Saturday, November 1, 2014

Last Call For Judicial Overreach

And in about 30 seconds, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French makes the best case I have ever seen about why judges should not be elected by partisan ballot.

An Ohio Supreme Court justice says she was talking judicial philosophy — not politics — when she addressed a Republican crowd about the court serving as a “backstop” for decisions made by GOP officeholders. 
Justice Judith L. French, an appointed Republican seeking to retain her seat in the Nov. 4 election, said her remarks at a GOP rally in Powell did not cross the ethical line that counsels judges to be cautious about partisan remarks. 
At a Saturday event at which she introduced Republican Gov. John Kasich, French said, “I am a Republican and you should vote for me. You’re going to hear from your elected officials, and I see a lot of them in the crowd. 
“Let me tell you something: The Ohio Supreme Court is the backstop for all those other votes you are going to cast. 
“Whatever the governor does, whatever your state representative, your state senator does, whatever they do, we are the ones that will decide whether it is constitutional; we decide whether it’s lawful. We decide what it means, and we decide how to implement it in a given case. 
“So, forget all those other votes if you don’t keep the Ohio Supreme Court conservative,” French said.

That's nice.
French explained her remarks yesterday, saying, “The policy decisions stay with the legislators, the policy makers. . . . I’m not going to support Republican legislation; I’m not going to support Democratic legislation. It’s not my role.

Except she just said that it was her role, and the most important role  In the end, they decide.

Of course, in the end, the US Supreme Court decides.  And those positions are filled by Presidents and approved by the Senate.

So in the end, yes, who controls the Senate does absolutely matter.

The Case Against Kasich

By all accounts, Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich should be losing by double digits to Democrat Ed FitzGerald.  Kasich has refused to participate in any debates, signed one of the nation's worst abortion laws that may soon close all abortion clinics in southwest Ohio for starters, passed a restrictive voter ID laws into effect disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of minority voters and worked to cut back early voting, fracked the state into an environmental mess, attacked Ohio's unions, and basically ran uncontested as a Tea Party nutjob.

But somehow, he's going to win re-election.  And this may be part of the reason why.

The editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper, hosted a meeting recently with the state’s gubernatorial candidates: incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich, Democrat Ed FitzGerald, and Green Party Candidate Anita Rios. The discussion got a little … odd. 
FitzGerald, behind in the polls, not surprisingly stayed on the offensive, and noted the Kasich approved a law that restricts what rape-crisis counselors can tell victims. “Why was it important to have a piece of legislation that literally imposed a gag rule on rape crisis counselors?” the challenger asked. 
The governor, slumped in his chair and visibly annoyed, decided to pretend that FitzGerald wasn’t in the room.

This isn't hyperbole, this is literally what happened.

One of the editors prompts him: “Would you like to answer that, governor?” 
“Do you have a question?” Kasich responds. The editor then tries to explain the question FitzGerald just asked. As much as the editor understands the question, anyway. 
“I assume that it had to do with, uh, there were limits on what they could say about having abortions,” the editor says. 
Kasich still says nothing, possibly because the reporter made the mistake of mentioning FitzGerald’s name while summarizing the question. Once more, Kasich spreads his hands and asks, “I mean, did you have a…?”   At which point FitzGerald jumps in and explains to the clueless reporter, “He’s trying to pretend he didn’t hear me say it, so you need to repeat it.

Kasich apparently so does not care that he dismissed his opponent while in the room, while talking to the editorial board of the largest paper in the state.

The paper's response?

Keep in mind, Kasich refused to participate in any debates this year, so this editorial-board meeting was literally the only opportunity for Ohio voters to see their gubernatorial candidates talk about their ideas. It made the discussion, hosted by the Plain Dealer’s editors, arguably one of the more important political events in Ohio this campaign season. 
And initially, the newspaper did publish the video of the gathering online. But then the paper pulled the clip, posted an audio-only version, and threatened legal action against an Ohio-based news site that offered readers a YouTube version of the discussion

That site being our friends at Plunderbund, who apparently were the only people to realize the import of this chain of idiocy.  Kasich, by the way, still hasn't answered the question about why he signed into law a rule that literally forbids rape crisis counselors from mentioning abortion.  His answer, that he's "pro-life", makes it self-evident in Kasich's eyes.

