I just read that the Department of Justice said today that they will ask the Supreme Court for an emergency halt to the Texas law that has restricted access to abortion in the nation’s second largest state to an extent not seen in 50 years. (Washington Post)
Not the typical Friday afternoon news dump that we had grown accustomed to!
The announcement followed a decision by a federal appeals court Thursday night that allowed the law to remain in effect. lower court judge last week said the law was unconstitutional.
The department’s announcement meant the high court for the second time will be asked to put the law on hold while legal challenges to it continue. In a divisive 5 to 4 decision last month, the court allowed the law to take effect as the case goes forward, even though the majority said it raised constitutional concerns.
I have seen tons of comments here complaining that the DOJ isn’t
dong doing enough. Or we complain that Democrats don’t talk enough about their accomplishments.
So I had an idea. (uh oh) Would there be interest in something like “This Week at the DOJ”? Or “This Week in Good Government”. I don’t have time to do a bunch of research on what’s going on – I’m certainly no Anne Laurie! But between my regular reading and you guys sharing things as you came across them, I thought maybe we could give it a try.
But only if there’s interest.
So weigh in on that – and anything else – in the comments. Open thread.
Good. The Republican justices argued that they were flummoxed by Texas’s shenanigans and didn’t really overrule Roe in the dead of night. Now they have a chance to back that up.
I’d love a round up of good government news.
@Baud: Maybe the well-deserved whipping they got from the judge a week or two ago, calling out their bullshit stance, will have had some effect on them?
@Baud: Agreed. Make them own their fecklesness.
Time for Friday afternoon yoga, I think.
@WaterGirl: Who knows? We only need one to flip. Roberts would have granted the stay the last time.
On topic, it would be good to have a round up of positive developments. The media, and thus the internet, focuses on hot topics and leading edge issues, which are by their nature difficult to resolve swiftly (especially given the Senate’s double trouble). People are left unaware of good stuff happening on a day-to-day basis, which may lead them to forget that elections matter.
If you have time, that is.
So we’re going to find out if this SCOTUS has any interest in principle / precedent or if instead it’s become the Scalia court. Not sure I feel real good about this.
It was an important news day. Bidens SCOTUS commission met to discuss a set of “draft discussion points”. Demand Justice – Some members are screaming Foul!:
It’s good this is getting push-back. I was shocked that the documents that I skimmed yesterday were so slanted toward the status quo as being the best of all possible worlds…
Sigh. Ever time I go out to my balcony the past two days, I’ve found either a stink bug or a Chinese lady bug trying to get inside. Its that time of year. But it looks like we’re having a bumper crop of ’em this year.
*cough* I spy a dong typo in the op.
On topic, I have zero faith in the TFG’s SC, so we’ll see how this goes….
Same here. Lots of good administrative stuff going on, (e.g. at EPA, education, Interior, DOJ) many good appointments being made to courts. And some states are doing good important things. We’ve focused on the bad stuff coming out of Texas and Florida and AZ. But Illinois passed a really far reaching piece of environmental legislation about a month ago. NC just passed a decent (not perfect, but decent) decarbonization bill after a (no fooling) bipartisan agreement. Oregon passed a good bill for the energy sector too.
An update on the reloading issue. I tried going back through some of the posts with lots of comments, one with a tweet in it, using my phone instead of the Kindle. It is an older Android – 5.1.1. No reloading issues.
I get invaded by ladybugs every year around this time. They’re cute but annoying.
I just got my windows and doors replaced so maybe they’ll have a harder time getting in this year.
@Another Scott: Huh. The coverage of the SCOTUS commission I’d seen was basically writing it off as a complete cave to the Republicans.
@Fake Irishman: I’ve been very impressed by the actions at Interior. First reversing the cuts at the parks like Bears Ears, now the offshore windmills. Joe and Deb know how to get things done.
That rumble you hear off in the distance, the six point five on the Richter Scale rattling your window?
Your ideologically stacked unelected panel of Catholic Illuminatti vigilantes rolling on the floor laughing their asses off. The ones that don’t have their fingers to their lips going a-wubba-wubba.
@Peale: I am seeing quite a few comments about how warm it has stayed this year. Great news for the bugs.
