SCOTUS strikes down Roe … let the battle commence

Whatever crap you might hear from this day forward about how conservatives will not tolerate “judicial activism” or “legislating from the bench,” think of this day when the Supreme Court did exactly that with its decision striking down a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

The U.S. Constitution, said the court in a 6-3 ruling, does not guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, and it now hands the issue over to the states to decide individually.

This is a dark day in American judicial history.

The SCOTUS has struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that declared women had a right under the Constitution to terminate a pregnancy. Previous court rulings had upheld that right.

No longer. The Supreme Court, with its super-conservative majority, has acted in a fashion that used to be anathema to judicial and political conservatives. It has exercised extreme judicial activism in tossing aside what had been considered “settled law.”

Didn’t conservatives once frown on such activism? Didn’t they excoriate progressive judges for crossing that line?

Roughly half the states already have laws on the books that will now take effect. They will make abortion illegal. In Texas, for example, doctors can be charged with felony crimes and sentenced to decades in prison if they perform an abortion. Texas even allows its residents to reap bounties if they tattle on their neighbors who they know have obtained an abortion.

It might not stop with just criminalizing abortion. There well might efforts to overturn other SCOTUS decisions legalizing gay marriage, which the court has ruled is protected under the Equal Protection clause in the 14th Amendment.

Does this hideous decision end abortion? Hardly. Women will continue to terminate their pregnancy, even if it puts them in serious — possibly mortal — danger.

The Supreme Court, moreover, has just furthered the cause of conservative judicial activism. Those on the right-wing fringe, therefore, can spare me the highly dubious argument that the court merely called “balls and strikes” from the bench.

Oh, no! It weighed in with a ruling that denies women a basic right that had been protected under settled law … and the U.S. Constitution.

How do they stand behind The Big Lie?

How in the name of all that is holy and sacred, all that is just and truthful, all that is rational and reasonable does anyone continue to subscribe to The Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen?

That is my takeaway after watching Day Five of the 1/6 House select committee’s hearing on the insurrection instigated by the 45th POTUS.

Indeed, Donald Trump keeps insisting the election is being victimized to this day by electoral thieves. You know what? He’s telling the truth! Because it is Donald Trump who is committing the attempted theft!

Just as he blasted the media for putting forth “fake news” while at the same instant questioning whether Barack Obama was qualified to run for and serve as president, Trump is doing the same verbal shuffle with The Big Lie.

The televised hearing today highlighted the testimony of three former Department of Justice officials — including Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting AG at the end of the Trump administration — who told House committee members of Trump’s efforts to subvert the Constitution. These men worked for Trump!

I will admit readily that these hearings have riveted me. They have me transfixed by the testimony. They have demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt in my own mind of the existential threat Donald Trump poses to our democratic process.

But as committee vice chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., pointed out succinctly in her closing remarks, there remain those who will refuse to accept what the rest of the world knows is the truth about Donald Trump.

That he is a dangerous, evil man.

My mind is made up

I don’t want the House hearings to end just yet; I want to hear more from the witnesses summoned by the select 1/6 committee.

This much seems clear to me: My mind is made up. It is settled in my own noggin that Donald J. Trump deserves to be prosecuted for seditious conspiracy, as he plotted to block the “peaceful transition” from his administration to the Joe Biden administration after the 2020 presidential election.

Truth be told, I really don’t need to hear any more from the witnesses. However, I want to hear more.

I must have some sort of political bloodlust coming into play. Well, I don’t care. I have the luxury of passing judgment without hearing all the facts, unlike Attorney General Merrick Garland and his team of prosecutors who are listening to every word during the hearings.

Do I believe AG Garland will do as I wish? I am not going to predict what Garland will do. I know, though, that were I in charge of the Justice Department, I would be drafting criminal complaints to deliver to a grand jury. I then would be preparing my arguments to grand jurors, seeking to persuade them to issue a “true bill” that means an indictment would come forth.

Let’s await the end of this televised portion of the hearings.

I will pray for discernment and wisdom from the Attorney General Garland and hope that it leads him to do what I hope he will do: Indict and then prosecute fully the former president of the United States for seeking inciting an insurrection against the government he swore he would “protect and defend.”

What will the AG decide?

We are all going to know in due course — but it won’t occur within the next few days — what lurks inside the head and the heart of the U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland.

The House select committee examining the insurrection that occurred on 1/6 is going to make a decision after it concludes its testimony-taking from witnesses who saw what happened in the White House on that hideous day.

Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney more or less let it be known what the panel is thinking, which is that Donald J. Trump was criminally liable for what he did to provoke the traitorous mob into attacking the Capitol Building. What Trump did that day, Cheney said, was “illegal” and “immoral.” The illegal part lies at the crux of what Garland is facing.

