Friday, December 11, 2020

BREAKING: A Supreme Smackdown

The US Supreme Court on Friday rejected Texas’s unprecedented last-ditch effort to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin by suing those four states in the high court.

At least a majority of the justices concluded that Texas lacked standing to bring the case at all, a threshold bar that the state had to clear before the case could go any further.

I'm calling it a night early, so consider this Last Call too.

It's over over over over now, one over being the election, two overs being the recounts actually expanding Biden's lead, three being the certification by all 50 states of the vote, and four being this.

Think I'll go watch The Mandalorian, a fictional show about a fictional galaxy with fictional alien races and space magic, which is ar more realistic and coherent than the Texas lawsuit brought by Ken Paxton.

Trump Goes Viral, Con't

As we hit 300,000 dead under his watch from COVID-19, Trump has decided he will get his vaccine approval press conference now or the FDA head will be publicly crucified on the South Lawn.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to submit his resignation if the agency does not clear the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine by day’s end, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what happened.

The threat came on the same day that President Trump tweeted that the FDA is “a big, old, slow turtle” in its handling of vaccines, while exhorting Commissioner Stephen Hahn to “get the dam vaccines out NOW.” He added: “Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!” 
The warning led the FDA to accelerate its timetable for clearing America’s first vaccine from Saturday morning to later Friday.

A White House official declined to comment, saying “we don’t comment on private conversations, but the Chief regularly requests updates on progress toward a vaccine.”

The warning, combined with the tweets, constituted the latest attack by Trump, who has complained vociferously that the vaccine wasn’t authorized before Election Day, blaming it on the ‘Deep State’ inside the agency that he accused of working against his reelection. Trump was also said to be upset that Britain cleared the vaccine before the United States, although the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been developed and reviewed in record time.

With the timetable apparently accelerated from Saturday morning, the FDA and Pfizer were rushing to complete the paperwork needed for the authorization, according to another individual who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he didn’t have authority to discuss the plans

An FDA statement issued early Friday morning said the FDA had informed Pfizer that it would “rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization” following Thursday’s endorsement of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by an agency advisory committee.
It's fun to joke that this is a third-world dumpster fire, but America is currently a third-world dumpster fire, and it was by choice of the American people in 2016 across the board, and in the Senate in 2018, and still may be in the Senate in 2020, and 77% of Republicans still believe Biden's win was fraudulent.

There has to come the point very soon where Trump either chooses to leave, or chooses to have to be forced out, and that will decide the path this country takes for the rest of my lifetime.


A Supreme Approach To Justice

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Trump regime cannot choose to apply the Religious Freedom Act to just Christians, as in an 8-0 decision from Justice Clarence Thomas(!!!) the Court handed down a scathing ruling that Muslim men put on the no-fly list by the FBI after refusing to act as federal informants can indeed sue the pants off the US government.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, ruled Thursday that Muslims put on the no-fly list after refusing to act as informants can sue federal officials for money damages under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The case – Tanzin v Tanvir — involved three Muslim men who said their religious-freedom rights were violated when FBI agents tried to use the no-fly list to force them into becoming informants. None of the men was suspected of illegal activity themselves, and indeed, the Trump administration tried to head-off the suit by removing their names from the no-fly list just days before the case first went to court. It didn't work. The men refused to drop their case, and on Thursday the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in their favor.

"I feel extremely happy and content. All praise belongs to Allah. This is a great victory for every voiceless Muslim and non-Muslim against hate and oppression and ... I hope that this is a warning to FBI and other agencies that they will be held responsible for ... traumatizing people and ruining their lives," said Naveed Shinwari, one of the three men involved in the case.

Shinwari, a manufacturing contractor who came to the U.S. with his father from Afghanistan when he was 14, is a legal permanent resident. His presence on the no-fly list, he said, meant he could not do his contracting job because it required travel within the U.S. Nor could he visit his wife in Afghanistan. She is, however, now is in U.S. and the couple have three young children, two of them born in the United States.

Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas noted that money damages have long been authorized in American law, dating back to the founding of the republic. And he pointed specifically to a post-Civil War statute that provides for damages against government officials who act "under color of state law" to deprive people of their constitutional rights. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enacted in 1993, is in that tradition and uses the same terminology, he observed.

Thomas acknowledged that Congress is free to shield government agents from suit, but, "[w]e cannot manufacture" such a presumption 27 years later.

This is not the end of the line in the case. The three men now have the right to sue, but the government may wish to settle the case out of court, or in the alternative, it could invoke the doctrine of qualified immunity, and assert that the agents are immune from suit because they had no way of knowing their conduct would be illegal at the time.
It's that latter qualified immunity scenario that I'm worried about, but SCOTUS siding unanimously with Muslims is a big deal. It's still codifying religion as theocracy, but it least it's being applied where there is actual religious bigotry and discrimination.


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