organization:u.s. supreme court

  • Alabama abortion law: Alabama Senate tables controversial bill to criminalize abortions - The Washington Post

    Alabama’s Senate postponed a vote on a controversial abortion bill on May 9 after Democrats shouted demands for a roll-call vote. (Alabama Senate)

    After a shouting match broke out, the Alabama Senate on Thursday voted to table an amendment to a controversial bill that would criminalize abortions by making performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment.

    A vote affecting the abortion bill was then tabled. Democrats shouted demands for a roll-call vote.

    The vote was then moved until next week. The bill would be the most restrictive in the country and would impose what is in effect a near-total abortion ban.

    Alabama is among more than two dozen states that have sought to impose new restrictions on abortion this year. Georgia on Tuesday became the sixth state to impose a ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.

    Alabama Rep. Terri Collins (R), who sponsored the bill, said its purpose is to spark litigation that would force the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guarantees a woman’s right to abortion.

    Under the Alabama legislation, doctors will not be able to perform abortions once a fetus is “in utero.

    The version that passed in the statehouse allowed for only a single exception, in cases involving a serious health risk “to the unborn child’s mother.” An amendment added in the Senate would also provide for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. That amendment was the subject of fierce debate Thursday.

    Gov. Kay Ivey (R), who has described herself as antiabortion, is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as this week, although she has declined to comment directly on the legislation until it is finalized.

    This is a developing story.

  • Employer Sues Glassdoor Over Identity of Anonymous Former Employee | Clear View Post

    Think anonymous reviews in crowd-sourced forums like Yelp and Glassdoor are protected by the First Amendment?

    A former employee who posted a critical review of New York oil barge operator Bouchard Transportation is about to find out.

    So far, Bouchard is winning.

    A California judge in June sided with Bouchard and ordered the job search site Glassdoor to reveal the name of the anonymous former employee who wrote in a 2015 review that the company had “no safety culture.

    Bouchard and its president, Morton Bouchard III, say they need the person’s name to pursue a defamation lawsuit. The company’s complaint states that Bouchard has “diligently worked to ensure that BTC (Bouchard Transportation Company) has a reputation for operating safely.

    But in new arguments filed in November, the former employee, known in court records as John Doe 1, claims that his comments were constitutionally protected opinion.

    Doe also claims that events over the past three years support his criticism.

    Among the events was the explosion of Bouchard’s Barge 255 off the coast of Texas in 2017, killing the vessel’s two deckhands. Testimony about Bouchard’s safety culture figured in a two-week public hearing in 2018 into the cause of the accident held by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Further reading: Bouchard Transportation Lawsuit: Safety Record Not Relevant in Deadly Explosion Investigation
    Bouchard was so concerned about the impact of the testimony on its reputation that the company filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Houston midway through the Coast Guard inquiry seeking unsuccessfully to shut down the hearings.

    Doe’s lawyer, First Amendment lawyer Henry Kaufman of New York City, in a petition filed in November to stop Doe’s unmasking, asked the judge to consider what he called “Bouchard’s bad faith claims about their allegedly fine reputation for safety and environmental concern.

    A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2019, in the Superior Court of California in Marin County.

    With the number and popularity of online anonymous review forums growing, courts across the country increasingly are being asked to balance the public’s right to free speech under the First Amendment with the right of business to challenge statements that it claims are defamatory.

    Case law on the protection of anonymous reviewers’ identities is an evolving work in progress.

    The U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly has held that anonymous speech is protected speech.

    Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority,” the court wrote in the 1995 case of McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission.

    In the modern era of online publication, internet companies rather than pamphleteers increasingly are having to fight to protect the identities of their writers.

    Glassdoor offers tips on its website on writing a review to avoid defamation.

    You are entitled to post your anonymous opinions about your company or C-suite executives on Glassdoor and your speech should be protected under the First Amendment. However, you should be aware that statements of provable facts are subject to legal claims of defamation if your company and/or executives allege your statements are false,” Glassdoor’s website states.

    A key issue is whether the reviewer posts opinions or statements of fact which can be proven true or false.


  • RBG - Ruth Bader Ginsburg - YouTube

    AU moins deux personnes m’ont dit grand bien de ce film

    At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice #Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg ’s exceptional life and career from Betsy West and Julie Cohen, and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films.

