Over the past six years, a new string of Voter ID laws has been pushed to legislation in 31 states. These laws require voters to show up with a valid ID at the polls. Voter ID laws, along with laws that allow those in the military to vote early, have been under the national spotlight in recent months, despite being practically invisible to the media when they were first proposed. These laws are ever-transforming and some are still being amended—less than a month before the presidential election.
There has been a recent push to delay Voter ID laws in many states until after the November election. It has been argued that this is the work of the Democratic Party’s agenda, because delaying these laws makes voting more accessible to the poor and the elderly; two groups which tend to vote Democrat.
Where are these changes happening and how will you be affected?Read More
Conservative pundit Marc A. Thiessen writes in the Washington Post that Chief Justice John Roberts’ health care ruling is just the latest surprise from Supreme Court justices nominated by Republican presidents. Thiessen, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, cites various “liberal” rulings by Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy and former Justices David Souter and Sandra Day O’Connor: “Democrats have been virtually flawless in appointing reliable liberals to the court. Yet Republicans, more often than not, appoint justices who vote with the other side on critical decisions.”
Excuse me. Can he spell S-c-a-l-i-a?
Thiessen is saying exactly what one would expect a conservative columnist to say about the judiciary, especially when a decision has gone against them.Read More
But the most meaningful victory is for the integrity of these United States.
In this ruling (National Federation of Independent Businesses v Sebelius), the Court affirmed our ability as a nation to create policies important to all Americans, policies that make e pluribus truly unum.
While much remains to be sorted out, it is crystal clear that even the very conservative Chief Justice Roberts realized the country could split apart, threatening Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and every other Federal initiative essential to the economy and Constitutional justice if the individual mandate had been thrown out.
Every Supreme Court ruling murks up some legal waters as it clarifies others. The New York Times summarized the rulings key points as follows:
The decision did significantly restrict one major portion of the law: the expansion of Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and sick people. The ruling gives states some flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs, without paying the same financial penalties that the law called for.
The debate over health care remains far from over, with Republicans vowing to carry on their fight against the law, which they see as an unaffordable infringement on the rights of individuals. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, has promised to undo it if elected.
But the court ruling is a crucial victory for the law that will allow its introduction to continue in the coming years
The center must hold and today it has. Now the president must do what he failed to do during the health care debate in Congress: educate, inspire, and persuade the American public about the value of universal health care coverage to their lives and to the economy.
There will be much more to discuss about the ruling after a full study of its various elements. But topline meaning is: Obama wins big and so does America.
And P.S. If you think it doesn’t matter whether women hold high level positions, take a look at this photo of who voted for and against your access to health care, and think again.Read More
The attempts to frame Elena Kagan pre-emptively as a wild-eyed, party-line liberal, socialist even, and quite possibly a lesbian who “looks like she belongs in a Kosher deli” (wink, wink, you vestigial anti-Semites), started long before President Obama uttered her name as his second pick for the Supreme Court.
On day three of the confirmation hearings, in which Judiciary committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) plans to conclude the ritual grilling of the fourth woman ever nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, no one on either side of the aisle seems to imagine a scenario in which she won’t be confirmed.Read More
Conservatives tried to convince the Senate, and the nation, that an impressive judge with an impeccable record was simply a product of affirmative action. It didn’t work.
By Peggy Simpson for the Women’s Media Center, reprinted with permission.
The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the third woman and first Latina to sit on the Supreme Court never was a done-deal.
It might look like it from the 68 to 31 vote of approval in the Senate Thursday.
But there were bumps along the way, potential derailments that were dealt with and some bizarre resurrections by conservatives of Reagan-era complaints that white males were victims of affirmative action policies that benefit women and minorities.
