Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Justice in Sheets…A Jury of Peers – Dismissing Black Jurors

The process of eliminating black jurors from a trial has been around for a while, even though it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is a commonly used tool in some parts of the country where the prosecutor’s case is weak, the defendant is black and the victim is white – or to cover some misconduct by Law Enforcement. It typically assures conviction – even when obvious exculpatory evidence exists. Once again – this deception is headed to the Supreme Court, where by the fact of it’s conservative majority – there is little likely to be done about it. I mean – it is hard to believe based on past rulings that Uncle Tommie Clarence would object to a black person being convicted by a jury wearing white robes and hoods.

The Jury Selection has been perfectly fair, Your Honor!

How Prosecutors Get Away With Cutting Black Jurors

A curious thing happened at the trial of Timothy Tyrone Foster, a young black man accused of killing an elderly white woman: every black prospective juror was dismissed. He was convicted, and sentenced to death, by an all-white jury.

Even more curious: there were 42 prospective jurors that morning, five of whom were black.  All dismissed, four of whom by “peremptory challenge,” in which theprosecutor strikes a juror at his or her discretion.  In Georgia, where Foster’s trial took place, prosecutors have ten such options.

Peremptory challenges were entirely unreviewable for most of American history.  That was their function: in addition to dismissals with reasons, they were meant to give prosecutors and defense attorneys (in Georgia, defense attorneys get twenty such challenges) leeway to strike potentially problematic jurors without explanation.

That changed somewhat in 1986, when the Supreme Court decided Batson v. Kentucky.  In Batson, the Court held that using peremptory challenges to strike jurors on the basis of race was unconstitutional.

Foster’s trial, though, took place after Batson.  How is that possible?  BecauseBatson has proven to be almost worthless in practice.  All a prosecutor must do is provide some race-neutral reason for striking jurors, and that is extremely easy to do.  Maybe the juror didn’t make eye contact.  Maybe she was female.  Maybe he looked bored or inattentive—as most of us are at the end of hours of jury duty.

Any of these reasons will do, and so, in Foster’s case and countless others, winning a “Batson challenge” is basically impossible.

Except Foster’s case has turned out to be different.  During the lengthy appeals process (nearly thirty years and counting), the prosecutor’s notes were made public.  And they are laughable and tragic at the same time.  Black prospective jurors are annotated as B#1, B#2, et cetera.  Weighing the different options, the prosecutor noted that one has “the most potential to choose from out of the four remaining blacks.”  And so on.

And then there were the absurd pretexts the prosecutor provided to satisfyBatson.  First, he listed over thirty different reasons, basically throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick.  He said three didn’t make enough eye contact. He said another was a social worker, which in fact she was not.  He said one was close in age to the 18-year-old defendant; she was 34.

All this make it abundantly clear that race was the predominant factor in striking these jurors, notwithstanding the pretexts given for their dismissals.

And that’s why Foster’s case is now at the Supreme Court, which will have an opportunity to update Batson, and perhaps give it some teeth.  The Court will also, of course, determine the fate of Foster, who is developmentally disabled and who has now spent nearly thirty years on death row.

Batson has failed miserably to prevent race discrimination,” says Stephen Bright, who is Foster’s lawyer, a professor at Yale Law School, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, and one of the leading advocates for criminal justice reform, including abolition of the death penalty.  Bright has been down this road before, having won two Supreme Court cases on race discrimination and jury selection.  And he says that Foster’s case is not unusual in the least.

“What went on at trial was typical,” he told the Daily Beast.  “What’s unusual is we know what’s in the prosecutor’s files.  These notes that show not just a consciousness of race but an obsession with race.”

Batson has failed to prevent discrimination, says Bright, for at least three reasons.

First, “every prosecutor has a handy-dandy list of race-neutral reasons that they give.  They even distribute reasons in advance.  Some state training programs even distribute a list called ‘Articulating Juror Negatives.’”

That’s right, all prosecutors have to do is read from a prewritten list of reasons, and they’ll prevail.  “They just say, ‘take a lot of notes when you strike a black juror.’”

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 28, 2015 in The New Jim Crow


Tags: , , , , ,

Washington Supreme Court Rules Charter Schools Unconstitutional

About time someone figured this one out. Charter Schools should be answerable to the same rules and measuring stick as Public Schools. People my age have little belief that the purpose of the Charters is in any way to improve the education of black children.

Segregation Academies (Also called Charter Schools) were set up throughout the South to avoid integration by white parents. In the case of Prince Edward Schools in Virginia, the Public School System was shut down for 4 years, denying education to black students, while one of these Academies was set up.


