There Should Be No Constitutional Right For Anonymity Of Petition Signers

Should the names of those who signed a petition seeking a vote to overturn Washington’s domestic partner rights be made known to the public?  The United States Supreme Court took up this case today.   I feel that when one lobbies in any fashion for the government to take an action that then can become public knowledge.  The consequences of using clout and money to lobby in private runs counter to the larger openness that our government should strive to maintain.  The same holds true for the individual who signs a petition concerning a heated issue.

This is not so much a conservative vs. liberal court case as much as it is one of strict adherence to higher ideals that we should not run from as a democracy.  If one can not stand in the light of day to their convictions that they petition the government about, then perhaps there is a problem with the position that they are privately taking.  It should be remembered  John Hancock  used large bold script when signing the Declaration of Independence, so large in fact that “…fat George can read it without his spectacles.”  That should be the model of our convictions today.  If we can not stand by our views, then they need not be used for darker nefarious reasons that we are ashamed of to be printed in the press, or seen in the public square.

Justice Antonin Scalia, using history, sarcasm and political taunts, laid down a barrage of objections Wednesday to a plea that the Supreme Court create a new constitutional right of anonymity for individuals who sign petitions to get policy measures onto election ballots.  When he was finished, the strong impression was that it might be exceedingly hard to gather a five-vote majority to establish such a right, even though the plea got the fervent support of Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and some implied help from Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.  The oral argument was in John Doe # 1, et al., v. Reed, et al. (09-559).

Declaring that the rough-and-tumble of democracy is not for the faint-hearted, what Scalia referred to as the “touchy, feely” sensitivity of some political activists, the Justice said “you can’t run a democracy” with political activity behind a First Amendment shroud.  “You are asking us to enter into a whole new field,” Scalia told James Bopp Jr., the lawyer for Washington State signers of an anti-gay rights petition.  Politics, the Justice went on, “takes a certain amount of civic courage.  The First Amendment does not protect you from civic discourse — or even from nasty phone calls.” 

The petition-signers represented by Bopp have argued that disclosure of their names and other identifying information they put on petitions will subject them to harassment, and even to violence. The lawyer told the Justices, for example, that one of the chief sponsors of the anti-gay marriage referendum in Washington had his family sleep in the living room to protect them from retaliation.   Bopp’s plea clearly resonated with Justice Alito, but his was the only voice on the bench explicitly in support of the claim to anonymity.

But Justice Scalia was, if anything, a more aggressive advocate for that view of the case.  “A petition-signer,” he said, “is taking part in the legislative process.”  He suggested that there was no court case holding that the First Amendment shields “activity that consists of the process of legislation.”  In fact, Scalia said, “for the first century of our existence” even casting a ballot was done in public, and ballots were of different colors so everyone could know how an individual had voted in a given contest.

Governor Charlie Crist Will Challenge Marco Rubio As An Independent

This is what I have been waiting for.  Charlie Crist will no longer be a Republican, but he will still be a closeted gay man….who happens to be married for political purposes.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist plans to announce he will run for the Senate as an independent tomorrow, leaving the Republican party and setting up a three-way fight in the fall, according to several sources briefed on his decision.

Crist is expected to make the announcement, which had been rumored for weeks, tomorrow afternoon in St. Petersburg.

Crist denied to the Associated Press today that he had told anyone of his decision. And, sources close to the governor warned that he could change his mind at the last minute — and has shown a propensity for doing just that — but that as of today he was set on an independent run. Sources close to Crist also described him as comfortable with his decision and not terribly conflicted, however, a state of mind that suggests there is less likelihood that he would change his mind.

Karl Rove Speaks Out Against Arizona Immigration Law

What many Tea Party types do not understand is that the Republican Party can not have…must not have….an energized and determined Hispanic community opposed to their party come election day. (2010 or 2012)  In spite of the hate and bigotry that many conservatives exhibit on the issue of brown-skinned immigrants the Republican Party at the core knows that they can not win the needed states and races if they come across as intolerant and unfair on the immigration issue.  At the end of the day there are more voters who care about fairness then there are hard rock-ribbed conservatives that can’t see beyond their bigotry.  So it is now that we see former Republican Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Republican South Carolina Senator Graham speak out against the unconstitutional Arizona immigration law.  The latest such big name to add his weight to the matter is Republican Karl Rove.

