Editors’ Choice

Posts selected by Moose editors

President Obama: “Hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals”

The President:

There is something particularly heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.

Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty. This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshipers worked to end slavery. When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, they conducted services in secret. When there was a nonviolent movement to bring our country closer in line with our highest ideals, some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches from this church’s steps. This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America. […]

… just over 50 years ago, after four little girls were killed in a bombing in a black church in Birmingham, Alabama … Dr. King said … “we must be concerned not merely with who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.”

SCOTUS Watch – Thursday, June 18th – UPDATED

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when all eyes turn to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session (before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer). The calendar calls for orders and opinions to be released every Monday – 9:30am for orders and 10:00am for opinions. However, history has shown that additional “opinion days” are often added as the month unfolds and this year is no different as we have our first Thursday opinion day.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.

 
All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE: Six decisions, reporting from SCOTUSblog
McFadden v. U.S. – “In a unanimous judgment (the Chief Justice concurs in part and concurs in the judgment), the Court holds that when an analogue is involved, the statute requires the government to establish that the defendant knew he was dealing with substance regulated under either the Analogue Act or the main federal Controlled Substances Act.”

Ohio v. Clark – “The Court is unanimous in its judgment that the child’s statements to his teachers (the introduction in court of a young child’s statements to his preschool teachers about child abuse at home, when the child was unfit to testify) did not violate the Confrontation Clause (the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to confront the witnesses against him.).”

Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans – “The majority holds that the specialty license-plate designs offered by Texas constitute government speech, and thus Texas was entitled to refuse the design proposed by the Confederate heritage group that featured a Confederate battle flag.”

Davis v. Ayala – “The Court rules five to four to reverse the Ninth Circuit and hold that a trial judge’s decision to exclude a criminal defendant’s attorney from part of a Batson v. Kentucky hearing, in which the prosecutor explained the basis of some of his peremptory strikes of jurors, was harmless error.”

Brumfield v. Cain – “The Court rules five to four … that there was sufficient evidence that a death-row inmate in Louisiana could show he was impaired by an intellectual disability that he was entitled to have his claims under Atkins v. Virginia (which bars the execution of inmates with a mental disability) considered by a federal court.”

Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona. – “In a unanimous judgment (with five other Justices joining Thomas’s opinion), the Court holds that the town’s relevant sign restrictions are content-based regulations that fail strict scrutiny.” (Overturning 9th Circuit)

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges (6th Circuit ruled in favor of the state bans)
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell (4th Circuit ruled in favor of Burwell)
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the district court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
– Some other First Amendment cases:
– The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (5th Circuit ruled against state, state appealed) DECIDED: State can ban racist plates
– A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona (9th Circuit ruled that the restrictions were reasonable, Reed appealed) DECIDED: Town cannot ban church signs
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (The 5th Circuit ruled against the state agency’s application of the Fair Housing Act)
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel (city is appealing 9th Circuit ruling that the registries do not need to be turned over)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

Mobilizing Private-Sector Support for Homegrown Clean Energy

From the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz:

Ingenuity is one of our country’s greatest assets. America’s entrepreneurs and innovators have a legacy of unleashing their creativity, grit, and imagination to invent, discover, and build solutions that not only contribute to our growing economy, but also solve some of the toughest challenges facing the nation. Investing in homegrown innovation, including the development of new, clean-energy technologies, is a crucial part of the fight against climate change – and is key to keeping America on the leading edge of the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

That’s why today, we’re hosting a Clean Energy Investment Summit at the White House, where we’re announcing $4 billion in independent commitments by major foundations, institutional investors, and others to fund innovative solutions to help fight climate change, including technologies with breakthrough potential to reduce carbon pollution.

Taken together, these commitments far surpass the initial $2 billion goal set at the launch of the Administration’s Clean Energy Investment Initiative last February. And we look forward to seeing this initiative continue to build momentum in the months ahead.

Vice President Biden:

Biden touts clean energy to investors

[T]he vice president addressed the White House Clean Energy Investment Summit, rallying charitable groups and large investors to commit $4 billion toward clean energy technologies.

“To state the obvious, I’m not an investment banker,” Biden said. “I wouldn’t go long on investments that lead to carbon pollution. I’d bet on clean energy.”

Biden said even China was beginning to understand the escalating health effects of carbon pollution.

“In the United States, even the climate deniers are preparing for greater impacts from more extreme weather, from heat waves wildfires, superstorms, droughts — all of which drastically effect local security and local economies,” he said.

