Courts

Supreme Court refuses to ‘Free the Nipple’ in topless women case

The Supreme Court on Monday decided not to hear an appeal by three women fined by a city in New Hampshire for exposing their breasts in public who argued that banning female but not male toplessness violates the U.S. Constitution. The justices left in place a 2019 ruling by New Hampshire’s top court upholding the women’s convictions for violating an ordinance in the city of Laconia that makes it illegal to show female breasts in public “with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple.” The women – Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro – were involved in the “Free the Nipple” movement, which court papers described as campaigns against “sexualized objectification of women” and in favor of women being able to go topless in public if they wish. Pierro was arrested on a beach on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in May 2016 where she was performing yoga while topless. Lilley and Sinclair were both arrested days later while topless on another beach where they were protesting Pierro’s arrest. The three women were given suspended fines of $100 each, on condition of subsequent good behavior. Among the legal arguments made by the women is that any law that punishes women for exposing their breasts while allowing men to go shirtless violates the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which requires that laws be applied equally to everyone. The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the ordinance did not discriminate against women, noting that it bars nudity of both men and women. The different definition of what constitutes nudity is based on “the traditional understanding of what constitutes nudity,” that court concluded. Laconia is located about 25 miles (40 km) north of Concord, the capital of New Hampshire.

This is one of those cases that nobody really wanted to deal with.  Even the ladies were given suspended $100 fines and told to behave.  And the Supremes rightfully let stand the NH Supreme Court’s ruling.  The ruling in effect said, “nudity in public is against the law in NH, and yes..the bodies of men and women ARE different.  Get over it.”  Agreed.

Senate confirms Justin R. Walker for District Judge

The Senate confirmed a former clerk to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was a staunch defender of his boss during the controversial hearings last year, for the federal bench Thursday over Democrats’ concerns the pick lacked enough trial experience to be a judge. Justin Walker was confirmed to the U.S. Western District of Kentucky by a 50-41 vote. He became the 110th district court judge appointed by President Trump. Mr. Walker teaches legal writing at the University of Louisville. He previously clerked for Justice Kavanaugh when he sat on the federal appeals court in Washington and clerked at the Supreme Court for now-retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. During Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Mr. Walker appeared regularly on network television to defend his former boss’s record and reputation after the nominee faced allegations of sexual misconduct. Justice Kavanaugh vehemently denied any wrongdoing. “For those of us who know Justin Walker and have seen his work up close it’s clear that President Trump made an outstanding choice to be a district judge for the Western District of Kentucky,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday. “Mr. Walker has sharpened his legal skills at the highest levels.”

Many of the Senate Dems who voted against Mr. Walker’s nomination due to “lack of experience” as a judge, were the very same Senators who supported then Pres. Obama’s appointment of Elena Kagen to the U.S SUPREME COURT, and she had never served a day in her life as a judge.  Typical hypocrites.  The Dems just can’t stand that President Trump has put another young (he’s 37 years old), conservative judge on the federal bench with a lifetime appointment.  Elections DO have consequences, and its driving them insane, lol.  We wish Judge Walker the very best in his new position.

9th Circuit Court sides with Trump administration on banning Title X funds for abortion

A federal appeals court refused Thursday to block the Trump administration’s Title X family-planning rules from taking effect, keeping in place newly instated requirements preventing grant recipients from referring clients for abortions. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a plea from 20 states and the District of Columbia, as well as abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, to impose an emergency stay after lifting June 20 preliminary injunctions ordered by lower courts in California, Oregon and Washington. In February, the Department of Health and Human Services overhauled rules governing Title X grants for family-planning services to low-income patients, prohibiting recipients from using the funds to “perform, promote, refer to, or support abortion as a method of family planning.” The rule change could cost Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, as much as $60 million per year, although the Title X grants represent only a small percentage of the organization’s half-billion in annual federal funding. Pro-life groups cheered the court for standing by its earlier ruling. All seven of the judges who voted to deny the emergency stay were appointed by Republicans—including two chosen by President Trump—while the four who voted in the minority were named by Democrats. “This is a victory for commonsense, life-affirming policy,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “The Protect Life rule ensures that the people helping women plan for families are not misusing appointments to market abortions at taxpayer expense.” She added that “Title X had become a marketing slush fund for Planned Parenthood, and the Trump Administration and the American people won today.” The Title X overhaul opened the door for pro-life pregnancy centers to receive funds by removing the requirement for “nondirective counseling on abortion.” In March, the Obria Group of California became the first such center to receive a Title X grant. The rule also requires a “clear financial and physical separation” between abortion procedures and other family-planning services, a mandate scheduled to take effect in March 2020. Planned Parenthood blasted the court’s refusal to block “the Title X gag rule,” calling it “devastating.” “This is devastating news,” said Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen. “While we are incredibly concerned the panel did not recognize the harm of the Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule, we will not stop fighting for the millions across the country in need for care.” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said that abortion “is neither health care nor family planning and therefore should not be funded by the Title X program.” “This regulation helps to get taxpayers out of the abortion business, without cutting resources for those in need, and is a victory for all Americans,” she said.

Agreed 100!  This is a victory for all hard-working American tax payers.  To be clear, this isn’t about abortion, or outlawing it…or anything like that.  It’s simply a rare common-sense ruling by the otherwise left-leaning 9th Circuit agreeing with the Trump Administrations prohibition against using Title X funds for abortions.  That’s it.  And, it’s about time.  It’s hopefully the first step in stopping ALL federal tax-payer funding of Planned Parenthood entirely.  And, again, this has NOTHING to do with abortions, or their legality.  It’s simply about forcing tax-payers to pay for them; a large percentage of whom have moral objections to such procedures.  If someone wants to undergo that procedure, that’s their business.  But, the rest of us shouldn’t be forced to pay for it.  That’s the bottom line.  I don’t say this very often..but..  Kudos to the 9th Circuit Court for this decision.