    #film #documentaire

  • Microsoft clashes with Justice Department at U.S. Supreme Court

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday wades into a major privacy rights fight between Microsoft Corp(MSFT.O) and the Justice Department, weighing whether U.S. law allows prosecutors to compel technology companies to hand over data stored overseas. The nine justices will hear arguments in a case that pits the interests of tech companies and privacy advocates in safeguarding customer data against the demands of law enforcement in obtaining information crucial to criminal and counterterrorism (...)

    #Microsoft #données #BigData #procès

  • A Statistical Guide for the Ethically Perplexed - CRC Press Book

    A explorer...


    Includes extensive discussions of U.S. federal court decisions where probabilistic and statistical reasoning was paramount
    Clarifies a variety of statistical and probabilistic paradoxes and fallacies
    Provides probabilistic tools to help readers understand the context that informs decision making in medical situations such as screening
    Distinguishes between the notions of specific and general causation and explains how specific causation can be legally argued
    Discusses the importance of cross-validation and the problem of making legitimate inferences based on culling and data mining
    Explores the darker side of psychometrics, including forced sterilization, immigration restriction, and racial purity laws
    Offers further reading and other supplements online


    Lauded for their contributions to statistics, psychology, and psychometrics, the authors make statistical methods relevant to readers’ day-to-day lives by including real historical situations that demonstrate the role of statistics in reasoning and decision making. The historical vignettes encompass the English case of Sally Clark, breast cancer screening, risk and gambling, the Federal Rules of Evidence, “high-stakes” testing, regulatory issues in medicine, difficulties with observational studies, ethics in human experiments, health statistics, and much more. In addition to these topics, seven U.S. Supreme Court decisions reflect the influence of statistical and psychometric reasoning and interpretation/misinterpretation.

    Exploring the intersection of ethics and statistics, this comprehensive guide assists readers in becoming critical and ethical consumers and producers of statistical reasoning and analyses. It will help them reason correctly and use statistics in an ethical manner.

    #data #statistiques #visualisation #ethique

  • Nevada Plans to Use Fentanyl in Upcoming Execution

    Keeping with a recent trend of pharmaceutical industry opposition to the use of their products in executions, the drug manufacturer Pfizer ordered its distributors not to sell midazolam and hydromorphone to prisons. Nevada solicited bids for those drugs from suppliers and received zero offers. Earlier this month, Nevada officials announced a solution in the form of a new drug combination, which numerous experts say has never been used in a U.S. execution. At Dozier’s execution on November 14 — the state’s first in more than a decade — he will be injected with fentanyl (the well-known opioid), diazepam (the sedative better known as Valium), and cisatracurium (a muscle relaxant that causes paralysis).Though the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that some pain during an execution does not violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the new combination is sure to revive debates over how executions are carried out.

  • The Best Of George Carlin

    Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that’ll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war.
    — George Carlin, Class Clown, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”

    George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic.

    Carlin was noted for his black comedy and thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. He and his “seven dirty words” comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision affirmed the government’s power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics; one newspaper called Carlin “the dean of counterculture comedians.” In April 2004, he placed second on the Comedy Central list of “Top 10 Comedians of US Audiences”.

    The first of Carlin’s 14 stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. From the late 1980s, Carlin’s routines focused on sociocultural criticism of American society. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. He was a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show during the three-decade Johnny Carson era, and hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975. His final HBO special, It’s Bad for Ya, was filmed fewer than four months before his death. In 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In 2017, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him second (behind Richard Pryor) on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.

    #USA #humour #satire

  • The surprising history of abortion in the United States -

    There was a time when abortion was simply part of life in the United States. People didn’t scream about it in protest, and services were marketed openly.

    Drugs to induce abortions were a booming business. They were advertised in newspapers and could be bought from pharmacists, from physicians and even through the mail. If drugs didn’t work, women could visit practitioners for instrumental procedures.

    The earliest efforts to govern abortions centered on concerns about poisoning, not morality, religion or politics. It was the mid-19th century, long before abortion became the hot-button issue it is now.
    All of this is according to historian Leslie Reagan, whose 1996 book on abortion history in the United States is considered one of the most comprehensive to date.

    Today, as we await a U.S. Supreme Court decision in what’s been called the biggest abortion case to hit the high court in two decades, many states still clamor to ramp up restrictions.

    Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the United States, states have enacted more than 1,074 laws to limit access to the procedure, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights organization. More than a quarter of these laws passed between 2010 and 2015.

