Monthly Archives: June 2018

Lies, Damned Lies, and Immigration Policy

Lies, Damned Lies, and Immigration Policy

The falsehoods that protect a political interest

June 29, 2018 Bruce Thornton

No policy debate is more filled with dishonesty and duplicity than immigration. The whine of political axes being ground is continually drowned out by Emma Lazarus sentimentalism, “we’re a nation of immigrants” clichés, promiscuous virtue-signaling, and the current weepy melodramas of children “ripped from their mother’s arms.” The whole sordid business exists, of course, to perfume some simple truths: Leviathan Dems want more voters and more dependents of the entitlement-industrial complex; Wall Street Republicans want plentiful cheap labor. The only thing missing are the facts about the reality of immigration both illegal and legal.
Start with imprecise numbers. We are told that there are currently 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. Others say it’s closer to 20 to 25 million. The point is, nobody knows. We do know that close to a third of federal inmates are illegals. But we don’t know much about the rest, except for those illegal alien “dreamers” on television lamenting how they have to “live in the shadows.” We don’t know the extent of the costs to taxpayers of illegal immigration, even as we are told by amnesty supporters that they are net contributors to the economy through payroll and sales taxes. But they don’t tell us if that sum subtracts the $26 billion sent back to Mexico. We do know that taxpayers spend $2 billion a year to provide medical services to illegal aliens just in emergency room visits. According to Christopher Conover, state and local circumventions of federal prohibitions against health care for illegals are indirectly costing taxpayers $17 billion a year in care for illegal aliens. And that’s just health care. Some estimates put the total cost of illegal aliens at $89 billion, while others go as high $135 billion.
People who do not live among concentrations of illegal aliens can easily dispute these estimates, even though they’re based on government data bases. Nor do they recognize the damage to the quality of life in communities filled with large numbers of people from different cultures, values, and mores. They don’t get that the “broken windows” theory of policing applies to immigration as well. Violent crimes reflect a larger disregard for the law seen in violations of housing, animal, garbage, and sanitation regulations, or violations of traffic laws on DUIs, driving without a license, and hit-and-runs. Only a fraction of these violations leads to arrests or fines. Law enforcement often do not even bother to cite offenders or search for them, since they know the system will spit them back out, given the lack of resources to prosecute and incarcerate offendeers. Then there’s the impact on public services like schools and hospitals and emergency rooms, where staff consume time tending to people who can’t speak English and who use the emergency room as their primary care physician. This degradation of a community that follows such daily disorder cannot always be quantified, but it has serious consequences. You have to live with it to really grasp the extent of this problem.
But few of the people who agitate for open borders or blanket amnesties have had that experience. That makes it easier for them to rely on dishonest generalizations laced with sentiment and emotion in order to support their policy prescriptions. The same evasion of fact applies to the practical details of legalizing tens of millions of people about whom we know very little. In most proposals, the bar is pretty low for letting serial law-breakers stay. In some plans, two or three misdemeanors will not lead to deportation, or stand in the way of getting the gift of American citizenship. These apologists think that breaking the law by sneaking over the border, driving drunk or without insurance, and using a false IDs to get government benefits are no big deal, nor are a warning sign about the character and values of the people who break these laws.
The worse distortions, however, come not just from a lack of reliable information or data, but from the fairy tales and pleasing myths proponents of lax immigration peddle.  “We are all immigrants” is a half-truth at best, and a banal historical fact that doesn’t distinguish between legal and illegal immigration, a bipartisan bad habit meant to distract voters from the failures of our indiscriminate immigration laws and policies. Correcting these dysfunctions caused by our porous border is a separate issue from how we decide whom we should allow in through a legal process.
Then there are the ridiculously false categories we trade in that ignore the great diversity of cultures, languages, religions, mores, and social habits––some compatible with ours, some not–– lying behind a meaningless word like, say, “Hispanic.” Some of the Bush clan’s experience with mostly Caucasian Cubans teaches them very little about immigrants from southern Mexico or Guatemala or Honduras. Even people from the same nation are not all the same. Mexico, for example, is divided by social class and race. A Mexican national can be a Caucasian, a mestizo, or an Indian, differences that in Mexico and the Mexican diaspora carry different social connotations and status. An immigrant from the Mexican state of Sonora or Monterrey will not necessarily speak the same language as an Indian from Oaxaca.

