Can you construct a legal argument to distinguish what the the  conservatives on Roberts court did in Citizens United, with what the liberals on the Warren court did in Brown or Roe? And I mean an argument that doesn't essential rely on "I like the result in one, but not in the other." I'm talking about neutral, legal principles.

                        The bottom line is that the Constitution is not like a set of plainly written rules. Its vague and often nonspecific, and the role of the Supreme Court is to interpret it in the context of the cases that come before it. You're sounding dangerously like the wingnuts who rail about judges legislating from the bench. Of course they do no such thing.

                        If we impeach judges because we don't like how they rule on voting rights cases, where does it end? You've destroyed judicial independence, and made it so that there will never be any more landmark civil rights cases like Brown or Roe ever again.

                •  "Abuse of discretion" is an established legal term (0+ / 0-)

                  Decisions not based on law merit no deference.

                  Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                  by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:12:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Um no (0+ / 0-)
                    Decisions not based on law merit no deference.
                    If a party to a lawsuit believes it was wrongly decided, they must appeal. They can't just ignore it.

                    Abuse of discretion means something else.

                    http://www.law.cornell.edu/...

                    Interestingly, this diary fails to even mention what is the constitutional standard for judicial impeachment. It mentions none of the history of judicial impeachments, nor any of the caselaw that exists.  That would have been interesting.

                    But this diary? It's just an ill informed rant.

  •  The five who sided with Bush in Bush v. Gore (4+ / 0-)

    should not only have been impeached, but also tried for treason.

    American exceptionalism is America's road to perdition.

    by Alexandre on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:10:39 PM PDT

    •  At least against Scalia. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thomask, Alexandre

      The rest at least made some kind of effort to sound like they were applying laws, however speciously.  Scalia, however, basically said that George W. Bush was entitled to power by some unknown logic and that actually counting votes to determine who would become President would violate his rights.

      But gutting VRA would be a quantum leap in egregiousness from the evenly-divided vote in Bush v. Gore, especially in the context of occurring after the 2012 elections and the similarly partisan context of Citizens United following 2008.  It's the difference between a specious interpretation to break a virtual tie in favor of one's biases, and just straight-up legalizing election rigging because it proved insufficient to legalize election buying.

      If they strike down VRA, we impeach them - and that's just the beginning of how we have to respond.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:22:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Treason? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico

      Oy, vey.

  •  Great idea (6+ / 0-)

    Now how are you getting half of the House and 2/3 of the Senate to agree with you?

    Because I'm not interested in meaningless gestures that can't pass, like the GOP do with repealing Obamacare every  week.

    "Because Romney's a clown . . ."--Henry Francis

    by LeftCoastTimm on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:49:53 AM PDT

    •  I don't think you understand the weight you carry. (0+ / 0-)

      All you do by refusing to do anything that isn't guaranteed to succeed is guarantee that you'll successfully do nothing.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:45:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Back in the Sixties (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wednesday Bizzare, Troubadour

      (oh what a time), there were people who believed that marches and demonstrations would end the war in Vietnam.

      Not so much. But when anti-war people started winning House/Senate seats or long term war hawks started having to actually campaign to keep their seats, the war hawks finally realized they were on the losing end.

      It took a while, but it can be done. Even if the SCOTUS impeachment can't be done immediately, with the current level of social media and other ways of bringing the necessity of such action to the notice of a majority of people, it could be accomplished.

      I hate that so many people say "It can't be done" without even trying to make a difference. It can't be done if no one bothers to even try.

      I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

      by woolibaar on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:14:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and if any issue could galvanize such (0+ / 0-)

        a public upheaval, it would be a brazenly partisan, apparently corrupt Supreme Court majority striking down parts of the Voting Rights Act that had stood for decades, just a few months after minority voters had propelled a historic election.  The Five picked the wrong piece of legislation to attack.

        Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

        by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:41:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Especially in areas were ALEC and the GOP (0+ / 0-)

          are in cahoots to deny everyone but white males (or compliant females) the vote. And some want to keep females from voting!

          I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

          by woolibaar on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:14:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well, it isn't totally out of the blue (6+ / 0-)

    The VRA issue was before them four years ago, IIRC. They expected congress to take another look at whatever the issues were exactly that time, congress dragged their feet, and here we are.

    Obviously they decided to hear the case again, so I'm not denying their enthusiasm for scrapping it, just a minor quibble on your "out of the blue" remark.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:52:06 AM PDT

    •  The Court agreed to hear the case (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      journeyman, Dogs are fuzzy

      exactly three days after Obama's second victory via unprecedented minority turnout at the polls.  I'm sure it was a coincidence.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:50:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know when they agreed to hear (7+ / 0-)

        Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. I'm not talking about that. I was referring to this:

        [...] But those who had attended the Court’s last hearing on the constitutionality of the 1965 law, four years ago, could recall that Kennedy was equally disturbed then about the threat he saw to states’ rights, and yet the Court concluded that case without striking down the law. It found a way to ease the burden of the law, for local governments, and left it at that. [...]
        As discussed here.

        It had nothing to do with Obama's victory. This shit takes a long time to go through the process. They don't just say "Oh fuck, we lost, let's hear a case real quick so we can prevent losing again." The process was initiated in mid-July 2012.

        And no, this was not Bush v. Gore II.




        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 02:55:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The petition was submitted in July 2012. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica

          It was only granted when the election outcome made it clear that conservatives would need more judicial interference to win future elections.

          I haven't seen any specific dates for whatever the case was four years ago that they considered, but "four years ago" was roughly, you might remember, when another election was won by Democrats with unprecedented minority turnout.

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 03:08:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're ascribing motives to fit (4+ / 0-)

            the narrative of your diary, I get that. And really, I have no more love for this than you do.

            However, we don't really have a way of determining with certainty that the Court would have refused to hear the case had the election gone the other way, now do we?

            I would say yes, they would have, because it's been Roberts' pet project for a long time now. There's no need to pin it on one election or another to convince people it's fucked up.




            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
            ~ Jerry Garcia

            by DeadHead on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:01:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I only cite the timing as supporting evidence (0+ / 0-)

              not conclusive proof - that much would come from an investigation into the case and the Justices involved.  But given the plain facts of the record, if they were to do as expected and strike down the relevant parts of VRA, it would fit a pattern that requires such an investigation.  And if that investigation found information sustaining the pattern as a deliberate program of partisan corruption, that would require impeachment.

              Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

              by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:25:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Victor Ward, elmo
                not conclusive proof - that much would come from an investigation into the case and the Justices involved.
                This is the attitude that got us the Ken Starr inquisition.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:42:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, the attitude that got us Ken Starr (0+ / 0-)

                  is the same attitude responsible for the torture memos and now seeking to gut the VRA: That conservative legal practitioners have a right to abuse the law for partisan ends and be exempt from accountability themselves.

                  Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                  by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:51:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  No. (14+ / 0-)

    Your legal case is not a legal case, your practicalities are impractical, and this would be one of the most laughable diaries I've read at dkos if it weren't for most of the political diaries you write.  The idea that judges should be impeached for the normal process of judicial review - no matter how partisan and insincere you may believe that review to be - is beneath contempt.

    Drawing lines in the sand isn't so impressive when you're drawing them with crayons.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:09:47 AM PDT

    •  Utterly mindless, gutless, and ignorant comment. (0+ / 0-)
      Your legal case is not a legal case
      Neither is what the Five are doing.  But apparently you're fine with that, so all they have to do is rule that up is down and you would immediately fall upward in order to obey while castigating everyone else for doing otherwise.  
      your practicalities are impractical
      Doing nothing is always practical, isn't it, and you've made it clear that it's your preferred course of action on this subject.  So why not give it a test run yourself?
      The idea that judges should be impeached for the normal process of judicial review - no matter how partisan and insincere you may believe that review to be - is beneath contempt.
      We have a written Constitution accessible to the public so that when a robed oligarchy says 2 + 2 = 5, we can say "bullshit" and hold them accountable for abusing their power.  If you think Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, and the decision to review the Voting Rights Act three days after Democrats won an election by historic minority turnout represent the "normal process of judicial review," then your mind functions like a Kafka character and we not only can't agree on this, but probably shouldn't even be in the same Party.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 02:07:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A few quick thoughts: (9+ / 0-)
        But apparently you're fine with that
        See here.
        you've made it clear that [doing nothing] is your preferred course of action on this subject.
        See here.
        [We] probably shouldn't even be in the same Party.
        We may agree on that one, but not in the way you think.

        Here's your trivia question for the night: a century ago a certain progressive president outlined a broad and ambitious slate of policies for the nation.  His flagship legislation was passed by massive majorities (well above 3/4 in both houses) and then struck down 5-4 by a Supreme Court that was headed, no less, by a former Confederate soldier.  No one was impeached, though the majority were heaped with scorn, and over time the dissent has become much more well-known than the decision.  Without looking it up... Name that infamous case!

        (I ask because I get the sense, both here and elsewhere, that your knowledge of political history, the courts, and legal standards is inversely proportional to the passion you show for opining on them.   Plus, over the last few months you've shown nothing but disdain for commenters who've disagreed with you.  I'm happy to return in kind.  This'll be my last comment in this diary.)

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 03:25:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please, take your time on those "thoughts." (0+ / 0-)

          Re "Turkana's Law": Are you saying that you're not okay with judges abusing power?  Which is it?  You seem confused, spewing shrill hate against the very notion of holding judges accountable for trying to rig elections from the bench, and then imply that I'm being unfair by saying that you're okay with this behavior.  Make up your mind.  Is it "beneath contempt" to hold that judges are not permitted to be dictators, or was it your comment that was beneath contempt?