    It wasn’t always like this, says Reagan, a professor of history, medicine, gender, women’s studies and law at the University of Illinois.

    So how did we get here?

  • Supreme Court Strikes Down Florida’s Death Penalty Law

    Florida’s attempt to insulate death penalty cases from the inflamed emotions of juries has backfired. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a Florida death penalty law that gives judges—not juries—a large role in deciding the fate of inmates involved in capital punishment cases.
    #Floride #peine_de_mort #USA #Etats-Unis

  • Mapping the history of U.S. state politics | MIT News

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, in a 1932 opinion, wrote that a state could be a “laboratory” for policy, and “try novel social and economic experiments” on its own. We have since turned those words into today’s common political phrase that the 50 U.S. states are “laboratories of democracy.”

    Some of these policy experiments move states to the right, politically, and others move states to the left. Now a new study conducted by MIT political scientists shows for the first time the modern political trajectory of all 50 U.S. states, since 1936, by examining their laws in relation to nearly 150 policy issues.

    #états-unis #politique #cartographie #visualisation #républicains #démocrates

  • Diversity is for white people: The big lie behind a well-intended word -

    As an academic, I have spent more than a decade investigating this enigmatic term: What do we mean by “diversity” and what do we accomplish when we make it our goal? Using first-hand ethnographic observation and historical documents, my research has taken me from the U.S. Supreme Court during debates about affirmative action to a gentrifying Chicago neighborhood to the halls of a Fortune 500 global corporation.

    Here’s what I’ve learned: diversity is how we talk about race when we can’t talk about race. It has become a stand-in when open discussion of race is too controversial or — let’s be frank — when white people find the topic of race uncomfortable. Diversity seems polite, positive, hopeful. Who is willing to say they don’t value diversity? One national survey found that more than 90 percent of respondents said they valued diversity in their communities and friendships.

  • La Cour suprême américaine rejette une proposition d’obliger le président à reconnaître Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël

    U.S. Supreme Court decision : Small step for presidency, big blow for Jerusalem - West of Eden
    The massive effort to use Zivotofsky’s passport petition for recognition of Israel’s capital only made things worse.
    By Chemi Shalev | Jun. 9, 2015
    Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

    The U.S. Constitution gave the president the authority “to receive ambassadors and other public ministers.” Ever since the Founding Fathers first thrashed it out in 1793 over George Washington’s wish to muzzle an irksome envoy of revolutionary France, the so-called “reception clause” has been interpreted as giving the President wide powers in making foreign policy. Monday’s Supreme Court decision further cemented his (or her) exclusive authority over recognition of foreign countries and their sovereignty over geographical areas, or, in this case, lack thereof.

    By a 6-3 majority, the Court decided, that this presidential prerogative encompasses American-issued passports and their contents. Therefore, the judges noted, a clause in a 2002 Congressional bill that sought to compel the administration to allow Jerusalem-born Americans to have “Israel” registered in their passports as their country of birth was unconstitutional. The court rejected the petition brought by Benjamin Zivotofsky, born shortly after the law was enacted, ruling that his passport would continue to list a country-less Jerusalem as his place of birth.

    The decision had nothing to do with the specific legal status of Jerusalem or with the consistent refusal of successive U.S. administrations – from Harry Truman through Ronald Reagan and George Bush all the way to Barack Obama – to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the city. Rather, the judges dealt with the eternal dilemmas of the American constitutional regime, including separation of powers and the conduct of foreign affairs: Where the constitution doesn’t grant it a foothold, the judges ruled, Congress cannot barge in.

    It was not a victory for Barack Obama, but for the office of the presidency, and a limited one at that: The Court did not rule, as administration lawyers had suggested, that the president has exclusive control of the country’s entire foreign policy. Thus, for example, the decision has little legal bearing on the upcoming battle over the Iran nuclear deal: First, because the Constitution gives Congress considerable say about foreign treaties and second, because that issue was dealt with in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act legislated last month.

    Legalities and technicalities aside, however, the decision was nonetheless a considerable public relations blow for Israel and for perceptions of its status in Jerusalem. Together with myriad Jewish organizations fighting for the cause, Israel had sought to exploit Zivotofsky’s understandable request to have his country of birth registered in his passport, conducting a legal battle that lasted over a decade, consumed millions of dollars, raised hopes sky high and ended in a thundering crash. The world’s media are bound to dwell less on the debates between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton over the conduct of America’s foreign policy and more on the ruling’s bottom line. If you hadn’t known until now that Israel’s greatest ally refuses to recognize its sovereignty over its capital in either East or West Jerusalem, you’re certainly aware of it now.