Here’s what helped Sotomayor clinch the job:
- impressive coalitions by liberal advocacy groups, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, with feminist and reproductive rights groups stifling initial qualms about their uncertainties about her views on abortion;
- unwavering support from Team Obama, especially in the midst of early accusations by conservative activists that she was a racist or worse, when even some supporters were nervous about remarks she made in 2001 about the virtues of being a “wise Latina.” She never apologized or took back those thoughts but did acknowledge a “poor choice” of words;
- most of all, her own steady performance before the cameras in hearings that had been expected to feature fireworks but instead bordered on boring. Boring was good, in this context. Behind the scenes, Sotomayor visited with an unprecedented number of senators and by all accounts was a charmer. She carried that civility and personal touch into the Senate hearings with gestures, smiles and mini-conversations with GOP senators she knew would oppose her.
A colleague asked me whether I thought this Washington Post article by Amy Goldstein on soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is sexist. I read it over twice–it’s long!–and thought it was quite engaging. It told me a few things I hadn’t seen elsewhere about Sotomayor’s life and personality. It reveals self-doubts that might not…Read More
Are You Biased? Yesterday, Sonia Sotomayor faced down predictably pointed questions from white male Republican senators who seemed to be worried their hegemony might be on the wane. She was asked repeatedly about what biases she might bring to judging in light of her comment that a “wise Latina” might just make better decisions because…Read More
You might be a C-Span or CNN junkie, but if you are looking for some up close and personal takes on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, here are a couple of other ideas for you:
* The Sunlight Foundation’s “Transparent Justice” gives excellent background on the process and places where you can find information beyond the political smokescreen. Also, I like C-Span’s resource page.
* If you twitter, you can follow Erica Gonzalez, editor of El Diario/La Prensa, the largest Hispanic-oriented newspaper in the country, sototmayorscotus for general updates, or Nan Aron who’ll be tweeting for the Alliance for Justice.
* For additional analysis, see Time magazine’s piece on how the Republicans will try to attack and the Women’s Media Center’s media justice campaign.
Please post your favorite sources for this news in the comments section below. Watch MSNBC’s livestream:Read More
The Women’s Media Center has released a new video, “Media Justice for Sotomayor.” It documents some of the racist and sexist comments already delivered on high profile television programs, radio, print and online outlets.
As Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings approach on July 13th, The Women’s Media Center expects and encourages vigorous debate of Sotomayor’s qualifications & abilities. But we call on the media to refrain from allowing sexist and racist remarks to go unchecked.
You can help the WMC campaign for fair media coverage for Judge Sotomayor:
1. Sign on to the WMC statement supporting Media Justice for Sotomayor.
2. Pass this video on to friends, family, and members of the media through Tell-A-Friend.
3. If you are a journalist, contact the WMC for sources and experts on Sotomayor from our Progressive Women’s Voices program or SheSource.org.
4. If you see examples of sexism, racism or classicism against Sotomayor in the media’s coverage of her confirmation hearings, please send them to the WMC.
The Glass Wall: The People vs. Obama’s Supreme Court nomination
by Diane Walsh
Penetrating Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy is proving no easy task. Will we get the information we need to properly evaluate the merits of the US President’s ambiguous choice for the high court – before it’s too late? The media is in a frenzied state over this nominee – Judge Sonia Sotomayor. One would expect this, given the stakes that her nomination holds for the fate of abortion rights – which are currently hanging in the balance.
What is Sotomayor’s view about a woman’s right to make childbearing decisions? Oddly, there is nothing concrete that we know about her actual judicial philosophy. No one seems to know exactly – because there is no clear answer being laid bare.
This is creating much unease on both sides of the political spectrum. There is a fundamental lack of information flowing. This is unacceptable. I decided to seek out Gloria Feldt, former president of US Planned Parenthood, to get her take on the Sotomayor nomination. She’s the quintessential trailblazer of the pro-choice lobby.
Gloria initiated the Prevention First Act and reintroduction of a new, improved, Freedom of Choice Act. Her “fight forward” mission is further exemplified on her blogs and through her speeches and writings, all accessible through her website: www.gloriafeldt.com, including 30 years on the frontline. So, needless to say, she’s in a position to evaluate the ‘threats’ that Sotomayor presents, if any, should Sotomayor be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.
Diane Walsh: Have you managed to find out whether Judge Sotomayor believes that Roe vs. Wade is “settled law” (under the precept of stare decisis)?Read More