The Spectacle Blog

Thoughts on the SC’s Decision to Legalize Same Sex Marriage Nationwide

By on 6.26.15 | 12:43PM

As with the Obamacare decision a couple of days ago, I don’t think there are many people who are surprised at the outcome of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to legalize same sex marriage.

Although I have long been in favor of same sex marriage, there are serious shortcomings in the constitutionality of Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. Our old friend Quin Hillyer is right to say that his ruling does not square with the opinions he expressed on states’ rights in U.S. v. Windsor scarcely two years ago. Kennedy’s ruling is rooted in convenience not in constitutionality, rooted in political expediency rather than principle. Given the rulings which have taken place over the past 48 hours, the Constitution might as well be relegated to a museum piece alongside the Confederate flag. It shouldn’t of course. The Constitution is simply too important to give up so easily. Yet it won’t be easy to restore it to its proper place in American jurisprudence.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same Sex Marriage

By on 6.26.15 | 11:58AM

For once I can legitimately blame Anthony Kennedy for my problems. I mean, I sort of always could, because I had Judge Bork as a professor in law school, and I wouldn’t have had to endure his weird lectures on the right to engage in necrophilia (which came in handy today, weirdly) as being part of the “penumbras and emanations” of the Bill of Rights that ultimately created the “right to privacy,” and his penchant for carrying around fried foods in his suit pocket (true story). But today, Anthony Kennedy has made a generation of lawyers just feel really, really tired. 

Writing for the majority, Kennedy ruled, with the Supreme Court, that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, striking down, specifically, statutes in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, within the Sixth Circuit. States don’t have to be in the marriage business, he said, but where they are, they can’t discriminate. 

Islamist Terror Strikes Shi’ite Mosque in Kuwait & Tourist Hotel in Tunisia

By on 6.26.15 | 10:51AM

It’s been a very bloody Friday.

In addition to the terrorist attack in Lyon, France, there have also been attacks at a Shi’ite Mosque in Kuwait and a tourist hotel in Tunisia.

The attack at the Imam Saddiq mosque was a suicide bombing which took place during Friday prayers. At least 10 people have died in the attack.

Meanwhile, 27 people have been killed at the seaside resort of Sousse. A majority of the dead are British and German tourists. It is believed that two gunmen were responsible. One has been killed and the other is in custody.

Man Beheaded in Factory Near Lyon, France in Islamist Terror Attack, er, Act of Workplace Violence

By on 6.26.15 | 10:50AM

A man has been beheaded at a gas factory near Lyon, France with one other man being injured the attack.

It has been reported that two men were seen driving into the factory with a flag that had Arabic writing on it. This was later discovered to be an ISIS flag.

French anti-terrorism police are reporting they have one of the two men in custody.

In France, they call this an act of Islamist terrorism. Here in the U.S.A., they call it an act of workplace violence.

That’s pretty much how the beheading of Colleen Hufford last September at a factory in Moore, Oklahoma was treated.

SCOTUS Okays Liability for Unintentional Housing Discrimination

By on 6.25.15 | 11:59PM

Stop calling it fair housing law. If it was ever a matter of fairness, it isn’t now.

Under today’s 5-4 Supreme Court holding in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, you can be held liable for housing discrimination whether or not you or anyone in your organization intended to discriminate. Instead — to quote Justice Anthony Kennedy, who joined with the Court’s four liberals in a 5-4 majority — you might have been influenced by “unconscious prejudice” or “stereotyping” when you lent money or rented apartments or carried on appraisal or brokerage or planning functions. What you did had “disparate impact” on some race or other legally protected group, and now you’re caught up in potentially ruinous litigation in which it’s up to you to show that you had a good reason for what you did and could not have arranged your actions in some other way that had less disparate impact.

Patrick Macnee, R.I.P.

By on 6.25.15 | 7:26PM

Actor Patrick Macnee passed away today of natural causes. He was 93.

Macnee's acting career spanned nearly six decades. But he is synonymous with John Steed, the debonair spy who starred in the 1960's British TV series The Avengers which would also become popular on this side of The Atlantic. Macnee starred with a triumvirate of female partners - Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson. Of the three, Macnee's chemistry with Rigg's Emma Peel made for TV gold. Macnee would revive the character in the mid-1970's along with Joanna Lumley in The New Avengers.

In later years, Macnee would appear in TV shows such as Magnum, P.I., Murder, She Wrote, Battlestar Galatica and Frasier and would also appear in This is Spinal Tap and the James Bond film A View to a Kill. 

Before Macnee achieved fame he served in the Royal Navy during WWII.

When Obama Says Jump, John Roberts Asks, “How High?”

By on 6.25.15 | 6:36PM

I am not surprised The Supreme Court once again ruled in favor of Obamacare.

After all, it just about 2 1/2 weeks ago that President Obama declared that the Supreme Court shouldn't have even taken up King v. Burwell but that if they dared to rule against him it would be "a twisted interpretation" of the law.

SC Chief Justice John Roberts got the message loud and clear. When Obama says jump, Roberts asks, "How high?" So state exchanges are federal exchanges and 2+2=5.

When Russia, China and Iran view President Obama as an inconsequential actor why do Republicans like Roberts, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell shake in their boots when they hear Obama's voice?

With respect to Roberts, I think he has been spooked since Obama dressed down the Supremes over Citizens United in 2010 while Samuel Alito nodded no. 

The Humpty-Dumpty Court

By on 6.25.15 | 12:10PM

Another Orwellian political decision by the U.S. Supreme Political Court today, wherein we learn that love is hate, up is down, good is bad, and it all depends on what focus groups say the meaning is, is.

The only surprise with today’s diktat, which furthers replaces law with politics, is that so many profess surprise at what should have been totally predictable. This is, after all, a SCOTUS that has continually stumbled over the meaning of “Congress shall make no law.” Once again we are invited by nine lawyers in muumuus to accept that language which is as clear as spring water is in fact ambiguous.

The extravagantly misnamed Affordable Care Act, more accurately known as Obamacare, may as well also be known as SCOTUS-Care, as Chief Political Justice John Roberts (D-Supreme Court) has pulled its fat out of the fire twice now for reasons that have nothing to do with law.

SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare Subsidies 6-3

By on 6.25.15 | 12:04PM

I'm not sure if I'm always the contrarian on this or I've just become so cynical that it's almost impossible to surprise me with a "good" result, but today's 6-3 ruling, in favor of maintaining Federal subsidies for state healthcare exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act is hardly shocking. 

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts determined that Congress, while too dumb to put it into words, intended to create a system that provided Federal subsidies to even those who were forced to use state healthcare exchanges to purchase their insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act. The majority of the court agreed with Roberts (except for Scalia, who is basically turning into that guy from Scarface every time he writes a dissent). 

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's majority opinion and was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Senate Considers Dodd-Frank Reforms, Rollbacks

By on 6.25.15 | 11:21AM

A bill to ease financial and investment regulations passed in 2010 in response to the 2008 banking crisis is under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015 (FRIA), proposed by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), was approved in May by the Senate Banking Committee. If signed into law, FRIA will ease financial regulations in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly referred to as “Dodd-Frank,” and require the Federal Reserve and other government financial regulators to operate with greater transparency.

‘More of the Same
Heritage Foundation Research Fellow Norbert Michel says Dodd-Frank is an example of tired government-centric policies.

“[Dodd-Frank] basically gave us more of the same type of regulation and top-down design, so there’s no reason to expect a different outcome in the future,” Michel said.

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