They migrated through here last week. Since I’m still working from home, protecting the perimeter was pretty easy. I fought off about 10 each day. They’re pretty spry this time of year.
I don’t kid myself to think that was the only migratory visitation, but I and my spray bottle of watered down Dawn are ready for the rest of them.
Sadly, I’m losing faith in an active and effective DOJ. Garland has so far not impressed me. We are 9 months out from an insurrection.
I think a series on “Good Government” would be a valued add to the discussion here. Our federal elected officials run under some rather bizarre rules of procedure and much of the structure, like the size of the house and it’s election every 2 yrs while senators is every six do not make any actual sense. The concept of 2 senators per state and the senate having more power, of people staying on until after senility has reared not just it’s head but the entire body…. Sure we elect people but that power is often at least attempted to be subverted, sometimes obviously so. We need the discussions and they should include groups that have traditionally been marginalized in this country. I’ve seen over the course of well over a decade I’ve been here that there are many discussions we could have, to increase knowledge, to discuss the future, to discuss bigotry and therefore equality, to help, if nothing else, political participation. This is supposed to be a country of all of us, and it damn well isn’t.
I try to do my own ‘This week in good government, CA edition’.
Speaking of which, CA has banned gas powered lawn equipment effective 2024. Wish that was a year earlier, but I’ll take it. This isn’t quite the measure I had expected. I had expected a ban on 2-stroke engines, similar to what CA did for boats, allowing 4 stroke engines to remain (larger chainsaws, for instance) but this should have a similar impact, missing some things a 2-stroke ban would have caught and catching some things it would have missed.
2-stroke engines are wildly polluting, even relative to 4-stroke. Oh, and CA is leaning into the offshore wind leases Biden announced. Now that floating turbines of suitable size are a thing, that’s a thing we can do now.
@moops: he’s just not up to the moment- not tough enough, more institutionalization than a fighter/prosecutor. Biden needs to replace him asap
@Ksmiami: No chance he’s getting replaced.
@Betty: Glad to know that! Would you mind copying your comment to that thread? That way all the clues will be in one place for the developers.
He’s right, of course. Things have got to change. I’m sure the Biden-Harris team knows that. Here’s hoping they get the process of meaningful reform rolling soon and get the reforms done.
@Another Scott: I’m of the view that they should just let Sherrilyn write the recommendation.
At a minimum the court should have the same number of justices as we have district circuits, as that’s historically the standard.
@Martin: Wowser! That is great news.
@Martin: great stuff! Maybe we could get a few regulars commenters to volunteer to do one of these updates on a specific good news policy item, one item a week. I’d be game doing one or two.kind of like Dave’s health care updates, but slightly less technical and more.
@WaterGirl: Sure I thought it might be too late to put there.
What did you expect, instantaneous hangings or firing squads?
Many people appointed by TFG have to be routed out, new people appointed and them get up to speed. Evidence reviewed, people identified, found, arraigned, trials scheduled, trials held, all for an attempted coup. And that has happened for some already. Such a project takes time, likely far more than we would like, but it is progressing.
Mike in NC
Steve Bannon wanted very badly to appear before the January 6 committee, but he couldn’t find three clean shirts to wear.
@WaterGirl: We can hope. We know from their “Lamentations of Butthurt” tour that they are paying attention. We should use that.
@Another Scott: Senator Whitehouse is a treasure. Glad to see the pushback.
@Betty: Nah. I check back on posts like that for a couple of days. You might be surprised by how many folks don’t get to threads in real time. It’s almost like they might have jobs or other things to do! Wrong, I know. :-)
@Mousebumples: She was obviously questioning the DOJ’s manhood, even though that’s the sexist approach ;-)
good government roundup seems like a good idea.
the ratings will be lousy, so john will have to bribe nielsen with some canned goods.
think there was a song about watching dirty laundry rather than good news, sung by some sort of bird
@Ben Cisco: I am most definitely not a lawyer, but this move by Garland seems to be a challenge to the higher court that they aren’t going to be able to pull that “bullshit in the dark of night” crap and get away with it.
It seems to me that he’s basically giving them the opportunity to show their true colors – either to stick with their bullshit ruling or to take the opportunity to walk back what was clearly a miscarriage of justice.
