Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World Book Review

When one is the first at anything, especially when one is a minority or disenfranchised, they are often labelled as a hero to those who they have paved the way for. But behind that bold heroism is years, if not decades of drive, hard work and fighting against prejudice.

Linda Hirshman’s 2016 book, Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, tells the story of the lives and careers of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who were the first and second women to join the Supreme Court respectively.

On the surface, the women couldn’t have been further apart. Sandra Day O’Connor was born into a Christian family who owned a large ranch in Arizona. Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up in an immigrant Jewish family in New York City. Coming of age in era when a woman was expected to marry and raise a family while her husband brought home the literal bacon, both women defied the rules of their era by earning law degrees and dared to openly question why women were second class citizens.

Along the way, they inspired and continue to inspire generations of women in every industry to fight for their rights and the equality that is their right.

What struck me about this book is that though both Justice Ginsburg and Justice O’Connor had very different early lives, they are remarkably similar in the paths they took, the challenges they faced and the paths they blazed for future generations of women.

Though this book has moments of being a dry academic style textbook, it is also a reminder of how far women have come and how far we need to go.

I recommend it.

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Thoughts On the Supreme Court World War I Memorial Decision

One of the basic tenets of America is the separation between church and state. While on the surface, this statement seems black and white, there are shades of grey beneath the surface.

This week, the Supreme Court decided that a giant cross in Maryland that memorializes young men from that community who died for their country in World War I can stay on public land.

I have to be honest, I am torn about the decision. Without a shadow of a doubt, the young men who gave their lives for our freedoms deserve to our respect, our thanks and a perpetual memorial. However, those who erected the memorial either forgot or ignored the fact that not every American soldier who died for their country was of the Christian faith.

Is there an easy answer to this question? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that all of our soldiers who gave their lives for their country deserve to be remembered, not just those who practiced Christianity.

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Thoughts On the Alabama Abortion Bill

Anyone who knows me (or at least has read this blog regularly), knows that my political views are pretty liberal. It’s therefore not hard to imagine that politically, Pat Robertson and I standard very far apart when it comes to politics and other sensitive subjects.

I was surprised to read that he is against the new Alabama abortion bill, stating that lawmakers have gone too far. If Pat Robertson is against this law, that says something.

The thing that strikes me about abortion laws is that they are used by men to control women’s bodies, but men’s bodies are never controlled by women or other men. This idea of a man controlling a woman’s body goes back to the not too distant past when a woman was chattel to her father, husband or other nearest male relative. There are some men (and some women) who still believe that a man has the right to control a woman’s bodies.

The only out that a doctor may have for not potentially going to jail for 99 years is if the abortion is determined to be medically necessary. There is no out for a woman who is raped or whose pregnancy is caused by incest.

The irony of this law is that it was signed by Alabama’s female governor, Kay Ivey (R-Alabama). According to the news report, the lawmakers who supported and signed the bill hope to us it as an avenue to eventually challenge Roe V. Wade in the Supreme Court.

While I respect that those who are pro-life have the right to the opinion, I think that if one is pro-life, why not focus on the children who are already living? There are so many children who are growing up in less then ideal conditions, why not focus your time and energy on those children?

I wish that in 2019, the issue of abortion and the government intervening on woman’s choice on whether or not have an abortion did not exist. But it still does and until the issue does not exist, I an and many others will continue to fight.

P.S. It takes two to tango and two to conceive a child. If these male lawmakers are so concerned about abortion, perhaps they should be making sure that the snakes are kept in the cages or condoms should be made readily available to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and a possible future abortion.

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Thoughts On The Continued Shutdown and the Ban On Transgender Soldiers

We are officially into the second month of the longest government shutdown in American history. The stalemate on both sides of the aisle remains as the approval rating for you know who continues to drop.

The financial reality in this country is that many workers, in spite of having jobs that come with a steady paycheck, are within one or two missing paychecks of financial disaster. If the government does not open by Friday and the Federal workers who have been furloughed or working without pay do not receive their paychecks, it could create a financial ripple that affects every American household.