          Re "false dilemma": Usually the claim that something is a false dilemma is accompanied by an alternative suggestion.  You know, when people are being honest and intelligent, and not just trolling on behalf of the John Yoo school of authoritarian nuttery.

          His flagship legislation was passed by massive majorities (well above 3/4 in both houses) and then struck down 5-4 by a Supreme Court that was headed, no less, by a former Confederate soldier.  No one was impeached, though the majority were heaped with scorn, and over time the dissent has become much more well-known than the decision.  Without looking it up... Name that infamous case!
          Name the document that is the supreme law of the United States.  Hint: It's not Antonin Scalia's pay stub.  You seriously equate overthrowing people's basic Constitutional rights from the bench in order to dictate the outcome of elections with merely striking down a politically popular agenda?  The absurd, counter-rational nihilism in your commentary is hard to take.  

          One of the hallmarks of the authoritarian thinker is the inability to recognize that not everything is a matter of opinion open to infinite manipulation - some things are just facts.  Which is why we have a written Constitution in the first place instead of just having an absolute oligarchy whose "laws" only they may know and only they are qualified to understand - because reality-based thinkers know that's just another way of saying there's no laws at all, and those people would just do whatever the hell they want to everyone else.  That seems to be what you think the proper role of judges is in our society.

          I ask because I get the sense, both here and elsewhere, that your knowledge of political history, the courts, and legal standards is inversely proportional to the passion you show for opining on them.
          If that were the case, your reaction wouldn't have been as hysterical as it was.  But because you found yourself confronted by an unusual anti-authoritarian idea rooted in common sense, you acted like I just raped your God.
          Plus, over the last few months you've shown nothing but disdain for commenters who've disagreed with you.
          Nice bit of projection, but when you drop into a diary just to seagull-dive bomb flailing insults and deranged smears, you don't get to be outraged when your target defends themselves.
          This'll be my last comment in this diary.
          No, no...please don't go!  You were contributing so much!

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:13:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  overwhelmingly agree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wisper, pico, DeadHead
          Plus, over the last few months you've shown nothing but disdain for commenters who've disagreed with you.

          Don't trust anyone over 84414

          by BentLiberal on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:22:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I find it ironic that you could call (11+ / 0-)

        commenters in your diary "ignorant," when you have failed completely to consider the history of impeachment of judges in our country. Why don't you start with reading about the first attempt at impeachment and why it was ultimately decided not to be a good thing to impeach a judge solely for a judicial act?

        http://www.fjc.gov/...

        And I also notice that almost in passing you suggest that the principle of judicial review established in Marbury v. Madison should be rejected.

        The President should ignore any lawless ruling striking down enforcement provisions of VRA
        In short, what you appear to be proposing is that instead of being government of laws, we should become a government of men. No, thank you.
        •  "A judicial act." (0+ / 0-)

          Like, for instance, finding a woman in contempt for spurning sexual advances?  That's a judicial act.  Are you saying that should not result in disciplinary action, because judges have discretion in issuing contempt citations?  

          You're simply begging the question by equating the rule of law with some kind of anti-Judiciary interference, and implying that laws are whatever five people on the Supreme Court say they are.  Impeachment for abuse of power is not only legitimate, but indispensable to the security of a democratic republic.

          As to Marbury v. Madison, the analogy makes no sense unless the case revolved around Marbury asking the court to simply throw the entire Bill of Rights in the garbage in order to hinder Madison's party's electoral performance.

          In short, what you appear to be proposing is that instead of being government of laws, we should become a government of men.
          What I'm proposing is the exact opposite - that we not degenerate into an oligarchy of five unelected partisans who can simply dismiss the entire Constitution by issuing doublethink rulings "interpreting" every single law they find inconvenient to be its opposite.  Or are you of the opinion that because they said so, a corporation is a person?  If they ruled tomorrow that up is down, would you do your best to fall upward in order to comply with it?

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:33:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would be very happy to support (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Villanova Rhodes, pico

            the impeachment of any judge who has held a woman in contempt for refusing his sexual advances. Or for one who accepted bribes. Or forged documents. Or any of the other sorts of criminal misdeeds that get judges booted off the bench.

            But that 's not at all what you're talking about in this diary. You're talking about impeaching judges if they rule a certain way in a case which, because it's not decided yet, you can't even yet see what their reasoning is. How can you say their ruling isn't a "judicial act" when you haven't even seen their ruling? You can't. It's simply ridiculous.

    •  If (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward, pico, elmo

      this text wall of unconversant ranting makes the rec list, I will be ashamed.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:34:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a pretty strange characterization. (0+ / 0-)
        unconversant ranting
        Just right out of the blue with that.  Do you actually think those words apply to what I wrote, or do you just like the way they look together in a one-line comment?

        Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

        by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:09:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As if it even merits more (8+ / 0-)

          Not right out of the blue, quite the opposite.   I not only read all 21 factually barren paragraphs, I even masochistically paged through all the comments where you berate every commenter with arguments (as the term can be loosely defined) better suited to a 6th grade speech and debate event.

          You call for things related to the Federal Judiciary divorced not only from centuries of established procedural jurisprudence but utterly uncoupled from the facts of the case.

          You surreptitiously ascribe your own motives to such banal facts as when the SCOTUS accepted a petition that was properly fed up to it via the established appellate process and denounce anyone who does not applaud your weak casual linkage

          You try and use some distorted view of your interpretation of the Constitution to nullify the very articles contained therein.  You want the US to revert back to its Constitutional rights but yet claim that the ability of the Supreme Court to "just decide things"makes us abashedly oligarchical or authoritarian.

          You want Congress and the President to impose direct retribution on what is supposed to be a separate judiciary.  

          You think that legal rulings can be thrown out and the authors punished because other people, one would assume to include you, think they are wrong.

          All of which shows an either a lack of awareness or willful ignorance of the opening of Article III of the document you so indignantly herald.

          The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court
          Yet people that dispute your petulant daydreaming are immediately accused of some combination of trolling, being naive, being a willful authoritarian thinker or informed that they should not be part of your party.  (A disassociation I doubt many would refute at this point)

          You openly admit a lack of knowledge on the preceding Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District 1 case that sheds light on this hearing and cut short anyone that points out the facts of that case do not support your argument.

          You call for expulsions of duly elected legislators as if your opinion outweighs the MILLIONS of other Americans that voted for the person they want to represent them in DC, as is their right.  An act so arrogant that specific Constitution clauses aside comes off as singularly unamerican.

          You call for the President to break the checks and balances of his own branch to deliberately abrogate standing federal statutes.  If this were to be possible or accepted what would stop any President from doing this with ANY law in any area at any time?

          You ignorantly, with clearly no knowledge of the workings inside a courtroom, suggest that attorneys routinely call for judicial recusal with ad hominem attacks on the character of a judge.  Why not just suggest that plaintiffs should be able to handpick what judge they think is appropriate to hear their pet issue and undermine the entire judicial appointment process going back to John Jay.

          This is a farce, and a sad one at that.  Its an adolescent tirade to demand that everyone behave the way you think they should or else and anyone that disagrees with you is just as much a part of the problem as Antonin Scalia.

          And even if we were to just read this as a well-intentioned albeit reality-deficient screed vented out of frustration on an issue important to us all, your unconscionable behavior to any and everyone that dared comment on your publicly posted effluvient makes it all but impossible to even humor.

          If you want to make arguments about this issue at least do your research and offer a reasoned debate.  

          Go back to writing snark. In the meantime it will come as solace to the rest of us that the DKos community only need post 37 more diaries of more rational topics like funny cat pictures, recipes and World of Warcraft for this to finally fall of the recent list thus allowing future viewers of the site to live on under the preferable assumption that this was never written.

          Oh, and I'll go ahead and add your parrot response for you.... I suppose you already addressed my points in your diary.  

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:56:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Digging yourself even deeper there. (0+ / 0-)
            I not only read all 21 factually barren paragraphs, I even masochistically paged through all the comments where you berate every commenter with arguments (as the term can be loosely defined) better suited to a 6th grade speech and debate event.
            I read and responded to your Orwellian rant below where you claimed that suppressing the voting rights of minorities is a legitimate expression of "democracy" by a state, so excuse me if your unsupported dismissal of my work as "factually barren" and childish doesn't persuade.  Either that was a verbatim repetition of this comment, or this comment is a copy of that one, because you make the same specious arguments and silly claims.

            Your arguments boil down to authoritarian religious belief in the unchecked legal infallibility of judges and impunity to use their powers in ways that fundamentally abrogate the function of the Judiciary, not to mention usurping the supremacy of the Constitution they are empaneled to interpret, not rewrite.  Every single one of your comments arises from this position: Advocating any level of judicial oversight is, according to your characterizations, an outrageous intrusion and an illegitimate politicization of the courts, even when the precipitating circumstance is a court that has itself become politicized due to abuses of power.

            Essentially, you demand that if the Five strike down the VRA provisions under review - or indeed, any civil rights laws they decide to target in the future - minorities in America should just accept people who've stolen their liberty from the bench in service to partisan interests as legitimate authorities of law.  There are limits to what the Supreme Court may legitimately do.  You need to accept that.

            Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

            by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:08:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  wow (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elmo, SquareSailor

            that was quite beautiful... Might not save the world, but saving this diary's comment section.