Senate confirms two Trump judicial nominees

The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm two men as the newest federal judges in Florida. Florida’s senators announced the confirmations Wednesday of Rodney Smith to serve on the bench in South Florida and Thomas Barber for a seat in the state’s middle district. Smith is a former Miami-Dade assistant county attorney, prosecutor and county judge who has served since 2012 as a circuit judge. Barber was a prosecutor and county judge in Tampa and has been a circuit judge there since 2008. The Senate has now confirmed five of President Donald Trump’s nominees for lifetime positions the federal bench in Florida.

Great news!!  Glad to see the Senate actually doing its job.  But, they need to pick up the pace.  There are literally hundreds of nominees waiting for their turn at a vote in the Senate.  Our congrats to Judges Rodney Smith and Thomas Barber!  Excellent!!   🙂

Trump judicial nominee confirmed to 9th Circuit Court over Democratic objections

In a 52-45 party-line vote Wednesday, the Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The confirmation of California lawyer Kenneth Lee marked the first time neither home-state senator had returned a blue slip, a Senate tradition in which the home-state senator gives their opinion of the nominee, the Hill reported. Neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein nor Sen. Kamala Harris, both California Democrats, returned a blue slip on Lee’s nomination to the San Francisco-based court. Lee, 43, a native of South Korea, is a past special counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. In a Twitter message, Feinstein cited Lee’s writings on race and civil rights as reasons for her opposition. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed that Lee holds “shocking” positions on race and women’s reproductive rights. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called Lee “a man of high character” and a brilliant lawyer. The two attended law school together. “Lee’s record shows that he is far outside the legal mainstream,” Feinstein said, according to the Washington Times. Lee wrote in 1994 that gay people have a higher incidence of AIDS because they are more “promiscuous” than straight people. “Nine out of 10 people with AIDS are gay or drug users,” he wrote. He said he was “embarrassed” by that position during his confirmation hearing and that he had matured since then, according to the Hill. In another article, he questioned why a woman would continue working for a man who had assaulted her “just so she can hold on to a part-time job.” In his confirmation hearing, he said at the time of the writing that he didn’t understand workplace dynamics, according to the Hill. Lee’s nomination marks Trump’s 40th circuit judge appointment since taking office.

For more on this nomination of Kenneth Lee, click on the text above.

Trump overhauls crucial U.S. appeals courts at record pace: ‘It’s a generational change’

The Senate confirmed Michael Park to be a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, making him the 39th circuit court judge to be confirmed under President Trump in a process on a record pace that is steadily reshaping the bench. Judge Park joins Joseph Bianco, confirmed earlier this week, on that bench, bringing the number of Republican-appointed active judges on the chief 2nd Circuit panel to six. With two more vacancies by this summer as judges take senior status, Mr. Trump will soon have a chance to flip control of the circuit, which currently has seven Democratic appointees. Mr. Trump flipped the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, taking it from a 7-4 Democratic edge in judicial appointees in 2017 to a 7-6 Republican edge among active judges. The circuit courts are below the Supreme Court but, because so few cases end up before the justices, the circuits are where many consequential cases are decided. That makes Republicans’ focus on circuit judge confirmations huge, both sides say. “It’s a generational change. This president is reshaping the courts for a generation, and thank goodness that he is because we need pro-Constitution, rule-of-law judges. It’s an extraordinary opportunity,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican who joined the Judiciary Committee this year. Eleven circuits cover specific regions of the country. The 2nd Circuit, for example, has jurisdiction over Connecticut, New York and Vermont. The 9th Circuit handles cases in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. One circuit has specific jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and handles many cases directly involving the federal government. Another, the Federal Circuit, hears cases on specific topics. Before Mr. Trump took office, Democrats had a 90-71 advantage in appointments of active judges among all the circuits. Republican-appointed judges now lead by a 90-83 margin.

For more, click on the text above.

Federal Appeals court rules House of Representatives can bar secular prayer from atheist

A D.C. federal appeals court ruled Friday that the House of Representatives does not have to allow a self-described atheist to deliver secular prayers. The Good Friday ruling concerned efforts by Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, to pray in the House chamber as a guest chaplain — only to be turned down by Father Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain. The court, however, sided with Conroy in determining the House was in its right to require prayers be religious in nature. “We could not order Conroy to allow Barker to deliver a secular invocation because the House permissibly limits the opening prayer to religious prayer. Barker has therefore failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted,” the opinion stated. Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution declares that both the House and Senate “may determine the rules of its proceedings.” Barker had alleged that Conroy rejected him “because he is an atheist.” But the court determined that while that may be true, the House requirement that prayers be religious holds weight. “In other words, even if, as Barker alleges, he was actually excluded simply for being an atheist, he is entitled to none of the relief he seeks,” the opinion said. The tradition of House and Senate prayers goes back to 1789. The House and Senate both begin their legislative days with a religious invocation, frequently delivered by Conroy and his Senate counterpart Barry Black.

Score one for the Constitution..and freedom OF religion; not freedom FROM religion.  Our founders would have been proud of this court ruling.  Glad that sh_t disturbing, self-righteous, rabble-rousing, Christian-hating Dan Barker was smacked down.  Excellent!    🙂