On June 4th, one hundred years ago, congress passed the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote after it was ratified by the states one year later. While the amendment was a huge step for women’s rights, it did not protect them against discrimination. It did not guarantee equality with men. That brings …
Tag: US Constitution
Feb 15 2011
While we were watching the Egyptians take back their country, our so-called representatives in the House were destroying ours. From John Nichols at The Nation:
Less than a month after making a show of reading the U.S. Constitution into the Congressional Record, the leaders of the Republican-controlled U.S. House enginnered a vote to extend the surveillance authorities that both the Bush and Obama administrations have used to conduct “roving surveillance” of communications, to collect and examine business recordsand to target individuals who are not tied to terrorist groups for surveillance.
While most Democrats opposed the extension of the surveillance authorities — rejecting aggressive lobbying by the Obama administration and its allies in the House GOP leadership — overwhelming Republican support won approval of the legislation on a a 275-144 vote. Thus, the supposedly Constitution-obsessed House has endorsed a measure that is widely seen — not just by Democrats and progressives but by Republicans and conservatives — as a constant threat to privacy protections outlined in the document’s 4th Amendment.
As Michelle Richardson, the legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, noted Monday night: “It has been nearly a decade since the Patriot Act was passed and our lawmakers still refuse to make any meaningful changes to this reactionary law. The right to privacy from government is a cornerstone of our country’s foundation and Americans must be free from the kind of unwarranted government surveillance that the Patriot Act allows. If Congress cannot take the time to insert the much needed privacy safeguards the Patriot Act needs, it should allow these provisions to expire.”
The 275 votes for extending the surveillance authorities came from 210 Republicans and 65 Democrats.
More remarkable was the House vote on a motion offered by the Democrats, which sought to recommit the bill with instructions to add language ensuring that surveillances would only be conducted in compliance with the U.S. Constitution.
That motion lost on a 234-186 vote.
144 Americans stood up against this, 127 Democrats that included Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Michigan’s John Conyers, and 27 Republicans. Patriots all.
Feb 13 2010
Rachel Maddow tells us that “filibuster” is a boring word, even if it originally meant private adventurers going off risking life and limb trying to make themselves President of some Central American country.
So I will use the other common English language phrase for it, “Talking a Bill to Death”.
The ability to Talk a Bill to Death was introduced by mistake when Aaron Burr in 1806 argued for removal of the motion to “move the previous question”. This is a motion that can be used to postpone debate, when a measure does not yet have a majority, and can of course also be used to bring a measure to a vote, if it has a majority. Aaron Burr appealed to the fact that it had only passed once in the previous four years – but then again, the Senate did not at that time have a filibuster tradition.
So, restoration of the original rule is one fix to the filibuster problem. However, that is not what I am focusing on today. Rather, I am focusing on the Unconstitutionality of filibustering one type of bill, which was the real flaw in Aaron Burr’s Blunder.
Jun 26 2008
The Supreme Court of the United States of America will be issuing a ruling from the bench today regarding a 32 year old law that bans handguns in Washington, District of Columbia.
Yesterday, John Roberts & the Supremes issued a ruling regarding Capitol Punishment where they found, once again by the magic number of 5 – 4, that Capitol Punishment was only to be used in cases of murder and not for cases of rape or rape of a child.
Of course, the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse (John Robert, Clarence Thomas, Vlad Scalia and Samuel Alito) all wanted to expand the ruling regarding Capitol Punishment but were held at bay by the more thoughtful members of the Supreme’s.
Much Wingnut gnashing of the teeth, pulling of the hair and wailing of the in-lockstep voice of the Right Wing could be seen and heard directly after this ruling.
I must admit, I do get a slight kick out of watching and listening to the Right Wing extremists when they get told they can’t go forward and do what they want to do! It’s like witnessing a mass group of 5 year olds being told they have to take a nap before they can eat their cupcakes! Quite noisy and somehow hilarious!
Mar 22 2008
Mar 17 2008