I will await the attorneys possibly telling me how wrong that is and that isn’t how it’s done.
Memo to the MSM
I don’t need news with a positive spin for the Ds. I just want news without commentary. I can make up my mind, thank you very much
Also my trust in those who make $$ by selling doom porn and outlandish theories to the gullible Ds is zero.
I am looking at you Rick Wilson and Sarah Doomzior.
Speaking of dumps, here’s the Politico policy:
We have quite a few new laws signed recently by the Governor here in the People’s Republic of California. At the top of my favorite list is the law that requires all public schools to provide FREE menstrual period products for students in grades 6 through 12 starting fall of 2022. This is just awesome. So many of us can remember a time . . . . uh, nope not going there. But many of you know what I am talking about, yeah?
And California has made stealthing a crime. For the olds (like me) stealthing is removing a condom without the partner’s consent. California is the first state in the nation to recognize this as a crime.
@SpaceUnit: these ladybugs aren’t cute. These are invasive ladybugs that as far as I can tell killed off the real ladybugs of my youth, which did NOT swarm like this.
@WaterGirl: notably, they released their opinion just before midnight, but the law was already effective in TX as of midnight nearly 24 hours _before_ they released their opinion.
so they beclowned themselves, and Alito had his facts wrong defending it.
@dnfree: A friend in Ohio had a bunch of ladybugs living in his siding or something. When they were yellow and hungry they would bite – hard! Nothing like what I remember from my childhood.
Don’t know if they’re a different species or something though…
@Scout211: I did not know that was even a thing. it’s beyond horrible that it is.
@lurker: I have read that before but I have never seen anything that points out why that is significant. Can you fill me in?
@Baud: I thought they were bought out by some foreign group with right-wing leanings. Yes? Or did I get that wrong?
@WaterGirl: Ifill. Works for the NAACP LD&EF. She is on Biden’s SCOTUS commission.
(She’s a cousin of the late Gwen Ifill.)
A conservative German group. Not sure how right wing they are.
@WaterGirl: Alito said they released the opinion just before midnight when the law was going to go into effect, so it was no big deal. He beclowned himself because the decision was a day late and if he had any awareness of the reporting would have known that before he made the speech.
He’s not just a RWNJ, he’s an incompetent RWNJ who apparently can’t even read a calendar.
Deleted, you already posted, smarty pants!
it sounds like there might be some interest in a regular This Week in Good Government post – I would appreciate it if any of you who come across good information along those lines would shoot me an email with a link.
The problem with Congress is the size of the House not being increased in 110 years. Our population as more than tripled from what it was in 1911.
We’d likely get more representation from urban Democratic leaning areas.
This would balance out the lack of proportionate representation in the Senate.
@Sure Lurkalot: I think Scott linked to that at #26 or so. Really glad to see that.
I incline more to the theory that partisan hack Alito blatantly lied trying to justify an indefensible ruling
@Another Scott: Adam Serwer really takes him apart in his Atlantic piece:
@gene108: In fairness we have wiped out roughly one congressional district with Covid, so it’s not like we aren’t trying to balance the equation.
@gene108: There have been lots of proposals to do so. My rep has one that’s a little different – Fair Representation Act:
I haven’t read it carefully, but it looks like apportionment would still be based on the 1929 rules, but states with 6 or more representatives would have to have some multi-member districts and states with 5 or fewer would have to have at-large districts.
It tackles the problem of representatives being beholden to narrow interests by making them run for more votes than they would need in a first-past-the-post system (as we have now) and making them run in larger geographic areas. Senators would have to have ranked-choice elections also. And it addresses the “problem” of having 700-1600 representatives – probably an unwieldy number. It sounds like it has a lot of good features (as I would expect from Beyer – he’s a sharp cookie).
It’s endorsed by FairVote, also too.
@Another Scott: I think the brown “ladybugs” are not native. They look like a brown version of the beneficial red lady bug.
Since this is a draft report, can there be significant changes before the final version is reached?
@Another Scott: Thanks for the link to the list of commission members. No wonder there’s a problem. With the exception of Ifill herself, almost every other member is a professor at an elite law school, and it is really weighted heavily towards Harvard and Yale.
@moops: have to agree…the window for action is closing, and the insurrection wing of the GQP is growing bolder by the day
We need a commission on reforming Harvard and Yale.
@Peale: Yeah, my house is covered in box elder bugs again. They look like black and red stink bugs, and I broke my wrist last year falling off a step stool while to clean up the blood red smear that was left after I squashed one above the patio door. This year if any sneak in when I open a door I’m sucking them up in a vacuum cleaner hose attachment.
And I’d love to see some DOJ “Good News”.
@Geminid: It looks like it’s complicated, at least in Ohio – some natives are yellowish.
It was a long time ago, but my recollection is that the ones that were biting us were almost a school-bus yellow. Nasty little beasties!
@gene108: I assume so, but I don’t know the process. Presumably Biden won’t be bound by the recommendations anyway, but will carefully consider them (and other input he gets).
Absolutely. It would be good for morale with all the state-level fuckery these bastards are trying to pull.
@Betty: It’s an El Nino year which means cold and wet in the west and warm and dry in the east. The Jet Stream has been stuck dipping far south in the west and far north in the east.
There have been other Jet Strem excursions that are troubling for agriculture. As the poles, especially the north pole, warms the boundary between equatorial weather and polar weather is breaking down. The changes not be smooth or linear.
So no one has mentioned that the FDA panel unanimously recommended a J&J booster, for two months after the first, and with no age restriction?
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
@WaterGirl: Also how I see it.
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
Damn, that’s GOOD.
Sure, true. But what the partisan hacks on the Supreme Court are objecting to is being called partisan hacks. It really really bothers them that their partisan hackery is being called out. So do more of what bothers them. While giving them all the respect that is due to them.
My mother’s condo was on the ladybugs’ migration path. They got in through the bathroom vent. She used to go nuts. Once when I was condo-sitting for her, about an hour before going to the airport to pick her up, I walked into the living room and there were hundreds of them crawling around. I swept them all up with a dust-buster and taped a garbage bag over the vent fan. She was most unamused, but left the bag there until well into winter.
Mike in NC
We had a large infestation of brown insects the size of ladybugs a few years ago. I sprayed them with Raid. I think they’re a species of stink bug.
His book, “The Cruelty Is the Point” was amazing. Difficult, but amazing.
The TV station I get most weather forecasts from says there is a blob of warmish water stretching west from Alaska/Washington, and that means dry for the west coast.
@sab: I’m pleasantly surprised by the diversity – Alabama, Chicago, Penn, NYU, UCSD, Berkeley, etc., along with a lot of Harvard and Yale. And only one person from AEI/George Mason! ;-)
It would have been good to be less-heavily weighted on the academic law school side of things though – I agree. There are 2 people from the Brennan Center/NYU and that’s a good thing.
No better time to slap them down than at their boldest.
The fact that 9 months into a Biden administration with a Democratic-held Congress that such a “good news” digest is needed speaks volumes. The good is being drowned out by the inaction and bad. We should be swimming in good, but instead we are desperately trying to find it in case we miss one of the few dim slivers of hope and light.
At this rate, we’re going to have a Republican Congress in 2023 and second Trump administration come 2025 and into the foreseeable future. We’re two elections away from a Russia-styled “democracy”.
@Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): Thanks Emissary!
It does, but it speaks about the problems liberal Democratic culture than anything actually going on in the world.
@Baud: There’s plenty of good news.
@WaterGirl: Yes, that’s exactly what I posted a link to. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks the truth here but it is the antithesis of Ms. Ifill’s point.
Having the number of Supreme Court justices equal the number of districts is a good idea. Strict Senate rules for replacement so it doesn’t become a political football would be good too.
@Another Scott: You have cheered me up a bit.
Only if you seek it out.
@WaterGirl: Yes, I would support a Weekn in Good Government feature!
I’m a little biased, as I work for my local government, but still…
@Mallard Filmore: Funny that the Seattle Times had the opposite. I’d be happy with some not too cold weather since we bought a lot of marginally hardy plants for the ponds and containers. And it has been chilly with highs in the 50’s for a few weeks.
