The Partisan Supreme Court

September 18, 2012

Today, I see the following on the home page of Reuters.com:

In an event at Reuters headquarters, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia strongly dismissed the idea that politics influences how the justices make their decisions, saying, “They vote that way because that’s who they are.”

This statement makes me incredulous. A U.S. Supreme Court justice is supposed to rule on the basis of the law as it exists, not as they wish it to be or to fit a particular political ideology.

Too often, we see matters before the court being dispatched with 5-4 decisions. This suggests that personal ideology is a strong influence over the outcome of matters before the court. Can the majority of decisions be that close? It’s why we can often predict outcomes before the evidence has been heard and the matter deliberated by the court. Do we expect more from our citizen juries that we get from the Supreme Court justices?

This is not what the framers of the U.S. constitution had in mind. The framers intended the Supreme Court be the one body in our federal government that could be impartial and look at legal issues brought before it without bias, not make the law but rule based on existing law and certainly not rule “because of who they are.”

It’s not “who they are” that should determine the outcome of matters before the court.  It’s about their oath to uphold the law and consider matters impartially or recuse themselves should they be unable to do so.

Scalia’s comment reveals why there is distrust of the court. All courts should be a politically and ideologically-free zone.  Today’s Supreme Court is not.  How sad for all of us.

It’s sad because we have to worry about who is elected U.S. president as we know that the political ideology will be imparted to the justices they nominate and those justices who don’t deliver according to that ideology will be publicly-chastised for not playing along.

Chief Justice Roberts has opened a rift with Scalia over the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”  Scalia feels betrayed by the Chief Justice as do other justices who believed “they could count on Chief Justice Roberts to vote down Obamacare.”

Chief Justice Roberts will likely be on the court for many years to come. I hope he tackles this issue of leaving politics and ideology at the door of the court house. He’ll be doing this nation a great favor.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


The horror facing Native Americans today

January 11, 2010

The following blog posting is made available in its entirety due to permission granted by Tim Giago at Native Son News:

Theresa Two Bulls: a lady of distinction

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© Native Sun News

There are those who choose to take jobs that almost immediately make them unpopular, at least unpopular to those factions that are always on the opposing side.

Theresa “Huck” Two Bulls chose to run for the presidency of the Oglala Sioux Tribe knowing full well that it would probably be the most difficult job she has ever undertaken. Politics on the Pine Ridge Reservation can be vicious. There are no opposing political parties because Democrats or Republicans do not figure into the political spectrum. The politicians are homegrown and they come with all of the passion and ferocity that was a part of their personal trials.

Two Bulls, like all of her predecessors, inherited a tribal government deep in debt. She inherited all of the problems that have plagued Pine Ridge for 100 years. All of the problems can be measured as extreme. There is perpetual poverty, crumbling schools; a law enforcement system short on manpower and funds. She inherited a dominion where gangs one would expect to find in Chicago are now growing their form of crime and violence on her turf.

She inherited a housing problem one can only describe as disastrous. Her housing director, Paul Iron Cloud, an honest and dedicated civil servant, has struggled, pleaded and begged the Housing and Urban Development Administration to step in and provide the financial assistance needed to construct new homes and repair those that are in such bad disrepair that they would be condemned as uninhabitable in any community outside of the reservation. You will find homes in horrible condition that are housing two and even three families. The shortage of homes is a disaster.

Two Bulls inherited an administration that faces an unemployment rate that hovers at nearly 80 percent. There are more than 20,000 residents of Pine Ridge and most of the available jobs are with the tribal government, the schools, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are small businesses scattered throughout the reservations nine districts, but none that employ the reservation’s residents in large numbers. The 1980 U. S. Census named Shannon County, the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, as the single poorest county in America.

She inherited a health care system through the Indian Health Service that barely survives each year because of inadequate funding. Thus the rampant, epidemic diseases of diabetes and heart conditions that have helped to reduce the life expectancy on the reservation the lowest in America and the equivalent of the worst Third World countries. The death of newborns and the number of stillborns are so high that at one time in 2009 as many eight per month were reported. If this was happening in any other community in America there would be a horrendous outcry.

