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OPINION

GOP Lawmaker Threatens MLB With Likely Unconstitutional Bill Revoking Antitrust Exemption After Trump Jr. Goes Nuts

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In a highly unusual and likely unconstitutional move a U.S. Congressman is threatening to revoke Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption in retaliation for MLB’s just-announced decision to pull the famed All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signing a massive voter suppression bill into law.

“In light of @MLB’s stance to undermine election integrity laws, I have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to remove Major League Baseball’s federal antitrust exception,” Rep. Jeff Duncan, Republican of South Carolina tweeted at 3:59 PM Friday.

“An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law,” added Duncan whose Twitter bio ironically describes him as a “Lover of football.”

Rep. Duncan is packing a major punch with his tweets, by falsely implying that all the Georgia voter suppression law does is require a driver’s license to vote (it is one of if not the greatest voter suppression laws of modern times.) And anyone can pick a poll to make their claim sound true, but laws shouldn’t be created solely based on majority opinion.

Voter ID laws disproportionally and negatively impact Black voters, which is why Democrats oppose them. The number of people who attempt to fraudulently vote under someone else’s name is so minuscule, why would anyone want to disenfranchise millions of other voters to do so – unless they are Republicans and know they will lose unless they make the vote unfair.

Strangely, Duncan, an anti-LGBTQ extremist who in 2018 filed a bill that would ban U.S. embassies from flying the LGBT pride flag, appears to have tweeted out his unconstitutional threat in response to this tweet from Donald Trump, Jr.:

How do we even know Duncan saw Jr.’s tweet? Because he tagged him in his own tweet:

Duncan apparently has a problem understanding the First Amendment. Aside from today’s misstep, also back in 2018 the South Carolina Republican Congressman was roundly mocked when he falsely claimed the First Amendment applied to Facebook, and demanded conservatives’ free-speech rights be “restored.”

Here’s Vox’s Ian Millhiser, author of two books on the U.S. Supreme Court, including most recently, “The Agenda: What Republicans Will Do with the Supreme Court.”

Needless to say, the response to Rep. Duncan’s abusive threat, a possible First Amendment violation, was strong.

 

 

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OPINION

Sonia Sotomayor Rips Brett Kavanaugh With Warning New Justices Are ‘Willing to Overrule Precedent’

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered a strong warning to the American people and a strong rebuke of  Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the newest far right wing Justices on the Trump-shaped conservative-majority Court in a blistering but brilliant dissent handed down Thursday.

Justice Sotomayor warned this newly-constructed Court, unevenly weighted with six justices (ranging from highly conservative to far right wing religious extremist,) is “willing to overrule precedent without even acknowledging it is doing so, much less providing any special justification.”

That warning is similar to those posed by legal experts from the left who were extremely opposed to then-President Donald Trump’s final Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Justice Barrett’s judicial opinions made clear she will not honor precedent, known as stare decisis. Without that legal guardrail many decidedly settled law targets of conservatives, from the right to choose an abortion to the right to marry, could be struck down by the “Trump Court.”

The case Justice Sotomayor used to deliver her warning and her criticism of Justice Kavanaugh, is Jones v. Mississippi. It centers on a 15-year old boy who murdered his grandfather, claimed self defense, and was sentenced to life in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled life in prison for minors convicted of “non-homicide crimes” constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, unless that minor has been found to be “incorrigible,” or unable to be rehabilitated. (The ACLU’s position is regardless of the type of crime, life in prison for minors is cruel and unusual.)

On Thursday Justice Kavanaugh, who himself has a history of disturbing acts in college, as his confirmation hearing proved, wrote the 6-3 majority opinion in which he upheld the lower court ruling that the defendant was rightly sentenced to life in prison despite no finding of whether or not he is able to be rehabilitated.

“How low this Court’s respect for stare decisis has sunk,” Justice Sotomayor warned.

“Not long ago, that doctrine was recognized as a pillar of the ‘rule of law,’ critical to ‘keep the scale of justice even and steady, and not liable to waver with every new judge’s opinion,'” she wrote, citing Kavanaugh’s own opinion in a previous ruling.