Oh, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed Kasich despite that exchange.

So apparently, you don't need to do any debates if your Governor in Ohio anymore, and you don't have to answer questions from newspaper editorial boards either.  You get endorsed because the corporate masters at the news tell the paper to endorse the Republican and that's that.  Kasich could not give a damn about this, you're just wasting time until his corporate funded reelection is in place.

That's Ohio for you.  And four more years of red state lunacy may finally finish the state off.

That Personhood Amendment Again

Oh Colorado anti-choicers, you'll never give up trying to criminalize miscarriages and abortions through stupid, unconstitutional personhood amendments, will you?  Here we have Amendment 67, yet another attempt to give full legal rights to cells.  The ploy this time: making a poster child of Heather Surovik, a woman who tragically lost her unborn child in a car accident to a drunk driver.

Warning: FOX News link, only being used because of the admission of actual truth in FOX News story.

This time in Colorado, though, supporters have tied the measure to a tragic accident in July 2012. Heather Surovik was eight months pregnant and on her way back from a prenatal visit when her car was struck by a drunk driver.

"When she woke up in the hospital, she was told that her baby had not survived," Amendment 67 backer Jennifer Mason recalled. "But not only that, there would be no charges filed in relation to his death because under Colorado law, he was not considered a person."

Heather Surovik said, "They can't tell me that's not a baby. He was eight pounds, two ounces. Brady was the second victim, and nobody recognized it."

Yes, tragic, but Amendment 67 is not the solution, and backers of it know what it's really for.

Fofi Mendez, campaign manager of "Vote NO 67," sympathizes with Heather Surovik's loss but warns that redefining the words "person" and "child" to include the unborn would have the effect of banning all abortions, and even some forms of birth control.

"You end up giving legal and constitutional rights to a woman's fertilized egg and when you apply that definition to the criminal code and the wrongful death statute, you end up making criminals out of women and their doctors," Mendez said.

Which is the point of the amendment, to criminalize women for choosing not to carry a baby to full term.  Colorado state law would be amended to allow abortions to be literal murder under the law and/or miscarriages to be manslaughter.

Important point here, where the fundie nutjob admits it:

This is not something Mason denies. "Well, they could be [considered criminals]. If an unborn child is a person and we recognize that they are a person, should we say that some children should be protected and some shouldn't?" Mason said.

Lunacy.  Absolute lunacy.

Opponents also point out that in 2013, legislation inspired by Surovik's case was signed into law that criminalized the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. If the same accident happened today, the drunk driver who crashed into Surovik's car would be charged for the loss of her unborn child.

Oh, so there's no reason for Amendment 67 then.

Unless you're criminalizing abortions and miscarriages.

PS: GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst in Iowa supports a national Personhood law/Constitutional Amendment too.  David Corn explains how Ernst is the future of the GOP.

If elected, Ernst would almost certainly be among the most conservative senators in the country. Yet she owes her rise to prominence not to the tea party, but to the Rotary Club types—the GOP establishment, which urged her to run and bet that her biography and folksy political charm would matter far more than her extreme policy positions. She is somehow both the handpicked champion of the mainline business-minded wing of the Republican Party and a hard-right conservative reactionary—the logical end-result of the ongoing merger of the tea party and the rest of the GOP. And if she wins on Tuesday, she'll set an example that Republican candidates will emulate for years to come.

That future includes criminalizing abortions with a smiling face and heartfelt stories of anguish over the unborn, but it'll also take rights away from tens of millions of women.

Or you know, you could just sit home and complain about how Obama failed you.

Your choice.  For now.  Soon you won't have a choice because it'll be gone.

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