Average Joe SCOTUS: Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania

We all remember the Affordable Care Act, right? The gift that keeps on giving? Anyway, part of that monstrosity, is a provision for women’s health which states that women should get preventative health care, such as contraceptives, because somehow the rest of us should pay for others to enjoy pleasure. This is after all to prevent pregnancies, and the two people have sex, are only doing so for pleasure, if they are not trying to get pregnant.

Anyway, initially the rule stipulated non-profit religious organizations had to file an exemption form, if they believed in some overarching theism that said every sperm is sacred. If they did, they could be exempted.

But then, Hobby Lobby came along in 2014, and were like, we may not be a fucking church, but we still believe every sperm is sacred up in this bitch. We think we deserve such an exemption, too—SCOTUS agreed.

Then also in 2014, in Wheaton v. Burwell, SCOTUS ruled that you don’t have to file for an exemption, because that’s an undue burden. You just have to notify Health and Human Services (HHS) you’re exercising your right to object.

But it gets better. In 2017 in Zubik v. Burwell, these fuckers decided that just having to notify HHS they intended to abstain was too much effort, and were like, “First amendment, assholes. We don’t have to tell you shit.” But the court was unimpressed, and told them to fuck off.

In 2017, Trump and his merry band of misfits amended the rules, allowing for a “moral” exemption, making it yet again easier to get out of this shit.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey challenged these rules, arguing it was some bullshit discrimination, and a district court agreed.

So here we are at SCOTUS to determine if the federal government was allowed to exempt such people, and if the Little Sisters peeps have standing to sue here.

Ginsburg questioned the idea that the exemptions outside of churches exist at all, because that’s not how the law was written. But the petitioner argued that the law was written to give HHS discretion on whether to require contraceptive care. So since the HHS is run by the executive branch, they get to decide on that rule, which Trump did.

In a 7:2 majority, where Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented, SCOTUS decided that the executive branch, which directs the Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has the authority to write its own rules, and so they did. They ruled that the rules only required “additional preventive care and screenings,” and the ambiguousness of that statement leaves the door open for DHHS to write it’s own rules within that framework.

Ginsburg and Sotomayor agreed they were allowed to write their own rules within that framework, but this was negating it altogether, which the ACA would not allow.

 

Average Joe SCOTUS: Trump v. Vance

Related to the Trump v. Mazars case, where the House of Representatives are trying to subpoena Trump’s financial records, here is a case where some douchebag New York county prosecutor is trying to go after Trump, and issued a subpoena for his tax records from Mazars as well.

Trump is again suing to quash the subpoena, the issue at play being whether he has executive privilege of such information, and therefore a right to not comply.

Whereas the house was arguing these records were requested to help draft legislation, this county prosecutor is more honest, claiming that they have reports of illegal activity by the Trump organization in New York County over the last ten years, and these subpoena’s are to aid in that investigation.

Again, it seems we have a situation where there’s no evidence of a crime, but the government just believes he’s a bad guy, and are hoping to find evidence of something they can prosecute. This is not me being a political hack. If Trump did commit a crime, I want his ass to pay for it. But no party can or has reported an actual crime that occurred that they are investigating.

I think Trump’s petitioner summed it up quite nicely.

Jay Alan Sekulow

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. Let me start with this, and there’s some agreement.

The New York district attorney, New York County district attorney, acknowledges that their subpoena implicates Article II issues and burdens.

They also agree that there is harms that could arise to the presidency.

We say those harms have actually existed. The other aspect of this is the ordering, who carries the burden here.

That seems to be the issue that’s left open.

This Court’s decision in Cheney answered that very clearly, that said that the exacting standard is carried by the party requesting the information. So it would be carried by the Respondent in this particular case. There has been no showing and no findings of heightened need standards being met here.

That — and I think it’s again also important to remember — and I think this came up in the context of earlier questioning — there’s a different stigma that attaches to criminal process than civil litigation.

And I don’t think that stigma should be ignored in a case like this. But the irony of all of this is that the House of Representatives and the district attorney issued essentially the same subpoenas to the same custodian for the same records. The House said it wants the records so it can legislate, not for law enforcement reasons.

The district attorney says he wants the same records for law enforcement reasons; he has no legislative authority. But what’s really happening here could not be clearer.

The presidency is being harassed and undermined with improper process that was issued, in our view, for illegitimate reasons.

The copying of the subpoena speaks to that. The framers saw this coming, and they structured the Constitution to protect the President from this encroachment. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

In a 7:2 decision where Alito and Thomas dissented, agreeing that a president is not above the law, but Thomas saying that in situations such as this, they felt a sitting president should potentially receive relief from an overzealous prosecutor, and Alito believed that the prosecutor should have a higher burden to go after a sitting president.  SCOTUS determined that there’s nothing in the Constitution what increases the burden on a county prosecutor when pursuing criminal action against a president.

