“Court packing” double talk from the devious left

April 11, 2016

Linda Valdez, the far-left editorial writer at the Periódico de la República de Arizona (Arizona Republic) is having anxiety attacks over what she repeatedly refers to as “packing the court.” A piece of legislation (HB 2537) winding its way through the chambers allows for the addition of two new Supreme Court justices on the Arizona high court, expanding the number from the current five to seven members. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey would make the appointments filling the two vacancies if the bill wins approval.

The court building and bench were constructed to accommodate the increased number of justices.

SRAZ currently takes no position on the plan. But it’s interesting to ponder if Valdez would be so indignant if the date were 1937 and it was the U.S. Supreme Court that was under consideration for expansion to as many as 15 justices.

That was the Machiavellian scheme of Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt who planned to expand the U.S. Supreme Court, allegedly to make it more efficient. Critics charged that Roosevelt was trying to “pack” the court and neutralize Supreme Court justices hostile to his radically liberal “New Deal” of overreaching  federal programs. During the previous two years, the high court struck down several key pieces of New Deal legislation on the grounds that the laws delegated an unconstitutional amount of authority to the executive branch and the federal government.

In an obsessive power grab, Roosevelt then attempted to mandate retirement at full pay for all members of the court over age 70. If a justice refused to retire, an “assistant” with full voting rights was to be appointed, ensuring Roosevelt a liberal majority. Most Republicans and many Democrats in Congress opposed the so-called “court-packing” plan — with the Senate striking it down by a vote of 70 to 22. Ultimately, Roosevelt nominated his first Supreme Court justice, and by 1942 all but two of the justices were his appointees.

Our bet is Linda Valdez would have been all too happy to see such liberal activism from the executive branch in reconfiguring the federal judiciary.

After Franklin Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented fourth term, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was passed, officially limiting presidential tenure in office to two terms of four years each.

Valdez doubtless would have opposed that curtailment of the “president for life” measure, as long as the president was a like-minded liberal.

Smithsonian.com has a wealth of information on FDR and his audacious court packing scheme.


Dem think is mind-bogglingly arrogant

April 6, 2016

The Politico article Clinton aides unite on FBI legal strategy, appears innocuous enough. It describes the fact that a quartet of Hillary Clinton’s former staffers are using the same lawyer during the FBI probe into her reckless use of a private, unsecured server, based in her home — compromising national security data.

Readers must slog through over a dozen paragraphs before the interesting details regarding lawyer Beth Wilkinson emerge. She is not only a high dollar Clinton donor, but also gives generously to the Democrat Party. Potential conflicts aside, Wilkinson is the wife of CNN leftwing political analyst and former “Meet the Press” host, David Gregory. You might recall the dynamic duo send their children to the exclusive and heavily protected Sidwell Friends school in Washington, D.C., but hypocritically want to restrict the rest of us from possessing firearms. 

Have some good rainy day fun visiting the Sunlight Foundation. It’s equality entertaining when the sun is shining — as is forecast today.

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants,” remains a much quoted observation of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. (1856 – 1941)


Why Justice Scalia mattered

March 30, 2016

On Tuesday we witnessed the full impact of the unexpected loss of Justice Antonin Scalia who died February 13. The U.S. Supreme Court rendered a 4-4 decision on a challenge to organized labor, giving unions a major victory in a case they had previously seemed certain to lose.

The deadlocked decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association upheld a lower court ruling dealing with union fees and is a substantial setback for union foes. Lyle Denniston writing for SCOTUS blog provides an opinion analysis.

A decision in favor of the petitioners would have eliminated what’s known as agency fees –– money paid to unions by non-union members.

Plaintiffs in the case argued that agency fees presented a “significant impingement” on their First Amendment rights of free speech and free association, since collective bargaining is unarguably political. In negotiating with school boards, for example, unions can take positions on issues such as tenure that nonmembers may not support, so teachers who decide not to join the local union should not have to contribute to those costs.

The California Teachers Association and its parent union, the NEA, argued that the fees are not a violation of First Amendment rights because a portion is reimbursed annually, claiming the money covers things that benefit non-union members.

In 1977, the Supreme Court’s decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, held that no one can be forced to join a union or contribute to its political activities, but that teachers unions can charge nonmembers a fee to cover the costs of nonpolitical activities, oddly including collective bargaining.

In recent years, public sector unions have experienced numerous setbacks, with Republican governors and state legislatures successfully challenging collective bargaining — even in Michigan and Wisconsin, regarded as longtime labor strongholds.

The Friedrichs case was not the first to challenge union fees. Last year, in Harris v. Quinn, the justices ruled 5-4, that Medicaid home health workers were not full public employees and therefore could not be compelled to pay collective bargaining union fees –– a  decision that many Supreme Court watchers viewed as a sign the court seemed poised to overturn the precedent set by Abood.

Open Secrets (Center for Responsive Politics) reveals the $19.2 million the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, teachers unions contributed in the 2012 elections and their continuing donations in 2016. Democrats and liberal groups are their favored beneficiaries. Since 1989, the NEA has been the fourth biggest donor out of all organizations tracked by CRP.


