In Which the Court Gets One Right

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Bladensburg Peace Cross is not an unconstitutional favoring by government of a particular religion, reversing the 4th Circuit. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

This is the privately done monument that was

built in 1925 and paid for by local families, businesses, and the American Legion to honor 49 World War I veterans from Prince George’s County [in Maryland]. But the 40-foot cross sits on a now-busy highway median owned since 1961 by a state commission that pays for its maintenance and upkeep.

“Radical-Right” and the Left

The Washington Post ran a panic-mongering op-ed about the Supreme Court last week.

Last month, the new conservative majority—being driven by Justices Neil M Gorsuch and Brett M Kavanaugh—signaled that this change is coming. In overruling a 40-year-old precedent governing how state governments can be sued, the new court majority, all of whom pledged reverence for precedent during their Senate confirmation hearings—sang a different song: “stare decisis is ‘not an inexorable command,’ … and is ‘at its weakest’ when interpreting the Constitution.” This was the second time in less than a year that the conservative majority has tossed aside decades-old precedent.

Appeals to Courts Vice Voters Vice….

Wisconsin’s Progressive-Democrats failed at the polls, for all that they won the Governor’s and Attorney General’s chairs in 2018, so they tried to get the courts to impose their policies by judicial fiat.  That failed, too, so now what?  How can these Know Betters get their plans imposed on the unwashed citizenry?

It seems that the duly elected State legislature and duly elected State governor had passed a number of laws that limited the power of the Governor and the State Attorney General.  The fact that these laws were enacted after those 2018 elections and before the new Governor and Attorney General took office was somehow supposed to delegitimize those laws.  Or so the Progressive-Democrat Governor and AG insisted.  The people were still speaking, but they should not be listened to.

Charging Assange

Julian Assange, of Manning and Wikileaks infamy, has been indicted on violations of the Espionage Act in addition to the existing charges pending against him.

Naturally, the NLMSM is in an uproar over this putative attack on a free press.

…reignited debate over whether pursuing Mr. Assange for publishing classified information could lead to other cases against journalists who receive government secrets.

Yewbetcha

Justice Clarence Thomas, on the matter of judicial precedent, as quoted by Myron Magnet in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal:

“Stare decisis is not an inexorable command,” Justice Thomas observes in [Franchise Tax Board v] Hyatt. He has said elsewhere: “I think that the Constitution itself, the written document, is the ultimate stare decisis.”

What he said.

A Textualist Justice Makes Folks Uncomfortable

Apple v Pepper is an antitrust case in which the plaintiffs argue that Apple’s requirement that all iPhone apps must be sold through Apple’s app store is a monopoly that Apple abuses by charging excessive commissions on app sales.

The Wall Street Journal has its editorial knickers in a twist because Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, rejected Apple’s plaint that the case be dismissed. The result is that the case continues in trial court.  Yet the editors are upset that Kavanaugh’s ruling “gutted four decades of precedent,” as though precedent cannot be erroneous and so must be unchanging for the ages.

Censorship Continued

The Poynter Institute, an organization that masquerades itself as a…watchdog…built a list of what it claimed to be unreliable news outlets and then urged censorship through boycotting these offending outlets. “Unreliable,” mind you, was determined by Poynter personnel.  Then they got caught, and they’re claiming to have withdrawn their list.

Here are two critical clues to the nature of their list. One is [emphasis added]:

…initially released a list of more than 500 “unreliable” news outlets purportedly “built from pre-existing databases compiled by journalists, fact-checkers, and researchers around the country.”

Even those purported researchers were carefully unnamed.

Censorship in the Patent and Trademark Office

The Supreme Court has heard the oral arguments for Iancu v Brunetti, a case I wrote about a bit ago.  Hadley Arkes’ op-ed in The Wall Street Journal shed additional light on the matter, which centers on whether Iancu’s business can trademark the name of his business, Friends U Can’t Trust, with its acronym stand-in.

Certain words are fixed in the language with the moral functions of “commending” and “condemning,” and some of them have a special edge….

You bet.

The Attorney General and Immigration Judges

John Yoo, who was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, has reminded us of the authority of the AG vis-à-vis immigration judges.

He [the AG] has the power to overrule immigration judges. Immigration judges have been making mistakes….

Aside from the immigration judges’ error rate, it’s really quite clear that the AG can overrule them. Not only are immigration judges not Article III judges, they’re employees of the Department of Justice—they work for the AG. Beyond that, they’re not even judges; they’re Special Inquiry Officers.