Finally, differences of culture are seldom acknowledged by proponents of unfettered immigration.  And when people do try to discuss them, they are dismissed as “racists” or “xenophobes,” wicked people who hate “diversity” and want to cling to their threatened “white privilege.” We should not allow this duplicitous and simplistic argument to stand. Cultural differences are real, and include everything from the treatment of women to attitudes towards the law. Moreover, these traditions and conventions are often incompatible with the host countries’. But rather than acknowledge those differences and take them into account when deciding whom we think can assimilate to our culture and benefit it, we pretend that they’re all the same, their different languages and complexions providing a pleasing “diversity” donned by people who think and believe and act just like us. All they need to be an American is a citizenship and access to government services.

And that’s the biggest lie of all. Before the Sixties, immigration worked in this country because the price of admission was to assimilate to American culture, and to discard, at least in public life, those traditions or values that contradicted American political and social habits and beliefs. One could opt out of that process, out of loyalty to or nostalgia for the old country, but that meant accepting that one would be handicapped to a certain degree in taking full advantage of the opportunities of America.
The better choice was to learn English, American history, American historical and civic heroes, and most importantly, the American creed embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And in word and deed you had to make them your first loyalty. The space for honoring your home country was civil society: churches, ethnic associations, festivals, recipes, dances, and other traditions and mores some of which may be incompatible with America’s. But in the political square, those traditions and the beliefs had to be set aside, and certainly couldn’t be allowed to colonize and weaken the unum that is necessary for making a political community out of so many pluribus.
That model, of course, was rejected by the rise of identity grievance politics predicated on the belief that America was an oppressor. Increasing indiscriminate immigration, as the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act did by implementing policies such as chain migration, was one way to atone for America’s geopolitical sins by transforming its traditional character. In the process, it also increased the rolls of Democrats and enlarged the pool of cheap labor. Multiculturalism and “diversity” were the ideologies masking these political goals to transform America by changing what it means to be an American. Assimilation now became a wicked degradation of these vibrant, more authentic cultures by inflicting upon them a dehumanizing capitalism and pernicious American exceptionalism. And assimilation deprived the left of the future cadres of the revolution.
It hasn’t quite work out that way, of course. The power of American freedom, opportunity, and prosperity has still inspired immigrants to assimilate, most by the third generation. But the role of assimilation in inculcating the American ideal has been weakened in the university and popular culture, which has created a hypocritical cohort of those who have benefited materially from the American dream, yet endorse an artificial ethnic identity founded on grievance against America’s sins, and demands for various forms of reparations. Thus the monstrous hypocrisy and ingratitude of people who wave the flag of a country many of them or their parents risked their lives to leave, and to which most never, ever want to return.
Though weakened, assimilation works today in spite of the fashionable rejection of the traditional narratives of what comprises American identity. That’s why the progressives are so eager to keep the floodgates open, and are angry over Trump’s reforms. They sense that over time the persistence of assimilation will produce voters whose politics resemble that of most American voters: roughly divided between Democrat and Republican, progressive and conservative.
Ignorance of the facts and costs, along with the duplicitous narratives of immigration, are just a few of the impediments to reforming our immigration policies. But most of the time all we hear are lies told to protect a political interest. This political alliance between vote-mongers and cheap-labor-mongers makes sealing the border, and rejecting the serially failing “comprehensive” immigration reform, the necessary first steps to returning to the old model of legal immigration and vigorous assimilation that helped make America great.

