Race, Gender and Class Take Precedence Over Justice (SCOTUS)

Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented:

  • “Today, with the admirable intention of providing justice for one criminal defendant, the court not only pries open the door; it rules that respecting the privacy of the jury room, as our legal system has done for centuries, violates the constitution,” [….] “it is questionable whether our system of trial by jury can endure this attempt to perfect it.” ~ Samuel Alito

Here is the WALL STREET JOURNAL article Dennis was reading from:

For 250 years U.S. law has protected jury verdicts from being overturned due to juror misconduct or bias. A liberal Supreme Court majority has now carved out an exception for racial bias, and in an ill-defined way with no limiting principle that is likely to damage the jury system.

After a Colorado jury convicted a Mexican man of sexual harassment, two jurors signed affidavits that a retired police officer on the jury had expressed racial animus during deliberations. The juror was reported to have stated that “nine times out of 10 Mexican men were guilty of being aggressive toward women and young girls,” among other slurs. The defendant’s counsel sought to overturn the conviction based on racial animus but was denied by the trial judge.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a trial by an impartial jury, and the legal system affords numerous protections against juror bias and misconduct. Jurors can be screened for bias prior to selection. The judge and counsel can discipline juror misconduct during the trial, and jurors may report on their peers before a verdict is rendered. Any single juror’s bias can also be policed by 11 others. 

The no-impeachment rule rooted in English common law also shields verdicts from being challenged. As Justice Anthony Kennedy explained in the 5-3 majority opinion this week in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, the rule “promotes full and vigorous discussion by jurors by providing considerable assurance that after being discharged they will not be summoned to recount their deliberations” or otherwise harassed. It also “gives stability and finality to verdicts.”

Yet Justice Kennedy joined the Court’s four liberals in Pena-Rodriguez to overturn that standard for accusations of racial bias. The Justice writes for the majority that racial bias is such “a familiar and recurring evil that, if left unaddressed, would risk systemic injury to the administration of justice.”

Pena-Rodriguez declares a new racial standard for overturning jury verdicts that was rejected by Colorado and has no constitutional basis. It also doesn’t establish a bright-line test of what constitutes unacceptable racial prejudice. Judges are apparently supposed to know it when they see it. “Not every offhand comment indicating racial bias or hostility will justify setting aside the no-impeachment bar,” Justice Kennedy concedes, but that ambiguous caveat won’t prevent endless complaints and appeals.

As Justice Samuel Alito muses in dissent, would a micro-aggression such as “this macho type” be permissible? How about positive racial bias? Take Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s famous comment that a wise Latina woman would “more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” And what about religious prejudice or sexism that also receive equal protection under the Constitution?

“Although the Court tries to limit the degree of intrusion, it is doubtful that there are principled grounds for preventing the expansion of today’s holding,” writes Justice Alito. “Nothing in the text or history of the [Sixth] Amendment or in the inherent nature of the jury trial right suggests that the extent of the protection provided by the Amendment depends on the nature of a jury’s partiality or bias.”

Justice Kennedy counters that at least 16 jurisdictions have adopted a rule for racial-bias exceptions. But Congress explicitly rejected such an exception in 1975, and so have two-thirds of states. The Supreme Court had heretofore rejected exceptions to the no-impeachment rule.

The ruling is a step toward corrupting juries with political standards based on the progressive obsessions with race, gender and class. It also continues Justice Kennedy’s long march away from constitutionally neutral standards on race. “As this Court said some years ago,” Justice Alito concludes, “it is questionable whether our system of trial by jury can endure this attempt to perfect it.”

 

 

Headed Into the New Year Divided (Updated)

Divided We Stand

The Supreme Court case is Little Sister of the Poor v. Sebelius, 13A691. The other cases are Priests for Life v. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 13-05368, and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Sebelius, 13-05371, U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia (Washington).

I posted about the Little Sisters a while ago, and we will be entering into a new faze of this issue soon:

The Obama administration was temporarily blocked by a U.S. Supreme Court justice from forcing an order of Catholic nuns to comply with a federal requirement to provide free contraceptive coverage for employees.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s two-sentence order will last at least until Jan. 3, the deadline she gave the administration to respond to a bid by the Denver and Baltimore chapters of the Little Sisters of the Poor for an exemption to the mandate. The Supreme Court released the order last night, a half hour before the mandate took effect.

The request by the nuns was one of four lodged with the court yesterday by groups claiming the administration isn’t doing enough to accommodate religious objections to the contraceptive rule. The requirement stems from the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act….

[….]

Tatel was appointed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, while the other judges on the panel that granted yesterday’s order, Karen Henderson and Janice Rogers Brown, were nominated, respectively, by George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, both Republicans. Jackson was named to the bench by Obama, a Democrat….

…read more…

Meet the Sisters

Via Gateway Pundit:

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic religious group for women who have dedicated their lives to the service of the elderly, is concerned that after more than a century of service the Obama Administration will force them out of the United States. The order was previously banned in China and Myanmar. The Obama Admininistration may force them out of the United States.

The religious order claims the so-called contraception mandate in ObamaCare will make it impossible for them to continue their work in the United States.

Does Sotomoyer see the dangers in this? Gateway Pundit Updates:

Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor blocked the Obama administration from forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide free contraceptive coverage to employees. The Little Sisters of the Poor serve the elderly poor in over 30 countries around the world.

If `Love` Is the Criteria, Then Why Not These? Sotomayor Asked the Same Question!

The same arguments that same-sex marriage advocates use here in the States were used in Canada to argue for polygamy. Using this same criteria, “love,” why couldn’t sisters be married? Brothers? Brothers and sisters? Three people? Doesn’t a number (one-man-and-one-man) seem an arbitrary thing to argue if it isn’t one-man-and-one-woman? You see, if you leave the wise counsel of all of human history, you end up with illiberal egalitarianism. Notice what’s missing? That’s because to say a child is better off with a mother-and-father is now a form of bigotry (http://youtu.be/CRvfnNLT_k8).

Some GREAT[!] Audio from Todays Supreme Court Justices, Kennedy & Roberts (Updated with Sotomayor and Scalia)

Keep in mind that Kennedy is the “swing” vote, and it seems he is leaning towards the conservative side.

Justice Sotomayor, an Obama appointee, appeared skeptical of solicitor general Verrilli’s claims that the individual mandate is not based upon the idea that the government can force people into commerce and that there is no limit on its power to do so. I would be hopeful that she would apply the law/Constitution properly. She could have been trying to allow the Obama admin lawyer a forum to restate his case, better than when questioned by the other Justices. We will see.