Star Trek Actor Lived At Internment Camp As A Child


TYT Network

Some of Star Trek performer George Takei’s family was forced into a Japanese internment camp on the West Coast of the United States during World War II.

In the recent Supreme Court ruling over gay marriage, Supreme Court judge Clarence Thomas, who is black, wrote that “human dignity cannot be taken away by the government…” He added, “Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them.”

After having spent time in a Japanese internment camp as a child, George Takei disagrees.

(Updated article)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/03/george-takei-clarence-thomas-clown-in-blackface_n_7719110.html

2nd Circuit Court Of Appeals: NSA Spying Program Illegal

Secular Talk

Sources state that on Thursday, a panel of three federal judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the NSA’s bulk-phone records spying program was illegal.

Reuters states:  “Ruling on a program revealed by former government security contractor Edward Snowden, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Patriot Act did not authorize the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ calling records in bulk.

“Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for a three-judge panel that Section 215, which addresses the FBI’s ability to gather business records, could not be interpreted to have permitted the NSA to collect a “staggering” amount of phone records, contrary to claims by the Bush and Obama administrations.”

Also, According to the National Journal, more court decisions are on the way:

“Two other appeals courts have in recent months heard arguments considering the legality of the NSA bulk telephone program, but neither has issued a ruling yet. Any split among the courts likely will prompt a Supreme Court review.

Boing Boing and The Electronic Frontier Foundation state:

1. When Congress gave the NSA the power to gather “relevant” information and do so for an “investigation,” they didn’t mean “gather everything and store it forever in case it becomes relevant later.”

2. Having your data collected by the NSA gives you the right to sue them — even if the NSA never looked at that data.

3. Metadata is sensitive information, and the NSA can’t argue that its mass-spying is harmless because it’s collecting metadata instead of data (the fact that you called a suicide hotline is every bit as compromising as what you said while you were talking to them).

4. The judges have “concerns” about the constitutionality of mass spying (though the didn’t go so far as to say that it is unconstitutional, partly because the ACLU had already won on the statutory language alone).

5. One judge added: The government shouldn’t have secret laws. The government argued that its interpretation of surveillance laws was a secret, and the court spanked them for it, saying that a law that’s “shrouded in secrecy” lacked legitimacy.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/07/us-usa-security-nsa-idUSKBN0NS1IN20150507

http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/federal-appeals-court-says-nsa-phone-records-program-illegal-n355271

http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/federal-appeals-court-rules-nsa-spying-illegal-20150507

http://boingboing.net/2015/05/10/what-did-the-courts-just-do-th.html

Hilarious: Nebraska Woman Files Lawsuit Against All Gay People


TYT Network

A Christian Nebraska woman last week filed a lawsuit against the entire group of “homosexuals” in America, in her role as Ambassador for the plaintiffs, namely, “God, and His, Son, Jesus Christ,” states thenewcivilrightsmovement.com.

However, per the Omaha World-Herald, as of recently, a judge decided not to hear the case.

Sylvia Driskell, 66, filed her seven-page handwritten lawsuit in the “United State District Court of Omaha,” asking the federal court to determine, “Is Homosexuality a sin, or not a sin.”

The lawsuit quotes Leviticus, “God tells his children in Leviticus Chapter 18 verse 22. Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is ambomination.” And also Romans I, and “Jenesis.” And it concludes with these time-honored questions, such as:

“Why are judges passing laws, so sinners can break religious and moral laws?

“Will all the judges of this Nation, judge God to be a lier (sic)?

“For God has said; that all unrighteousness is sin, and that homosexuality is abomination”

(Updated article)
http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/_more_persecution_of_christians_judge_tosses_lawsuit_suing_all_homosexuals_on_behalf_of_jesus

Low-Level Campaign Finance Win

According to The Huffington post, in a 5-4 decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the right of states to ban elected judges from soliciting campaign contributions for their own campaigns. The majority decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s four liberal justices, writes the HuffPost.

So, states have the right to ban elected judges from receiving money for their campaigns.

Oddly, the decision comes after a long string of court rulings that overturned campaign finance regulations, among them the well-known 2010 Citizens United and the 2014 McCutcheon cases. The ruling, by contrast, maintains the ability of the states to uphold campaign finance reform in regards to elected judges. It does so by making a strong distinction between the role of the judiciary and the role of elected legislative and executive officials.

The distinction seemed weak. Roberts, writing for the majority, said: “A State’s interest in preserving public confidence in the integrity of its judiciary extends beyond its interest in preventing the appearance of corruption in legislative and executive elections. As we explained in [Republican Party of Minnesota v. White], States may regulate judicial elections differently than they regulate political elections, because the role of judges differs from the role of politicians.”