AZ Gov. Ducey signs ballot harvesting / felony bill

March 10, 2016

Ballot harvesting — an issue that gained prominence after a three-year mission exposing it by former Maricopa County Republican chairman A. J. LaFaro — was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Stating HB 2023 maintains election integrity, Gov. Ducey, noted the bill will allow judges to impose a one-year prison term and up to $150,000 fine for the practice employed by political operatives who collect mail-in ballots requested by other voters.  

Here‘s an example of ballot stuffing caught on video. When questioned, the man carrying the boxful of ballots to be put into the voting machine says, “Go F**k yourself, Gringo!”

It’s no surprise the daily newspaper’s left-wing columnist EJ Montini finds a way to characterize this bill that maintains voter integrity, as “voter suppression.”

Liberals always have a sensationalized fallback position when it comes to questionable voting practices.  The guarantee of secure elections should be a fundamental expectation of each and every voter. American citizens, even Democrats, should accept nothing less.


iPhone-banning Bill Montgomery inconsistent on terror threat

February 28, 2016

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, released a Feb. 24, 2016 statement advising that his office would stop issuing iPhones to its employees as a result of the company’s current legal dispute with the FBI. Montgomery attempted to defend his decision in an interview on Fox News

Fox and Friends (video under link) weekend anchor Clayton Morris asked Montgomery which phone operating system he would use, since both Google and Microsoft have also come out publicly in support of Apple’s decision not to create a way to circumvent the iPhone’s security for the FBI. Montgomery oddly responded by saying if that is the case, it should give the U.S. Congress the motivation to “reset everything back to where it was.”

After Morris made the point that many iPhone owners don’t want the federal government to have access to their iPhone, Montgomery responded by saying he has more faith in the U.S. Constitution to protect a person’s privacy rather than “some benevolent corporate CEO who thinks he’s the privacy messiah.”

Although Montgomery made news by boycotting iPhones, saying that “Apple is on the side of the terrorists,” he neglects to make the connection that his political associates John McCain and Jeff Flake were instrumental in forming the pro-amnesty Gang of Eight. Along with Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Marco Rubio and a host of other liberals and RINOs — they have worked to keep our border open to illegal invaders including terrorists.

A 2015 Washington Post report details the apprehensions of terrorists at the Texas border. In 2011 Seeing Red AZ posted Hezbollah on our doorstep: Radical Muslims in border towns. This is not a new phenomenon as evidenced by this San Diego ABC 10 News report detailing the Shi’a Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah’s long established foothold in the city. As far back as 2001 WND reported that Middle Eastern illegals find easy entrance into U.S. from Mexico.

Montgomery, his employees, the citizens of Maricopa County and the state of Arizona would be better served if he showed some backbone and called out Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake for their overt efforts in leaving us all vulnerable to terrorism. iPhones are the least of it.


Sandra O’Connor comes clean

February 19, 2016

Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sends best wishes to Barack Obama 

During a Wednesday interview with Fox 10 News, retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor chimed in regarding the vacancy on the court’s bench created by the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I think we need somebody there to do the job now and let’s get on with it,” lectured O’Connor. The Arizona lawyer duped President Ronald Reagan into thinking she was a conservative in 1981 when he appointed her as the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. O’Connor, now 85, reveled in the role of swing vote, frequently breaking with Republican principles and siding with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal former ACLU lawyer and Clinton appointee.

O’Connor said Obama has an important responsibility to fulfill and implied he should not be impeded in his decision. “You just have to pick the best person you can under the circumstances, as the appointing authority must do,” she said. “It’s an important position and one that we care about as a nation and as a people. And I wish the president well as he makes choices and goes down that line.”

Signaling the type of choice Obama will make in replacing Justice Scalia, the man who refused to attend the funeral of conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will not attend Scalia’s memorial service, either — opting instead to travel on Saturday, to visit with the Communist dictator Castro brothers in Cuba. 


AZ Justice Bolick has impartiality problem

February 17, 2016

Two Arizona Court of Appeals Judges have requested a special Supreme Court judicial panel to affirm a lower court’s decision that it was unconstitutional for the 2011 state legislature to increase their annual contribution rate to their pension fund. The current justices are all covered by the plan.

In announcing the Jan. 6, 2016 appointment of Goldwater Institute lawyer and close Jeb Bush associate, Clint Bolick to the Arizona Supreme Court, Gov. Doug Ducey praised him with these words:

“Clint is nationally renowned and respected as a constitutional law scholar and as a champion of liberty. He brings extensive experience and expertise, an unwavering regard for the rule of law and a firm commitment to the state and citizens of Arizona. I’m confident Clint will serve impartially and honorably in this important role.”

Though Bolick ditched his actual party affiliation to promote himself as an ”Independent,” that nimble decision doesn’t lessen the baggage he brings to the court as it relates to this specific issue.

The Goldwater Institute — a Libertarian think tank — where Bolick was employed for nearly a decade, has been a steadfast advocate of the law requiring judges, elected officials, police officers and firefighters to pay a greater share of their benefits. We’re not taking a position on the pension matter here. Raising the issue that Bolick can’t have it both ways stands as a key consideration. Impartiality means no preconceived notions exist to cloud the justice’s judgment.  That clearly is not the case here.

Brand new Justice Bolick’s previously stated views that the law does not conflict with either the Constitution or contract law, precludes him from claiming impartiality.  Though he has dug his heels in and says he will be part of the panel, he should recuse himself from hearing this case and start his judicial career on a  more auspicious note.


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