SCOTUS

SCOTUS Did A Good Thing For Civil Rights?!

Not a thing we are used to writing about this Court.

This week, in an opinion written by Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court did a good thing for civil rights.

I'm just as shocked as you are.

Until Tuesday, in most of the country, an innocent person who was framed by the police and charged with a bogus crime could almost never sue the cops who framed him. But in Thompson v. Clark, SCOTUS ruled that innocent people can sue for malicious prosecution after their criminal charges have been dismissed.

Or, as Amir Ali, one of the lawyers on the case put it,


#WorstJustice Samuel Alito dissented, joined by Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch.

(Full disclosure: I did a civil rights clinic in law school where I was a student lawyer with the MacArthur Justice Center. The MacArthur Justice Center represented petitioner Larry Thompson in this case and I think they're awesome.)


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National Politics

Ketanji Brown Jackson Going To Supreme Court. Cry About It, Lindsey Graham.

History almost made.

This is a happy post about Ketanji Brown Jackson making it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last night and moving full-speed ahead toward confirmation as the first Black woman ever to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

But first, let's get some bitching and moaning from Lindsey Graham out of the way:



That was Graham explaining yesterday why he voted for Ketanji Brown Jackson for the DC Court of Appeals, but simply could not support her now. He said it's different when it's lower courts. And oh boy he's just so mad about all these other things, he simply can't vote for Jackson, GRRRRRR!

“When you had a chance to support an African-American conservative, you used her ideology against her,” Graham said. “You blocked her from being considered by this committee, and we’re supposed to be like trained seals over here clapping when you appoint a liberal. That’s not going to work.”

Oh good lord, get a life, Lindsey. Nobody "blocked" anyone. Someone else got nominated, because Lindsey Graham is not actually the president who gets to decide who is even nominated or not. (That is Joe Manchin.)

Graham also made sure Democrats understand that if Republicans take over, decent and good and qualified human beings won't even get a hearing in a Republican Senate:

"If we get back the Senate and we’re in charge of this body and there is judicial openings, we will talk to our colleagues on the other side. But if we were in charge, she would not have been before this committee. You would have had somebody more moderate than this. So, I want you to know right now, the process you started to go to a simple majority vote is going rear its head here pretty soon when we’re in charge. Then we’ll talk about judges differently.”

Right, Lindsey. See, we've actually seen how Republicans handle judges. They steal Supreme Court nominations from Democratic presidents, and then when Russia-assisted Republicans hold the presidency, they cram through the most grossly unqualified, most foul human beings the Federalist Society can scrape off the ground in a dog park. In the case of Brett Kavanaugh, they do that over a chorus of people coming forward to say he sexually assaulted them. And all the while, they stuff 24-year-old white bigots into lifetime appointments on the lower courts, in order to try to exert white Christian supremacist control over American life long after all their garbage asses are in the ground.

But we do thank Lindsey Graham for his succinct candor, which will translate well into campaign ads about how much it matters that the Senate stay in the grownups' hands.

Now, happy post! Ketanji Brown Jackson will almost certainly be confirmed to the Supreme Court by the end of the week.

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SCOTUS

Supreme Court To Voting Rights Act: AND STAY DEAD!

IT'S A BAD COURT BRANT.

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court, which loves "state's rights" just as long as you're attacking women's bodily autonomy, trans people, or people of color, decided to jump into Wisconsin's redistricting war. Because why not?

And, of course, this Court is never just going to fuck things up in the normal Republican-evil way of the past. No, they are in the midst of an all-out attack on voting rights — especially for Black and brown Americans. (Full disclosure: In my other life, I'm the Policy Director for Wisconsin Voices and have been working on redistricting and ensuring Black and Brown voices are represented in our state's maps. This is not my first rodeo.)

When this Court goes for it, they really go for it. And so, the Court didn't just issue a stay or decide to hear Wisconsin Legislature v. Wisconsin Elections Commission; in an unsigned opinion, it summarily reversed the Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling on the state's electoral maps without any argument or briefing on the merits. And in that unsigned opinion, they made it pretty clear that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is next on the chopping block.

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Congress

A List Of Josh Hawley's Lies About Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson In Handy F*ck You Josh Hawley Form

Clip and save!

In the Trump years, factchecking came to feel like an almost Sisyphean task. There was just so much complete bullshit, and so many of the Trump faithful didn't care that it was bullshit, that the task seemed fruitless — but still necessary to make sure reality got on the record. Which brings us to our post-truthiness era, where a majority of Americans voted for reality and an entire political party has convinced itself that living in a world of lies is just plain more satisfying.

That's fully on display this week in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. Out here on Reality Earth, she's an extremely well-qualified jurist with impeccable credentials and a commitment to justice, even Justice with a capital J. On GOP Planet, she's automatically unqualified because Joe Biden said he'd appoint a Black woman, and that means he automatically excluded more-qualified candidates like Justice Freeze-In-Your-Truck And Justice Rapeybeer.

But just in case the obvious racism weren't enough, Sen. Josh Hawley and s few other Republicans have decided to lie outright about Jackson's record. In mere reality, the sentences Jackson gave as a federal judge were in line with those of her peers. But in GOP moral panic world, Hawley has taken a bunch of cherry-picked examples and misleading quotes, taken out of context, to smear her with the false claim that she's a big fan of people convicted in child pornography cases. It's bullshit, and you can find very good, detailed fact checks of Hawley's lies at Vox, the New York Times, the Washington Post (here, have a paywall-free linky!), and even at the National Freaking Review.

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