If the committee determines that the 45th POTUS committed an illegal act, then it falls onto Garland to decide whether the Justice Department should charge him with committing a felony.

It’s never been done before. Thus, AG Garland is facing an unprecedented quandary. Garland has declared he will follow the facts wherever they lead. If they lead his legal team into the Oval Office that day, well, that means an indictment is a cinch.

Garland strikes many of as a careful, thoughtful man, one who is not prone to embark on half-baked fishing expeditions just to make a political point.

You know what I want to see happen. In truth, though, the desires of the public should mean nothing to Garland as he ponders what he should do.

I just want to remind everyone about a fundamental truth that has been repeated publicly to the point of it becoming almost cliche. It is that “no one — not even the president of the United States — is above the law.”

We need answers! Now!

So help me, I could not believe my eyes when I read that the Uvalde police officials at the center of an investigation into what happened in that South Texas community a few days ago had stopped cooperating with state and federal authorities.

Specifically, the stonewalling appears to be occurring within the ranks of the Uvalde Independent School District police department and its chief, Pete Arredondo, who reportedly has gone missing for the past several days.

Meanwhile, rumors and gossip are flying all over the place about what went so terribly wrong with the police response as the lunatic shooter opened fire in a Robb Elementary School classroom, killing 19 precious children and two of their teachers.

A grief-stricken community is demanding answers from the chief. It wants to know why he waited so horribly long to “neutralize” the shooter. It seeks to know whether the department was on site with resource officers. Now come questions about a door that was closed, but not locked.

There appears to be a boatload of deception going on about the response. The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation. The Department of Public Safety and its investigative arm, the Texas Rangers, are on the case, too.

Meanwhile, we have a Uvalde ISD chief of police who’s hiding in the weeds. Come out from your hiding place, Chief Arredondo, and talk to the community you took an oath to protect and serve.

Oh, the irony of racism

Don’t you just marvel at the irony that presents itself at times as we seek to understand our nation’s history?

This particular message showed up on my Facebook feed. It illustrates what happened to a girl named Ruby Bridges, an African American student who sought to enroll in a Louisiana school many decades ago.

She was pelted with rocks, insults and epithets from those who said she didn’t belong in the same classroom with white kids.

Now we have a movement in this country that seeks to keep that historical fact from being taught to today’s youngsters. They fear it would breed “hatred” of their country. Well … no, it wouldn’t. It would seek to connect all the facets of our past and link them to our present day.

What is so wrong with that? Someone will have to explain to me why — as the text notes in the photo — why Grandma and Grandpa want to prevent their grandkids from learning all aspects of this great nation’s history.

Every single great civilization has its blemishes, its dark chapters. We need to pass them on to our children to help them understand fully the path we have taken.

‘Speedy and public trial’?

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial …

— Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

A part of me wants to laugh out loud at that statement from our nation’s governing document. You see, it doesn’t require a speedy and public trial. It merely grants people accused of crimes the “the right” to one.

Unless, of course, “speedy and public” is a code for conviction in the eyes of the accused and his or her legal defense team.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been awaiting a speedy and public trial for seven years. Yep, seven years ago, the newly elected AG became the newly indicted AG when a Collin County grand jury charged him with securities fraud.

The AG is running for re-election to a third term in office. His Republican runoff opponent, Land Commissioner George P. Bush has been trying to make a dent in the AG’s armor by reminding Texas Republicans that they might have a crook working as the state’s top lawyer.

I am afraid George P’s message will go unheeded and that Paxton will be renominated by the party to run for re-election this fall.

This isn’t right. The case has bounced around from court to court. Paxton and his team have employed every legal trick at their disposal to hem and haw their way out of standing trial.

I happen to have faith in our judicial system, even when it stumbles and fumbles along, as it has in this case. I merely want to the case to be adjudicated.

Yes, my faith in the court system has faced serious challenges over many years. O.J. Simpson’s acquittal on a murder charge in 1995 is the most glaring example. The nation watched the sh** show trial drag on for months on end, only to watch in disbelief as the jury returned a not-guilty verdict after four hours of deliberation.

I disagreed with the verdict, but I accepted it. I also understood how the jury could reach the decision it did in so little time, given the defense put on by Simpson’s legal team led by the late Johnnie Cochrane. He planted doubt early on in the minds of the jurors.

But that’s the way it goes in this country.

Paxton should have gone to trial long ago. My own bias tells me he should already be locked up in the slammer. I would accept an acquittal just as I did when O.J. was allowed to walk free and spend the rest of his life “looking for those” who killed his ex-wife and her boyfriend.

