Category Archives: Constitution

Free speech is not absolute, it comes with consequences and accountability

Social media platforms such as Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify and other companies removed or banned the truly vile Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory mongering Infowars from their platforms over the past week or so.

In recent years, Conservatives Have Weaponized the First Amendment:

A new analysis prepared for The New York Times found that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been far more likely to embrace free-speech arguments concerning conservative speech than liberal speech. That is a sharp break from earlier eras.

As a result, liberals who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.

“The left was once not just on board but leading in supporting the broadest First Amendment protections,” said Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer and a supporter of broad free-speech rights. “Now the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”

Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict.

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Federal courts reject Trump immigration policies

The Trump administration’s family separation policy — state sponsored kidnapping and child abuse — may result in making orphans of 572 children for whom the government has opted not to try to reunify with their parents, despite a court order, and instead passing the buck to the ACLU: “If you want them reunified so bad, you do it.”

The judge was not amused. Judge calls Trump administration family reunification efforts ‘unacceptable’:

The federal judge overseeing the court-ordered reunification of the 2,551 migrant children separated from their parents at the border blasted the Trump administration Friday for lacking a plan to reunify the remaining 572 children in its custody with their parents and the slow pace of progress.

In a Thursday night status report filing, the Trump administration said only 13 of the parents had been located by the American Civil Liberties Union, which U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California called “unacceptable at this point.”

The parents of 410 children are currently outside of the United States, likely having been deported before reunification, according to the court filing.

The Trump administration had proposed the ACLU take the lead in locating and identifying what the judge had called “missing parents” of children still in government custody. Sabraw said that plan was not acceptable and placed that responsibility squarely on the government.

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Health care is the top issue in this year’s election for everyone but lawless GOP saboteurs

Donald Trump has done everything in his power to sabotage the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” out of pure spite and hatred for Barack Obama, without any regard for Americans who will be harmed by his actions.

Last month, the Trump administration announced that it would abruptly halt important Obamacare payments, leaving only two likely explanations: incompetence or sabotage. Trump’s latest move on Obamacare is incompetent — or sabotage:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stunned the health-care world on July 7, revealing that it would stop collecting and paying out money under the Affordable Care Act’s risk-adjustment program. The program helps level out costs among insurers participating in Obamacare marketplaces. Those with inordinately healthy — and inexpensive — customers pay to compensate those with unusually sick — and costly — customers. Without such a program, insurance companies would compete to attract only healthy customers by narrowing benefits and finding other ways to discriminate against people who need care. Insurers who were unsuccessful in deterring sick people from signing up would have to raise premiums, leading to the loss of healthier customers and a downward financial spiral. With the program in place, on the other hand, the insurers in a given market are part of a big, effective insurance pool whose risks are spread across all.

As you might imagine, Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments:

Many insurers that enroll large numbers of unhealthy people depend on the “risk adjustment” payments, which are intended to reduce the incentives for insurers to seek out healthy consumers and shun those with chronic illnesses and other pre-existing conditions.

“Any action to stop disbursements under the risk adjustment program will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small-business owners, and could result in far fewer health plan choices,” said Justine G. Handelman, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. “It will undermine Americans’ access to affordable care, particularly for those who need medical care the most.”

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Can we officially call it a constitutional crisis now? (Updated)

Donald Trump “went there” this morning on the Special Counsel’s Russia probe.

Trump is, once again, setting up Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to be the fall guy by signaling he is now ready to pull a Nixonian “Saturday night massacre” if the Attorney General does not do as he is directed by the president, a clear violation of the independence of the Department of Justice from undue influence over criminal investigations by the chief executive. With Robert Mueller closing in, Trump is in a panic and is abusing the powers of the presidency to obstruct justice in order to protect himself.

Chris Cillizza at CNN reports, Donald Trump just tweeted something new about the Russia investigation — and it’s huge:

President Donald Trump has made his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, special counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election he is leading crystal clear over the past year. But he took that critique to new heights on Wednesday morning, suggesting that Sessions needed to step in and end the investigation.

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That seems like a pretty clear directive, no?

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Video

Birthright Citizenship is an Original American Tradition

By Michael Bryan

I created this rather silly (but legally accurate) video several years ago as a poke at then-State Senator Russell Pearce (remember that sack of crap?). I viewed it again recently and while I would cut out some of the more Socratic moments, it really does hold up very well now that the GOP and Trump are picking on birthright citizenship again (See herehere, here, here, here, and here). Just replace Pearce with Trump and the video becomes quite timely.

Listen all the way through and you will be more than ready to destroy anyone who advocates that we can, or should, abrogate birthright citizenship.

Trump administration fails to meet deadline to reunite immigrant families

Under the order issued by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego, TODAY is supposed to be the deadline for reuniting the more than 2,500 children who were taken from parents apprehended while crossing the border. Yeah, that didn’t happen. As deadline for family reunification arrives, reports of chaos, confusion as to immigrants’ next steps:

Government lawyers have conceded they will fail to reunite all the families by that deadline — hundreds of parents already have been deported without their children, and the government has been unable to locate many others. Officials said in court Tuesday they expect to have reunited just over 1,600 families by the deadline.

Despite the administration’s hardline stance, hundreds of those families have been released on immigration parole, pending hearings on their asylum claims, typically with the adults wearing ankle monitors. Scores of other families, however, have been sent to immigration detention centers, including two in Texas where at least 80 families are being held in custody.

Why some families have been released and others detained remains unclear, as is how long those detentions may last, according to lawyers for the families. Government officials have refused to provide answers.

Axios.com has a breakdown based upon the latest court filings from the Justice Department:

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