In the case before the court, Florida judicial candidate Lanell Williams-Yulee had signed her name to a fundraising solicitation letter while running for office in 2009. She did so despite Florida’s ban on fundraising solicitation by judicial candidates.

Candidates like Williams-Yulee are allowed to raise money through campaign committees, but they may not ask for the funds themselves. Williams-Yulee challenged the law as a restriction of her First Amendment right to free speech.

Tuesday: Supreme Court To Hear Arguments On Gay Marriage

Chief Justice John Roberts, who shocked conservatives nearly three years ago by providing a pivotal vote to uphold Obamacare, will again face a historic judicial decision, states CNN.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could decide whether gay and lesbian couples nationwide have the constitutional right to marry.  The question at the core of the Obergefell v. Hodges case is very important, and is one that is already helping to shape the 2016 presidential race.

Bill O’Reilly Wasn’t Always For Justices Recusing Themselves

“These ladies have to recuse themselves,” an indignant Bill O’Reilly proclaimed on his Fox News show recently. “I’m shocked they haven’t done it already.”

The “ladies” he was referring to were Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, both of whom have officiated same-sex weddings in the past. O’Reilly wants the two justices to remove themselves from a group of pending cases challenging anti-gay marriage discrimination.

That would give the justices who dissented in the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision striking down such discrimination at the federal level a 4-3 majority — most likely changing the outcome of the case.

O’Reilly’s attempt to pressure justices who are likely to support equality off a major gay rights case is not a new strategy. The American Family Association (AFA), a leading anti-gay group, called for both justices to recuse the very same day that the Court announced that it was taking up marriage equality last January.

As Media Matters mentions, O’Reilly felt quite differently about the standards of recusal in 2006, when he claimed that only the “nutty left” wanted Justice Antonin Scalia to recuse himself in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

That was a case brought by a Guantánamo Bay prisoner who argued that his detention after 9/11 violated his rights under military and international law.

On March 8, 2006, just weeks before the Court heard oral arguments in Hamdan, Scalia gave a speech in Switzerland, where he asserted that people who had been designated as enemy combatants — like the prisoner in the Hamdan case — could not enforce their rights in federal court.

According to a report from Michael Isikoff who broke the story for Newsweek, Scalia stated that “War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts … Give me a break.”

In response to an audience member who asked whether detainees had rights under the Geneva Convention  – one of the exact issues raised in Hamdan – Scalia replied, “I’m not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it’s crazy.”

Isikoff stated, “[t]he comments provoked ‘quite an uproar'” because the case hadn’t been heard yet, but Scalia had “already spoken his mind about some of the issues in the matter.”

Quoting Stephen Gillers, a professor of law and legal ethics expert, Isikoff added: “As these things mount, a legitimate question could be asked about whether he is compromising the credibility of the court.”

Yet on the March 28, 2006, edition of The Radio Factor, O’Reilly pushed back on the “legitimate question” of recusal, even though he admitted the comments indicated “Scalia’s not going to vote for civilian trials for terrorists.”

(Updated article)

Tsarnaev Defense: ‘He Did It’

sketch of the defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev  and attorney Judy Clarke

“He did it.”

Judy Clarke is the lawyer representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – the survivor, and younger of two brothers accused of perpetrating the bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon in 2013.  She is not an ordinary defense attorney, claims The Guardian.

It was not a standard opening statement for a defense attorney to give regarding her client.  However, this is not a run-of-the-mill criminal trial, either; it is a huge federal trial, carrying a possible death sentence – the most high-profile trial of a terrorist on US soil since the Oklahoma City bomber, states The Guardian.

Clarke has specialized in saving the lives of clients like Tsarnaev for her whole career.  And she is, friends and colleagues told the Guardian, phenomenally good at it.

She has become an expert in the delicate tactics needed to take someone who is seen in the eyes of the world as a monster, and humanize them – just enough to convince a jury to save their life.

The list of clients she has helped escape the death penalty in this way is a who’s who of American killers. There’s Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber; Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber.  There was also Buford Furrow, the Aryan Nations member who opened fire on the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center in 1999, and, more recently, Jared Loughner, the shooter who killed six people and injured 15 more, including representative Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson in 2011.

Nora Demleitner is the dean of the Washington and Lee University school of law, where Clarke also teaches. She told the Guardian that Clarke’s feelings about the death penalty are what drive and animate her.

There are two main parts to the trial:  the phase of proving guilt or innocence, and the sentencing phase.