(Transcript of Vice President Biden’s speech will be added when it becomes available.)

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 15th – UPDATED

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when legal geeks look to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer. The calendar calls for orders and decisions to be released every Monday at 10:00am but history has shown that additional “decision days” are often added as the month unfolds.

This week, the decision days will be Monday and Thursday.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.

 
All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE: Decisions on three cases: Kerry v Din, Baker Botts v ASARCO, and Maya v Lynch

Back on Thursday! There are 17 cases left to rule on this term.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am Eastern. The Thursday liveblog will begin at 9:30am Eastern with opinions at 10:00am.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges (6th Circuit ruled in favor of the state bans)
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell (4th Circuit ruled in favor of Burwell)
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the district court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
– Some other First Amendment cases:
– The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (5th Circuit ruled against state, state appealed)
– A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona (9th Circuit ruled that the restrictions were reasonable, Reed appealed)
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (The 5th Circuit ruled against the state agency’s application of the Fair Housing Act)
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel (city is appealing 9th Circuit ruling that the registries do not need to be turned over)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

Democratic Party Principles: From Four Freedoms Park

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held the first major event of her 2016 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Roosevelt Island at Four Freedoms Park. 

It is wonderful to be here with all of you.[…]

To be here in this beautiful park dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt’s enduring vision of America, the nation we want to be.

And in a place… with absolutely no ceilings. (Cheers, applause.)

You know, President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms are a testament to our nation’s unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad. His legacy lifted up a nation and inspired presidents who followed.

Transcript via Vox: Hillary Clinton’s official campaign launch speech

The Four Freedoms speech in January 1941 warned the world that America was watching the rise of dictators and would stand with our allies when necessary. But President Roosevelt also reminded people about the foundations of a strong democracy, Democratic Party principles, goals that are still unmet 74 years later:

FDR: [There] is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

– Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
– Jobs for those who can work.
– Security for those who need it.
– The ending of special privilege for the few.
– The preservation of civil liberties for all.
– The enjoyment . . . the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.

Angola Free!

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I woke up this morning to the best news I’ve heard in years.
Federal Louisiana judge orders release of ‘Angola Three’ inmate

A federal judge in Louisiana on Monday ordered the release of the last of the prisoners known as the “Angola Three,” who has spent more than four decades in solitary confinement in connection with the 1972 second-degree murder of a prison guard.

U.S. District Judge James Brady ruled Albert Woodfox, 68, be released and barred from being tried a third time, following overturned convictions for the killing of prison guard Brent Miller.

“This court exercises its discretion in finding that there are exceptional circumstances, and the only just remedy is an unconditional writ of habeas corpus barring retrial of Mr. Albert Woodfox and releasing Mr. Woodfox from custody immediately,” Brady said in his 27-page ruling.

Brady argued in part that the release was warranted because prosecutors would not be able to provide a fair third trial for Woodfox, who is in poor health.

I celebrate as I weep. Weep in bitterness against a society that would keep an innocent man, or any human, in solitary confinement for over four decades.

Woodfox and the other 2 members of the Angola 3 were punished for being Panthers. Punished for daring to push back inside the prison, and for organizing inmates.

I celebrate the tenacity of their supporters world-wide who never gave up the struggle.

President Obama Speaks on Health Care in America

The President spoke about health care in America on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

(Transcript: Remarks by the President at the Catholic Hospital Association Conference)

From President Obama:

On a day in early September of 2009, I received the following letter from Senator Edward Kennedy. He’d written in May of that year, shortly after he learned that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered to me upon his death.

It is a letter about the cause of his career — what he called “that great unfinished business of our society” — health care reform.

“What we face,” he writes, “is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

Senator Kennedy never stopped asking what he could do for his country. Today, tens of millions of Americans are better for it.

And while Teddy didn’t live to see his life’s work signed into law, more than five years after its passage, the spirit of his words ring true. This is, fundamentally, about the character of our country. Doing right by one another.

It’s who we are.

Tomorrow, I will deliver remarks about health care in America. Get a history of where we’ve been, and let me know you’ll be watching.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

From the White House: Health Care in America

News about the latest attacks on the president’s health care initiatives are below …

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 8th – Updated

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when legal geeks look to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer. The calendar calls for orders and decisions to be released every Monday at 10:00am but history has shown that additional “decision days” are often added as the month unfolds.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.