Here’s the Sen S. Whitehouse statement in html so you can copy-paste.
He’s essentially calling the Right-Wing court majority corrupt political hacks. (Without using the word “corrupt”)
@Mag: Manchin and Sinema did this. Never forgive or forget.
Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
@dnfree: They are Multicolored Asian lady beetles and are the most common ladybird beetles everywhere in the lower 48 states. Very invasive but still considered “beneficial.”
@Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!): So those are those ladybugs from California that organic gardeners have been buying for years?
Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
@sab: Yep, they are so easy to collect when the congregate in the fall. They’ve now spread them all over and charged gardeners for the privilege.
@Mag: Either you misunderstood what I was saying, or I wasn’t clear enough.
It’s not that the good is being drowned out by inaction and the bad. Though there is some of that.
It’s that the good doesn’t get discussed – the bad things are what gets discussed, and it can leave the impression that either nothing good is happening.
And there are plenty of good things happening.
J R in WV
The swarming “ladybugs” you guy have been discussing are invasive bugs from — guess where? — Asia. Dunno if they eat aphids like the natives do. Hope so, tho !!
So I tried posting this once, will see if it works this time, now that I rewrote it. Had to be away, and people pointed out some of this.
Opinions are normally released during business hours, sometimes read from the bench, generally provided in a way that would be accessible to everyone during or around the end of the work day on the east coast. Obvious exceptions are orders or opinions that need to be released in a timely manner to deal with an impending deadline, such as a statute taking effect or an execution warrant becoming valid – both of those types of things typically specify something like midnight or 12:01 AM as when something is effective. An opinion or order issued shortly beforehand can enjoin enforcement of a statute or stay an execution as an example, even if it is a minute before things actually happen.
The TX law took effect essentially at 12:01 AM on September 1. The Supreme Court issued their written thing around 11:something PM on September 1 – 23+ hours after the law took effect. At that point, they could have just issued it the next day during business hours.
Alito is reported to have said in a speech shortly thereafter that the Court had to issue the late night ruling due to the timing of the statute taking effect, suggesting he was wrong about the calendar, which is a potentially devastating problem, or that he was being ridiculous in making his statement. It is also possible that he was worried about other courts enjoining the law and therefore rushed out the order. We saw that with the later opinion from the Austin Federal Court. We also saw a more normal appellate procedure from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which stayed the injunction from the Austin court.
Also, Supreme Court opinions are typically either announced (printed) as written by a justice, or as per curiam. Other justices sign on to the opinions based on whatever changes they want in the language of the opinion. Here, no justice is listed as signing the opinion. However, it is also not listed as per curiam, which would indicate that no justice was responsible individually for the language, but all agreed to it unless they dissented. Justices Roberts, Kagan, Sotomayor and Breyer each wrote dissents which they signed and other Justices joined. So the five majority justices did not want their names on this thing. That is unusual, and does not seem to simply be a printing error (those tend to get fixed within days).
Moreover, this fits with the concept of the shadow docket. Opinions and orders from the Court which come out before full briefing and oral argument are generally used to either preserve the status quo ante (before the thing that is the subject of litigation) or to deal with procedural issues. Sometimes, these early opinions and orders make a meaningful change in circumstances, and those changes are introduced before the parties provide their arguments to the Court. Briefing allows for research and careful explanation of issues and arguments. Oral argument allows for interactive discussion of issues not adequately dealt with in the briefs, such as ideas the justices have. Supplemental submissions can occur as a result of the process as well. None of that is possible with early shadow docket rulings. Even so, shadow docket rulings tend to either be explicitly per curiam (everyone but a dissenter agrees) or signed by the justices. This thing is stranger still as not per curiam and not signed.
None of this inspires confidence in a full and fair opportunity to litigate a case before this Court.
“This Week at the DOJ” they once again did jack squat about arresting the organizers of an attempted coup against the United States nine months ago.
Excellent post. Too bad not many people will see it. Maybe repost it in an appropriate thread during “normal” hours.
@lurker: Thanks for this.
On the last part of your comment – indeed.
From the shadow-docket ruling:
This is obvious sophistry. One does not gut a well-established constitutional right on the one hand and then say, oh, we haven’t really decided the case yet.