By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer
3 minutes ago
TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey’s highest court opened the door Wednesday to making the state the second in the nation to allow gay marriage, ruling
that lawmakers must offer homosexuals either marriage or something like it, such as civil unions.
N.J. court opens door to gay marriage – Yahoo! News
Analysis of political implications of the decision from Glenn Greenwald, posted at Crooks and Liars:
(1) There is nothing new here. The ruling today is almost identical to what the Vermont Supreme Court ruled seven years ago, back in 1999 — namely, that the state constitution requires that same-sex couples have the same rights and privileges as married couples, but it is up to the democratic processes (the legislature) to decide whether to allow gay couples to “marry” (as opposed to enter civil unions).
(2) Today’s decision is very limited in scope and reach. After the Vermont ruling, the Vermont legislature enacted a domestic partnership bill (signed into law by then-Gov. Howard Dean) in order to comply with the court decision. That bill gave full rights to same-sex domestic partnerships but did not legalize gay marriage, and it thus had no impact on anyone other than Vermont residents. That is almost certain to happen here.
(3) The decision today is entirely consistent with the democratic will of New Jersey residents. The New Jersey legislature already enacted a domestic partnership bill two years ago which recognizes, and grants a whole array of marital rights to, same-sex couples. But the way the laws were written, some rights were still assigned only to “married” couples. The court decision today simply requires that those same-sex partnerships have all of the rights which are given to married couples. But New Jersey voters, through their representatives, already approved of recognition of same-sex relationships two years ago.
(4) Finally, a majority of Americans have long (since at least 2004) approved of civil unions of the sort which this decision mandates. The decision is purely within the mainstream of American beliefs. It is those who oppose not just gay marriages, but also civil unions, who are on the fringe. Polls even show that the anti-gay-marriage referenda which Republicans placed on the ballot this year in states such as Virginia and Wisconson have far less support than they did in the past. The ability of Bush followers to distract from their ineptitude and corruption by demonizing gay people and exploiting the gay marriage issue is rapidly diminishing.
“When does civil rights get put on the ballot for everyone to vote on?” said Jim Singletary, 44, of Salem, who married his longtime partner, Jim Maynard, last year.
By Brooke Donald, Associated Press Writer | July 12, 2006
BOSTON –Massachusetts lawmakers ended debate on proposed constitutional amendments Wednesday before dealing with the most volatile issue on their agenda: a proposal to outlaw gay marriage in the only state where it is legal.
The move to recess until Nov. 9 put off the decision on the politically charged issue until after the general election.
Senate President Robert Travaglini had said he intended to bring all 20 proposed amendments to a vote, but had warned lawmakers might not be able to get to every proposed amendment on Wednesday.
The House gallery erupted in applause after the vote to recess was announced.
Top court upholds no-knock police search
By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 16, 1:21 AM ET
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court made it easier Thursday for police to barge into homes and seize evidence without knocking or waiting, a sign of the court’s new conservatism with Samuel Alito on board.
The court’s five-member conservative majority, anchored by new Chief Justice John Roberts and Alito, said that police blunders should not result in “a get-out-of-jail-free card” for defendants.
Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings requiring officers with search warrants to knock and announce themselves to avoid running afoul of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.
“The knock-and-announce rule is dead in the United States,” said David Moran, a Wayne State University professor who represented Hudson. “There are going to be a lot more doors knocked down. There are going to be a lot more people terrified and humiliated.”
S.D. House Approves Abortion Ban Bill
By CHET BROKAW
The Associated Press
Friday, February 24, 2006; 4:38 PM
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota lawmakers approved a ban on nearly all abortions Friday, setting up a deliberate frontal assault on Roe v. Wade at a time when some activists see the U.S. Supreme Court as more willing than ever to overturn the 33-year-old decision.
Republican Gov. Mike Rounds said he was inclined to sign the bill, which would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to save the woman’s life. The measure would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.
Looks like the people who want to take away women’s privacy and freedom didn’t waste any time in putting the wheels in motion on plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. I bet it already feels like Roe is overturned to the women of South Dakota. This ban will outlaw abortion altogether without an exception to protect women’s lives and with no exception for women whose health is in danger or are pregnant due to rape or incest!
not just for women and not just because of his views on abortion rights… but for gays and blacks and everyone who isn’t a white christian.
Alito on His Way to Confirmation
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 31 minutes ago
WASHINGTON – Samuel Anthony Alito Jr., the son of an Italian immigrant and a longtime lawyer, prosecutor and judge, is poised to take his place as the 110th Supreme Court justice behind what is expected to be the most partisan victory for a high court nominee in modern history.