They also decided that there is nothing unreasonable to ask a president to provide evidence in the pursuance of a criminal investigation.

It’s also worth noting that the two dissenters were NOT Trump’s two appointees, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. So if there was a concern of them being biased towards the person who appointed them, I guess you can through that shit in the trash.

Average Joe SCOTUS: McGirt v. Oklahoma

Pretty simple case here. Native American grade A scumbag Jimcy McGirt got busted molesting a kid. However, this act occurred on land reserved for Native Americans by the federal government.

So Jimcy, trying anything imaginable to beat this heinous act, is trying to argue the state of Oklahoma doesn’t have jurisdiction here, since it occurred on federal lands. As such, state laws such as the one he’s accused of violating, do not apply to him on the reservation.

So now SCOTUS gets to decide if states can prosecute Native Americans committing major crimes on land reserved for native Americans by the federal government.

In a 5:4 majority (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch), SCOTUS ruled that the Major Crimes Act gives the federal government the sole right to prosecute assholes like McGirt. That McGirt committed his crimes on federally-reserved Creek Nation land. That just because it wasn’t initially called a reservation, doesn’t mean it isn’t, and that Congress can’t just take away their land.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru

Old-ass teacher Agnes Deirdre Morrissey-Berru taught at Our Lady of Guadalupe school. Apparently, she was so old, the school got sick of seeing her, and summarily kicked her to the curb.

There’s laws against age discrimination though—specifically the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Dear old sweet Agnes felt like Our Lady of Guadalupe had become Our Dirty Ass Bitch of Guadalupe, and filed suit, claiming she was discriminated against because she was so old, she knew Ivan the Terrible when he was just Ivan the Slightly Unpleasant.

However, those laws allow religious institutions exemptions for ministerial staff, and the school argued that good dear old sweet harmless Agnes was effectively a minister.

Agnes was like, “Goodness gracious! I took one class on religious studies. I never learned to be a minister. So please, go forth and multiply.” (Which is a polite way of saying “go fuck yourself.”)

A district court apparently found Guadalupe’s argument good enough, and sent Agnes’ old ass packing. But the ninth circuit was like, “Hold on a minute you lazy assholes. This old broad ain’t no minister.” And they sided with dear old sweet wonderful Agnes.

One of the issues at hand, is basically to define what the fuck a minister even is, and therefore who falls under that moniker.

But ultimately SCOTUS is being asked to decide if the first amendment’s religion clause allows the courts to get involved in all of this shit in the first place.

In a 7:2 decision, SCOTUS decided dear old sweet wonderful Agnes could fuck right the hell off, and take her chocolate chip cookies with her.

You see, the court has a long history of not sticking their nose in the church’s business. They’re not about to tell the church WTF a minister is. So they were like, “Sorry dear old sweet Agnes, you’re own your own you old biddy.”

Ginsburg and Sotomayor however were like, “Agnes isn’t even hardly teaching religion for fuck’s sake. Are you kidding us with this shit? She teaches secular shit. Hell, she doesn’t even have to be catholic here.

But the other seven were like, “fuck off, decision for Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc.

Back in 1991, the government passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It was basically a law preventing spammers from calling you on your cell phone via a machine (robocalls), and racking up costs for the phone’s owner. Obviously, in 1991, people were often paying for minutes of usage, whereas now, most phone plans have unlimited calling. But still, I hate these assholes, so I like the law.

There were exemptions, though. It allowed for emergency calls. And it allowed for calls when you had previously agreed to get them from that party.

In 2015, those assholes in congress added a provision to allow debt collection calls “owed to or guaranteed by the United States” as well. Any calls from the federal government in general are also allowed.

Along come these butt plugs from The American Association of Political Consultants, Inc., who love spamming the hell out of people with their surveys and shit. They claim their 1st amendment right to free speech is being limited by not allowing them to annoy the fuck out of all of us with cell phones wanting to talk to us about politics and shit. They argued that because the law limits calls based on content, allowing the government to make them, while these assholes can’t, versus banning all calls—this makes such a ban a 1A violation of free speech.

At one point, this scumbag also argued:

The government-debt exception confirms that Congress did not view the privacy interests here as compelling. That exception exposes 60 million Americans to unlimited calls to collect more than 4.2 trillion dollars in debt.

Those are the kinds of calls consumers hate the most. If Congress really thought privacy was paramount, it would not have allowed those calls.

