NBC News’ Pete Williams has won three national news Emmy awards. He has a reputation for offering very factual reports with little to no personal opinion. Williams for decades has primarily covered the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Department.
Monday morning on MSNBC Williams gave his report on the Supreme Court’s order in the “Sweetcakes” case, involving an Oregon Christian couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The case is exceptionally more complicated than that – including alleged doxxing of the same-sex couple and the subsequent death threats they say they received.
The U.S. Supreme Court set aside the $135,000 the anti-gay bakers, Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweetcakes by Melissa, were ordered to pay to the same-sex couples they refused, and told the lower court to re-examine the case in light of the SCOTUS ruling in favor of Colorado anti-gay Christian baker Jack Phillips – which the court had originally made clear applied only to the Phillips case. The Court ruled Phillips was the victim of anti-religious animus by the state.
Now, Pete Williams appears to be wondering about the Supreme Court’s order, sending the case back to a lower court for review.
Asked what today’s decision means, Williams responds, “I’m not sure,” then delivered his report.
“So today the Supreme Court sent this Oregon case back with instructions to reconsider in light of the Colorado case, but none of the infirmities that existed in the Colorado case are present in the Oregon case, so I’m not exactly sure what the Oregon courts are going to conclude from this,” Williams told viewers.
“My guess is that if the state sues again, and it probably will, the Oregon courts will rule the same way and the case will come back here,” meaning to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t know what the [Supreme] Court gains here other than perhaps time, and letting other cases like this percolate up,” Williams said.
It would appear the Supreme Court is attempting to lay the groundwork for special religious rights that would supersede the rights of LGBTQ people to not be discriminated against.
It would appear Williams might agree.
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Legal Experts Blast ‘Jerk Gorsuch’ for Refusing to Wear a Mask – Forcing Sotomayor to Stay in Chambers
During the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the Biden administration’s vaccine or test mandate in certain workplaces earlier this month some court observers noted every justice was masked – except one: Neil Gorsuch. They also noticed that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was participating from her chambers via telephone, while her co-workers were seated as usual on the bench.
“Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from COVID-19,” NPR reported Tuesday. “Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked. Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up.”
“They all did,” NPR’s Nina Totemberg noted. “Except Gorsuch, who, as it happens, sits next to Sotomayor on the bench.”
Public outcry was swift, and it includes legal experts:
“As a member of the Supreme Ct bar, I condemn in the strongest terms possible Justice Gorsuch refusing to wear a mask to protect his high risk colleague, Justice Sotomayor, from being killed by Covid,” wrote Richard Signorelli, a civil and criminal litigation attorney and former Asst. U.S. Attorney. “Shame on him.”
Constitutional law scholar and Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, who has argued before the Supreme Court 36 times, called Justice Gorsuch a “jerk.”
“Gorsuch’s refusal to mask up on the bench even when asked by the Chief Justice to do so in order that the diabetic and hence immunocompromised Justice Sotomayor could attend in person shows just what kind of jerk Gorsuch is,” Tribe tweeted. He added he wished Gorsuch were not an alumnus of Harvard Law.
“Personally, I feel like we’re entitled to expect our Supreme Court justices to be better role models,” wrote former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a well-known MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and law professor. “Or, at least, to have an ounce of decency. Putting on a mask would have cost Gorsuch nothing, but then he didn’t care about risk to front line workers, either,” she noted subtly, after the conservative Court voted 6-3 to block OSHA’s vaccine or test mandate.
USA Today columnist Connie Schultz quoted Dahlia Lithwick, an attorney and author of “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence,” from Lithwick’s Slate column:
“The real problem with the court’s masks-optional policy? It reflects the court’s much larger rules-optional policy on everything pertaining to judicial conduct.” – @Dahlialithwick https://t.co/B8mZKymjaP
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) January 18, 2022
“Gorsuch should be the one who is forced to isolate, not Sotomayor,” notes NBC News and MSNBC Legal Contributor Katie S. Phang.