State Supreme Court: Charter schools are unconstitutional

After nearly a year of deliberation, the state Supreme Court ruled 6-3 late Friday afternoon that charter schools are unconstitutional, creating chaos for hundreds of families whose children have already started classes.

The ruling — believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country — overturns the law voters narrowly approved in 2012 allowing publicly funded, but privately operated, schools.

Eight new charter schools are opening in Washington this fall, in addition to one that opened in Seattle last year…

In the ruling, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen wrote that charter schools aren’t “common schools” because they’re governed by appointed rather than elected boards.

Therefore, “money that is dedicated to common schools is unconstitutionally diverted to charter schools,” Madsen wrote.

Justice Mary E. Fairhurst agreed with the majority that charter schools aren’t common schools, but argued in a partial dissenting opinion that the state “can constitutionally support charter schools through the general fund.”

She was joined by Justices Steven C. González and Sheryl Gordon McCloud.

The ruling is a victory for the coalition that filed the suit in July 2013, asking a judge to declare the law unconstitutional for “improperly diverting public-school funds to private organizations that are not subject to local voter control.”

The Washington Education Association was joined by the League of Women Voters of Washington, El Centro de la Raza, the Washington Association of School Administrators and several individual plaintiffs.

“The Supreme Court has affirmed what we’ve said all along — charter schools steal money from our existing classrooms, and voters have no say in how these charter schools spend taxpayer funding,” said Kim Mead, president of the Washington Education Association.

“To tell you the truth, I cried. It’s been a long hard fight,” said Melissa Westbrook, an education blogger who chaired the campaign opposing the charter-school law in 2012.

Joshua Halsey, executive director of the state charter-school commission, criticized the court’s timing.

“The court had this case in front of them since last October and waiting until students were attending public charter schools to issue their ruling is unconscionable,” Halsey said. “We are most concerned about the almost 1,000 students and families attending charter schools and making sure they understand what this ruling means regarding their public-school educational options.”

The state Attorney General’s Office said attorneys are reviewing the decision, but had no comment Friday.

David Postman, communications director for Gov. Jay Inslee, said the governor’s office is reviewing the court’s decision and will consult with the Attorney General’s Office.

“But until we have a thorough analysis, we can’t say what that means for schools operating today,” Postman said.

Under the 2012 law, up to 40 new charter schools could have opened in Washington over a five-year period.

In December 2013, King County Superior Court Judge Jean Rietschel struck down the part of the law that would have made charter schools eligible for state construction money, but essentially cleared the way for the state commission and the Spokane school district to authorize new schools. Spokane is the only school district with such authority.

All sides expected the case to reach the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments last October.

Washington State Charter School Commission Chair Steve Sundquist said that commissioners anticipated a range of possible outcomes affecting funding, but didn’t draw up a plan to deal with a complete reversal.

“We were not expecting a ruling as deeply disappointing as this one,” Sundquist said.

He said the commission’s lawyer in the Attorney General’s Office will be meeting Saturday morning with other attorneys to discuss options.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Paul Lawrence, doesn’t think there’s much more legal work to do on the issue. But he acknowledged that much has to be sorted out regarding the nine charter schools that are already up and running.

“The bottom line is that the initiative is unconstitutional so the charter schools that were authorized under the charter-school initiative can’t be publicly funded,” Lawrence said. “If there’s any avenue, it’s going to be through some act of the Legislature.”


Leave a comment

Posted by on September 10, 2015 in The New Jim Crow, The Post-Racial Life


Tags: , , , , , ,

SCUMUS 5 Support New Jim Crow Voting Law in Texas

No surprise here. The most political court in US history has come up with the usual vote to support Jim Crow Voter ID in Texas to assure a Republican victory by disenfranchising more than 600,000 minority voters.

The Supreme Court’s Kleagle – The 5 Thugs in Robes Again interfering in elections just as they did in 2000


Supreme Court allows Texas voter ID law for now

Texas election officials can go ahead and enforce a controversial voter identification law opposed by the Obama administration and civil rights groups, the U.S. Supreme Court said early Saturday.

The decision comes just two days before early voting begins in the state.

A civil rights leader reacted harshly to the ruling, calling it an “affront to our democracy.”

“Today’s decision means hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in Texas will be unable to participate in November’s election because Texas has erected an obstacle course designed to discourage voting,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

While the court offered no reasoning for its decision, it backs up a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday saying that voting procedures shouldn’t be upended so close to the election.

That decision came in response to a federal judge’s ruling after a nine-day trial that a Texas law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed courts to consider the importance of preserving the status quo on the eve of an election,” the 5th Circuit court said.

Proponents say the law will help prevent voter fraud. Critics say such practices make it harder for poor, minority and disabled people to vote.