The judicial war on God and the Declaration of Independence

The judicial war on God and the Declaration of Independence

Daniel Horowitz · July 29, 2017
Hands in prayer

Foreign nationals who fervently adhere to sharia law have a First Amendment right to trespass on our soil, but county governments have no right to offer a prayer to the God of the Bible, the same one referenced in the Declaration of Independence. That is the rule we get from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals when we juxtapose the court’s ruling in the Trump immigration moratorium case with a recent case regarding prayer at county commissioner meetings in Rowan County, North Carolina.
Poor North Carolina just can’t get a break. It appears that the state’s original concerns about joining the federal union in 1788 have been proven correct. Over the past year, the Fourth Circuit has nullified the state’s voter integrity laws; federal, state, and even county-level political maps; and gender sanity laws. Now the court has banished God from county government prayers.
On July 14, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Rowan County, North Carolina, commissioners can’t begin their session with a public prayer delivered by an elected official. And the vote wasn’t even close. This once conservative panel voted 10-5 to banish God from the public square. The opinion was written by Judge Harvie Wilkinson, a Reagan appointee, demonstrating the imbalance in the judiciary once again — that even the most radical opinions are often penned by GOP appointees.
This case also demonstrates that the judiciary will always be a dead end and a one-way-street for conservatives. While conservative lower court judges always feel bound to “precedent,” liberal lower court judges have no problem violating precedent and established practice. Anyone who watches C-SPAN will see that the Senate begins its session every day with a prayer in the deep voice of Pastor Barry Black. Yet the Fourth Circuit somehow believes that a local government, which has even more leeway in matters of religion than the federal government does, can’t even cite the God referenced in our founding document. Our founding has been deemed unconstitutional.
Just three years ago, an opinion authored by Justice Kennedy (of all people!) clearly stated that sectarian prayers at local government gatherings are permissible so long as nobody is coerced to participate. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, Kennedy wrote for the majority that as long as the prayer “comports with our tradition and does not coerce participation by nonadherents,” there is no room for judicial intervention. “To hold that invocations must be non-sectarian would force the legislatures sponsoring prayers and the courts deciding these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech,” Kennedy wrote in the 2014 case.
So how could lower court judges violate sacred precedent? In classic Fourth Circuit fashion, Judge Wilkinson agreed with the ACLU that this prayer is tantamount to coercion because it makes non-religious attendees feel like “outsiders” and “the overall atmosphere was coercive, requiring them to participate so they ‘would not stand out.’” Remember, this same judge signed on to an opinion earlier this year suggesting that almost all Muslim Americans (and non-citizen residents) have standing to bring suit against Trump’s immigration moratorium because the policy cultivates an anti-Islam bias in this country and makes them feel “anxious,” “stigmatized,” “stereotyped,” and “like an outsider.”
Our history, traditions, and founding are unconstitutional
On September 25, 1789, the very same day the House of Representatives voted on the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights — to “make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” — it passed a resolution requesting President Washington to declare a “day of public humiliation and prayer.” This day of prayer and thanksgiving to God, in the words of the great Roger Sherman, was to replicate “the solemn thanksgivings and rejoicings which took place in the time of Solomon, after the building of the Temple,” a “precedent in holy writ” he thought “worthy of Christian imitation on the present occasion.”
President Washington issued the proclamation on October 3 to be observed on November 26 that same year. What was the nature of this public day of prayer? To beseech God “to pardon our national and other transgressions” and “to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”
As Scalia noted in a speech shortly before he passed away, modern justices place their interpretation of abstract principles over “the lived experiences and customs” of the American people. Referring to long-standing American traditions, Scalia admonished his fellow jurists to approach those issues with the mindset that a jurist “does not judge them; he is judged by them.”
States have been crushed … except for the ability nullify federal laws
Amazingly, at the same time the courts crush states and denude them of their most basic powers and traditions, held since their acceptance into the federal union, the unelected judges are allowing states nullify federal law. Judge Watson allowed Hawaii to demand that the federal government admit any cousin or distant relative of even non-citizen residents in the state or anyone who claims ties to a state university, despite the president’s statutory authority to bar their entry. Judges are allowing states to keep sanctuary cities and even blocking federal officials from enforcing immigration law. These are powers manifestly held by the federal government. And even John Roberts agreed with these wacky judges in an order last week. Yet when it comes to election law, the right to invoke God, define marriage, or regulate abortion, well, suddenly the states don’t exist.
One could not possibly conjure up a more perverse worldview than the one espoused today by the courts.
Liberal lower court judges always find ways to move precedent even further to the left, yet conservative judges always abide by precedent, even when the higher court violated the Constitution. This is exhibit number 1,324,987 why the judiciary is irremediably broken and why it needs wholesale reform.
Rediscovering Americanism
Last time Republicans controlled all of government, when the courts began their war on God, even the Bush-era Republicans pretended to care about the judicial crisis. Yet now that the courts are more radical than anyone even feared back then, we hear nothing but crickets from the “conservative” Congress.
Following the 2002 decision from the Ninth Circuit to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, the House of Representatives passed the Pledge Protection Act on two separate occasions. This bill exercised the Art. III Sec. II plenary power of Congress to regulate the jurisdiction of the federal courts and prohibited all federal courts from adjudicating any case over the constitutionality of the Pledge. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support in 2004 (247-173) and in 2006 (260-167). Although the bills never went anywhere in the liberal Senate, at least there was core bipartisan outrage over the social transformation and judicial tyranny. They passed similar bills stripping the courts of jurisdiction over marriage and abortion.
In the same week in September 1789, when Congress called for a day of public prayer, it also passed the Judiciary Act of 1789, which created the entire structure and jurisdiction of the federal judiciary. No less a figure than John Marshall himself said (Durousseau v. United States, 1810) that implicit in this bill was the exercising of Article III, Section 2, which grants the judiciary only the jurisdiction provided to it by Congress and that this bill placed a “negative on the exercise of such appellate power as is not comprehended within it [the bill].”
Look how far we have fallen. Now we can’t even get the most conservative members to address marriage, God, abortion, or judicial reform in a meaningful way. The courts are redefining human sexuality and our national borders, yet Congress won’t lift a finger to even conduct a hearing on judicial reform.
In response to the concern that the courts would usurp power, James Madison wrote to Spencer Roane in 1821, “It is not probable that the Supreme Court would long be indulged in a career of usurpation … Nor do I think that Congress, even seconded by the Judicial Power, can, without some change in the character of the nation, succeed in durable violations of the rights & authorities of the States.”
The operative phrase is “change in the character of the nation.” We have a nation that no longer knows its own heritage, laws, history, and traditions. This is how the judiciary can completely rewrite our legacy without anyone blinking an eye.
This, at its core, is what CR Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin is seeking to restore with his new book, Rediscovering Americanism. A nation that doesn’t even understand the values of the Declaration of Independence is bound to repudiate its most sacred tenets. There is a lot of political “fighting” unfolding in our era, but even most of those who purport to fight for “our side” don’t even know what they are fighting for. Rediscovering Americanism is probably the most effective and concise tutorial in natural rights and natural law that can be understood even by the diminished intellect of the governing class. Until they pick up a copy of the book and understand our heritage, the source of our inalienable rights will continue to be extirpated from our body politic by an unelected lawyerly elite.