The irony about this shutdown is that it comes down to a disagreement about how to keep the country safe. The people whose job it is to keep us safe cannot do their jobs because they lack financial support to complete their jobs. FBI agents are complaining that they are unable to do their jobs without a paycheck or funding. 10% of TSA agents are calling out sick. They are the front lines of national security at our airports. How are they supposed to do their jobs if they cannot afford to come to work? A number of TSA agents have resigned or considered resigning out of sheer desperation.

Mitch McConnell could have ended the shutdown already. But he refuses to, blocking four bills that would have re-opened the government and supply badly needed paychecks to government employees. He is already laying the groundwork for a 2020 re-election campaign. If I lived in Kentucky, I would be thinking long and hard if he deserved my vote.

On top of this shutdown, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of barring Transgender men and women from serving in the military. Upholding this ban is akin watching a magician doing street magic using playing cards. The audience is directed to look at their left hand while their right hand holds the card that will “magically” appear from thin air. We are in the middle of a national crisis, those in power should be working together to re-open the government. They should be not banning Americans who are willingly going into the military, knowing full well that they may have to sacrifice their lives to protect this country. President “bone spurs” is one to talk about who should and who should not be in the military.

I feel like the country at this moment is at a fork in the road. We can either go one way and move towards the ideals created by our Founding Fathers. Or, we can go another way and remain a divided country where identity politics and labels rule over us. I just hope (hope being the important word in this sentence), that we, as a nation make the right decision.

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Thoughts On The Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Accusations

Brett Kavanaugh‘s nomination to SCOTUS has been controversial to say the least.

The latest controversy is the accusation of the sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, who was a high school classmate of Judge Kavanaugh. Dr. Ford has accused the judge of forcing himself on her when they were teenagers in the early 80’s.

Naysayers could argue that if the accusations are true, they are the act of a boy who was drunk, young and foolish. The judge is a 53-year-old married man with young daughters, hopefully time and experience has matured him.

However, sexual assault is still sexual assault, regardless of how long ago it was. Unlike other positions in the government, the appointment to the Supreme Court is for life. As a citizen, I need to know that if he is confirmed, he will do what is right for the country and not act in a partisan nature.

As a woman, I need to ask the men on the Senate Judiciary Committee the following question: how would you react if a woman you loved was sexually assaulted. What if it was your mother, your sister, your daughter, your wife, etc? Would you be so blase or or would you take a hard look at your conscious before making a decision?

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Brett Kavanaugh Should NOT Be Confirmed For The Supreme Court

Despite his Presidential shortcomings, you know who is not as dumb as he sometimes appears to be. He knows enough to know that if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as the next Supreme Court Judge, his legacy will be cemented for decades, if not generations to come, regardless of how long he is in office.

Brett Kavanaugh should NOT be confirmed for the Supreme Court. Below are the reasons why:

  1. Judge Kavanaugh would potentially gut the ACA and Roe V. Wade, in addition to cutting back on the hard-won Civil Rights that citizens of color have been fighting for for generations.
  2. Judge Kavanaugh could nullify any charges that are brought against you know who, if he is indicted while still in office.
  3. Judge Kavanaugh is another white hetero Christian male. Just what this country needs in a position of political power.
  4. Judge Kavanaugh believes that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional. Millions of Americans would be defrauded out of their hard-earned money by financial institutions if  this important branch of government is rendered toothless.
  5. Judge Kavanaugh turned his back on one of the fathers of the victims of the Parkland shooting who went up to introduce himself after the hearing.
  6. There are thousands upon thousands of pages missing from Judge Kavanaugh’s record. How is the committee supposed to prepare for the hearing and then make a decision if they do not have all of the facts in front of them?

Only time will tell if Brett Kavanaugh ascends to the highest court in the land. My hope (faint as it is) is that he will not be confirmed But, considering the state of American politics these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was confirmed.

P.S. Am I the only one who finds it hypocritical that while Republicans were adamant about not confirming Merrick Garland until the 2016 election, but they are rushing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh before the 2018 Midterms Elections?

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Thoughts On The Basis of Sex Trailer

When it comes to social reforms, there are two avenues: protest and amending the law.

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a young lawyer, the second wave of the feminist movement was at its height. While many saw the path to equality via protest, the future Justice Ginsburg understood that amending the law was just as important as public protest.