    Israel and the Jewish groups who turned the Zivotofsky case into a cause celebre turned out to be too clever by half. They thought that by combining strong Congressional support, persuasive amicus briefs submitted by well-respected Jewish groups and a personal story bound to spark sympathy they might circumvent long standing U.S. policy and get in through the back door. A clear majority of the judges – including all the liberal ones, whose positions may have been colored, for all we know, by their attitude towards current Israeli policies – decided to slam the door on their toes. 

    Most observers believe that Israel has already lost the battle over a nuclear agreement with Iran as well, if and when one is signed – it just doesn’t know it yet, or at least is unwilling to concede. It’s been a recurring theme in recent years, especially in the government’s ties with America: Why try to cut your losses when you can emerge from the fight not only bloodied and beaten, but tarred and feathered as well?

  • Au rayon « nos valeurs » – opposées aux fondamentalistes qui mènent des guerres barbares au nom d’une lecture littérale de la religion : nos amis les Américains…

    Extrait de America Right or Wrong - An Anatomy of American Nationalism, d’Anatol Lieven

    The link between millenarianism and radical nationalism was exemplified by Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin, a Pentecostalist believer appointed in 2003 as deputy under-secretary of defense for intelligence. A minor scandal developed in that year when the content of some talks Boykin had given to U.S. evangelical church groups made their way into the national media. (President Bush eventually condemned General Boykin’s statements, but did not dismiss him from his post—one which, it may be noted, later involved a measure of responsibility for the intelligence-gathering strategy which contributed to the abuses of Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.)

     Among other things, General Boykin declared that America is a “Christian nation” and that George Bush had been elevated to the presidency by a miracle—an idea with which many Democrats would agree, but not quite as Boykin meant it. Of judgments by the U.S. Supreme Court of which he disapproved, Boykin said, “Don’t you worry about what these courts say. Our God reigns supreme.” He informed his listeners that in examining photographs of Mogadishu, where he served as a special forces officer, he found an unexplained black mark, which he explained as a manifestation of evil; and that on 9/11 terrorists actually took over two more planes, but they were "thwarted by the hand of God."129

     America’s enemy in the war against terrorism, he said, is Satan, and Satan will be defeated only “if we come against him in the name of Jesus.” Most famously, Boykin said, of a Somali warlord, “I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.” This last was widely described as “crude machismo,” which it may have been, but it was also a straight biblical reference, to the victorious contests of Hebrew Prophets with the priests of Baal.130 Similar statements concerning Islam have emanated from several leaders of the Christian Right like Franklin Graham (son of Billy), Jerry Falwell and the Reverend Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.131

     Concerning the United States itself, leading officials of the Bush administration made no secret of their belief that the American state rests on essentially religious foundations, that “the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator,” in Ashcroft’s words.132 Even Vice President Dick Cheney sent a Christmas card in 2003 with a message asking, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, "And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"133

     Boykin’s remarks indicate two salient features of this sector of American society, as discussed above. The first is their intense nationalism. As for the English and Scottish Puritans of the seventeenth century, from whom they derive their religious culture—as indeed for the Israelites of the Old Testament—their God is essentially a tribal God, a Cromwellian “God of Warre” who fights for them against Amelekites, Irish papists, Red Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, Germans, Japanese, Communists, Russians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Muslims and any other enemy who comes along.

    The second is that their religion-based culture is to a very great extent premodern and definitely pre-Enlightenment. A comparison of Boykin with his equivalents in other contemporary Western armed forces is instructive. A great many French, British and Russian officers would feel more comfortable in the nineteenth century and some surviving aristocratic elements in the eighteenth. British officers in particular sometimes have an affection for horses which trembles on the brink of impropriety. However, the golden ages which they yearn for are still post-Enlightenment. Unlike General Boykin, they would not feel at home in Cromwell’s New Model Army. The extent of this ideologically premodern sector in the United States is greater than almost anywhere else in the developed world—except for Northern Ireland. This kind of religious nationalism is fueled both by religious moralism and by a paranoia fed in turn by a feeling of cultural embattlement. In the words of Richard Hofstadter: "Since what is at stake is always a conflict between good and evil, the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise but the will to fight things out to the finish. Nothing but total victory will do. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and utterly unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated....This demand for unqualified victories leads to the formulation of hopelessly demanding and unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s frustration."134