“Now, it seems, the Court is willing to overrule precedent without even acknowledging it is doing so, much less providing any special justification. It is hard to see how that approach is ‘founded in the law rather than in the proclivities of individuals,'” she added, again using Kavanaugh’s own words against him.

She called the ruling a “contortion” of previous rulings, and writes: “As this Court has consistently reiterated, ‘a departure from precedent demands special justification.'”

“The Court offers no such justification today. Nor could it,” she charged.

“Instead of addressing these factors, the Court simply rewrites Miller and Montgomery,” she observes, naming the two cases that provide the precedent today’s ruling effectively overrules, “to say what the Court now wishes they had said, and then denies that it has done any such thing.”

Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern calls the ruling in the case “barbarous,” Sotomayor’s warning “ominous,” and her criticism of Kavanaugh “one of the most savage passages she has ever written.”

University of Michigan Law School Asst. Professor Leah Litman:

The U.S. Supreme Court has now made emphatically clear it is an activist court and “settled law” is fair game.

Civil rights activists, and the American people who value their rights, consider yourselves warned.

 

Image via Shutterstock

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OPINION

‘Completely Broken’: 5 Major Weekend Shootings Leave Many Furious That Republicans Continue to Block Gun Reform

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A high school football team captain signed to play college ball, and a high school basketball player are two of the three people who were shot and killed at a shooting in Austin, Texas Sunday. Austin was one of five major shootings this weekend. Columbus, Ohio, LaPlace and Shreveport, Louisiana, and Kenosha, Wisconsin had mass shootings over the weekend, following a horrific mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana that left eight dead and seven wounded.

In Austin the suspect is “a former Travis County Sheriff’s Office detective who was charged with sexual assault of a child,” CNN reports.

Five mourners, including a 12-year old child, at a Columbus, Ohio vigil commemorating the murder of a man one year earlier were shot. One woman driving by the scene was shot in the head. She died.

Also Sunday, a Kenosha, Wisconsin shooter killed three people and injured three others. A “person of interest” has been arrested and will be charged with one count of first degree intentional homicide.

Saturday night in LaPlace, Louisiana six people, all children, were shot at a 12-year old’s birthday party. None of the injuries were fatal. The suspected shooter was also a child. And in Shreveport, Louisiana, late Sunday five people were shot and hospitalized.

The Gun Violence Archive doesn’t even count the Austin, Texas killings as a “mass shooting” because it only includes events where at least four people were shot. Nor does it list the Ft. Worth, Texas 3-year old who shot and killed herself Sunday afternoon at a local park, or last weekend’s fatal shooting of an 11-year old boy by a 9-year old boy at a Dallas Walmart parking lot.

This weekend’s five major shootings are a slice of all the gun violence over the weekend. Every day on average there are 316 people shot, including 106 who are shot and killed.

Sunday was the 108th day of the year. The Gun Violence Archive lists 152 mass shootings through Sunday.

On social media Americans are reeling in anger over the explosion of gun violence just as some feel the coronavirus pandemic is slowly approaching some semblance of starting to be controlled as more and more people are getting vaccinated. (Sunday saw another 43,181 new cases, a dramatic drop from Friday’s 81,600 and Saturday’s 63,627.)

Others point to the Texas House this week passing legislation that would end the requirement for gun licenses, allowing unlicensed open or concealed carry to be legal.

 

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OPINION

Internet Slams ‘Idiot’ Senator Who Tweeted Graphics Attacking Infrastructure Bill: ‘Are These Supposed to Be Bad Things???’

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U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is continuing her agenda of actively attacking everything Democrats do, to the point she is becoming like a more experienced Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert.

On Wednesday Blackburn posted a Twitter thread filled with graphics she appeared to see as attacking President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill. As the far-right Tennessee conservative may learn, the legislation is extraordinarily popular with the American people – Democratic and Republican voters alike.

Blackburn is among the most extreme GOP Senators, with just four (Ernst, Cruz, Cotton, and Inhofe) being even more far-right than she is. She is also rated below average in leadership, according to GovTrack, a non-partisan website that tracks Congress.

Here’s Blackburn’s “attack”:

The DNC liked it so much they “stole” it (her logo is still at the top):

It didn’t go well for her. Take a look:

 

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