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StarfishSaver's Journal
StarfishSaver's Journal
September 9, 2021

Justice Department sues Texas to block abortion law

The Biden Justice Department sued the state of Texas on Thursday over its new six-week abortion ban, saying the state law is unconstitutional.

Announcing the lawsuit at a news conference in Washington, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Texas law's "unprecedented" design seeks "to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible."
"The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent" Garland said.

The Texas law was designed specifically with the goal of making it more difficult for clinics to obtain federal court orders blocking enforcement of the law. Instead of creating criminal penalties for abortions conducted after a fetal heartbeat is detected, the Texas Legislature has tasked private citizens with enforcing the law by bringing private litigation against clinics -- and anyone else who assists a woman in obtaining an abortion after six weeks.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Austin, alleged that the Texas law is unconstitutional because it conflicts with "the statutory and constitutional responsibilities of the federal government."

"The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot evade its obligations under the Constitution and deprive individuals of their constitutional rights by adopting a statutory scheme designed specifically to evade traditional mechanisms of federal judicial review," the lawsuit states.

The Justice Department is seeking a declaratory judgment declaring the Texas abortion ban invalid, as well as a "preliminary and permanent injunction against "the State of Texas" -- including all of its officers, employees, and agents, including private parties who would enforce the abortion ban.

Video here:
September 7, 2021

Instead of despairing, we must keep our eyes on the horizon

There's been a lot of hand ringing, nay saying and doom predicting some of it understandable, much of it self-defeating .

But I refuse to get bogged down in pessimism. Instead, I'm following this guy's lead:

"America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.

"We don't turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories. And we learn from our mistakes. But we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon knowing that providence is with us and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth."

President Barack Obama, September 6, 2012

September 6, 2021

Breaking: AG Garland announces DOJ will protect women seeking an abortion in Texas

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday that the Justice Department would protect women seeking an abortion in Texas as the agency explores ways to challenge one of the most restrictive laws in the nation.

In a statement, Garland said the department would “protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the” law known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

The announcement from the Justice Department comes days after the conservative-majority Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law that bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
“The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack. We have reached out to U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI field offices in Texas and across the country to discuss our enforcement authorities,” Garland said.

He added that the department “will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation” of federal law.


September 5, 2021

For those claiming "we wouldn't be in this mess if RBG had retired under Obama," consider this:

There have been several comments around here castigating Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg for not the retiring while Obama was president and thereby, according to them, being responsible for the current state of the court and the nation. "If she had stepped down, we wouldn't have this mess" ...

But targeting the blame at RBG misses an important point. She didn't have years and years in which to retire. The window for retirement that would have had the results her detractors claim that her retirement would have created was very narrow - less than 2 years between late 2012 and mid-2014.

Yes, had RBG retired between November 2012 and late spring/early summer of 2014, it is possible that Obama could have selected and had confirmed a liberal justice before the Republicans took over the Senate. Any nomination after that time would have been blocked by Senate Republicans, through filibuster, majority vote or inaction.

While it's easy to look back in hindsight and criticize RBG for not deciding to leave her seat nearly 10 years ago, that position fails to consider the actual circumstances at the time. In 2012, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a 79-year-old justice in good health (her previous cancer had been successfully treated and she'd been in remission for years and she was strong as an ox) and at the top of her judicial and intellectual game. There was no reason to believe in 2012 and 2013 that death or incapacity was imminent - and, in fact that proved to be true since she lived and remained active for another 8 years..

So, It wasn't the least bit unreasonable for RBG to decide in 2012 to remain on the court.

When the Republicans took over the Senate in 2014, there was no longer a question of whether RBG should step down. It would have been crazy for her to do so and put the fate of her potential successor in the hands of the Republican Senate. At that point there was nothing for her to do but try to stick it out.

In other words any control RBG may have had over any of this only existed between late 2012 and mid-2014. And her decision not to step down was a perfectly reasonable one at the time. After that it was out of her hands.

At that point, the responsibility for preventing judicial disaster has shifted to Democratic voters, who knew good and well that the 2014 and 2016 elections would decide the makeup of the Supreme Court for generations. And yet too many Democrats ignored the importance of the Supreme Court and allowed the Senate to flip to Republican control in 2014, and then refused to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, thereby allowing Trump and a Republican Senate to shape the Supreme Court. The fact that Trump and McConnell were able to force Amy Coney Barrett onto the court is on the voters' heads, not on RBGs, since they had the ability and the power to ensure that didn't happen.

So if blame is to be assigned (which is useful only as an educational and motivational tool to help people do better moving forward to remedy the situation since blame for blame sake is a waste of time), please focus blame on the people who could have prevented this from happening and lay off of the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg who to her last breath gave us everything she had.