    • Sur la lecture littérale de la Bible :

      A Pew poll of March 2004 indicated that 40 percent of Americans believed in the literal, word-for-word truth of the Bible, with another 42 percent declaring that it is the word of God, but not necessarily true.85

      Sur les fantasmes millénaristes :

      Of the American evangelicals, significant numbers also hold millenarian beliefs, beliefs with frightening implications for their holders’ attitudes to the world outside the United States. In 1977 the number of American premillennialists alone was conservatively estimated at 8 million. A Pew poll of May 2004 had 36 percent of respondents declaring that the book of Revelations is no metaphor but “true prophesy.” Premillennialists believe in Christ’s bodily return before his thousand-year earthly reign; postmillennialists (a majority of the mainline Protestant churches), on the other hand, believe in his return only after the Millennium has already been established by the power of God working through his people. This is a distinction with crucial implications for attitudes to politics, history and the possibility and desirability of Christians seeking to bring about positive social change in this life.109 The great majority of the leaders of the Christian Right have been premillennialists, and often from a more extreme variant of this belief known as dispensationalism. In 1987, 63 percent of Southern Baptist pastors declared themselves to be premillennarian.110

       A very much larger number of Americans have some belief in “prophecy”: that the Bible—and especially the Book of Daniel and the Revelations of St. John— provides accurate predictions of future events.111 The widespread nature of this belief is indicated by the popularity of millenarian religious fiction, such as Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth (35 million copies sold by 2004) or, more recently, the Rapture series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. To date, this series has sold more than 62 million copies, putting the Harry Potter series to shame and making it by a long stretch the most successful series in the history of American print fiction. LaHaye was a cofounder (with Jerry Falwell) of the Moral Majority, the pioneering Christian Rightist group which laid the foundations for the later and much more successful Christian Coalition.112

       These readership figures demonstrate once again a profound distance between a considerable part of the American population and modernity as the rest of the world understands it, as well as the rationalist and universalist principles of the American Creed. Not only is this tradition deeply and explicitly hostile to the Enlightenment and to any rational basis for human discourse or American national unity, it cultivates a form of insane paranoia toward much of the outside world in general. Thus The End of the Age, a novel by the Christian Rightist preacher and politician Pat Robertson, features a conspiracy between a Hillary Clintonesque first lady and a Muslim billionaire to make Antichrist president of the United States. Antichrist, who has a French surname, was possessed by Satan, in the form of the Hindu god Shiva, while serving with the Peace Corps in India.113

       These books are also utterly, shockingly ruthless in their treatment of the unsaved — in other words, the vast mass of humanity. In accordance with one strand in prophetic belief, the Rapture series begins with God’s elect being taken up to heaven in an instant, and dwells lovingly on the immense casualty rates that results as pilotless planes and driverless cars crash all over the world—with most of the victims presumably going to hell.114

       The moral tone of such attitudes has real consequences for how these believers think about the world today. Thus I remember the words of my born-again landlady during a stay in Washington in 1996-97. When challenged that the Bible cannot be literally God’s word, for in this case sections of the Books of Exodus and Joshua in particular would make God guilty of ordering genocide, she replied, in honey-sweet tones, “But don’t you see, if those people had been wiped out 3,000 years ago as God ordered, we wouldn’t have all these problems in the Middle East today.” Some millenarian language achieves a kind of pornography of hatred in its description of the fate of the damned, especially those from nations hostile to the United States.115

       As these words suggest, one of the most important effects of millenarian thinking in the religious conservative camp in recent years has been to help cement the alliance of this camp with hard-liners in Israel — a subject explored in Chapter 6.

  • How will Jerusalem passport case affect U.S. foreign policy?
    U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether Obama administration should allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports.
    By Reuters | Nov. 2, 2014

    The United States is facing an unconventional challenge as it seeks to project credibility as a neutral peacemaker between the Israelis and Palestinians: a case before the Supreme Court involving a 12-year-old boy.

    On Monday, the nine justices will consider whether the administration of President Barack Obama must follow a law enacted by Congress that allows U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports.