          •  Diarist is not the one doing that. (0+ / 0-)

            "You try and use some distorted view of your interpretation of the Constitution to nullify the very articles contained therein."

            The Supreme Court is doing that.

            If their independence were absolute there would be no check or balance such as impeachment.

            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

            by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:22:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's not normal process. That's the point. (0+ / 0-)

      The Supreme Court is not legally empowered to override the Constitution. The Fifteenth Amendment is part of the Constitution, including an explicit grant of power to Congress.

      They can't rule that Congress is unable to pass taxes or unable to declare war. They're threatening to do something in exactly the same category.

      "Judicial review" means resolving conflicts between laws, not deciding that a law was just a bad idea because it was popular (Scalia's reasoning so far).

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:19:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What pico said. (10+ / 0-)

    I was going to leave my own comment at "I respectfully dissent" because that's all the time it merited, but I'm not feeling that respectful.

    I do, though, have a prediction about what would happen if lightning struck and your 5 nemeses actually were impeached and convicted: The remaining 4 would promptly resign. And that would be a sight to see.

  •  From your lips to God's ears. Or maybe your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    ...keyboard to God's inbox/twitter feed/Facebook wall.

    If the Supremes substantially screw up the VRA, I think we will just have to modify MLK's statement a bit, the one about the arc of the moral universe being long, but bending towards justice, by adding in a clause that it occasionally bends the wrong damn way, for a while.

    By "for a while" I mean that the demographics are changing and reaching the tipping point. If current voting patterns hold, minorities will put Dems over the top in the House, and definitely into the Presidency, by 2020.

    A vote by conservative justices now to break the mechanism that protects minorities from the worst of the efforts may allow states to suppress the vote, angering minorities, who may then be even more motivated to turn out.  (As seemed to happen in the election of 2012.)

    I think the thought of a backlash will weigh heavily on Scalia et al, and may even induce them to act in the interest of the Republic and not their party or personal ideology.

    •  The 2012 election is the reason for the VRA review (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paulie200

      which was granted only three days after Election Day.  You seem to be saying that people should just passively tolerate having an infinite sequence of new obstacles thrown in the way of exercising their voting rights by corrupt, partisan right-wing judges every time Democrats dare to win an election, and that we have no right to demand that judges not abuse their power.  I can't accept that, and I don't see how any citizen of a republic possibly could.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 02:39:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How will demographic change have an effect? (0+ / 0-)

      "If current voting patterns hold, minorities will put Dems over the top in the House, and definitely into the Presidency, by 2020."

      Current voting patterns will not hold if the minority vote is suppressed. Without section 5, that sentence would read "WHEN the minority vote is suppressed".

      "Angering minorities" will have no effect unless they're allowed to vote.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:27:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the House, impossible today but! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward

    In my history of comments, you'll see I'm a realist, and that's gotten me slimed a few times. But this House would never start such an investigation. More appropriate to investigate "Fast and Furious" (which in the end was absolutely nothing) ad nauseum.

    Two more realistic goals: First, I heard to my amazement that the ERA was still "on the table" and required only 3 more states for ratification. Is that true? No time limit? And among those states are Florida and Georgia, which are actually pretty purple! This is a realistic goal.

    Second, I personally think we need a new VRA. It needs to address all those other states and all those other dirty tricks. It's not going to happen this year but the act of voting against it in the House (or keeping it from coming to the floor) would be a very good subject for a Congressional campaign.

    Your point about the majority vote in the last House election is telling. I am pretty sick of the negativism for the mid-terms.

    •  No, it's not... (0+ / 0-)

      A new Constitutional Amendment bill has been introduced (with no likelihood of passage through the House), and some advocates have talked it up by mentioning that in the last iteration, it came within three State approvals of passing.  However, the previous version had an expiration clause, so we'd be starting all over again.  Unless you can clear out the Teas Party leadership in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc., you'll lose critical State's you'll need for passage.

      •  That's what I thought (0+ / 0-)

        Stephanie Miller's substitute was wrong. I remembered hearing it had expired years ago. But a new campaign would be significant, especially as an issue in the next election. In places like Florida the GOP has gotten the "minorities" (really majorities) REALLY angry.

      •  Huh? Can you show me that clause? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Victor Ward, Wisper
        The Equal Rights Amendment

        Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

        Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

        Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

        Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

        by Clem Yeobright on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:03:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Deadline wasn't in the Amendment... (4+ / 0-)

          ...it was in the Congressional resolution that passed the Amendment (H.J. Res 208).  The deadline was 7 years from passage.  In 1978, the deadline was extended by H.J. Res 638 until 1982.  

          •  And there's the problem ... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour, Wisper, elmo

            When the clause is part of the amendment, then it's part of the context - as in the XXth Amendment, for example.

            But can Congress legitimately pass a proposal saying "We think this is a good general principle of government but only for the next 7 years ..."? And then say "Oops, we meant 10 years"?

            Where in Article V is there a suggestion that once an amendment has been submitted to the states for ratification, Congress has any more control over the process?

            Could the Congress of, say, 1975 have withdrawn its submission of the ERA to the states?

            And then there's the whole matter of the XXVIIth 'Madison' Amendment ...

            These are by no means closed questions. Stay tuned.

            Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

            by Clem Yeobright on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:18:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes they can (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              Its called extending the Sunset.  

              The proposal does NOT say "We think this is a good general principle of government but only for the next 7 years.."

              It says we are passing this law to be wholly enforced for 7 years and then to be reviewed by Congress at that time.  This allows a future Congress to see the empirical results of the legislation to determine if it should be renewed for another period of time, modified, revoked or made permanent.

              Many pieces of major legislation have these sunsets in them.  It is Congress' attempt to safeguard against uninteded consequences.

              Did we not just go through this with the Violence Against Women Act?

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:10:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Binding future Congresses (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wisper

                Could Congress in 1975 have withdrawn the amendment, i.e., sunsetted early?

                Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

                by Clem Yeobright on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:42:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Clem Yeobright, elmo

                  Binding future congresses means the a present congress could not make a law that prohibits a future congress from acting.

                  Legislating the Amendment is within the purview of Congress so they could do anything they want on it. In your example where they might choose to withdraw it or sunset it earlier, any future congress can bring it back up whenever they want, in whatever new (possibly very different) version that they want.

                  What a Congress explicitly cant do is pass a law and say "This will be in effect and CAN NOT be revisited or modified for 7 years."  That is binding and can be legally ignored.

                  Also, I'm a little confused at this side thread... I just went back and re-read it all.. Constitutional Amendments are introduced as standard bills with an S.J. or H.J prefix.  Like any other bill, anything that is not passed by Congress is dead at the end of the session.  This is why Amendments are reintroduced on the first day of every new Congress.  For instance the GOP always reintroduces a Balanced Budget amendment as the first act of a new Senate.  Its part of their platform.  Mike Lee of Utah had the "honor" of authoring this year's version... its S.J. 1.

                  But, so as to be "not binding" this will be thrown out at the end of this Congress if when it doesn't pass.  

                  Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                  by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:52:10 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Article V seems to obviate 'sunset' (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wisper

                    Once an amendment is submitted to the states, Congress seems to be done, don't you think?

                    One could call it nefarious that Congress in 1992 undertook to ratify the ratification of the 27th Amendment, since amendment is clearly a two-step, not a three-step, process. In fact, the actual ruling - dicta aside - in Dillon was that the 18th Amdmt went into effect when the last state ratified (the day before Dillon was arrested) and not the date it was proclaimed (10 days later).

                    It appears that in the amendment process Congress releases its little boat upon the seas and can only control it if the control is already on  board, as, e.g., in the 22nd Amendment:

                    Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
                    Ergo: no sunset and no Congressional withdrawal.

                    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

                    by Clem Yeobright on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:20:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ah... now I understand what were talking about (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Clem Yeobright

                      I apologize, I was getting a little lost in the cross references to VRA, ERA, sunset provisions, et al.

                      I get it now... and yes, I think we agree.  I would make two points though.

                      1.  Dillon has been wholly modified by Coleman and COngress has a lot more power in this than first assumed.

                      2.  I think a key fact in this would be if any state has started a ratification process.  I think the States would have a very compelling case if Congress proposed an Amendment and say Maryland ratified it (or even held a vote on ratification irrespective of outcome) and then while it was before other states Congress attempted to change any part of it.  I think there your "that little boat has sailed" argument becomes very persuasive.

                      I think it unreasonable to expect 50 states to all act immediately or in any coordinated fashion on a proposal and any modification during this process is unfair and unrepresentative of both states that have and have not yet considered it.

                      I think this may be moot in the aftermath of Dillon and Coleman as it will now become the standard practice to place a deadline in any amendment that comes out of Congress, without exception (see the DC Voting one).

                      But you are probably right on the larger issue.. I mean the one back from colonial times about stripping citizenship from any American that accepts a title of nobility in another country is still officially proposed for the due consideration of the States.

                      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                      by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:18:30 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So is the original 13th Amendment (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Wisper
                        ‘‘ARTICLE THIRTEEN
                        ‘‘No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.’’
                        Passed March 2, 1861 and signed by the President - the only time a President has considered himself part of the process, and one of the few definitive actions by Buchanan in the 4 years that ended two days later.

                        Gotta wonder what would happen if a bunch of states jumped on this one!