August 30, 2021

Jan 6 committee asking telecoms to preserve phone records of Members of Congress and Trump family

The House Select Committee investigating the deadly January 6 riot is set to request that a group of telecommunications companies preserve the phone records of a group of GOP members of Congress and former President Donald Trump, as well as members of the Trump family, who played some role in the "Stop the Steal" rally that served as the prelude to the Capitol insurrection.

It is unclear what means the committee will use to compel the telecommunications companies to cooperate with their request. The committee does have subpoena power, but requesting the information -- especially from members of Congress -- could lead to a lengthy legal battle.

The committee decided against making public the names of the lawmakers whose records they are targeting, three sources told CNN. But multiple sources familiar with the committee's work have confirmed for CNN at least part of list including many of the members of Congress included in the request.

According to the sources, this group was targeted because the committee concluded each of these lawmakers played some role in the "Stop the Steal" rally. They either attended, spoke, actively planned or encouraged people to attend.

The list is said to be evolving and could be added to as the investigation steps up. As of now it includes Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar also of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jody Hice of Georgia and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
In addition to their connection to the rally, this group also represents some of former Trump's most loyal supporters in Congress, many of whom continue to peddle Trump's false claims about the 2020 election. Many of these members also voted to object to the election results on the day of the insurrection.

August 25, 2021

House committee seeks documents from agencies on Jan 6 attack, signaling massive investigation

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack requested a massive tranche of documents from several US government agencies -- signaling they intend to undertake a sprawling probe of security failures and attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

This initial wave of document requests was sent to various executive branch agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense and Interior, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Office of the National Intelligence as well as the National Archives, which has legal custody of all the presidential records from former President Donald Trump's time in office.

August 24, 2021

Rev. Jesse Jackson said today his wife was not vaccinated because of a preexisting condition

So let's hope the folks who've been calling Jacqueline Jackson irresponsible, anti-vax and an effing "moron" will back off and just wish her and her husband well as they both fight COVID.


August 5, 2021

An important reminder of how politics work


So true! I get very weary of watching politicians - especially those who have been around for decades - continue to portray themselves as "anti-Establishment activists."

When you join the most elite political structures in the world (e.g., the U.S. House and Senate), you are by definition, part of the "establishment" - and it is your responsibility to use your position to ESTABLISH new ways of doing things.

If after years of being part of the establishment, you have not effected change but are continuing to rant and rave and shake your fist at the people and institutions you have willingly attached yourself to but haven't managed to move to a new level, you have failed at the one job you have.
August 5, 2021

The Grio: "Why Nina Turner, the real 'establishment,' lost Ohio Democratic primary race"

The conventional wisdom about the Ohio 11th congressional district Democratic primary was always wrong. After Marcia Fudge vacated the seat to become President Joe Biden’s HUD Secretary, the race to replace her didn’t suddenly become a battle between Progressives and the Establishment or a proxy battle.
The reality of the Ohio primary is that Nina Turner, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, was the Establishment in this race. She had more money, higher name recognition and tons of celebrity endorsements in her pocket. Her opponent Shontel Brown was a local Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair, that nobody would’ve been able to pick out of a lineup four months ago. And yet, Turner still lost.
The Establishment is no longer old white men in a smoke-filled room playing kingmaker. Not in an era of social media, wild-wild west campaign fundraising, and national organizers who can descend on a district like political flash-mobs after one tweet ... Nina Turner was a former national surrogate of a presidential campaign, former elected official, television pundit, college professor, SuperPAC director and lobbyist, who got endorsed by the major local newspaper Cleveland Plain Dealer, had Hollywood backing her and could raise thousands of dollars with one mass text. It doesn’t get more Establishment than that, which is ultimately why Turner lost the election.

...{I}n the minds of the majority of non-aligned voters, Turner, not Brown, was the big-name establishment politician. Initially, that helped Turner when she began the campaign as the political prodigal daughter coming back to save her hometown. Unfortunately in June after she jumped out to a huge lead, her campaign went national, bringing in activist and rapper Killer Mike who insulted Democratic power broker Congressman James Clyburn and going overboard with attack ads depicting Shontel Brown as a corrupt politician. Clevelanders have a long history with corrupt politicians and Shontel Brown doesn’t fit the bill.
Turner didn’t lose because of “dark money,” she lost because local voters don’t live their lives on Twitter, don’t read puff pieces in The New York Times and didn’t want the Progressive Establishment carpetbagging into town and telling people how to vote. Not to mention, Shontel Brown is actually a pretty darn good public servant.


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