    What appears to be a dry legal question is a foreign policy minefield for the U.S. government, which has refused to enforce the law ever since it was enacted in 2002. The concern for the United States is that the law could be interpreted as an endorsement of Israel’s hotly disputed sovereignty claim over Jerusalem, a holy city for Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

    The case was instigated by the parents of Jerusalem-born U.S. citizen Menachem Zivotofsky because they want his passport to state that he was born in Israel. Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky sued on behalf of their then-baby son in 2003.

    The legal fight has bounced around the U.S. court system for a decade, an odyssey that included a previous trip to the Supreme Court that led to a ruling in 2012 on a more technical procedural issue.

    The legal question is whether the law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the president’s exclusive right on whether to recognize a foreign nation and under what terms.

    The most recent U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israelis and Palestinians broke down in April. Tensions are even higher than usual in Jerusalem after Israel on Thursday briefly closed access to a Muslim holy site, the Al Aqsa mosque, following the wounding of a far-right Jewish religious activist.

    Negotiations over the status of Jerusalem have long been seen as key to any potential peace settlement. The United States has been neutral on the question ever since Israel was founded in 1948.

    “The last thing you want is the United States to come in from left field and undermine the credibility of the process,” said Daniel Kurtzer, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005 and now teaches at Princeton University.

    Israel calls Jerusalem its capital, but most countries, including the United States, do not recognize that claim and maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war, as capital of the state they aim to establish alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    ’Irreversible damage’

    The State Department’s position is that a loss for the U.S. government would be perceived around the world as a reversal of American policy that could cause “irreversible damage” to the government’s power to influence the peace process, according to court papers. The administration, over the objections of members of Congress, has told the court that the president alone gets to make key foreign policy decisions.

    If enforced, the law sends the message that “the United States has concluded that Israel exercises sovereignty over Jerusalem,” administration lawyers said in the court papers. The government currently requires that the passports of any U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem list only the name of the city.

    Even some of the Zivotofsky family’s supporters agree that a ruling in their favor could be read within the Muslim world as an endorsement of Israel’s claim for sovereignty over Jerusalem, although they say that would be an incorrect assumption.

    “It’s hard to imagine Muslim countries doing anything but object strenuously,” said Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Committee, one of several U.S.-based Jewish groups that have backed the Zivotofskys by filing friend-of-the-court briefs.

    The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is the only pro-Palestinian group that filed a brief in support of the U.S. government, saying the law discriminates against Americans of Palestinian heritage because it does not allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Palestine as their place of birth.

    “The law benefits some Americans, but not others,” said Abed Ayoub, the group’s legal and policy director.

    Other nations, including Israel, have not filed court papers on either side.

    The Zivotofsky’s are represented by Washington-based lawyers Nathan Lewin and his daughter, Alyza. They came up with the legal basis for the challenge and said they have worked on the case without charge since 2002.

    In an interview, Alyza Lewin downplayed the impact the case could have on foreign policy issues, framing it instead as a personal tale based on a family’s close connection with Israel.

    At this point, Menachem Zivotofsky has lived with the case his whole life, Lewin said. “He is incredibly proud to be born in Israel,” she added.

  • U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether passports can list `Jerusalem, Israel’ -
    U.S. does not recognize one country as sovereign over the city, so passports of Americans born there say only `Jerusalem.’
    By Haaretz | Oct. 7, 2014 |

    The U.S. Supreme Court in the next few weeks will hear a case concerning the separation of powers within the U.S. government: whether an American born in Jerusalem can have “Jerusalem, Israel” listed as his birthplace on an American passport.

    The case was filed by the parents of Menachem Zivotofsky. They want his passport to say more than simply “Jerusalem” as his place of birth. 

    Congress in 2002 passed a law enabling such a listing. But the administrations of President George W. Bush – who signed the law – and President Barack Obama have said that the law interferes with the executive branch’s right to conduct foreign affairs.

    The U.S. does not recognize one country as having sovereignty over Jerusalem. America has maintained its embassy in Tel Aviv.

    In 2012, reports say, the Supreme Court determined that the courts could decide this case because it was not simply a political question and therefore beyond the courts’ purview. A federal appeals court then sided with the State Department, saying the law passed by Congress impinged on the president’s power to recognize foreign governments.

    The schedule for Zivotofsky vs. Kerry, shown on, says the case is set for argument on November 3.

  • What is “Arctic shipping,” anyway? | International Council on Clean Transportation

    The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, upholding the EPA’s authority to regulate cross-boundary pollution from power plants, got me thinking about other instances of air pollution crossing boundaries – specifically in the Arctic, where the problem is complicated by the fact that there’s not even general agreement on where the supposed “boundary” should be drawn.