                        Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

                        by Clem Yeobright on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:33:56 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yeah.. I dont get the President signature thing (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Clem Yeobright

                          Presidents have ZERO role in Amendments.  Maybe it was a PR thing back then?  I don't know the politics of the time well enough to speculate, but that seems odd.

                          Yeah... I suppose that is still out there.  But the distinction between passed and unpassed is only 4 states, 34 to hit 2/3's to pass a Congressionally proposed Amendment and 38 to hit 3/4ths and pass whatever they want on their own regardless of what Congress does, wants or says.

                          Put like that it becomes a lot more scary to think that 30 states have Republican governors at the moment.  :(

                          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                          by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:40:55 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  One more thought reading that (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Clem Yeobright

                          That, going back to our first point of discussion, is alarmingly binding.

                          Can an amendment really prohibit any future amendments?  I don't think SCOTUS, by the nature of checks and balances, has the jurisdiction to rule on the Constitutionality of the Constitution so this couldn't be reviewed or nullified.

                          But if passed, could it legally block states from enacting a later Amendment?  Who would even rule on that?  Say this passed and like prohibition, a few years later 3/4ths of the States passed an Amendment saying "Amendment XIII is repealed" and {insert text of the current 14th Amendment}.

                          People could make the argument that would be a violation of the 13th Amendment but .....   who could hear that argument?

                          The SCOTUS, as final arbiters of the Constitution, cannot be vested with the power to rule on its contents.

                          I think I'm going to be scratching my head for the rest of the day on that one.....  

                          ...at least SOMETHING intellectually positive came out of this train wreck of a diary.  Thanks Clem!

                          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                          by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:47:19 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Wait, you don't think the Judiciary (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Clem Yeobright

                            has the authority to rule on the Constitutionality of the Constitution?  So...what if they did?  You've earlier said it would be an abuse of power for the Executive branch not to obey a Supreme Court ruling, no matter how ludicrous and abusive.

                            Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                            by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:14:15 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ..sigh..Its not what I "think" (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SquareSailor

                            The checks and balances exist to give the SCOTUS supreme, (thats what the S stands for btw whether you like it or not), final authority over the interpretation of the Constitution with no option of appeal.  It is what makes us a nation of laws.  

                            The check to this is that the SCOTUS can not involve themselves in the formation or execution of federal law (so as not to introduce a conflict of self-review) and that they can not be involved in the amendment process of the Constitution (nor can the President for that matter).  The idea is that if the SCOTUS rules on something out of step with the will of the people, the people could, through their State's power via Art. V or through their Legislative representatives via Art. I, redefine the Constitution and thus bind future SCOTUS rulings to that new language.

                            You can not have a branch that has absolute power to adjudicate our core document AND any influence or formal role in deciding what it says.

                            We the people write the laws and Constitution (through our representative republic) and the Judiciary Branch, duly appointed, interprets them and rules accordingly without interference, retribution, input or limit from the other branches.

                            Welcome to America and/or 9th grade Social Studies class.

                            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                            by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:27:38 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, the Supreme Court is not called (0+ / 0-)

                            Supreme because they're above the Constitution.  They're just the highest court existing under the Constitution in one of three coequal branches of government.

                            You acknowledge the Court cannot amend the Constitution, but then insist that nothing they could possibly rule is illegitimate, so what you're saying is total gibberish.  According to you, they may not do something that, if they did it, everyone would simply have to obey anyway and have no recourse against.  Ah, the logical gymnastics of doctrinaire authoritarianism.

                            Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                            by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:58:02 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The End (3+ / 0-)

                            Go on ascribing your own meaning to words that make you feel better.  I am tired of arguing with the willfully uninformed.

                            I'll say this as one last attempt to clarify knowing you will not agree and accuse me of being the sheepish oppressor of an Orwellian regime.  And so be it, coming from you I'll interpret that as meaning that I live in the real world and wear the title proudly.

                            The word is called "jurisdiction".  The Supreme Court has SUMPREME jurisdiction over all matters of US Law as it relates to the interpretation of the Constitution.  There is no method to challenge a ruling.  There is to appeal.  No one signs off.  No vetos.  No one approves. and NO ONE can legally willfully ignore a ruling.  Furthermore, there is not another entity anywhere in this nation or this nation's history that can even ATTEMPT to claim it has the same authority.

                            Article III makes clear:

                            The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;--to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;--to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;--to controversies between two or more states;--between a state and citizens of another state;--between citizens of different states;--between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

                            In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

                            And that part I highlighted in bold is important.  They decide the matters of fact and law.  What they say IS THE LAW.  They can not create laws, but when they say a law  is Constitutional that becomes a matter of FACT and all other similar laws will be judged in the future in the light of that decision.  When they say a law is NOT constitutional that law ceases to exist.  There is no protesting, no rehearing.  The law is instantly VOID and removed from statute, state constitutions, charters, regulations and any other body of written law used to govern US citizens.  Instantaneously and permanently.

                            Simply put the Supreme Court is the final venue for the resolution of any dispute in any way involving US law in any matter, anywhere.

                            This is a tremendous power.  So the SCOTUS needs to therefore be limited to prevent the dystopian world of make-believe you keep howling about.

                            NO ONE is allowed on the SCOTUS bench without being appointed by an elected sitting president and confirmed by the entire Senate.

                            No one can take a case directly to the SCOTUS except in a few limited matters (such as when a State is one of the parties) unless assigned by Congress.  If Congress doesn't allow the SCOTUS to act, then they can only be involved by a willful appeal through the proper lower courts.

                            The SCOTUS can not be involved formally or even consultantively in the legislative process.  At all.  Ever.  This is so iron-clad that the Supreme Court denied President George Washington's personal request for advice regarding the legality of a proposed treaty and a bill regarding the relationship between Federal and State debt.

                            The SCOTUS has no power to amend the constitution or prevent an amendment from or impose an amendment to the people or the other branches.

                            No one is allowed to bring a case to the Federal Judiciary without proving they have standing (which has three distinct non-negotiable requirements).

                            Those are the checks.  Thats the system.  It has been this way for 239 years.  To now say that if the SCOTUS does something you (and others) think is wrong, all of this should be shredded, jusitices should be stripped of office and thereby live in fear in the future of such action, that the President has dictatorial authority over whether or not he gives a shit about what the SCOTUS does or doesn't say about any issue, that individual plaintiffs can decide specific judges are unfit to rule in matters, that governors should reject Federal law if they think it is wrong, etc is asinine.

                            I don't know what else to tell you Troubadour, but you are wrong.  In theory and in your noble and very much right sentiments about the importance of voting rights and the other things you describe I understand what you are trying to say, however overlty hostile you try to say it; but you are wrong.  On the facts, on the process, on the Constituion, on the role of the branches and on the details of this case, you are, almost without exception, incorrect.

                            You don't need me to tell you that you are free to think what you like; nor do I need you to tell me that you plan on doing exactly that so I intend to leave it there.

                            Good day.

                            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                            by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 11:23:45 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You forgot one minor detail. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dogs are fuzzy

                            Congress has the authority to impeach Supreme Court Justices, and the Supreme Court has no right to rig elections.  Checks and balances.

                            Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

                            by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:40:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Unreviewable. Not unaccountable. (0+ / 0-)

                            "I disagree" is not the same thing as "abuse of discretion".

                            Hauling them before Congress would be a Constitutional crisis. Sometimes that's exactly what a country needs.

                            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                            by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:36:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Except hauling them before this Congress (0+ / 0-)

                            would be about as meaningful as hauling them before a bunch of drunks at your local pub. Less, actually.

                          •  No perpetual, unrepealable laws (0+ / 0-)

                            Very old legal principle.

                            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                            by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:30:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

                            but who, and in what venue, can step forward with jurisdiction and reject an Amendment passed by 3/4ths of the States?

                            Its a weird thought experiment derived from Clem's comments.  

                            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                            by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 02:07:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  They'd have to reconcile it (0+ / 0-)

                            somehow. And if they couldn't...I suspect they would find some flaw in how it was adopted, such that it would not be a valid amendment to the constitution.

            •  This was a Supreme Court issue... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright, elmo

              On December 23, 1981, a United States District Court ruled that the ERA's deadline extension was unconstitutional and that a state legislature may rescind its prior ratification of a proposed amendment to the Constitution. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Administrator of General Services claimed that the required number of states (38) had not ratified the amendment even if the deadline extension was valid and the rescissions were invalid:

              "the Amendment has failed of adoption no matter what the resolution of the legal issues presented here."

              The Supreme Court agreed and ordered the case dismissed as moot on October 4, 1982, thereby recognizing that the ERA had failed to win ratification, but did not issue a ruling on the merits of either the deadline extension issue or the rescission issue in this case.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              •  Whoa (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clem Yeobright

                Not to question the infallibility of wikipedia, but dismissed as moot is by definition a NON-RULING.  The SCOTUS is proscribed from ever hearing, much less ruling, on a moot case (as stated personally by John Jay to President Washington (albeit through a communication to Hamilton) in 1780.

                Maybe I'm being nit-picky on an issue that does not change the outcome but to be clear the SCOTUS has not ever ruled on this matter.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:02:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  They are closed... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              ...as long as the Republicans control the House and a significant number of battleground States.  Not a prayer of getting this passed right now.

        •  the original bill contained an expiration date (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright, Wisper

          providing that the amendment was to expire if not ratified by the requisite number of states before that date.

          http://blogs.usembassy.gov/...

