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Well, it was a bloodbath at SCOTUS this morning. Mitch McConnell's gambit to break the Senate so he could break the courts paid off BIGLY. In two 5-4 decisions, Justice Gorsuch and his pals played the popular Republican game of seeking out a technical justification, no matter how flimsy, to give conservatives a "win." Let's do a quick rundown of this first pile of jurisprudential horseshit about abortion, and then go take ten or twelve antacids before tackling the Travel Ban.

WISH US LUCK.


We are old enough to remember when SCOTUS ruled that forcing doctors to tell women a bunch of scary shit to try to deter them going through with an abortion was no abridgment on speech. We are old enough to remember when forcing a minor to get permission from her parents for an abortion was totally cool. We're old enough to remember when forcing women to view an ultrasound and then sign a paper attesting same was just fine.

But that was then, and this is Gorsuch. Today the five conservative justices ruled that California's law requiring Crisis Pregnancy Centers to post a notice that the state provides low-cost contraceptive and abortion services is a burden on free speech that WILL NOT STAND. But really, Justice Thomas, who authored the opinion, wasn't even trying to pretend that this was about anything but the conservative war on a woman's right to an abortion.

The notice in no way relates to the services that licensed clinics provide. Instead, it requires these clinics to disclose information about state-sponsored services— including abortion, anything but an "uncontroversial" topic.

He even quotes a 1994 Boston Law Review article to liken California's legislatively-mandated mention of abortion to Nazis and China's coercive one-child policy.

For example, during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese physicians were dispatched to the countryside to convince peasants to use contraception.

Yeah, we're going to stop there for a minute to let you figure out on your own why that is "bad," because we don't actually know.


[...] In Nazi Germany, the Third Reich systematically violated the separation between state ideology and medical discourse. German physicians were taught that they owed a higher duty to the 'health of the Volk' than to the health of individual patients. Recently, Nicolae Ceausescu's strategy to increase the Romanian birth rate included prohibitions against giving advice to patients about the use of birth control devices and disseminating information about the use of condoms as a means of preventing the transmission of AIDS.

Not for nothing, but the quoted article appears to endorse an opposite position from Thomas's. But what's a little intellectual dishonesty when you're using a stolen Justice to destroy abortion rights, right? In Justice Thomas's world, forcing facilities to post a list of comprehensive women's healthcare is Nazism. In fact, forcing crisis pregnancy centers to post notice that they have no licensed medical personnel on staff is a tyrannical violation of the First Amendment.

The unlicensed notice imposes a government-scripted, speaker-based disclosure requirement that is wholly disconnected from California's informational interest. It requires covered facilities to post California's precise notice, no matter what the facilities say on site or in their advertisements.

Justice Breyer, in his dissent, pointed out that the majority decision was broad enough to make the most mundane requirements to post licensing illegal.

Virtually every disclosure law could be considered "content based," for virtually every disclosure law requires individuals "to speak a particular message." See Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 576 U. S. ___, ___ (2015) (BREYER, J., concurring in judgment) (slip op., at 3) (listing regulations that inevitably involve content discrimination, ranging from securities disclosures to signs at petting zoos). Thus, the majority's view, if taken literally, could radically change prior law, perhaps placing much securities law or consumer protection law at constitutional risk, depending on how broadly its exceptions are interpreted.

Is it now illegal for the Fire Inspector to require weight limit signs in elevators? Who knows! But Mitch McConnell got to stick it to the LIbs, so WORTH IT!


PSA: If we take back the Senate, the GOP won't be able to appoint any more Federalist Society hacks to murder American jurisprudence.

VOTE!

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You liking these lawsplainers? We can't fix the Court, but we can at least explain the carnage! Click here to fund us!

[NIFLA v. Becerra / Toward a First Amendment Theory of DoctorPatient Discourse and the Right to Receive Unbiased Medical Advice]

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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