Now that six EU nations have rejected EU-mandated quotas for Muslim invaders, Ireland will take up the slack

Now that six EU nations have rejected EU-mandated quotas for Muslim invaders, Ireland will take up the slack

Ireland has agreed to take in tens of thousands of mostly Muslim illegal asylum seekers as part of “burden sharing” measures agreed to with other Western EU leaders.

iTV  Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “We took the view that we needed to have a degree of burden-sharing, on the transfer of migrants to countries, and Ireland has already agreed to accept some from that as well.”
In October September 2015 the Irish Government approved the  establishment of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and agreed that Ireland would accept up to 4,000 persons seeking protection under the EU Relocation and Resettlement programmes.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney previously said the Republic had committed to take 10% of the number of migrants on board the MV Lifeline, which was stranded for days in the Mediterranean.
Italy’s new populist government closed ports to rescue ships operated by corrupt NGOs, calling on its EU partners to take in the illegal alien invaders being “rescued” by Soros-funded NGO boats working with human traffickers out of Libya.
“We committed to working with African countries, supporting them to build up governance, to build up security and economic opportunity, providing an extra 500 million (euro) (£443 million) to the European Trust Fund for Africa.”

IN THE VIDEO BELOW, after nearly destroying the inside of the house, provided free of charge for these ungrateful African Muslim freeloaders posing as asylum seekers, police refused to arrest the trouble-makers, and forced the landlord to give them back their keys. 