I am sure Ken Paxton would embrace publicly the Sixth Amendment’s promise of a speedy and public trial. Except that it wouldn’t serve his political purposes.

Hey, the system ain’t perfect!

Public policy = taxation

Here’s a thought I want to share: If religious organizations are going to bully public officials into following certain policy positions, then they need to be taxed liked any other business.

The San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese has declared its intention to deny House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a devout Catholic — communion because of her pro-choice stance on abortion.

Hold on!

Pelosi’s position on abortion is well-known and has been reported on since before she became a member of Congress. The SF archdiocese, though, has sniffed out an opportunity to make some extra hay over the issue because of that draft Supreme Court opinion that suggests the court is set to overturn the Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

Speaker Pelosi shouldn’t be denied a sacred religious sacrament because of a public policy dispute she might have with the leaders of the church of which she has been a lifelong member.

I should point out, too, that members of Congress, as do virtually members of the federal government, take oaths of loyalty to the Constitution, not to the Bible or any other holy book. The last time I checked, which wasn’t long ago, I determined for the umpteenth time that the Constitution is a secular document.

The Church is treading on a slippery and dangerous slope by denying the speaker the opportunity to partake in holy communion.

But if the Church is allowed to get away with this kind of bullying, then there needs to be a serious debate and a decision on requiring religious organizations to share in the tax burden that falls on the rest of us.

Cruz: from hero to zero

Ted Cruz once was considered a hot-shot legal eagle, a former Texas solicitor general who has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, which for a lawyer is a big deal.

Well, the junior U.S. senator from Texas — a Republican (naturally) — now finds himself the target of an ethics complaint filed by Texas lawyers alleging he went too far in seeking to block the certification of President Biden’s election in November 2020.

The Texas Tribune reports: Lawyers with the 65 Project, an organization aiming to hold attorneys accountable for trying to keep former President Donald Trump in power despite his reelection loss, filed an ethics complaint with the association Wednesday. It cites Cruz’s role in a lawsuit seeking to void absentee ballots, numerous claims he made about voter fraud, plus an attempt to stop four states from using 2020 election results to appoint electors — all of which failed.

“Mr. Cruz knew that the allegations he was echoing had already been reviewed and rejected by courts. And he knew that claims of voter fraud or the election being stolen were false,” the complaint says.

Sheesh! The hits just never stop coming as they regard the Cruz Missile.

The guy who once called Donald Trump a “sniveling coward” has become his most ardent Senate sycophant. He has shrouded his effort to block Biden’s election victory as a search for answers into allegations of widespread voter fraud, that they deserve a complete airing.

Read my lips … Ted: The allegations have been proven time and again to be false. 

Ted Cruz target of bar complaint for role in undermining 2020 results | The Texas Tribune

As the Tribune reported: “The 65 Project is a far-left dark money smear machine run by a who’s who of shameless Democrat hacks,” a Cruz spokesperson said in an email. “They’re not a credible organization and their complaint won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.”

We’ll just have to see about that. I am one Texan who wants some answers into whether this former legal hotshot has shot himself in both feet.

DOJ getting serious? Well …

The U.S. Justice Department has asked the 1/6 House select committee for transcripts. Lots of transcripts. They are taken from testimony collected by the panel in the search for the truth behind the insurrection and the riot that sought to undercut a free, fair and legal presidential election.

I can hear the progressives jumping for joy even from out here in Flyover Country. Fine. Let ’em jump.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has said time and again that he wouldn’t be bullied, coerced, pushed and prodded into acting prematurely in his search for the truth behind what Donald Trump knew on 1/6 and what he did or didn’t do to stop the rioters.

I am taking the AG at his word, which I consider to be quite honorable.

He also has pledged to follow the law “wherever it leads.” That means if he finds enough to recommend an indictment of the former POTUS, then that’s what he’ll do.

Let’s first try to get our arms around what Garland is trying to do. He is trying to gather information to help him determine what to do with it all. If there’s enough to indict Donald Trump, he’ll proceed. If there isn’t enough to do so, well, he’ll proceed down that particular path.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party keeps yapping that Garland is moving too slowly. I wish they would keep their traps shut and let the man take care of business in the way that will guarantee a thorough outcome. 

I trust the attorney general implicitly to conduct his investigation with due diligence and professionalism. That he is seeking transcripts from the 1/6 committee tells me the AG might be getting closer to making a key decision on the future of the 45th president of the United States.

My hope is that the future forestalls any effort for the ex-POTUS to seek public office ever again. Then again, I am not the individual in charge of making that call. I’ll leave it that matter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.