All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE: Court rules on only one case today suggesting that they will need to add decision days to get through the remaining cases before June 30. Today’s case:
Zivotofsky v. Kerry Issue(s): Whether a federal statute that directs the Secretary of State, on request, to record the birthplace of an American citizen born in Jerusalem as born in “Israel” on a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and on a United States passport is unconstitutional on the ground that the statute “impermissibly infringes on the President’s exercise of the recognition power reposing exclusively in him.

DC Circuit ruling upheld in a 6 to 3 decision, Kennedy writing: the president has the exclusive power to recognize … statute is not permissable.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges (6th Circuit ruled in favor of the state bans)
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell (4th Circuit ruled in favor of Burwell)
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the district court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
– Some other First Amendment cases:
    – The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (5th Circuit ruled against state, state appealed)
    – A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona (9th Circuit ruled that the restrictions were reasonable, Reed appealed)
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (The 5th Circuit ruled against the state agency’s application of the Fair Housing Act)
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel (city is appealing 9th Circuit ruling)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President recognized Immigrant Heritage Month, an occasion that allows us to celebrate our origins as a nation of immigrants. The basic idea of welcoming people to our shores is central to our ancestry and our way of life. That’s why the President asked everyone to visit whitehouse.gov/NewAmericans and share stories of making it to America.

And as we celebrate our heritage and our diversity, the President promised to continue to fight to fix our current broken immigration system and make it more just and more fair, strengthening America in the process.

How did that turtle get there?

Yesterday, June 4th, was the 96th anniversary of the day that Congress passed the 19th Amendment, granting the right of women to vote, and sent it to the states for ratification. That act was an example of what happens when people of goodwill come together to right a wrong. It happened again in 2006 when a Republican president signed the re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act … a bill that had passed 98 to 0 in the U.S. Senate and 390 to 33 in the House of Representatives.

Since 2006, this happened:

First, in 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that there is no racial discrimination in America, none, zero, zilch, nada … and that the quaint pre-clearance rules in the Voting Rights Act should be relegated to the dustbin of history. Then, to exactly no ones surprise, in 2013 and 2014, teaparty governments in states that would have been subject to pre-clearance passed some of the most onerous voter suppression laws in the country.

Hillary Clinton, June 4, 2015:

‘You find a turtle on a fence post, it did not get there on its own.’ Well, all of these problems with voting did not just happen by accident. And it is just wrong, it’s wrong to try to prevent, undermine, inhibit Americans’ rights to vote. Its counter to the values we share. And at a time when so many Americans have lost trust in our political system, it’s the opposite of what we should be doing in our country.

From HillaryClinton.com:

During a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Hillary Clinton called for expanding Americans’ voting rights while decrying Republican efforts to restrict them. The latest in her long history of fighting to expand voting rights, she called for universal, automatic voter registration for every American in every state when they turn 18. She called for a new national standard of no fewer than 20 days of early in-person voting in every state, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting. And she urged Congress to restore key sections of the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court invalidated

VIDEO from CSPAN:

Secretary Clinton was at Texas Southern Universty to accept the inaugural Barbara Jordan Public-Private Leadership Award from The Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at the university. She spoke to the gathering:

… like every woman who has run for national office in this country in the last four decades, I stand here on the shoulders of Barbara Jordan and so does our entire country. […]

… unfortunately, Barbara isn’t here to speak up for them and so many others. But we are. And we have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country—because what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.

Because since the Supreme Court eviscerated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many of the states that previously faced special scrutiny because of a history of racial discrimination have proposed and passed new laws that make it harder than ever to vote. […]

Today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of? […]

We need a Supreme Court that cares more about protecting the right to vote of a person to vote than the right of a corporation to buy an election. […]

But of course, you know what we really need? We need more elected leaders from Houston to Austin to Washington who will follow in the footsteps of Barbara Jordan and fight for the rights and opportunities of everyday Americans, not just those at the top of the ladder. And we need to remember that progress is built on common ground, not scorched earth. […]

As Barbara Jordan famously reminded us, when the Constitution was first written, it left most of us here out. But generations of Americans fought and marched and organized and prayed to expand the circle of freedom and opportunity. They never gave up and never backed down.

And nearly a century ago on this very day, after years of struggle, Congress finally passed the 19th amendment to give women the right to vote in the United States.

So that is, that is the story of progress, courageous men and women, expanding rights, not restricting them. And today we refuse, we refuse to allow our country or this generation of leaders to slow or reverse America’s long march toward a more perfect union.

Commentary and full transcript below …