Thursday, November 5, 2020

Trump's Supreme Evil Keystone Plan

The Trump regime is finally making its move to disenfranchise millions of voters and steal the election, through the Supreme Court, starting with Pennsylvania. SCOTUSblog's Amy Howe:

Telling the court that “the vote in Pennsylvania may well determine the next President of the United States,” the campaign of President Donald Trump went to the Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon. In a 10-page filing in Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, the president’s campaign asked to join the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s appeal of a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that requires election officials to count mail-in ballots received by Nov. 6. The justices rejected a plea from the party to fast-track their challenge to that ruling last week, but an opinion from Justice Samuel Alito left open the possibility that the court could take up the dispute again.

Under the state supreme court’s ruling, which relied on a provision in the state constitution, all ballots received by Nov. 6 will be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, lack a postmark or have a postmark that is unclear. On Oct. 19, the justices turned down a request from the Pennsylvania Republicans to put that ruling on hold while the party appealed. Four of the court’s conservative justices – Alito and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – indicated that they would have blocked the state supreme court’s decision. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was not yet on the court at the time.

In an opinion that accompanied the court’s order denying the party’s motion to expedite consideration of its petition, Alito argued that it “would be highly desirable” for the justices to weigh in on the constitutionality of the state supreme court’s decision before the election, but he acknowledged that there was not enough time to do so. He added, however, that the Republican Party’s petition could still be decided “under a shortened schedule” later. Alito also stressed that ballots received after the polls closed on Election Day would be segregated, so that they could be excluded from the results if the state court’s decision were later overturned.

In its motion to intervene, the Trump campaign contended that the Supreme Court, rather than the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, “should have the final say” on the questions that could determine the outcome of the presidential election. In anticipation of that possibility, the campaign explained, it wants to join the Supreme Court proceedings. The Trump campaign, it reasoned, “has a direct, concrete stake in the outcome” of the proceedings “and, ultimately, the lawfulness of Pennsylvania’s vote tally.”

The Supreme Court instructed Pennsylvania election officials and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, which are defending the state court’s ruling, to respond to the Trump campaign’s motion to enter the case by Thursday at 5 p.m.

Alito's opinion, of course, is that SCOTUS should take up the question of whether ballots that arrived after Election Day in the mail can be counted at all, and we know there's at least two votes on the Court (Kavanaugh and Gorsuch) for the Bush v. Gore Rehnquist opinion that only state legislatures should be allowed to make voting rules for a state, which would necessitate that possibly tens of thousands of votes be tossed, enough to give Trump Pennsylvania, and possibly the presidency if such a sweeping ruling was applied to all states retroactively for this election.

And of course since other states haven't set aside ballots received when Secretaries of State, election officials and Governors made changes to voting allowances this year for COVID-19, SCOTUS could rule that the entire presidential election should be sent to the US House for President (and Senate for Vice-President) giving Trump and Pence four more years.

Worse, they could nullify all kinds of election results for federal and state races under Rehnquist's opinion. It would be absolute chaos.

As I've been warning people for months now, unless Biden won overwhelmingly, this was always going to go to Trump's 6-3 SCOTUS.

It's far from over.

The Road To Gilead, Con't

The first major case in the new Roberts Court era with Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a case that could redefine the entire history of American civil rights as we know it by making the primary test of a person's rights being infringed upon wholly dependent not on whether a person is caused physical or economic harm by another, but whether a person's spiritual, religious beliefs are violated as being the main criteria.
When the Supreme Court on Wednesday hears Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, much attention will be on the new justice — it’s Amy Coney Barrett’s third day hearing oral arguments — and on a hot-button case about whether the city may cancel the contract of a Catholic foster care agency because it won’t work with same-gender couples. But a potentially broader issue will arise during the hearing that could potentially reshape the status of religion in U.S. law — further strengthening religious freedom rights in ways that some say has already gone too far.

In Fulton, the court will consider whether the city violated the First Amendment by disallowing Catholic Social Services from being part of its foster care system.

The justices are also being asked to overturn a ruling that has been controversial for religious conservatives since it was made 30 years ago: Employment Division v. Smith. The decision, which says a person’s religious motivations don’t exempt them from neutral, generally applicable laws, was written by Justice Antonin Scalia and said that without limits “every citizen [would] become a law unto himself.”

The Trump administration is supporting Catholic Social Services. It says the court does not need to overturn Smith to rule for the agency and alleges there’s evidence of religious bias in the way the city went about enforcing the law.

The court this week said it would entertain taking up Smith, but it is not obliged to make any ruling or detailed comment about it. However, multiple justices have made comments reflecting their willingness to reconsider that ruling, and lawyers are prepared to present arguments about Smith broadly — and how it pertains to Fulton.

The possibility that the newly 6-3 conservative-majority court could overturn Smith and set a new precedent about the legal status of religion comes as the country is deeply unsettled about how to balance LGBTQ and other rights with the rights of religious traditionalists. There are increasingly diverse views about what constitutes religiosity in general and how it should be weighed against other rights and when and how much religion can be burdened.

A 2016 Pew poll showed Americans split down the middle on whether religious business owners who work in the wedding industry should be required to provide services to same-sex couples or be allowed to refuse. A much higher percentage — 67 percent — said employers with religious objections to providing contraception as part of their health-care plan should still be required to do so.

Demographics also show a country steadily becoming more religiously diverse, pluralistic and secular.

“On the one hand, you look at the [Supreme] Court, and especially with Barrett, religious freedom will be locked up for a while, even as the culture is moving in this other direction unabated,” said Daniel Bennett, a political scientist at John Brown University who focuses on religion.

But this feels like a moment of huge potential for some religious groups and their advocates — religious conservatives in particular — who in recent decades have come to see themselves as endangered. Forty-six percent of evangelicals in an AP-NORC poll earlier this year said their religious freedom was under threat, as did 36 percent of Catholics.

Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson PĂ©rez wrote in a Monday op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the Catholic church in the Fulton case is being told to “leave its faith at the door if it wants to serve those in need.”

That sense of threat prevails even though many religious liberty experts across the ideological spectrum agree that the legal place of religion has been getting stronger and more secure in the last decade or so. There have been multiple high-profile recent wins at the Supreme Court on cases including those favoring religious business owners (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby), religious employers (Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru), religious displays (American Legion v. American Humanist Association) and religious schools (Espinoza v. Montana).

Those cases touch on the two big arenas of religion in constitutional law — the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. Establishment cases deal with the Constitution’s ban on Congress endorsing, promoting or becoming too involved with religion. Free exercise cases deal with Americans’ rights to practice their faith.
If the Supreme Court strikes down E.D. vs. Smith, we become a theocracy, full stop. 

That's what's at stake.

That's what was always at stake.

But America decided four years ago and again two years ago that Trump and Mitch McConnell should make those choices.


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