The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court

The irony of the “empathy” hearings

with one comment

From the party of George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Antonin Scalia:

Lectures on the peril of emotional reasoning

Maureen Dowd writes:
clipped from www.nytimes.com
Like the president who picked her, Sotomayor has been a model of professorial rationality. … it’s delicious watching Republicans go after Democrats for being too emotional and irrational
W. and Dick Cheney made all their bad decisions about Iraq, W.M.D.’s, domestic surveillance, torture, rendition and secret hit squads from the gut, based on false intuitions, fear, paranoia and revenge.
Sarah Palin is the definition of irrational, a volatile and scattered country-music queen without the music. Her Republican fans defend her lack of application and intellect, happy to settle for her emotional electricity.
Republican Lindsey Graham read Sotomayor some anonymous comments made by lawyers about her, complaining that she was “temperamental,” “nasty,” “a bit of a bully.” Then he patronizingly lectured her about how this was the moment for “self-reflection.” Maybe Graham thinks Nino Scalia has those traits covered.
blog it

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Harkin: An Apology For Slavery

with one comment

Iowa’s Sen. Tom Harkin spoke on June 18th in support of a bill that made an official government apology to black Americans for slavery in the United States, and for the government’s long failure to act against it. I am proud that one of my state’s Senators was a key mover in the apology. Every time America honestly faces the dark sides of its past, we become a better people.

Does it end racial division? Of course not. But, as with all trauma, healing only happens in small steps. Words are always part of those steps.   Some may say “Talk is cheap, nothing is solved, this Senate didn’t cause slavery anyway.”  But we are responsible for our history, and I’ll take an apology over official silence any day.


Today, Senator Tom Harkin delivered remarks on the Senate Floor just prior to the passage of S. Con. Res. 26, which he introduced and co-sponsored. The transcript follows.

“Madam President, the clerk just read for the first time ever in this body what we should have done a long time ago. An apology for slavery and the Jim Crow laws which, for a century after emancipation, deprived millions of Americans their basic human rights, equal justice under law and equal opportunities. Today the Senate will unanimously make that apology. Read the rest of this entry »

Why the Supreme Court’s unreasonable searches ruling matters to me

with 5 comments

This is good news:

After thirty years of near carte blanche to police regarding auto searches, this decision supports an often-abused right to privacy.  And it’s a “least-first” issue.

clipped from criminaljustice.change.org
Tuesday was a critical day for individual privacy rights at the U.S. Supreme Court.

[T]he court issued a major decision protecting citizens against unreasonable searches in traffic stops.

An unusual alliance of justices (Stevens, Scalia, Souter, Thomas and Ginsberg) came together in a 5-4 decision in Arizona v. Gant, ruling that officers can search a car during an arrest only if the suspect is close enough to the car to reach for a weapon or if there’s reason to believe the car contains evidence very pertinent to the arrest.

The decision strengthens fourth amendment protections for criminal suspects and limits the wide latitude officers have had for nearly three decades since the court’s decision in New York v. Belton.

New York Times: Supreme Court Cuts Back Officers’ Searches of Vehicles

WSJ Law Blog: Police Power to Search Cars Up in Smoke

blog it

I have seen abuse by police.  I’m a white, middle-class, middle-aged guy, so I’ve not seen it a lot.  But on a couple of occasions, the curtain has lifted just enough to allow a glimpse onto a stage many Americans experience as normal life.

Read the rest of this entry »