    The issue before the Supreme Court was whether EPA could regulate emissions from power plants in states that “contribute significantly” to air problems in other states. This finding is based on the Good Neighbor provision (section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)) of the Clean Air Act and gives EPA the authority to regulate interstate pollution that interferes with the ability to achieve attainment of national air quality standards, which protect public heath.

    #transport_maritime #arctique

  • Federal judges strike down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana, Utah in two separate landmark rulings - NY Daily News

    A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled for the first time that states must allow gay couples to marry, finding the Constitution protects same-sex relationships and putting a remarkable legal winning streak across the country one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The three-judge panel in Denver found it “wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of the love and commitment between same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples.”

    The decision upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban. However, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel immediately put Wednesday’s ruling on hold so it could be appealed, either to the entire 10th Circuit or directly to the nation’s highest court.

    As news organizations, editors, and journalists who often report on government actions that officials seek to keep secret, we write to the Committee on the eve of the forthcoming appearance of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger to express our grave concern over pointed calls by those in authority for censorship of The Guardian and criminal prosecution of its journalists in the name of national security. Such sanctions, and the chilling impact created by even the threat to impose them, undermine the independence and integrity of the press that are essential for democracy to function.
    At the height of the Vietnam War in 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court refused the request of President Nixon to enjoin a newspaper from publishing a classified Defense Department report on the war that had been leaked to a reporter. In rejecting censorship of true, newsworthy information as fundamentally inconsistent with a free press and a free people, Justice Hugo Black cautioned that “[t]he word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality” that should not be invoked to abrogate the right of the press to educate citizens. “The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.”
    Recent disclosures concerning secret activities of GCHQ and the U.S. National Security Agency may have embarrassed or angered political leaders, but they have educated the public on critically important matters and sparked a valuable global debate over the proper exercise of the vast surveillance powers that now exist. It is the responsibility of journalists to provide the type of accurate and in-depth news reports published by The Guardian and others that have informed the public and framed important, unresolved issues concerning the balance between security and privacy. Vigorous news coverage and the debate it fosters advance the public interest.
    It is thus unwise and counterproductive to react to the reporting on disclosures from Edward Snowden by reflexively invoking security concerns to silence the press or to accuse a news organization of aiding terrorists simply by providing citizens with information they need to know. Published reports in The Guardian on the Snowden disclosures have been prepared with the care and sensitivity to security concerns that editors have long demonstrated. We understand that both GCHQ and the NSA were provided an opportunity, in advance of publication, to comment and alert the journalists to particular security concerns. The reporting has been both responsible and, given the intense displeasure of those in power, courageous.
    To the rest of the world, it appears that press freedom itself is under attack in Britain today. British politicians are publicly calling for the criminal prosecution of The Guardian for having published true, accurate, and newsworthy information. A Scotland Yard investigation has been launched. “D notices” have been threatened. And the Prime Minister has raised the prospect of seeking an injunction prohibiting The Guardian from publishing any further intelligence revelations. These aggressive actions intimidate journalists and their sources. They chill reporting on issues of national security and on the conduct of government more generally.
    In our Internet-connected world, the impact of actions in Britain extends far beyond the United Kingdom. U.N. Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue rightly expressed alarm that these actions do more than damage Britain’s international reputation as a defender of press freedom; they “provide encouragement to non-democratic regimes to justify their own repressive actions.” They undermine globally the essential independence of the press.
    We therefore urge the Committee to use the occasion of Mr. Rusbridger’s appearance to reaffirm Britain’s commitment to a vigorous, free, and independent press. It is important to acknowledge that the Snowden revelations, filtered to the public through responsible journalists, have served the public interest. And it is equally important to respect the autonomy of the newsroom. Damage to democracy and to the credibility of elected governments inevitably is inflicted when disapproval of truthful reporting causes officials to intrude into the internal editorial decisions of news organizations.
    The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press American Society of News Editors
    The Associated Press
    The E.W. Scripps Company
    The McClatchy Company
    The New York Times Company
    The New Yorker
    Newspaper Association of America ProPublica
    The Seattle Times Company
    Society of Professional Journalists
    The Washington Post
    World Association of Newspapers and News
    Publishers (WAN-IFRA)

  • Americans born in Jerusalem cannot list ’Israel’ as place of birth -

    A federal appeals court on Tuesday invalidated a U.S. law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to choose to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports contrary to long-standing U.S. foreign policy.

    Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, whose son Menachem was born in Jerusalem and is a U.S. citizen, filed a lawsuit in 2003 demanding that the government enforce the law.

    A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the president - and not lawmakers - had sole authority to say who controls the historic holy city claimed by Israelis and Palestinians.

    In the U.S. government, the president “exclusively holds the power to determine whether to recognize a foreign sovereign,” wrote Judge Karen Henderson for the panel.

    Since the founding of Israel in 1948, U.S. presidents have declined to state a position on the status of Jerusalem, leaving it as one of the thorniest issues to be resolved in possible future peace talks.

    The State Department, which issues passports and reports to the president, has declined to enforce the law passed by Congress in 2002, saying it violated the separation of executive and legislative powers laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

    When President George W. Bush signed the law, he said that if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, it would “impermissibly interfere” with the president’s authority to speak for the country in international affairs.

    The issue of the Zivotofsky case reached the U.S. Supreme Court last year on the preliminary question of whether it was so political that it did not belong in the courts. The high court ruled 8-1 that the case could proceed, setting up Tuesday’s ruling.

    Lawyers for Zivotofsky said they would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as they did following the 2009 ruling.

    “We hope that before Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky’s bar mitzvah, he will be able to bear a passport that recognizes his birthplace as ‘Israel,’ ” attorneys Nathan and Alyza Lewin said in a statement.

    An estimated 50,000 American citizens were born in Jerusalem and could have used the law, if it were enforced, to list Israel as their birthplace.

    While Israel calls Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital, few other countries accept that status. Most, including the United States, maintain their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv.

    Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, as capital of the state they aim to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, alongside Israel.

  • Jonathan Phelps: “absolutely” homosexuals — including gay men, lesbian women, and bisexual and transgender people — should be put to death. - masteradrian’s posterous

    Jonathan Phelps: “absolutely” homosexuals — including gay men, lesbian women, and bisexual and transgender people — should be put to death.

    Post image for Westboro Baptist Church: ‘Absolutely’ Homosexuals Should Be Put To Death

    Jonathan Phelps, son of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, says that “absolutely” homosexuals — including gay men, lesbian women, and bisexual and transgender people — should be put to death. “It’s the view of the Bible, it’s the clear teaching of the Bible,” Phelps said, adding that “the established human government should be following the rules of the Bible.”

    The Westboro Baptist Church, which markets itself as “God Hates Fags,” is perhaps best known for picketing the funerals of soldiers, gay people, and celebrities, and has won a First Amendment case in the U.S. Supreme Court allowing them to do so. Westboro maintains a network of websites, including GodHatesFags.Com, GodHatesIslam.Com, JewsKilledJesus.Com, and BeastObama.Com.

    The Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an active anti-gay hate group.

    Jonathan Phelps spoke today with journalist David Pakman, of “The David Pakman Show,” telling him he believes in the biblical mandate that requires gay people to be put to death, although he declined, when pressed, to identify the method of extermination that should be used.

    “Human government would have to establish that, and since I’m not involved in that aspect of it, I’m not answering that,” Phelps told Pakman. “What I’m partial to is people repenting, that’s what I’m partial to.”

    Phelps, who called Pakman a “rebel” because he is Jewish, also told him that he believes that marriage equality will be the law of the land “soon.”

    “The Supreme Court of the United States will, in follow up to their earlier decisions, and consistent with it, will mandate it.”

    The God Hates Fags website claims the Westboro Baptist Church will be picketing the AMC Midland Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday:

    WBC will picket the Christ-rejecting Jew, Jerry Seinfeld, and all those patronizing this event. You have paid him millions to tell you jokes about your filthy lives of sin, and he’s happy to do that job. What he ought to be doing instead is using his huge bully pulpit to warn you to flee lusts that war against your soul and to flee the wrath of God that is coming on this land for your rebellion!

  • The Leslie Brodie Report Mulls Filing Amicus Curiae Media Brief in Support of Plaintiff Abigail Fisher in Matter of Fisher v. University of Texas seeking to declare affirmative action programs unconstitutional

    Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California at Irvine calls the case “potentially momentous.” He counts four likely votes to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld a law school admissions policy that used race as just one factor in the admissions decision. The outcome will probably depend on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

    The case is Fisher v. University of Texas. Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself from the case, the New York Times reports.

    Please see @: