Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Last Call For Going Postal

House Republicans are so hideously awful that they barely even name post offices after people who actually deserve post offices named after them.

The House of Representatives spent its legislative day Tuesday naming nine post offices. Only one generated any opposition: A proposal, from Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), to name a post office in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. 
The bill honoring Angelou, famed for her autobiographical works and her recital at the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, passed overwhelmingly but not unanimously. Nine members, all Republicans, opposed the honor: Mo Brooks (Ala.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Michael Burgess (Texas), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Glenn Grothman (Wis.), Andy Harris (Md.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Alex Mooney (W.V.) and Steven Palazzo (Ala.). 
Only Grothman discussed his opposition on the House floor: “I think people should investigate Maya Angelou a little bit, and I’ll suggest perhaps if you want to investigate a little bit further that perhaps you Google ‘Maya Angelou’ and look at other articles in places like the American Thinker or the American Spectator.”

Yeah, and that's my Congressman, Thomas Massie, voting against naming a post office for Maya Angelou.  Asshole.

Luckily he has a challenger in November.  Meet Calvin Sidle, folks.  Good luck to him, and if you can donate a few bucks, do so.

I'll find out more about him here in the next few weeks and we'll get something going.  I'm tired of Massie's glibertarian nonsense.

Meanwhile, In Kentucky

It must be real fun for people to pretend that Trump isn't a real threat to people of color.

This is from Trump's rally Tuesday in Louisville, but hey, it's okay.  Trump's not a real threat, and people aren't really gonna vote for him, and they'll get sick of him and go home or something and everything will be fine, right?


Putting On A Clinic In Texas

Texas's TRAP laws. designed to close most of the state's abortion clinics with increasingly draconian state regulation, now go before the Supreme Court in oral arguments today. ABC News reporter Kate Shaw explains:

First, a little background. In 2013, Texas passed the two laws at issue here: 1) a requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital; and 2) a requirement that abortion facilities comply with the requirements for ambulatory surgical centers.

The plaintiffs in the case are clinics and doctors that provide abortion services, among other things; Whole Woman’s Health is one of those clinics. They have challenged the Texas laws, arguing that there’s no evidence that the laws promote health and that they’re really about impeding women’s access to abortion. If the laws go into effect, they claim, the number of clinics in Texas will drop to 10 or fewer (the laws are largely on hold at the moment, while the Supreme Court considers the case).

Dr. John Hellerstedt, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services -- the agency that enforces the challenged laws -- argues in response that Texas is just trying to ensure patient safety and improve standards of care. He also argues that it’s the job of legislatures, not courts, to decide whether laws like these are medically necessary.

It's important to note that these are the same TRAP laws Gov John Kasich has installed in Ohio, closing half of the state's abortion clinics there in moves that could leave Cincinnati as the largest metropolitan area in the country without a single abortion provider.

This has the potential to be the most important abortion case in nearly 25 years. The two most significant abortion cases the court has decided -- Roe v. Wade, in 1973, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in 1992 -- found that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, at least prior to viability, but also found that states have a legitimate interest in regulating abortion. But the court hasn’t provided much guidance about when state regulation crosses the line, and this case could do that.

There are at least three possible outcomes (and they mostly turn on Justice Kennedy, who holds the key vote in this case). First, if Justice Kennedy thinks the regulations have gone too far, they’ll likely be struck down 5-3, which will make it harder for states to pass abortion regulations that seriously interfere with women’s ability to obtain abortions. If Justice Kennedy concludes that the Texas laws are permissible, the court will likely divide 4-4, affirming the lower court opinion and leaving the regulations in effect, but making no law for the rest of the country. And there is a third possibility -- that the chief justice could hold the case over for re-argument some time next term, when the court may have a ninth justice in place.

The good news is for now, with the passing of Justice Scalia, there won't be five votes to make Texas's TRAP laws viable nationwide.  The bad news is that there will be enormous pressure by Republicans on Chief Justice Roberts to punt until they allow a replacement (which if a Democrat wins in November and the GOP keeps the Senate may be never.)

But Zandar, you say, Republicans can't "pressure" Roberts to do anything, right?

Oh sure, in a perfect world  But Roberts saw how Republicans de-legitimized everything President Obama did over eight years, and Roberts doesn't want to be the same way.  Surely any decisions that the GOP doesn't like would be attacked as illegitimate for only having 8 justices.

But they can't do that when they are the reason no justice can even be considered, right?

Do you think anyone will be able to stop them?  Our media and voters haven't so far.

We'll see.


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