Two Bulls is the second woman to ever serve as President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Her predecessor, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was impeached because of her pro-stance on abortion .There are those who still believe that she was impeached because she was a woman. Four months into her administration Two Bulls faced rumors of impeachment that never materialized. It is still a factor that lurks in the shadows in her political life, but she is determined not to let it color her ability to make sound decisions for the people.

When an epidemic of teen-suicides erupted on the reservation, she declared a state of emergency to address and, hopefully, solve the recurring problem. When a severe blizzard struck last week Two Bulls set emergency measures in motion in order to get propane, wood and food, to the many residents stranded in their homes far out on the reservation.

When Native American veterans of the Korean War were honored recently in Rapid City, Theresa Two Bulls was the only tribal president to show up and to walk down the row of veterans shaking their hands and placing a kiss on the cheek of all 41 veterans being honored. Many of the veterans felt privileged that she would take the time out of her busy schedule to honor them.

Two Bulls still has a tall hill to climb. The myriad of problems on Pine Ridge would appear to be insurmountable, but she chose to run for the office of the president and she won. Having served as vice president a few years ago, she knew exactly what she was getting into and said after the election, “Every day I have people come to my office because my door is always open and they are the young and the elderly and many people in the middle, and the tell me over and over that they are praying for me and it scared me at first, but now I accept it and it really helps me.”

She has said she did not win this job in order to be in a popularity contest, but instead she took the job in order to; in the best of her ability, improve the lives of the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and therein lays her motivation. Anyone wishing to let Two Bulls know how they feel can reach her at theresatb@oglala.org.

She deserves and needs the support of everyone.

(Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is the publisher of Native Sun News. He was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association, the 1985 recipient of the H. L. Mencken Award, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with the Class of 1991. Giago was inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2008. He can be reached at editor@nsweekly.com)

I agree that Theresa Two Bulls deserves everyone’s support and thanks for stepping up to take this leadership position.

In asking Tim for permission to make this available, I hope my readers would think about:

  • With the billions of dollars the U.S. spends on stimulus, war, etc., I am most perplexed about why Native Americans suffer like this?
  • How is it special interests thrive and the Native Americans suffer?
  • Where are their elected representatives in Washington providing assistance?

What do you think?

Democrat Dave



Limbaugh released; no heart trouble found

January 1, 2010

Rush Limbaugh was released from the hospital in Hawaii today with reports that no heart trouble was found.

As with the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, I’m not surprised…I do not believe that he has a heart.

What do you think?

Happy New Year…Democrat Dave


A different Christmas poem

December 21, 2009

Don’t forget the brave men and women who serve this nation so valiantly and with such courage.

Democrat Dave


MoveOn.org, Lieberman and Health Care Reform

December 18, 2009

This ad sums up Lieberman pretty well.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Critical Insights about Obama Presidency

November 28, 2009

Please read the following post from Dr. Alan Weiss, the world’s preeminent independent management consultant, about the Obama presidency:

http://www.contrarianconsulting.com/my-report-to-the-president/

Wonderful advice that President Obama would be well advised to apply.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Grave concerns about Cap and Tax treaty

November 3, 2009

I am in favor of engaging in practices that protect our environment. I urge great caution signing a treaty that undermines the U.S. Constitution and our ability to be agile in the world economy.

I’ve been pretty distracted with many other important issues as of late and have not kept up with this particular issue. Many Americans are equally distracted and lack insight into this proposed treaty.

Today, I received a message from a good friend asking me to look at this 4-minute long YouTube video:

The Obama Administration needs to be very careful about “doing the right thing for America” with respect to this opportunity. If it does not meet our needs and/or undermines the US in any way, we should reject this treaty unless it is appropriately modified.

A huge signing party is apparently planned for next month in Copenhagen. The US need not get caught up in the moment. If it isn’t right, don’t bind us to it. As it stands right now, it should not be ratified by the U.S.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


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