Legal journalist Cristian Farias, a former New York Times editorial writer last week commented on Gorsuch and his refusal to wear a mask:
A couple of years ago, Neil Gorsuch wrote a whole book lamenting the loss of civility in public life. In it, he quotes a rule George Washington is said to have learned as a child:
“Bedew no man’s face with your spittle, by approaching too near him when you speak.”
Kid you not. https://t.co/Aicgtcolh5
— Cristian Farias (@cristianafarias) January 11, 2022
Sinema ‘Weighing’ Senate Speech Against Changing Filibuster for Voting Rights as Biden Visits Hill to Meet With Dems
President Joe Biden Thursday afternoon will make a rare trip to Capitol Hill, where he will attend a regular Democratic luncheon with the singular purpose of shaking hands and twisting arms, hoping to convince the lawmakers to pass his voting rights legislation: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Conspicuous in her absence likely will be U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema who may be on the Senate floor when the President of the United States comes to meet with members of her own party.
The Arizona Democrat is “weighing” delivering a speech “against changing the rules for voting rights, per two Senate sources,” Politico’s Tara Palmieri reports.
One of those sources, Palmieri adds, says “Sinema is having Joe Biden for lunch.”
President Biden served as a U.S. Senator for 36 years before being elected Vice President, and subsequently President. Sinema served six years in the House and is a freshman Senator, first elected in 2018.
Sen. Sinema’s top donors, according to Open Secrets include a Texas-based tax software firm, a private equity firm, and Goldman Sachs, the multi-national investment giant.
‘Hideous Coward’: Critics Blast ‘Disgusting Fraud’ Lindsey Graham for Accusing Biden of Politicizing the Insurrection
After President Joe Biden delivered what some are calling his best speech ever, commemorating the one-year anniversary of Trump supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol – an insurrection and attempted coup – Senator Lindsey Graham served up a horrific attack on the American President, and is being highly criticized for it.
“What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden,” Sen. Graham tweeted. “I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried?”
Tom Nichols, a U.S. Naval War College professor and expert with a lengthy résumé on Russia, national security, and nuclear weapons, slammed the Republican from South Carolina as a “hideous coward.”
Amy Siskind, whose work documenting the fascism of the Trump presidency gained national attention, likewise labeled Graham as an “unpatriotic coward.”
“Trying to prevent the certification of the election was done by ONE side and it wasn’t the left,” The Atlantic’s Molly Jong-Fast replied to Graham. “Also Watching Republicans turn against democracy instead of disavowing trumpism is pretty depressing.”
Political commentator Keith Olbermann minced no words: “So your party’s attempt to overthrow democracy was a non-partisan event? Once you were a Senator, grudgingly respected by your opponents. Now you are a Trump Whore. Flee the country.”
Slate’s Will Saletan:
It’s tragic that the Afghan government collapsed and that we had to abandon so many Afghans, after Biden withdrew in compliance with the deal Trump signed.
It’s even more dismaying that an American senator cares more about Afghanistan than about an attack on the United States.
— Will Saletan (@saletan) January 6, 2022
“Yes, the Taliban loves broadcasting speeches by American presidents, that’s a terrific point,” wrote historian Kevin Kruse, mocking Graham, who’s supposedly an expert on foreign affairs.
Some other responses:
So you are outraged over politicization and then go and do the same thing all in one tweet. Disgusting fraud.
— Tim Hannan (@TimHannan) January 6, 2022
I’m pretty sure Jan. 6th was politicized the moment your political base attempted to siege the Capitol with an intent to kill the Vice President.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) January 6, 2022
“Trump and I, we’ve had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it. From my point of view, he’s been a consequential president, but today, first thing you’ll see. All I can say is a count me out. Enough is enough.” Lindsey Graham Speech January 6, 2021
— Outspoken (@Out5p0ken) January 6, 2022
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