    •  Well, all of that is pretty moot if (0+ / 0-)

      Republicans can just stop non-white Americans from voting because Antonin Scalia ruled that up is down.  This really isn't optional: VRA is the law of the land that the courts never had a problem with until minorities started determining the outcomes of national elections.  

      If the Five attempt to strike it down just to pull another transparent interference in elections on behalf of Republicans, for the third time in twelve years, they need to be impeached.  Need to be.  We don't get to say something is too hard when we don't even have a realistic alternative, let alone a morally acceptable one.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:19:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It needs to be a clear election issue (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Dogs are fuzzy

        Clinton was right. In an off year House election there need to be a very few issues that ALL Democrats run on (think the "Contract on America" crew.) This time around saving Medicare, preserving the right to vote and negating Citizens United are very important goals. The rest--if you can't count them on one hand there are too many for Joe at the Coffee Shop to understand.

        If I read "we can't take back the House" one more time I'll throw up. The Dems had a House majority this time, for Pete's sake. You target the changing purple House districts and you start now...simply, in words of one syllable.

        Then the House will hold impeachment hearings...

        •  I'm not denigrating the likelihood of (0+ / 0-)

          taking back the House, but impeachment is much less likely if it has to wait for years to even be investigated.  The momentum for it would begin soon after a ruling striking down the relevant VRA enforcement mechanisms, perhaps most effectively through the Congressional Black Caucus.

          It's also important to note that an investigation would not distract from the Democratic electoral agenda, but exemplify it and bring public attention to it: We're fighting for your right to vote!  Just rhetorically saying it only goes so far - you have to actually prove it.  If the Party didn't get on board with it, minorities would have zero trust in it, zero interest in supporting it.  What would be the point if we can't and/or won't even protect the most fundamental civil rights?

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:39:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  please look at reality (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, Samer, DeadHead

    How many supreme court judges have been impeached in almost 250 years. Zero. Not happening ever, Let alone getting 67 votes to remove form office is mathematically impossible.
    Impeachment was meant to be difficult and rare for a reason.

    •  You don't even want to see the results (0+ / 0-)

      of an investigation before deciding not to pursue impeachment?  Wow.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:02:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This was my comment last week, (3+ / 0-)

        but only a comment because there's some legal research to do on separation of powers. Scalia's remark on how the senate votes was clearly irrelevant but revealed his unconscious thinking that the Court could overturn a Congressional vote just on the basis of the politics of the vote. If he were to base a concurrence on how the senate voted, and if the holding invaded the political question doctrine, Congress might fight back because they did seem to in 2006. But this line of attack takes more than a few days of legal research to work out. There is also another opportunity to prepare for impeachment coming up when they rule on McCutcheon which could decide whether billionaires will exclusively control elections or whether millionaires will also have a say, as this is an invasion of separation of powers on one theory because of Art. 1 Sec. 4. See Rob Hager's recent counterpunch article on McCutcheon This takes some education around the political question doctrine, which people can grasp from Bush v. Gore. If you have the time, I invite you look at the moneyouttapolitics.org legal treatise on that issue, also articles by Rob Hager, George Flower, Larry Kachimba, James Leas, and look for attorney articles on VRA and impeachment including some of the links suggested in comments above. Thanks.

        •  Thanks for the additional materials. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Musial

          And it is an unfortunate fact that if we simply allowed judicial abuses of power to continue without repercussions, they would only grow in both frequency and egregiousness.  I can't participate in the in-depth doctrinal questions, but simply to make the statement as a citizen that I won't stand for corrupt judges trying to take away the rights of minorities in order to sway the outcomes of elections.  Given the history of the conservatives on the court as previously identified in the diary, we can demand at least an investigation, should they attempt to strike down VRA enforcement provisions.

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:15:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Always a first time (0+ / 0-)

      Has there been any time, including Dred Scott, when the Supreme Court was this far from being a legal body?

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:40:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, Justice Chase was impeached (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Villanova Rhodes, pico

      but he was acquitted in the Senate.

      http://www.fjc.gov/...

  •  Implausible (8+ / 0-)

    It does seem likely Section 5 will be struck down, and it also seems likely that it'll get kicked back to Congress, again.

    How much do you actually know about the VRA and preclearance? You do know that it's only Section 5 that's before the court, yes?

    you do know that Section 2 is the meat of the VRA, and is actually permanent (and has been so since 1982), right?

    You also know that locales can actually opt-out of Section 5 although to be precise, only small jurisdictions have thus far, with the notable exception of New Hampshire. This was the "fix" alluded to elsewhere in the thread. Congress has otherwise dragged its feet.

    And of course, you know that of states required to be precleared (and there are very, very few), only two were actually won by President Obama in 2008/2012 (and a great portion of that state--Virginia---is exempt from Section 5?) Yes, that's correct. Most of the United States is not required to get Section 5 authorization and that's the way it's been since the act was signed in 1965. No, I'm not wrong. No portion of my state of Pennsylvania has ever been required to be precleared. Ever. EVER.

    Surely, you're aware that Shelby Co. v Holder (the case in question) has been snaking its way through the courts since 2009. Yes, it's important to note that the two lower courts upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 of the VRA. Surely you're not suggesting that entities do not have the right to appeal their cases to the nation's highest court if they so choose? That's the purpose of judicial review.  And it's in the Constitution that you're beating people over the head with in this thread

    Amazingly, I didn't have to do a lot of deep research to find out all of the above.

    I'm sure you've read the great resources (and diversity of opinion) at SCOTUSBlog regarding the issue.

    And you also know that a SCOTUS ruling isn't lawless or illegal, even when you don't like it, yes? Unless you just meant it was your opinion.  And furthermore, and this is a problem unique to you, you seriously have a problem with people who disagree with you and you are a jerk to people in diary after diary after diary after diary. There was a way to deal with commenters who diverged from your opinions that you laid out here. You did it the absolute wrong way.  I know you don't want to hear that but I'm going to bloody say it anyway.

    Now that the unpleasentness is out of the way, I'd love to see members of SCOTUS impeached, mainly the ones I don't like (Scalia, Alito, Thomas.) It's a nice fantasy, to see a Court packed with liberals and people a bit more moderate than these three.

    You are also correct that the perception that VRA is dead will be legion, and probably should start a protest movement. It's an incorrect perception, but for what it's worth, I've long thought Section 5 should be expanded nationally. That is not the issue before the Court, and is a possible fix that Congress will need to do (because that's likely where this is headed once this is done.)

    But yeah, other than all of that, you're an absolute jerk to your readers, and you absolutely suck at taking even the thinnest of criticisms. As bougie black people are wont to say, "Do Better."

    (and yes, I am being as big a jerk as you are.)

    •  Given that even with Section 5 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dogs are fuzzy

      overwhelming, egregious abuses of minority voting rights still take place, I'm not in a hurry to find out how bad things would get without it - and I dare say minority voters aren't either.  They don't take their fundamental rights as Americans as some kind of arcane legal dispute, and I don't either.

      No portion of my state of Pennsylvania has ever been required to be precleared. Ever. EVER.
      Well then, is the solution to eliminate preclearance, or to expand it?  And you do know that regardless of the extent of the program, the one and only motivation for the challenge to preclearance and, almost certainly, the Five's decision to hear it is to limit the ability of the Democratic Party to win elections by minimizing minority turnout?
      Surely, you're aware that Shelby Co. v Holder (the case in question) has been snaking its way through the courts since 2009.
      Yes, I have been made aware that the case began the last time Democrats won an election through unprecedented minority turnout, and was taken up by SCOTUS three days after they did so again.  Funny how the timing of these cases keeps working out, like legalizing bribery and election-buying just in time for 2010.
      Surely you're not suggesting that entities do not have the right to appeal their cases to the nation's highest court if they so choose?
      Of course not.  I'm suggesting that courts do not get to make up their own laws because they don't like how people vote, and that doing so is an impeachable abuse of power that no sane philosophy or practical implementation of government could dispense with and remain a law-based republic.  The alternative is to say that all it takes to alter or do away with the Constitution altogether is one person to file a lawsuit and five judges on one court to sustain whatever it claims, no matter how preposterous or baseless.  That is an impossible position to defend.
      And you also know that a SCOTUS ruling isn't lawless or illegal, even when you don't like it, yes?
      No, I most certainly don't know that a SCOTUS ruling is lawful by definition, because that's authoritarianism.  Laws don't come from judges.  There's a social contract that judges are empaneled to reconcile and interpret, not shred and rewrite according to their whimsy or partisan convenience.
      There was a way to deal with commenters who diverged from your opinions that you laid out here.
      I always take my cues from the choices of commenters as to what kind of "tone" they're interested in.
      I'd love to see members of SCOTUS impeached, mainly the ones I don't like (Scalia, Alito, Thomas.) It's a nice fantasy, to see a Court packed with liberals and people a bit more moderate than these three.
      This is not a demand for political interference in the judiciary, but for an end to such interference on the part of the Five.  You can't equate the two positions.
      and is a possible fix that Congress will need to do (because that's likely where this is headed once this is done)
      If we can't even trust Congress to investigate brazen partisan interference in the courts, why would we trust them to pass an entirely new clause of the VRA that accomplishes the same or better as the current one?
      But yeah, other than all of that, you're an absolute jerk to your readers, and you absolutely suck at taking even the thinnest of criticisms.
      I don't respond well to people who don't read diaries before commenting on them, nor to people who think careless personal insults and vague blanket dismissal of extensive work amounts to "criticism" entitling them to greater respect than they've shown.  I'm not a pacifist, and I'm not a babysitter.  I have always and will always respect criticism when offered, such as you have in this comment.  You obviously have good enough instincts to respond with real arguments, however much they stray from sound reasoning, but you can't possibly miss how few of any arguments have been offered previously by others in opposition.  