Muslim immigration is behind a growing surge in ‘white flight’ away from Dublin.  The indigenous Irish are being displaced from their homes as a result of unimpeded immigration from North African and Middle Eastern Muslim nations. And they fleeing the city in droves.



Surprise! A large majority of gang leaders and dangerous criminals in Sweden do not look Swedish

Surprise! A large majority of gang leaders and dangerous criminals in Sweden do not look Swedish

An investigation by Swedish newspaper Expressen into the country’s gang leaders and dangerous criminals shows that crime and a migrant background seem to be strongly related.Expressen took note note of police surveys and has now published a unique review of the more than 400 most dangerouscriminals in capital city Stockholm.
62 leaders in Sweden’s capital are reported to control 19 criminal networks linked to the new violent gang crime wave in Stockholm.

In the main list we find names like: Jeffrey Ong, Ahmed “Manolo” Mohamed and Hamid Taki. Of the 21 names only 4 appear to be Swedish or at least Scandinavian: Anders Stenson, Thomas Elgstrand, Harris Österdahl and Dennis Österdahl.
It’s not a big surprise to see migrants and organised crime being connected. Last year a Swedish police officer, named Peter Springare, already uttered his frustrations about migrant crime.
“Suspected perpetrators; Ali Mohammed, Mahmod, Mohammed, Mohammed Ali, again, again, again Christopher… what is it true? Yes a Swedish name snuck in on the edges of a drug crime. Mohammed, Mahmod Ali, again and again.!
“Countries representing the all the crimes this week: Iraq, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Somalia, Syria again, Somalia, unknown, unknown country, Sweden. Half of the suspects, we can’t be sure because they don’t have any valid papers. Which in itself usually means that they’re lying about their nationality and identity,” Springare said.

This Woman Needs Help!

Nancy Pelosi trips over ‘soy beans,’ asks reporter to ‘repoot’ question

Mad Max Vs. the Super Elite

By Jim O’Neill
Let’s face it, they’ve been stone cold losers, the elite.  So, let them keep calling themselves the elite.  But we’re going to call ourselves – and remember you work harder than they do and you are indeed smarter than them — from now on let’s call ourselves the super elite.  We are the super elite.
President Donald Trump at Fargo, ND 6/27/18
During his speech in Fargo, ND last night President Trump named Congresswoman Maxine “Mad Max” Waters the new face of the Democratic Party.   Her and Pelosi — yikes.
Between Pelosi and Waters voters will be falling over each other to vote Republican next fall.  It won’t be a red wave, it’ll be a red tsunami.  The GOP already has a great video ad that underlines the morally bankrupt, vicious, mentally unhinged nature of today’s Democratic Party.
Democrats have been well and truly outed as the sly, lying, fiscally moronic anti-American dweebs that they have devolved into.  They have no answers that have not already been shown to be lame and worthless.  So, all they can of think to do is “resist.”  Resist America becoming great again, and double down on slurs, smears, threats, insults, and violence.  It is their ultimate fallback position and all they have left.
We the People are America’s backbone, its heart and soul, its bedrock foundation of honor and integrity.  We are indeed America’s super elite, and we should accept that label with pride and strive to be worthy of it.  We work toward a shared glorious future — while watching anti-American loons endlessly, pointlessly, running on their hamster-wheels of hate.


What You Need To Know About SYSTEMATIC CONTROL And SCHOOLING In America

Liberal Meltdown Over Justice Kennedy Retirement

Justice Kennedy deserves this nasty, unflinching sendoff

Anthony Kennedy was a horrible justice, and his last decision was his worst

One of my favorite genres of writing is the charitable obituary written about a political opponent. My remembrance of Judge Robert Bork, the conservative icon President Ronald Reagan tried and failed to put on the Supreme Court, highlighted his more admirable calls for judicial restraint. My obituary of Justice Antonin Scalia was titled “In Praise of Scalia.”

I want to establish these facts up front as I begin my obituary of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s judicial career, because what follows will not be especially charitable. Justice Kennedy was a Cadillac’s intellect in a Lamborghini’s job. His writing ranged from needlessly flowery to completely incoherent. And, while his views sometimes placed him to the left of men like Scalia and Bork, his “liberal” opinions were frequently his most incomprehensible.

Kennedy could have been a perfectly adequate lower court judge, but he was in over his head at the Supreme Court. And, for that reason, his most celebrated opinions will be very easy to dismantle.

Most of the time, of course, Kennedy was also no friend to liberals. He authored the Court’s Citizens United decision, joined its decision hobbling much of the Voting Rights Act, and he voted to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act. The entire presidency of George W. Bush might have been avoided but for Kennedy’s vote in Bush v. Gore. And, in a moment when liberal democracy itself is threatened by an authoritarian president, Kennedy decided that it would be a good idea to give that president another seat on the Supreme Court.

And Kennedy’s inadequacies were most visibly on display when he crossed over to join the Court’s liberal bloc.

A fortress of sand

Consider Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights decision establishing that it is none of the government’s damn business who consenting adults have sex with or how they do it.

Lawrence sits at the heart of what may be the most difficult question in American constitutional law. The Constitution unambiguously states that there are certain rights that are both protected by our founding document and left unstated. For more than a century, the Supreme Court has struggled to figure out which of these unenumerated rights deserve protection, sometimes with disastrous results.

Justice Scalia’s answer to this dilemma is that the United States is a democratic republic, so courts should be extraordinarily reluctant to displace the judgment of elected lawmakers by recognizing a new unenumerated right. The Texas anti-sodomy law at issue in Lawrence, Scalia wrote

is well within the range of traditional democratic action, and its hand should not be stayed through the invention of a brand-new “constitutional right” by a Court that is impatient of democratic change. It is indeed true that “later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress,” and when that happens, later generations can repeal those laws. But it is the premise of our system that those judgments are to be made by the people, and not imposed by a governing caste that knows best.

This is a powerful argument. It appeals to one of America’s foundational virtues — democracy. And it demands humility in the face of a particularly daunting challenge. Why should the one unelected branch of government get to decide such fundamental questions when the Constitution provides them with virtually no guidance on how to do so?

There are also powerful rebuttals to Scalia. There are sharp, crisp, tightly woven arguments — arguments that are firmly rooted in precedent and in constitutional text — that Kennedy could have deployed against Scalia in his opinion for the Court in Lawrence.

When a group has historically experienced discrimination that bears “no relation to ability to perform or contribute to society,” courts afford that group heightened protection under the Constitution’s promise that no one may be denied “the equal protection of the laws.” Kennedy could have avoided the thicket of unenumerated rights altogether, and instead written a fairly conventional opinion holding that judges must treat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation with skepticism.

Instead, he wrote an opinion that was constructed largely from discarded Age of Aquarius lyrics. Kennedy’s opinion in Lawrence teaches us that “when sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring,” and that “as the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.”

As I wrote in 2015, Lawrence does “not so much revise legal doctrine as . . . skip through the wilderness of constitutional law, blithely ignoring the paths laid by more thoughtful travelers.”

In fairness, there’s more to Kennedy’s Lawrence opinion than airy-fairy paeans to freedom and liberty. Much of his opinion, for example, explains that anti-sodomy laws are rarely enforced and increasing uncommon. But so what? Laws banning golf are even more uncommon, but that doesn’t mean that there is a constitutionally protected right to play golf.

The point isn’t that Scalia was right, and that Kennedy was wrong, in Lawrence. To the contrary, the point is that Lawrence concerned a matter of such fundamental importance — the basic humanity of millions of people — that it demanded a rigorous, textually rooted, conventional legal defense. Instead, Kennedy placed gay people’s right to live openly in a fortress made of sand.

And that will make it much easier for the Court’s new majority to blow this right away.

Begging for scraps

Lawrence is hardly an isolated incident. Take 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where the conservative Kennedy surprised the legal community by voting to retain the “essential holding” of Roe v. Wade. 

There, in a passage that was almost certainly written by Kennedy (Casey was coauthored by three justices), we learn that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Casey teaches that “abortion is a unique act,” and that “the destiny of the woman must be shaped to a large extent on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society.”

As with Lawrence, the problem isn’t that Casey announces the wrong legal rule — that abortion is protected by the Constitution. The problem is that its hippie-dippie, decidedly unlegal language renders its rule vulnerable. Justice Scalia had a point when he mocked Kennedy’s noxiously purple prose as Casey’s “famed sweet-mystery-of-life passage.”

And Casey also fits into another common pattern with Justice Kennedy’s opinions. When Kennedy cares about an issue, he can demand that the law remake itself overnight in his image. Just think about his vote to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act. Or his Citizens United opinion which, as the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin reported, came about after Kennedy rejected Chief Justice Roberts’ incremental, more modest approach to the case.

Yet, when Kennedy cast his lot with the Court’s liberals, he was typically far more parsimonious. Casey purported to preserve Roe, for example, but it stripped abortion of its status as a fundamental right and applied a vague “undue burden” standard that gave very little guidance to lower court judges regarding when an abortion restriction violated the Constitution. Many judges who oppose Roe took this vague standard as a license to unwind the right to an abortion.

Similarly, when Kennedy cast a surprise vote to preserve affirmative action in 2016’s Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, liberals were elated. Abigail Fisher, the mediocre applicant turned anti-affirmative action plaintiff, was christened #BeckyWithTheBadGrades.

Yet, while Kennedy’s opinion in Fisher kept race-conscious admissions practices nominally alive, it left them so shrunken and vulnerable that they can barely draw breath. The Texas admissions program at issue in Fisher was already a very marginal policy — as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained in an earlier round of the Fisher litigation, race was only a “factor of a factor of a factor of a factor” in the university’s decision who to admit. It’s unlikely that more than a handful of students are impacted by Texas’ affirmative action program in any given year.

Kennedy’s Fisher opinion, moreover, provides a road map for conservative lawyers seeking to harass college admissions departments into submission. Though the Court upheld Texas’ program, Kennedy wrote that a university with a race-conscious admissions program must regularly evaluate new data and “tailor its approach in light of changing circumstances, ensuring that race plays no greater role than is necessary to meet its compelling interest.”

In practice, that means that conservative lawyers can sue universities over and over again, driving up their legal bills, until finally the school decides that the game isn’t worth the candle and dissolves its affirmative action program.

Kennedy’s parsimony, however, is most pronounced in his gay rights opinions.

The journey from Kennedy’s 1996 opinion in Romer v. Evanswhich struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that “withdraws from homosexuals, but no others, specific legal protection from the injuries caused by discrimination,”—to marriage equality took 19 years. Along the way, Kennedy fretted about whether the Court was wading into “uncharted waters” by expanding equal marriage rights too much, too fast.

And even when Kennedy did embrace marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, he tiptoed right up to the line of holding that discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans is subject to “heightened scrutiny” under the Constitution, without ever writing those magic words. At every stage of the journey from Romer to Obergefell, Kennedy used his decisions to dole out just a little bit — but never too much —more equality to sexual minorities.

In fairness, Kennedy’s actions can potentially be attributed to fear of a backlash that could have set LGBTQ rights back further than when he started — and he’s not the only member of the Court who shared this fear. But where was Kennedy’s cautious nature when Citizens United was before the Court? Or when he was asked to weigh in on the single most important piece of social welfare legislation in a generation?

When billionaires wanted to shape elections, there was no mountain high enough and no valley low enough to keep Justice Kennedy from giving them what they desired. But when same-sex couples came to Kennedy seeking equal rights, Kennedy told them to take a number.

What comes next

With Kennedy gone, the Court’s gay rights revolution is now a revolution interrupted. And it is likely that it will soon be a revolution in reverse. The thinly-reasoned, stingy nature of Kennedy’s individual rights opinions will make it very easy for conservative jurists to pick them apart.

One looming issue is whether anti-discrimination laws can be ignored by people who root their prejudices in religious beliefs — this is the issue that Kennedy recently ducked in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Even Justice Samuel Alito conceded, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, that religion does not permit an employer to fire someone because of their race, but what of other forms of discrimination? Can a boss who prays to a sexist god refuse to promote female employees? Or what about business owners suing for a right to refuse to serve gay customers?