At the end of the day the Tea Party folks will have to decide where they want to go.  They can vote with the GOP that will need to accommodate the Hispanic vote for long-term electoral possibilities, or they will need to form a third-party and further splinter the conservative vote.

Karl Rove, who served as chief political strategist for former President George W. Bush, is the latest Republican to speak out against Arizona’s controversial new immigration law, the Orlando Sentinel reports. 

“I think there is going to be some constitutional problems with the bill,” Rove reportedly said at a senior community center in The Villages, Forida, where he made a stop on his book tour. “I wished they hadn’t passed it, in a way.” 

Arizona’s new law, signed by the governor on Friday, would require immigrants to carry documents verifying their immigration status. It would also require police officers to question a person about his or her immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that person may be illegally in the country.

What To Do Before Shaking Many Hands At The White House

My sister would put on plastic gloves so not to catch germs…but others, according to First Lady Laura Bush in her memoir, just ask for a glass of ice.

‘The royal family is not without its quirks. When Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, came to visit us, they requested glasses of ice before we began a long receiving line. The staff dutifully produced them, and the prince removed a flask from his pocket and added to each a small splash of what I presume was straight gin, so that they might be fortified before the hour of shaking hands.’ (p. 296)

Pope Benedict May Apologize For Pedophile Priests

But we must wait until June……..

Pope Benedict XVI may issue a mea culpa for clerical sex abuse at a June meeting of the world’s priests at the Vatican.

The June 9-11 summit, initially called to mark the end of the Vatican’s year of the priest, had already morphed into a pep rally for the pope as he came under fire amid a new wave of reports on sex abuse by clerics.

Now, according to the top Vatican official dealing with abuse, it’s possible that Benedict may issue some form of an apology at the meeting.

Arrested For Being Norse

Could this happen next in Arizona?  (Hat tip to my Uncle Dick)

A blonde blue-eyed woman was arrested in Doylestown today on suspicion of being Norse.  She could not produce papers verifying her citizenship.  “Anybody could have a driver’s license,” said the volunteer vigilante who made the arrest.  “The minute I saw her, he said, I thought there is something odd about her.  Nobody is that blonde.”  When she was asked to answer questions about the U.S.  Constitution, she refused!  She said she thought the Constitution said something about being safe in your person from search and seizure, but she was corrected on that.  We told her that the Bill of Rights only protected American citizens with state identity cards. 

As it turned out, she had distant relatives that had been involved in raping and pillaging, especially along the sea coasts here and elsewhere.  Easy access to sea travel is probably how she got here in the first place, although that would be difficult to prove.  She had money and a job, and was on her way to work at a second job when she was arrested.  “That could be important, reported the arresting vigilante.  She was probably taking a job away from a real American.  Looking honest and hard-working won’t do you any good here.  Either you carry the proper identity card or you go to jail.”

Obama Says Taking Your (Brown) “Kid Out To Get Ice Cream, You Can Be Harassed” In Arizona

Turning up the heat on Arizona’s unfair and unconstitutional immigration law.

President Obama said at an Iowa town hall meeting today that the controversial immigration legislation signed into law Friday could lead to racial profiling. 

“You know, you can try to make it really tough on people who look like they, quote, might be illegal immigrants,” he said. 

The president added that a Hispanic American whose family had been in the United States for generations faced a situation in which “now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you can be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.” 

“That’s not the right way to go,” the president said, calling the law “poorly conceived.”

Feds Eye Challenge To Arizona Immigration Law

This is the start to a federal response to the racist and unconstitutional immigration law in Arizona.  The ‘start’ is planting the very idea that there may be a response.

A federal court challenge to a new Arizona law aimed at curbing illegal immigration isn’t out of the question, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.

Holder said that the Justice Department was working with the Department of Homeland Security to “decide exactly how we are going to react to it.”

“We are considering all possibilities, including the possibility of a court challenge,” Holder told reporters during questions at a news conference, at which he had announced a settlement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca over its marketing of an anti-psychotic drug.

“I think that [Arizona’s] law is an unfortunate one,” he said. “I think that it is, I fear, subject to potential abuse. And I’m very concerned about the wedge that it could draw between communities that law enforcement is supposed to serve and those of us in law enforcement. “

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who served as Arizona’s governor until she took the position with the Obama administration, told a Senate panel Tuesday that she has “deep concerns” with the law.