      When you write a 21-paragraph diary about a very important and timely subject and the bulk of "criticism" it receives amounts to simple, blanket contradiction, points you already dealt with at length, and egregious straw-man calumnies on your character out of the fucking blue, we'll see how patient and Gandhi-esque your responses are.  

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:47:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  addressing your points piece by piece: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, DeadHead, Villanova Rhodes
        Well then, is the solution to eliminate preclearance, or to expand it?  And you do know that regardless of the extent of the program, the one and only motivation for the challenge to preclearance and, almost certainly, the Five's decision to hear it is to limit the ability of the Democratic Party to win elections by minimizing minority turnout?
        Obviously, expand it, since it doesn't apply in Pennsylvania for example, where Voter ID is currently in court. Again, preclearance only applies to a very short list of states and municipalities. Expansion is not the issue before the Court. That's Congress's job, which the Court has noted (Alito and Roberts both explicitly asked why Congress hasn't expanded this nationwide in an earlier Section 5 case) and I said that I'm a proponent of in the original comment.

        Incidentially, limiting Democratic voters' ability to vote would indeed be a violation of Section 2. Also note where voter ID laws were struck down by federal courts---in states covered by preclearance. They haven't in other states (at the federal level). Indiana's was upheld. Indiana is exempt from Section 5.

        I'm suggesting that courts do not get to make up their own laws because they don't like how people vote, and that doing so is an impeachable abuse of power that no sane philosophy or practical implementation of government could dispense with and remain a law-based republic.  The alternative is to say that all it takes to alter or do away with the Constitution altogether is one person to file a lawsuit and five judges on one court to sustain whatever it claims, no matter how preposterous or baseless.  That is an impossible position to defend.
        you actually are. You seem to think "courts are making up their own laws," which is not what is happening here. Also, you seem to be implying that we should do away with Marbury v. Madison, which institutionalized the judicial review strongly inferred in Article 3 and Article 6 of the Constitution you're beating people over the head with. Shall we toss 210 years of jurisprudence?

        That's not to say that the Court doesn't get it wrong at moving things forward. After all a fairly liberal court upheld locking people up simply for being Japanese and German and Italian (but mostly, Japanese) in wartime.

        But I am saying that entities who bring suit before the federal courts absolutely do have the right to take it to SCOTUS. We can be mad at whatever they eventually decide, but impeachment? A bit far and lacking for evidence.

        as for political interference, both liberals and conservatives seem to argue this and it's kind of annoying. We spent a lot of words mocking conservatives when ACA was largely upheld, and we will expend a lot of words mocking conservatives if Prop 8 and portions of DOMA are overturned, and they will put forth the precise same arguments that you have here.

        No, I most certainly don't know that a SCOTUS ruling is lawful by definition, because that's authoritarianism.  Laws don't come from judges.  There's a social contract that judges are empaneled to reconcile and interpret, not shred and rewrite according to their whimsy or partisan convenience.
        First sentence is your opinion. Second sentence certainly is true. Third sentence indicates you really do not understand judicial review, which is fine. That is not your fault. They even taught civics badly in my day (the 90s) and the only reason I know anything is that I read, then and now.

        I am not sure how you've envisioned the court but it is not the court that we've had for 220+ years in practice.

        Yes, I have been made aware that the case began the last time Democrats won an election through unprecedented minority turnout, and was taken up by SCOTUS three days after they did so again.  Funny how the timing of these cases keeps working out, like legalizing bribery and election-buying just in time for 2010.
        I do believe in coincidences and I don't believe in conspiracies, especially since this is not the first Section 5 challenge to make it to the court.

        the one everyone is alluding to in the thread is Northwest Austin Municipal District No. 1 v Holder and it snaked its way through the courts long before Democrats retook the executive branch, and is the one where the Court kicked the issue back to Congress, which didn't fix the issue. obviously the court system sees that a legislative fix is needed. And I think one IS absolutely needed. The counties in Florida with the most egregious voting issues? They're exempt from Section 5. In fact almost all of Florida is. Most of the Voter ID states? Also exempt. Most of North Carolina? Exempt. The problems in Philadelphia this past election? Pennsylvania's exempt. This is the problem, when most of the minority voters you're talking about (and I happen to be one) don't live in preclearance states and municipalities. This problem, and Congress's disinterest at doing something about it (if you look at the latest reauthorization, it kicks the can down the road for 25 years), is probably the reason Section 5 won't last. Federalize it nationwide (which in itself would bring up yet another Constitutional challenge, do note that the current case uses the 10th, 14th, and 15th as justification for repealing Section 5) or eliminate it. That is Congress's express job. This is something that needs a legislative fix. It's not arcane legal mumbo-jumbo.

        As for the tone, I honestly don't think most here who have offered a contrary opinion has really done so in a disrespectful manner. I write long diaries all the time that get a variety of responses, some of which are jerkish. I too am not a babysitter but I'm not going to call my detractors trolls for disagreeing with me.

        But the tone in the comments is a distraction from the issue at hand and the objection most people are raising, which is:

        My voting rights, as a minority voter in Pennsylvania, will not change if SCOTUS overturns section 5, because section 5 does not apply to my state, and this is 100% true in most places I made note of who have alleged minority and Democratic voter suppression tactics outside of the states and municipalities currently covered by preclearance. I DO think this is a problem, and impeaching the body that may or may not overturn Sec.5  for perceived political interference  is most certainly not going to fix it.

        •  What I'm getting from this... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dogs are fuzzy
          Incidentially, limiting Democratic voters' ability to vote would indeed be a violation of Section 2. Also note where voter ID laws were struck down by federal courts---in states covered by preclearance. They haven't in other states (at the federal level). Indiana's was upheld. Indiana is exempt from Section 5.
          ...is a statement that Section 5 is crucial, meaning that not only (as you advocate) should we expand it, but that striking it down altogether could be catastrophic and electorally decisive in any election that isn't a total landslide.
          You seem to think "courts are making up their own laws," which is not what is happening here.
          Really?  Putting Bush in the White house on the grounds that it would violate his Equal Protection rights to count votes is not making up their own laws?  Ruling that money is speech, that a person who owns a corporation is actually two people, and that both bribery and buying elections are Constitutionally protected was not making up their own laws?  Just because they cite a law in an opinion doesn't mean what they're saying has anything to do with that law.  I can say "You must pay me $5,000, because 1st, 4th, and 8th Amendments."  Could be total gibberish, but if I'm five people on the Supreme Court, somehow it takes on the authority of law?  That's not how a constitutional government works.  Their authority stems from and is circumscribed by the law - they are not the source by which laws derive legitimacy.  
          Shall we toss 210 years of jurisprudence?
          That's up to the Five.  If they continue to use the Court as a platform from which to wage lawless partisan war on the Constitution, they wouldn't give us much choice but to strongly pursue the remedies of Congressional oversight of the Judiciary.
          But I am saying that entities who bring suit before the federal courts absolutely do have the right to take it to SCOTUS. We can be mad at whatever they eventually decide, but impeachment? A bit far and lacking for evidence.
          So, reductio ad absurdum, if the Republican Party sued to overturn an election won by a Democrat in a landslide and claimed that the Constitution entitles Republicans to political power, and the Five Republicans on the Court ruled in their favor and declared the Republican who got 15% of the vote the winner, you're telling me that would be The Law?  That would be a legitimate functioning of the process fully in accordance with the authorities given to the Judiciary under the Constitution, not an all an impeachable abuse of power?  

          This is basically what they're doing, and what they've been doing since 2000 - every time the voters disobey the Republican Party, the Five suddenly discover that some long-standing law or legal doctrine concerning the electoral process needs to be altered in ways plainly calculated to benefit the Republican Party and harm their opponents.  It's a sick joke, and a flagrant abuse of power, and there's a point beyond which it's no longer tolerable.  Their actions are the reason we suffered 8 years of Bush, the reason we have a gerrymandered Republican-"majority" House after an election where most Americans voted for Democratic House candidates, and the reason for the budget hostage crises that that illegitimate authority has been imposing.  And it just keeps getting more brazen.  

          as for political interference, both liberals and conservatives seem to argue this and it's kind of annoying.
          Yes, but there's only one reality, and we both know conservative claims of liberal judicial activism are nothing more than the WATB projection, same as their accusations of racism against civil rights activists.  They accuse liberal judges of activism for reversing the decisions of conservative judges actually engaged in it.
          Third sentence indicates you really do not understand judicial review, which is fine.
          I understand it just fine, but you insist on equating judicial absolutism with judicial review, and insist that if the Courts have any authority at all to strike down legislation, then that authority is total and unchecked.  That is not only not the law, and has never been the law, but could not possibly be the law in a constitutional state because it would replace written laws with the arbitrary whims of an unelected, obscurantist Politburo with lifetime power and the authority to rule that up is down and slavery is freedom.
          I do believe in coincidences and I don't believe in conspiracies, especially since this is not the first Section 5 challenge to make it to the court.
          Yes, I've heard this objection - that the effort to attack VRA actually began with the previous time Democrats won with record minority turnout, and that it was accepted for review by the Supreme Court a few days after the most recent case of "uppity" minorities voting the "wrong" way.
          This is something that needs a legislative fix.
          But watch the legislative branch held hostage by the GOP shockingly fail to pass such a fix while their Court stooges strike down preclearance.