Her experience in this period of her life is documented in the upcoming film On The Basis Of Sex. Starring Felicity Jones as RBG and Armie Hammer as her late husband Martin Ginsburg, the film tells the story of the court case that would put RBG on the legal map and on the road to joining the Supreme Court decades later.

The problem with some biopics is that regardless of whether the subject is alive or dead, the facts don’t always make it to the final cut of the film. My hope (especially because RBG is still alive and kicking), is that the film (and Felicity Jones by extension) portrays RBG as she ought to be portrayed on the big screen.

On The Basis Of Sex hits theaters on December 25th. 

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What Is Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander

In 2016, as President Obama’s final year in office was coming to a close, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. As is within the scope of power that comes with being President, he nominated Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia. The Republicans shot down the idea, stating that they preferred to wait fill Justice Scalia’s seat until after the 2016 Presidential Election.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Justice Anthony Kennedy announced today that as of July 31st, he will be retiring.

I believe that at this point in time, we are at a political crossroad. Whoever takes Justice Kennedy’s place could not just tip the balance of the Supreme Court, but could have a hand in shaping the future of our country for years to come. While the hope for Democrats is that a blue wave will take back the House and Senate come the midterm elections in November, at this point, it is still just a hope.

The problem is that while President Obama tried to compromise with the Republicans, compromise is a dirty word when it comes to you know who. It’s his way or the highway.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Perhaps it’s time that the Republicans got a taste of their own political medicine.

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Marriage

Marriage is many things.

Marriage is a daily compromise between two individuals who have chosen to spend their life together.

Marriage is a commitment.

Marriage is the willingness and the want to wake up to one person every day for what will hopefully be the rest of your life.

The landmark decision late last week to make same sex marriage the law of the land was met with fervor on both sides of the aisle. Couples who have been together (and some by extension, raising their children together) for years, will now be recognized with the same rights, privileges and responsibilities that straight couples have taken for granted.

But there are some that are mourning this ruling.  Their point of view is that the voters, not the Supreme Court, should have made the decision.

While I respect their point of view and their right to state their opinion, I disagree with them.

Marriage and the concept of marriage has come a long way. It is no longer a husband lording over his wife. Marriage is the want of two adults, who are ready, willing and able to make a life together.

I believe that the people who oppose same sex marriage should applaud this ruling, not fight it. Watching same sex couple finally get to tie the knot reminds us why we value marriage. If they really value marriage and what it represents (stability, a solid home life, raising children in a two parent household), then they are only fighting against what they state is the ideal way to live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Ruling Is Wrong

During the middle of the classic 1980’s tv series, The Cosby show, an episode premiered in which the adult male characters of the show were pregnant.

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. The ruling states any for profit company who provides their employees health coverage through the Affordable Care Act can claim religious exemption and not include FDA approved contraception under the provided health insurance.

I’ve come to the conclusion that until the day men get pregnant and have to deal with everything that comes with pregnancy, women will be fighting for the right to accessible and reasonably priced birth control. While the plot of The Cosby Show played for laughs, art does not imitate life.

Having a child is a blessing, but let’s face it, it’s not easy, nor it is cheap.

According to CNN last year, a middle class couple who had a child in 2013 will spend $241,080 from the time the child is born up to age 18. That does not include the sky rocketing cost of college and the exorbitant student loan debt that college graduates have to pay off.

Not every woman uses birth control to prevent pregnancies. Some use it to treat medical conditions.  Without the contraceptives covered until the employee health plan, that’s money  that could be going to something else and maybe time away from the office because they are too sick to work.

Salaries are not what they were. Prices are going up. What happens to the mother who cannot afford birth control because her employer does not believe in it? She goes to the government for assistance. Another child, another family dependent on tax dollars for financial support.

The fact that this ruling exists and is now law creates a dangerous precedence. If a employer can claim religious exemption when eliminating birth control from the employee health plan, what else can they deny their employees? The right to deny an employee the right to add personal touches to their work space because they don’t like what they see? The right to turn down an employee’s request to use a personal day for religious observance because the employer and employee do not see eye to eye on religion?

The Hobby Lobby ruling is wrong. No employer has the right to dictate an employee’s beliefs. Period.

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