Demleitner said that Clarke’s actions could cut down the time spent fighting in the guilt phase, and speed the arrival of the sentencing phase.  Because the rules for evidence are different from the guilt phase, Clarke will be much freer to present evidence showing Tsarnaev as under the control of his elder brother Tamerlan, states The Guardian.

More here

Updated post

Did Republicans ‘Flip-Flop’ On Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit?

On March 4th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of King v. Burwell.  King v. Burwell threatens to unravel the Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. Obamacare – because the plaintiffs argue that the health-care law does not authorize subsidies through federally run insurance marketplaces.  Instead, they say, the law only allows such subsidies in the 14 states (and District of Columbia) which set up their own exchanges.

It was argued that because the law did not clearly state that premium subsidies would be provided to Americans living in a state that did not set up a health-insurance exchange, an Internal Revenue Service rule of extending the subsidies to all states was illegal.

Have some Republicans flip-flopped on the issue?

Advocates of the law have pointed to statements made by leading Republican lawmakers that have suggested that at one point they too assumed the subsidies would be made available to all Americans.

The Washington Post reports that GOP Senators John Cornyn, John Barrasso, and Orrin Hatch, along with Rep. Paul Ryan, are all previously on record making statements that appear grounded in the assumption that subsidies would be available to people who got health care on the federal exchanges, in addition to state ones.

The King lawsuit, of course, alleges that the ACA does not authorize subsidies to all those people, and now, Cornyn, Hatch, and Ryan have signed a brief siding with the challengers. Meanwhile, Barrasso is openly rooting for the Supreme Court to “bring down” the law.

Some of these statements have been previously aired. What’s new here is that these Senators and their spokespeople have now attempted to explain their shift in views. Most of their explanations, Kessler concludes, are pretty weak, and amount to an “unacknowledged flip-flop.”

The back-tracks earned these politicians an “upside-down Pinnochio” in the Washington Post, showing that they “flip-floped” on the issue.

Chris Christie Waging 23 Court Battles To Keep State Documents Secret: Mother Jones

PHOTO: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton.

According to Mother Jones, media outlets have been forced to sue to obtain even routinely disclosed information, such as payroll data.

Rather than release documents connected to Bridge-gate, pay-to-play allegations, possible ethics violations, and the out-of-state trips Christie has made while looking at a run for president, Chris Christie’s office and several state agencies have waged costly court battles.

As the 2016 presidential primary race draws closer, and Christie considers jumping in, his administration is fighting 23 different open records requests in court.

“The track record is abysmal,” says Jennifer Borg, general counsel for the North Jersey Media Group.

Her organization, which publishes The Record, has sued the state for public documents a half-dozen times since Christie took office. When a judge determines that the state withheld records illegally—which happens frequently—her group wins legal fees. As of September 2014, Christie’s administration had paid $441,000 to North Jersey Media Group and other media outlets for records. And that doesn’t count the cost of government lawyers’ time.

The fight has become expensive for the state because when newspapers go to court for these records, they usually win. But winning doesn’t automatically produce the sought-after records.

“We can and do beat them in court. But as long as they’re appealing—I don’t want to call it a Pyrrhic victory, but we’re not going to get the records,” says Walter Luers, an attorney who helped a transparency project run by the state Libertarian Party sue for public access for Christie’s travel expenses.

“Appeals take two to three years. We’re already into the presidential elections. By the time we get these records, Christie could have a new address.”

Christie’s reluctance to let these records go is understandable. On Tuesday, for example, The New York Times published an investigation of expensive trips, sponsored by donors and foreign leaders, that the governor has taken abroad. Some of those accounts were based on public documents that local newspapers obtained through lawsuits.

Supreme Court Rules Firing A Mom Because She’s Breastfeeding Is Not Sex Discrimination

According to the ACLU, a Nationwide Insurance worker alleged that she was denied a place to pump breast milk when she returned to work from maternity leave. When she protested, the woman – Angela Ames – was coerced into resigning by her supervisor, who told her she should “just go home and be with your babies”.

Last week, the Supreme Court sent her the same message – go home ­– rejecting her petition for a review of the dismissal of her case. The denial of her petition effectively means the end of the line for her case.

The courts dismissed Angela’s case saying that she didn’t take sufficient steps to complain internally before writing her letter of resignation – even though her own supervisor was the one who handed her the pen and dictated what to write – and therefore, she wasn’t really fired. The courts found it irrelevant that Angela was supposed to take these additional steps while engorged and waiting for a pumping room that her employer told her wouldn’t be available for several days, according to the ACLU.

More:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/supreme-court-lets-stand-ruling-that-firing-woman-for-breastfeeding-not-sexist-because-men-can-lactate/