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:05:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you've convienently missed a lot of points (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pico

            Section 5 is limited to certain states and locales, and is not the meat of the VRA, the full text of which is here. (this is the original 1965 act. It's largely the same. ).

            Section 2 very much is. It's also permanent. It's also used, even in cases before SCOTUS, more often than you think.

            And I haven't even begun to dive into the clause that allows the Federal government to "opt states and locations in"---it's not up before the court and would not be harmed by the overturning of section 5.

            I believe states should be treated equally. The most egregious voting rights violations that we see are not in preclearance states and are not in preclearence jurisdictions, something the Court has noted several times in the past.

            Now one can make an argument that you don't have to treat states equally; this person here does so eloquently. I don't agree with them. We'll see if the Court feels the same.

            But seriously? No, my voting rights in PA won't be harmed in the least beyond what's already gone down here and is currently being litigated (Voter ID). This keeps getting missed in the comments here. That's an argument for the expansion of section 5, or more aggressive interpretation of section 2. And if our voter ID case ever makes it to Federal court and ultimately SCOTUS, I suspect they'd uphold it regardless of what happens with VRA Sec.5.

            as for this:

            Just because they cite a law in an opinion doesn't mean what they're saying has anything to do with that law.  I can say "You must pay me $5,000, because 1st, 4th, and 8th Amendments."  Could be total gibberish, but if I'm five people on the Supreme Court, somehow it takes on the authority of law?
            have you actually read the briefs in question for this particular case, or read any of the actual case law, or listened to (or read) any of the arguments. Have you actually read a SCOTUS petition? I did and I do. I may not agree with Shelby County, but their arguments were not gibberish. And the rest, no, you can't just pay 5,000 dollars to get a ruling the way you want. That isn't true now (even despite Citizen's United--note the vast amount of money spent to block ACA which was still found constitutional) and it wasn't true before it.

            Seriously, I suggest you add SCOTUSBlog to your daily reads, and I tell this to everyone regardless of what party they're part of.

            lastly:

            So, reductio ad absurdum, if the Republican Party sued to overturn an election won by a Democrat in a landslide and claimed that the Constitution entitles Republicans to political power, and the Five Republicans on the Court ruled in their favor and declared the Republican who got 15% of the vote the winner, you're telling me that would be The Law?
            This is not remotely a realistic hypothetical. Come on now. In no state is it possible to sue for a recount unless the vote is exceptionally close, within tenths of a percent. Even Florida. Not even ALEC is proposing to change election laws to do so. Give me a better hypothetical.
    •  Without section 5 there is no practical law (0+ / 0-)

      Without section 5, a jurisdiction can invent new voter suppression schemes as fast as they are struck down. As long as a singe one is still in effect at election time, the election is lost.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:44:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with most everything in your comment (0+ / 0-)

      except for the part about impeaching judges solely on the basis of their judicial acts. It's a bad road to start down and I don't think we should be the ones to start. Republicans called for the impeachment of Earl Warren, yet when push came to shove, they didn't do it.

  •  This is gobsmackingly horrific. (9+ / 0-)

    I don't know where to start... and I'm not even touching the political realities of getting votes in the House.

    1.  Ruling on cases properly brought before the court (even in ways with which you vehemently disagree) is not "abuse of power".  Im sure the GOP would like to "impeach" Roberts for his ACA ruling but that is equally ass-hattedly dimwitted.

    Your Nixon example is a barely tangential orange to the apples of the VRA case.  Nixon's actions could be construed as an attempt to obstruct a legitimate governmental process.  It could be a conspiracy to use the office of the POTUS to cover up evidence, conceal a crime or other things that are statutorily illegal.

    The SCOTUS ruling on case that was duly adjudicated in the Federal courts, properly appealed, presented by the appropriate parties with standing and accepted into the regular docket as a matter of course is , um... "different".

    Speech and Debate clause aside, this is actually the explicit job of the Supreme Court.  In fact they are, by law, the ONLY entity in the Nation with the authority and jurisdiction to settle this matter.  This is exactly what they are supposed to do and no one else is even allowed to do it.  

    2.  

    The President should ignore any lawless ruling striking down enforcement provisions of VRA, and continue to enforce the rights of minority Americans against racist state governments that would otherwise deprive minorities of the right to vote.
    Now THAT might just be close to an impeachable offense.  This is a gross over-reach of the Executive Branch and a consummate evisceration of the Checks and Balances: Congress makes laws but cant enforce them or judge them.  SCOTUS judges laws but can not write them or enforce them.  POTUS enforces laws but can not write them or judge them.  

    A President who can solely and arbitrarily decide what laws he decides are legal is not a President, they are a tyrant.  Would it be okay if Bush did this?  Didn't we mock the GOP senators who tried to say ACA was still unconstitutional despite what the SCOTUS says?

    3.  The SCOTUS is supposed to be immune to influence. This is why they have life terms, their salaries are set, they do not face election, etc.  This was the explicit and thoughtful intent of Madison and Jefferson.  Impeaching 5 SCOTUS members because you don't like their ruling is the most overt (not to mention juvenile) attempt at intimidation, if not outright retribution, possibly imaginable.  

    4.  The idea that you could try to demand a recusal of a sitting Supreme Court justice on the grounds that you are black and you feel that the justice does not like black people is so laughably inappropriate in a courtroom setting, I think the lawyer who even attempted it could expect to hear from the disciplinary agency of the State bar agency where they practice.

    5.  

    Senators and Congressmen "elected" by those states in processes that disenfranchise minorities can be expelled from either body,
    Is so arrogant, illegal and Unamerican as to be shameful.  This is not how Democracy works.  The people of GOP states like Mississippi as an example have as much right.. a codified 100% right, to duly elect their own representatives to Federal government as you do. It is not up to YOU, or any group of "yous" to decide whether or not their "choice" is acceptable and allowed to remain in Congress.  You want them out?  Then find another candidate and convince 50%+1 of the voters of that state or distrcit to vote them out.  Until then, the freshman GOP wingnut Senator from Teabagistan has complete and equal standing and authority as Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Leahy or Harry Reid.  Period.  Thats how it works.

    6.  This is a childish rant of spiteful wishful thinking to reshape the world as you think it should be with the added step of actively punishing those that think differently.  

    Spare us all the insult to our own intelligence of trying to sell this draped in the trappings of Constitutionality, Americana or Rational Jurisprudence.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:59:45 AM PDT

    •  Most of your criticisms have already been (0+ / 0-)

      dealt with in other comments, particularly my response to terrypinder:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      However, since I suppose it's not reasonable to expect people to read this many comments before posting their own, I'll do you the favor of reprinting or at least reiterating the relevant arguments.

      Ruling on cases properly brought before the court (even in ways with which you vehemently disagree) is not "abuse of power".
      Since ruling on cases is the power in question, by definition it is possible to abuse that power.  Or can you seriously not conceive of a scenario where a ruling deliberately seeks to negate the Constitution which courts are empaneled to protect?
      Your Nixon example is a barely tangential orange to the apples of the VRA case.  Nixon's actions could be construed as an attempt to obstruct a legitimate governmental process.  It could be a conspiracy to use the office of the POTUS to cover up evidence, conceal a crime or other things that are statutorily illegal.
      In this case, the legitimate governmental process being obstructed would be the passage, enforcement, and law-based court jurisprudence regarding the law.  They give every appearance of heading toward such a decision on a partisan political basis to affect the outcome of elections, and if such a decision is rendered, that would call for investigation.  If the investigation sustains the appearance of impropriety, impeachment is called for.
      It could be a conspiracy to use the office of the POTUS to cover up evidence, conceal a crime or other things that are statutorily illegal.
      And striking down provisions of VRA could be part of a conspiracy to enable the disenfranchisement of minority voters.  The key aspect is that there is an appearance of impropriety justifying investigation.
      In fact they are, by law, the ONLY entity in the Nation with the authority and jurisdiction to settle this matter.
      There are, of course, limits.  We have written, publicly accessible laws for a reason - those who interpret them are not empowered to nullify the Constitution or arbitrarily remove laws they politically disagree with.  The United States government is not legally an oligarchy, and any claim that judicial power is absolute asserts that it is.  Such a claim would place the power of judges above the power of the very Constitution that creates their offices, and that is an indefensible position.
      Congress makes laws but cant enforce them or judge them.  SCOTUS judges laws but can not write them or enforce them.  POTUS enforces laws but can not write them or judge them.
      Exactly.  POTUS enforces laws.  Laws like the VRA.  SCOTUS is empowered to judge laws on the basis of the Constitution, not the partisan interests of the Republican Party.  Attempting to strike down a law on such a basis would have no authority, and appearing to do so would call for a Congressional investigation that could result in impeachment.
      The SCOTUS is supposed to be immune to influence.
      Not the influence of the Constitution, nor of the Congress empowered to impeach them.  I dealt with judicial independence in the diary.
      The idea that you could try to demand a recusal of a sitting Supreme Court justice on the grounds that you are black and you feel that the justice does not like black people is so laughably inappropriate in a courtroom setting, I think the lawyer who even attempted it could expect to hear from the disciplinary agency of the State bar agency where they practice.
      That's just Orwellian.  I can't claim to know whether it's a true reflection of court proceedings, but if so, that's not a state of affairs that should be tolerated.  A partisan tyrant-judge completely immune to the law is bad enough, but saying that someone would or should be punished for seeking their recusal is outrageous.
      Is so arrogant, illegal and Unamerican as to be shameful.  This is not how Democracy works.
      Maybe in some perverse Confederate conception of "democracy," where only rich white people have rights, but in the United States of America when someone is "elected" entirely by virtue of stopping enough who would vote against them from doing so to assure their victory, that's not an election.  Not democracy.  And NOT LEGAL, no matter what Antonin Scalia says.
      6.  This is a childish rant of spiteful wishful thinking to reshape the world as you think it should be with the added step of actively punishing those that think differently.
      Well, you've run the entire gamut of authoritarian fallacy and Orwellian doublethink to describe unaccountable tyranny as a legitimate function of law-based government, obedience to law as tyranny, and the complete absence of democracy as democracy.  Thanks for playing.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:03:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You zeroed in on the core issue (0+ / 0-)

      "an attempt to obstruct a legitimate governmental process.  "

      Congress holding hearings on the VRA and exercising its Constitutional power to pass and renew it is a "legitimate governmental process".