“There is no consensus that he will allow the court to perform its vital role in continuing the march of progress toward justice and equal opportunity,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
The Vote Of A Lifetime
Many people seem curious or even skeptical why United States Senators believe it’s so important to take a stand against the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court — why we’re willing to take on a fight that conventional wisdom suggests we will lose.
The reality is simple. We care about the future of our country.
We care about the millions of Americans who expect Congress to stand up and fight for their rights and their freedoms, and we also know that the Supreme Court, again and again, is the battlefield on which those rights and freedoms are decided.
So let’s get this straight. The time to fight is now – before we make the irreversible decision of confirming a new Supreme Court Justice. When you’re talking about the Supreme Court, you don’t live to fight another day. It’s a zero sum game. Once Judge Alito becomes Justice Alito, there’s no turning back the Senate confirmation vote. We don’t get to ‘take a mulligan’ when choosing a Supreme Court Justice. The direction our country takes for the next thirty years is being set now. Will it matter if we speak up after the Supreme Court has granted the executive the right to use torture, or to eavesdrop without warrants? Will it matter if we speak up only after a woman’s right to privacy has been taken away? Will history record what we say after the courthouse door is slammed in the faces of women, minorities, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor? No. History will record what we say and what we do now.
Read the rest of it at the Huffington Post.
Coulter Jokes Justice Should Be Poisoned
Fri Jan 27, 12:10 PM ET
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, speaking at a traditionally black college, joked that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned.
Coulter had told the Philander Smith College audience Thursday that more conservative justices were needed on the Supreme Court to change the current law on abortion. Stevens is one of the court’s most liberal members.
“We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee,” Coulter said.
US anti-abortion movement sees victory near
42 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Thirty-three years after a Supreme Court decision gave women the right to abortions, anti-abortion activists expressed “new hope” that they would soon be able to outlaw the practice.
No, not the woman who ran out of the confirmation hearings in tears, though that did make for some good soap opera drama, didn’t it? The Fat lady is about to sing, signifying it’s over. Despinte all the drama from activists, Alito looks to be headed to confirmation.
Alito Likely To Become A Justice
Liberals See Slim Chance Of Blocking Confirmation
By Charles Babington and Jo Becker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, January 13, 2006; Page A01
Samuel A. Alito Jr., an appellate judge who could shift the Supreme Court significantly to the right, appeared headed for the high court yesterday after completing three days of interrogation without a serious misstep.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee made a final stab at challenging Alito on presidential powers, the death penalty and other matters. But their efforts sometimes seemed halfhearted, and even the most liberal advocacy groups acknowledged privately that they saw slim hopes of preventing his confirmation later this month in the full Senate, where Republicans hold 55 of the 100 seats.
Alito Leaves Door Open to Reversing ‘Roe’
Membership In Controversial Group Surfaces As an Issue
By Amy Goldstein and Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 12, 2006; Page A01
The once-sluggish confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. turned confrontational yesterday, as the nominee signaled he might be willing to revisit the ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and Democrats pummeled him over his membership in an alumni group that wanted to restrict enrollment of women and minorities.
Alito edged closer to suggesting that he might be willing to reconsider Roe if he is confirmed to the high court, refusing, under persistent questioning by Democrats, to say that he regards the 1973 decision as “settled law” that “can’t be reexamined.” In this way, his answers departed notably from those that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. gave when asked similar questions during his confirmation hearings four months ago.
Alito told several senators that he felt constrained from saying whether he regards Roe as settled because abortion remains a live issue in the courts. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) reminded Alito that he has willingly said other areas of the law were settled even though they remain in play and that, in a 1985 application for a promotion in the Reagan administration’s Justice Department, he had written he did not believe the Constitution protects the right to an abortion.
Will privacy be a privilege only for the wealthy or will it remain a right for all of us?
If Samuel Alito is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, we could see the end of the rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. We could lose our right to choose, our right to privacy, and even our access to birth control.
Alito Says He’d Keep ‘Open Mind’ on Abortion
Nominee Avoids Detailing Views on Controversial Issues
By Charles Babington and Jo Becker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 11, 2006; Page A01
Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. said yesterday that his 1985 assertion that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion was a “true expression of my views at the time,” but he told senators he would “approach the question with an open mind” if confirmed to the high court.
Repeatedly asked about abortion rulings that date to the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, Alito said long-standing decisions deserve great respect. He stopped short of saying Roe could not be overturned, however, saying that the doctrine of following precedent is not “an exorable command” — the same language the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist once used in arguing to overturn Roe.
Sounds like bullshit to me.