While it’s true those are the calls people hate the most, the fact is, those people agreed to incur a debt, and agreed to allow the people who lent them money or services to collect that debt, and then they didn’t fucking pay it. I’ve been there, it’s annoying. But it’s no one’s fault but my own.

Yet these shady fuckhats want to call you and just shoot the breeze about who you plan on voting for and shit. Ain’t nobody got time for that, and I didn’t agree to that shit in advance. They also argue these calls are non-commercial, meaning they’re not trying to sell you anything. So that’s why they think it should be OK.

Both an appeals court and the fourth circuit were highly unimpressed with this bullshit argument. So here were are to determine if it’s a 1A violation or not.

In a 6:3 majority, the right-leaning justices along with Sotomayor agreed that the government-debt exception violates the 1st amendment. That the government doesn’t get to say you can be called if the debt is guaranteed by them, but restrict a private debt collector.

The interesting part, is while the government lost and AAPC won, technically, AAPC still can’t call your ass. Instead, SCOTUS ruled that this “government-backed debt collection” exemption could be struck from the law itself, while leaving the rest of the law in tact. So now, you cannot robocall for any debt collection to your cell phone, whether it’s backed by the government, or a private debt. So AAPC still can’t call your mobile phone, but neither can any other debt collector.

This is basically like when you’re a kid, and you’re mad your older brother can go out, and you can’t. So instead of letting you go out, your parents say your brother can’t either. You didn’t make your own situation better, you just made it worse for others.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Chiafalo v. Washington

Similar to Colorado Department of State v. Baca, but no longer enjoined with it, this involves faithless electors.

In Washington, as in other states, an elector is bound to vote for the winner of the popular vote in that state, and if they don’t, they can be fined $1,000.

Well, Chiafalo, despite Clinton winning their popular vote, cast a ballot for Colin Powell. Washington wasn’t amused, and levied the fine accordingly.

Chiafalo argued that it’s their first amendment right to choose whatever fucking candidate they want, regardless of what the people chose.

Lower courts sided with Washington, but Chiafalo kept insisting, so here we are at SCOTUS deciding how electors are to be managed, along with the Baca  case.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS decided that the states can set whatever fucking rules they want for electors. That the constitution delegated that power to the states, leaving it up to them to decide how their electors are to be managed.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

In Montana, they offer a tax-credit for people who donate to scholarship funds. Espinoza’s child was a recipient of one of these scholarships. But because Espinoza’s spawn was going to a private Christian school, it’s an issue. Because Montana has a rule, and we have the 1st amendment, which largely forbids any relationship between government and the church.

So now SCOTUS must decide if giving someone a scholarship, funded by taxpayers, should be prohibited from going to a religious school, in order to preserve the separation of church and state that people believe the 1st amendment represents. For the record, it doesn’t. It’s merely written as “Congress shall make no law…”

But, a long time ago, SCOTUS has ruled that 1A was meant to create a separation between church and state, and it’s been precedent ever since.

So Espinoza’s team is trying to argue that this law from Montana forbidding such scholarships based on religious grounds is the unconstitutional rule, because it discriminates against religious people.

Montana obviously argues that giving taxpayer money to a religious school violates the first amendment.

In a 5:4 partisan decision, SCOTUS sided with Epinoza. That the scholarship was awarded with no consideration to the school they choose to attend. As such, it is discriminatory to award it to them, but then restrict what school they can use the funds for.

The libertarian in me would like to point out that taxpayers shouldn’t be fucking funding education for anyone but their own fucking kids, or anyone else they voluntarily choose to help. If that were the case, we wouldn’t even be having this fucking argument.

While I’m atheist, I tend to agree with this decision. If we’re going to dole out scholarships on merit, we don’t have the right to tell them what school they use it with.

Ginsburg and Sotomayor argued that the law didn’t place any burden on the scholarship’s recipient, and therefore wasn’t a violation of 1A. But that’s fucking dumber than a box of rocks. If this person chooses a school, and then government steps in and says you can’t use our scholarship for THAT school, that’s a fucking burden. Again, I’m atheist. But fuck that. This is the problem with left wing assholes. They want the taxpayer to help everyone, but then they only want that help applied to things they agree with, and not what the person wants. This is why they can all kiss my lily-white ass, those arrogant pricks and prickettes.

Breyer’s and Kagan’s opinion was also a dissent, but in their case, they more argued that this was a 1A conflict since taxpayer’s ultimately end up funding a religious education. I can buy into that one.

 

log·i·cal: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion lib·er·tar·i·an: an advocate of the doctrine of free will; a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action

%d bloggers like this: