Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a judicial icon, and she’s so inspiring that people have created clothing lines, greeting cards, and coloring books in her image. Others have invited the Supreme diva to their wedding, dressed their children and pets up as RBG for Halloween, gotten themselves inked and manicured in her honor, and even purchased RBG action figures. In fact, the octogenarian justice has been the subject of not one, but two award-winning movies movies — “RBG,” the documentary based on her life, and “On the Basis of Sex,” the must-see biopic about the early days of her career — and at 86 years of age, she’s still going strong.
Americans are so obsessed with Justice Ginsburg’s pop-culture essence that her likeness has been turned into a very marketable product — after all, that’s what we do with everything we love, so why should a women’s rights hero be any different?
Raise your glass high and toast to the fact that later this week, Samuel Adams will be releasing a Belgian Brut IPA brewed on International Women’s Day and dedicating it to the Notorious RBG. Called “When There Are Nine,” the IPA was inspired by her perennial answer to the question, “When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?”
Sadly, what that question really means is, "When will there be enough White women on the Supreme Court?"Called “When There Are Nine,” the IPA was inspired by her perennial answer to the question, “When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?” The Boston Globe has additional details on the RBG IPA:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to stop the Trump administration from enforcing its ban on bump stock devices, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.
The ban took effect Tuesday. Gun rights groups asked the court Monday to keep the government from enforcing the ban for now. Chief Justice John Roberts declined one request for the court to get involved on Tuesday and a second request was declined by the court on Thursday. That was the only remaining request. The justices didn’t say anything in declining it.
The administration’s ban puts it in the unusual position of arguing against gun rights groups. President Donald Trump said last year that the government would move to ban bump stocks. The action followed a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles he used to shoot concertgoers from his hotel room. By using the devices, which allow shots to be fired more rapidly, the gunman was able to fire more than 1,000 rounds in 11 minutes. Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were injured.
The Trump administration’s move was an about-face for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In 2010, under the Obama administration, the ATF found that the devices were legal. But under the Trump administration, officials revisited that determination and found it incorrect. The revised regulation, which went into effect Tuesday, requires owners either to destroy their bump stocks or surrender them. The government estimates hundreds of thousands of the devices have been sold.
The revised regulation was met with resistance from gun rights advocates, and several lawsuits were filed to try to stop the ATF from enforcing the ban. But lower courts have so far declined to keep the administration from moving forward with the ban, and the Supreme Court declined to get involved to halt it.
The court in a brief order refused to grant a temporary stay sought by the group Gun Owners of America and others in a lawsuit filed in Michigan challenging the ban while litigation continues. Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday rejected a similar bid to block the policy in a separate legal challenge brought in Washington by individual gun owners and gun rights groups including the Firearms Policy Foundation and Florida Carry Inc.
Michael Hammond, Gun Owners of America’s legislative counsel, said many owners of the estimated 500,000 bump stocks in the United States would refuse to turn them in despite the ban and related criminal penalties. People caught in possession of bump stocks could face up to 10 years in prison under the policy.
In the Michigan case, a federal judge already has ruled in favor of the administration. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to put the ban on hold pending appeal. Other plaintiffs in that case include the Gun Owners Foundation, the Virginia Citizens Defense League and three individual gun owners.
In the Washington case, a federal judge also upheld the ban, prompting the gun rights advocates to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court has heard oral arguments but has not yet ruled.
Those challenging the policy have argued that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) lacks the authority to equate bump stocks with machine guns. One of the laws at the center of the legal dispute was written more than 80 years ago, when Congress restricted access to machine guns during the heyday of American gangsters’ use of “tommy guns.”
Trump’s fellow Republicans typically oppose gun control measures and favor of a broad interpretation of the right to bear arms promised in the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. In 2017, there were 39,773 gun deaths in the United States, according to the most recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures released in December.
In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against the Missouri death row inmate, Russell Bucklew, who had asked the state to use a different method of executing him. Bucklew said that because of his medical condition, using lethal injection could cause him "cruel and unusual punishment," which is barred by the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment.
Writing for the five-justice court majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch, though, noted that Bucklew had been on death row for more than 20 years, and he said the state and the victims of the crime are entitled to timely enforcement of the death penalty.
"Those interests have been frustrated in this case," Gorsuch said, declaring that there was not enough evidence that the method of execution Bucklew proposed — nitrogen gas — would be better.
Bucklew was convicted of murder, kidnapping and rape. He was scheduled to be executed in 2014 before his case made it to the Supreme Court.
The court's four liberals dissented. Justice Stephen Breyer noted that the last time the court had ruled on this question, in 2015, the justices said that a person facing execution had the burden of showing there was an alternative method of execution that significantly reduced a substantial risk of severe pain.
Bucklew has satisfied that burden, he said, adding that three states have authorized nitrogen gas as an alternative method of execution. Instead of just admitting that, Breyer said, the court has now invented new requirements, creating what amounts to an "insurmountable hurdle for prisoners like Bucklew."
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing separately in dissent, said she was "especially troubled" by the majority's statement that last-minute stays of execution should be the "extreme exception." If that is the case, she said, and last-minute applications for a stay of execution are reviewed with "an especially jaundiced eye," that "would effect a radical reinvention of established law and the judicial role."
The court, she noted, has long held that death is different, and she added that even exculpatory evidence sometimes comes to light at the last moment.
Moreover, she said, prisoners often find out things about their execution at the last moment, because execution protocols have become increasingly secret in recent years.
That secrecy, she suggested, led to two different results in scheduled executions in recent weeks. In one case in Alabama, the court turned down an eleventh-hour request from a condemned Muslim prisoner who wanted to have his imam with him at his execution, not the prison's Christian chaplain. But in another nearly identical case, the court halted a scheduled execution because the condemned man wanted his Buddhist spiritual adviser with him.
"There are higher values than ensuring that executions run on time," Sotomayor concluded in her dissent responding to the majority opinion. "If a death sentence or the manner in which it is carried out violates the Constitution, that stain can never come out. Our jurisprudence must remain one of vigilance and care, not one of dismissiveness."
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request by a group of anti-abortion activists to throw out charges brought against them in a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood.
The Center for Medical Progress had requested the Supreme Court toss out Planned Parenthood's claims that they committed federal conspiracy and wiretapping violations. Planned Parenthood also claims that the Center for Medical Progress violated California law by fraudulently gaining access to its facilities.
That lawsuit filed in 2016 was in response to the anti-abortion group releasing a series of edited videos the prior year that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue.
The Supreme Court in declining to hear the case upheld a federal appeals court’s ruling.
The Center for Medical Progress, led by activist David Daleiden, had argued it was exercising its First Amendment rights in making the videos. The group also claimed that the Planned Parenthood lawsuit was in violation of California “anti-SLAPP” laws, which prevent strategic legal action aimed at silencing individuals or groups.
The release of the Planned Parenthood videos sparked outcry among Republicans in Washington, who used the footage to argue that the organization should be defunded. The videos did not show signs of criminal activity, but did spark several congressional investigations.
Planned Parenthood has maintained that it does not profit from the sale of fetal tissue to groups doing medical research.
In 2016, while serving as the governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence signed an anti-abortion law that appears designed to troll liberals and give late night fodder to Fox News.
Among other things, the law banned abortions if the doctor “knows that the pregnant woman is seeking” an abortion “solely” because of the fetus’ sex, race, disability or a handful of other protected traits. As a federal appeals court explained, this law violates “well-established Supreme Court precedent holding that a woman may terminate her pregnancy prior to viability, and that the State may not prohibit a woman from exercising that right for any reason.” Nevertheless, it’s easy to see how a Supreme Court fight over this law could have launched a thousand bad faith attacks accusing abortion supporters of racial genocide.
That fight will not come. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down a brief, unsigned opinion in Box v. Planned Parenthood, which announced that the court will not hear the challenge to Indiana’s ban on selective abortions. The practical effect of this decision is that the lower court’s decision striking down that ban will remain untouched.
The Supreme Court upheld a minor provision of Pence’s trolly law, but it did so on exceedingly narrow grounds. That provision “altered the manner in which abortion providers may dispose of fetal remains” to prevent “incineration of fetal remains along with surgical byproducts.”
As the court explains in its unsigned opinion, the parties challenging the Indiana fetal disposal provision “have never argued that Indiana’s law creates an undue burden on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.” Thus, because they never invoked the test the courts typically use to weigh anti-abortion laws, their challenge to the fetal remains provision falters.
The Box opinion is accompanied by two separate writings. A concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas claims that the “use of abortion to achieve eugenic goals is not merely hypothetical.” And a partial dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have left in place the lower court’s decision striking the fetal remains provision.
But it’s hard to read the majority opinion as anything less than a punt. The court avoided the most contentious issue in Box, and it disposed of the other issue on narrow grounds.
For the time being, in other words, the court does not appear eager to weigh into the abortion wars — at least with respect to this trolly law.