It will be difficult, both politically and doctrinally, for the Court’s new majority to permit religious employers to discriminate against women. Thanks in large part to a string of cases litigated by a younger Ruth Bader Ginsburg, gender discrimination is viewed with great suspicion by the judiciary, and women enjoy heightened protection against government-sanctioned prejudice.

But Kennedy never quite got around to saying that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is subject to such scrutiny. That leaves Alito with an easy way to argue, based entirely on existing precedent, that homophobia is somehow less concerning than sexism — and that religious objectors should thus be free to ignore laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Indeed, the work of dismantling Kennedy’s great gay rights opinions is likely to begin long before Alito gets his hands on them. For a window into how this could work, consider Judge Edith Jones’ very brief opinion in Coker v. Whittington

Coker is an odd case, involving two sheriffs’ deputies fired after they each decided that they would be happier with the other man’s wife. In holding that the two men could be fired for their private sexual relationships, Jones offered a very narrow reading of Lawrence.

“Public employees necessarily shed some of their constitutional rights as a legitimate exchange for the privilege of their positions,” Jones wrote in an opinion for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Adding that “sexual decisions between consenting adults take on a different color when the adults are law enforcement officers.”

It’s not hard to see what such a decision could mean for gay officers who encounter similar resistance from their boss. So long as Lawrence is good law, Judge Jones can’t allow someone to be prosecuted for being gay, but she could quite easily allow gay government employees to be fired.

Had Kennedy not slow-walked each of his gay rights decisions, had he actually reached the logical conclusion of his opinions — that all government discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is constitutionally dubious — then gay officers would not need to fear for their jobs. But thanks to Kennedy’s revolution interrupted, they are now at the mercy of an increasingly conservative judiciary.

Nevertheless, for all of Kennedy’s shortcomings — his naive view of money in politics and his disregard for voting rights, his crusade against the Affordable Care Act, his expansive conservatism and his miserly liberalism — America will be much, much worse off with Kennedy off the Court.

The future now belongs to men such as Neil Gorsuch. It belongs to men eager to inject even more money into American politics. It belongs to men who will tear down reproductive freedom, give the Christian right broad immunity from the law, protect voter suppression, and even allow judges to sell themselves to campaign donors.

Kennedy made many bad decisions on the Supreme Court, but his single worst decision was to give his seat up to Donald Trump. Anthony Kennedy spent his career toying with liberals’ hopes for the future, but at least he gave us hope. His replacement, like Gorsuch, is likely to make even Scalia look like a moderate.

MORE ~ Anthony Kennedy retiring from Supreme Court

Anthony Kennedy retiring from Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday he’s retiring at the end of July, giving President Donald Trump another chance to fundamentally reshape the highest court in the land.
In a statement, the Supreme Court said the 81-year-old Kennedy will step down effective July 31. The judge called it “the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years in the Supreme Court.” Kennedy wants to spend more time with his family, even though they were content with him staying on the court.
He also sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday notifying the president of his decision.
“For a member of the legal profession, it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court,” he wrote. “Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.
The president’s first nominee to the court, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, has already had an enormous effect on U.S. policy in narrowly-decided rulings this week related to Trump’s ban on travel from certain countries, abortion and labor unions.
Kennedy, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, took his seat as an associate justice in February of 1988. Considered a centrist, he has sometimes served as the swing vote on key cases throughout his career.
Replacing Kennedy with a conservative could have a massive long-term effect on the highest U.S. court. His decision to leave will have huge implications for the midterm elections, as Democrats and Republicans battle for control of the Senate.
A Supreme Court vacancy could serve to motivate voters, although Senate Republicans could try to fill Kennedy’s seat before November.
Read Kennedy’s full letter to Trump here.

This storJacob PramukStaff Reportery is developing. Please check back for updates.

XTRA~ Anthony Kennedy retiring from Supreme Court

Anthony Kennedy retiring from Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire from the highest U.S. court, giving President Donald Trump another chance to fundamentally reshape the top of the judiciary.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.