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:49:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're arguing that there are limits on the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, Troubadour, pico, elmo

    discretion of the judge. I think most people will disagree with that. Unless there is evidence of actual crime (e.g. bribes), judges are not penalized for the 'wrong' decision. Unless of course they are elected. What you're suggesting is going to significantly curtail the independence of a judicial branch. Granted, this independence is already somewhat limited but this will basically kill it off altogether. On balance, it's a bad thing.

    Complete impracticality of this is a separate issue. You will need dozens of Republican Congressmen to sign a discharge petition. I think you're overestimating how strongly most people feel about VRA. In addition, impeachment of SC justices is a radical solution and radical solutions never poll well.

    •  The problem with asserting unlimited discretion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      is that it immediately places the Judiciary not as a coequal branch of government subject to checks and balances, but as essentially the oligarchic arbiter of not merely the interpretation of laws passed by the other two branches, but of the substance of the laws themselves.  That was never part of the social contract - Congress has the authority to impeach Supreme Court Justices for abuse of power, same as they have the authority to impeach Presidents on the same grounds.  

      The alternative is Government by Scalia, which has already authored all of this nation's major disasters over the past dozen years, from the Bush regime to Citizens United to the resulting budget hostage crises of a gerrymandered/unelected Republican House "majority."  It's time to put a stop to that, and stop letting Republicans rewrite the law from the bench every time Americans disobey them at the ballot box.

      As to the likelihood of success, I don't know - and claiming otherwise, positively or negatively, would be disingenuous.  But it's kind of immaterial.  This isn't only about protecting fundamental rights, but more pragmatically about protecting the fundamental rights of people whose votes are an integral part of the Democratic coalition - votes that would be taken away in substantial numbers if minority disenfranchisement is allowed to prosper via SCOTUS striking down portions of VRA.  So it's really not optional.  We don't have the luxury of saying it's too hard.  If it's too hard, then we might as well pack up and stop trying to have a republic at all.  

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:32:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But this is how it's been since Marbury vs (0+ / 0-)

        Madison. A lot of people don't like it for good reasons but it's sort of ingrained.

        •  Well, ingrained or not, if the Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

          comes gunning for the fundamental rights of millions of people on the basis of race in order to dictate the outcome of elections, it's time to reassert the supreme authority of the Constitution over the Judiciary.  And given how much outrage could be generated by a direct judicial activist attack on the voting rights of minorities, ironically it would be a lot more politically potent an issue than prior attacks that went after everyone's rights equally.

          Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

          by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 10:30:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Marbury vs. Madison hinged on conflict of laws (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG

          The reasoning was that when laws conflict it is the duty of judges to resolve the conflict.

          The Constitution, precedent, and the case law on the "political question" doctrine are all in agreement here.

          Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

          by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:52:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not only is it ingrained (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG

          but it's entirely obvious and essential. Otherwise you'd have gridlock not only between two branches of government, but three!

  •  Amen! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    I don't care about the political plausibility of it all. I just want the RATS (Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia) to know that they are not above the law they presume to twist. I want them to know that they have riled the masses. I want them to have trouble sleeping. I want them to start thinking about how history will judge them. I want them neutralized or out.

    Deference to Bush v. Gore led directly to the Iraq war.

    The idea that meek acceptance of the Supreme Court's historical fiction is somehow good for the long-term health of the Republic needs to be challenged.

    These men are hacks. They are scoundrels. Two of them are traitors (along with their third little buddy, Kennedy).

    We need to start talking about impeachment more.

    We may not beat them this time, but we have to fight them anyway.

    We have to make them understand that they are indeed reproachable.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:54:42 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      journeyman

      We don't have the luxury of whining that holding these arrogant, black-robed tyrants accountable to the Constitution they're continually assaulting would be too hard or yield uncertain results.  Nothing short of a strong statement by at least a significant minority that what they're doing is illegitimate and possibly criminal will suffice, in the event they attack VRA or something similar.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:38:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I also think that we should push for a new (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        Constitutional amendment reaffirming the VRA in the event that they do. The GOP was afraid to vote against it once, they'll probably be afraid to do it again.

        Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

        by journeyman on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:44:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  most of the VRA is already permanent. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Arctic Belle

          Section 5, which is limited to very few states and municipalities and is actually the only section up before the court (not noted by the diarist), is what gets reauthorized every so often. Last done in 2006, it's good for 25 years as long as it doesn't get struck down (the last reauthorization in 2006 was upheld in 2009 in a seperate case where the opt-out provision was expanded, as mentioned several times in the thread.)

  •  Unnessecary, the President has the power.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    ... under the Constitution to set the size of the court.

    He can simply make it an 11 judge court, and appoint 2 30-35 yr old hard core progressives. Of course, he'd have to be a progressive liberal to do that and he ain't.

    But he'd have political cover under t the guise that the court's workload has gotten too heavy for a mere 9 justices, and so in the effort to make all their work loads more reasonable, he is making the court larger.

    •  That certainly worked well for FDR (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester, Dogs are fuzzy

      except it didn't.  And as popular as Obama is, he (like anyone would) looks like Herbert Hoover compared to FDR.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:49:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, excellent point. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think the Executive authority to set the size of the Court eliminates either the necessity or benefit of Congressional oversight of the Judiciary though.  The latter is also governmentally more justifiable, even if the President has the technical authority to simply nominate more judges.

      Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 10:03:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This comment was a trap for the diarist, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wisper, elmo, Arctic Belle

      to get him to display his tenuous grasp on the subject matter, right? Mission accomplished. There is no such executive power. (Not to mention the trouble the president's having getting judges confirmed for properly created seats.)

      On the substance of your "political cover" argument -- it wouldn't work as cover. Most judges of both parties will tell you -- and would tell the Congressional hearings that would precede any proper attempt to change the Court's size -- that after 9 (many would even say 7), the workload gets worse, not better. They'd say that for courts that sit en banc only as a small part of what they do, like the courts of appeals. It would be even worse for a court that does almost everything important en banc. Or are we going to posit a nonexistent executive power to order SCOTUS to sit in panels, too?

      There's nothing magical about 9, and I could argue for 11, but it wouldn't be a workload argument. And now that the Court has substantial control over its own docket, the candy can drop off the conveyor belt without serious repercussions to Justices Lucy & Ethel. This dog won't hunt.

      •  You appear to contradict yourself. (0+ / 0-)

        One moment you assert that Presidents do not have the authority to enlarge the Supreme Court, but then you make categorical statements about a Court larger than 9.  Are you merely quibbling about the role of Senate oversight?

        Ask me if I'm afraid. I say, "Of course not. I'm a fool, and fools never die."

        by Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:48:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hardly a quibble. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elmo, terrypinder, Arctic Belle, Wisper

          There is no executive power to expand the Court, any more than the president could expand the House of Representatives. There is congressional power to expand the Court, with the president playing his usual role: Convince someone to introduce legislation he wants & support it; support or oppose legislation proposed by others; sign or veto whatever gets passed.

          The current size of the Court is prescribed by USC Title 28, section 1:

          The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum.
          (which, by the way, is the first reason the remaining 4 justices wouldn't just merrily continue the work of the Court if the other 5 were removed, so you might want to leave Kennedy or one of the others in place). The size of the Court would be changed by legislation amending or repealing/replacing this statute. Arguments about right-sizing would be made in the context of moving that legislation. You, I, any president, or the justices themselves can construct arguments about the best size, but none of us can impose a change.

          I'm not sure what "categorical" statements you're referring to, but my comments about court size are based largely on the U.S. courts of appeals. They vary in size quite a bit, and discussions about optimal court size have been going on for decades, informed by good scholarship, sentimental myths, politics, and the well considered and ill considered opinions of judges, practitioners, and other stakeholders. All of that would be brought to bear to support or oppose expanding the Supreme Court. But few, if any, serious scholars and judges will lend themselves to an effort to impose an immediate change recognized as a naked partisan power grab. You'd as likely be handing the appointments to the next Republican president.

          IOW, there will be no cover. It's power or nothing.

          I doubt you could get 5 Democratic votes in the Senate. And, as I've suggested elsewhere, senators who won't even reform the filibuster because they can imagine the tables turning on them aren't going to burn down the Court for short term gain. Particularly so when there are legislative remedies to the voting rights issues that rightly concern you.

    •  Um, no (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Villanova Rhodes

      Congress may change the size of the Supreme Court, not the president. Big difference.

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