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I am ambivalent about the nomination of Sonya Sotomayor for the US Supreme Court. The lack of any clear public record on the inalienable constitutional right to abortion is somewhat troubling.

Sotomayor's opinion in Flamer v. City of White Plains was a shocking attack on the Establishment Clause of the Constitution and the civil rights of atheists. From the First Amendment Center:

In 1993, Sotomayor ruled in Flamer v. City of White Plains that a rabbi had a First Amendment right to display a menorah in a city park. The city of White Plains, New York, prohibited “fixed outdoor displays of religious or political symbols.” The rabbi asserted that the regulation violated his free-exercise-of-religion and free-speech rights.

She wrote that the city may not “preclude a private speaker from erecting a fixed display of a religious symbol, free-standing or otherwise, in a City park on the basis of such display’s religious message.” She rejected the city’s establishment clause-based defense that it was trying to prevent perceived state endorsement of religion: “The Establishment Clause does not provide a compelling justification for the Resolution’s content-based restrictions on expressive conduct.”

First of all, there is no real "restriction on expressive conduct." That Rabbi easily could have put up the display on private property. Placing it on public property involves a taxpayer subsidy which is blatantly establishes religion by the government. Not only does Sotomayor think that governments can establish religion, she went so far as to force a local government to establish religion.

Obviously, being a target of Ms. Sotomayor's anti atheist discrimination doesn't exactly make me thrilled by her nomination to the Supreme Court. However, since President Obama has shown himself to be almost as rabidly rightist as Hillary and Bill Clinton. I suspect any other Obama nominee would be at least as bad.

If I were a Senator, I would reluctantly vote for her. However, this nomination certainly has given this voter yet another reason to vote Green in 2010 and 2012. I am so sick of being treated like shit by the GOP and the Democrats as a queer, as an atheist, and as a middle class American.

Having said that, I don't see any reason to let ranking Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama get away with the most egregious behavior in his capacity on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Talking Points Memo has Sen. Sessions opening statement during the hearings, which is disturbing for a variety of reasons.

Here's an example of Sessions' deception and dishonesty. (deception in italics, and lie in bold, mine)
We have seen federal judges force their own political and social agenda on the nation, dictating that the words "under God" be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance and barring students from even silent prayer in schools.

The words "under God" weren't part of the Pledge of Allegiance until the McCarthyism of the 50s. Acting like those words are a natural part of the Pledge is misleading, to put it mildly.

Sessions was deliberately lying when he said that students can't pray silently in schools. What is absolutely constitutionally forbidden is for the government to set aside time for the purpose of prayer in the public schools. Students continue to pray silently in schools, usually immediately before tests. Prayer as an individual decision is not affected. Efforts by the government to promote religion are banned, as they should be. Sessions, like so many militant, Christian fundamentalists, is deliberately lying about the issue because he knows he can not win if he debates it honestly.

Sessions embeds more than one lie in this gem of a paragraph.
Judges have--contrary to the longstanding rules of war--created a right for terrorists, captured on a foreign battlefield, to sue the United States government in our own courts.

The detentions without trial, torture, and violations of the Geneva Conventions that have occurred against the alleged terrorists at Gitmo and other illegal detention facilities (a.k.a. gulags) are direct violations of the rules of war. Sessions is also deliberately lying when he said judges were the ones who created the right of the alleged terrorists to sue the government, when in fact the people who wrote and ratified our constitution were the ones who gave created that right. Sessions claim that everyone detained is a terrorist is misleading, especially since most of the people in Guantanamo are perfectly innocent.

Another quote shows spectacular hypocrisy from Sessions.
Like the American people, I have watched this for a number of years, and I fear this "empathy standard" is another step down the road to a liberal activist, results-oriented, and relativistic world where:
• Laws lose their fixed meaning,
• Unelected judges set policy,
• Americans are seen as members of separate groups rather than simply Americans, and
• Where the constitutional limits on government power are ignored when politicians want to buy out private companies.

In the first three points, Sessions is aptly describing the judicial actions of Samuel Alito and John Roberts, judges that Sessions enthusiastically supported. Oops!

I am so sick of both major political parties. I can't wait to return Democratic fundraising letters with messages explaining why that party isn't getting a dime from me.

 

3 comments

  1. Christopher Says:
  2. I'm ambivalent about the nomination of Sonya Sotomayor, too.

    Minorities and women are cheering and understandably -- at least she isn't a white male for a change but I have no idea where she stands on LGBT rights and more importantly, where does she stand on repealing DADT and DOMA and gay marriage?

    Someone on Facebook who claims to know her told me she's pro-gay marriage and is opposed to DOMA. But, who knows? People say a lot of things on Facebook.

    I am far more interested on her legal record on these matters and to date, I can find nothing one way or another.

     
  3. GDAEman Says:
  4. The Republicrats leave a lot to be desired. Where is the populist center that has the power to challenge the two party lock?

     
  5. I like reading what you have to say. However, do you see how I thought you must be joking about the name: Flamer v City of White Plains because I am reading it on your blog? I hope you find this as amusing as I did.

    There I was thinking it may have been about gay rights....but nooooo....it's about a menorah....lol

    I hope you have a sense of humor because that is what this comment is about.

    Stop by my blog to read my take on the Episcopilian Church with its gay issues titled: Onward Christian Soldiers, Don't Ask Don't Tell, The Church

     

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