Minority and civil rights groups who banded together to oppose the law said it was among the most restrictive in the nation.

Some 600,000 people in Texas lack state-issued IDs, according to the U.S. Justice Department — which rejected Texas’ law as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Nationwide, the NAACP says 25% of African-Americans and 16% of Latinos of voting age lack a current government-issued photo ID.

Saturday’s decision doesn’t speak to the constitutionality of the law — only whether it can be enforced in this fall’s election. Continued legal challenges are a certainty, Ifill said.

While the court’s majority didn’t offer any explanation for the ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a nearly seven-page dissent, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Ginsburg said the costs associated with the law — obtaining identity cards and the documents needed to get them — aren’t as insignificant as backers claim, and argued they harken back to the use of the poll tax in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a method of preventing blacks from voting.

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg wrote.

The first day of early voting in Texas is Monday. Voters will choose a new governor to replace outgoing Gov. Rick Perry, new lieutenant governor, and new attorney general in addition to voting on one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats and several House districts.


America’s disgrace


Stand Your Ground to Vote

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 18, 2014 in The New Jim Crow


Tags: , , , , ,

Scumbag Scalia At It…Again

It is a national disgrace that this piece of corrupt garbage holds a seat on the highest court in the land…

Antonin Scalia: 14th Amendment Protects Everyone, Not ‘Only The Blacks’

During oral arguments on an affirmative action case on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said the 14th Amendment protects everyone, not “only the blacks.”

The high court debated Tuesday whether voters can ban affirmative action programs through a referendum. The case is centered around a 2006 Michigan vote that approved a ballot initiative amending the state’s constitution to ban affirmative action programs in higher education.

Scalia has brought race into previous arguments. In February 2013, Scalia suggestedthat the continuation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act represented the “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” saying that lawmakers had only voted to renew the act in 2006 because there wasn’t anything to be gained politically from voting against it.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 15, 2013 in The Post-Racial Life


Tags: , , , , , , ,

“Activist Judges Caused the Holocaust” – Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia

After his outburst a few weeks ago, I am believing Scalia has a case of advanced Dementia – and probably shouldn’t be on the Court. That the Nazi takeover of Germany, and the Holocaust was caused by “activist Judges” is out there in Fruit-Cake land…

But that’s not the first time for Scalia…

Antonin Scalia: Holocaust Was Partially Brought About By Judicial Activism

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s warnings on judicial activism appear to have gained a new chapter at the Utah Bar Association’s 2013 summer convention.

The Aspen Times reported Sunday that Scalia drew upon the Holocaust as an example of how judicial activism can lead to problems. According to the Utah Bar Association’s website, Scalia was slated to be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Summer Convention event, which was held from July 17-20 in Snowmass, Colo.

Via The Aspen Times:

Scalia opened his talk with a reference to the Holocaust, which happened to occur in a society that was, at the time, “the most advanced country in the world.” One of the many mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges began to interpret the law in ways that reflected “the spirit of the age.” When judges accept this sort of moral authority, as Scalia claims they’re doing now in the U.S., they get themselves and society into trouble.

About a month ago, Scalia delivered a speech to the North Carolina Bar Association, stressing his concern about how moralist judges are growing more prevalent.

There was this outburst in April –


Justice Antonin Scalia disrupted the normally tranquil atmosphere of the Supreme Court today, bursting from his office to shout, “I’m never going to another damn N.B.A. game as long as I live!”

While it was unclear what, exactly, had provoked Justice Scalia’s outburst, one of his clerks said that “he saw something on ESPN that really upset him.”

After emerging from their offices to see the source of the commotion, the other Justices found a visibly agitated Justice Scalia, his face beet-red and his entire body shaking with rage.

“I’ve gone to basketball games my entire life,” he bellowed. “I always thought that was a ‘safe place.’ Well, I guess I was wrong. I guess I’ve been wrong about a lot of things, haven’t I? Haven’t I?”

As Justice Clarence Thomas wordlessly moved to comfort him, Justice Scalia rebuffed his fellow-juror.

“Get away from me, Clarence!” he screamed. “I can’t trust anyone anymore.”

His Outburst in the Court in May as the Court considered Gay Rights –

As Justice Anthony Kennedy questioned whether it was appropriate for the Court to hear a case about same-sex marriage at this time, Mr. Scalia stunned observers with an emotional outburst.

“O.K., could we just stop talking about this stuff right now?” Justice Scalia snapped at Justice Kennedy. “I’ve told you all how I feel about this topic, and I don’t understand why we’re going on and on about it unless you all hate me.”

As the courtroom froze in dead silence, Justice Scalia seemed to gather steam, shouting, “For two days, it’s been gay this, gay that. You’re all just talking about this stuff as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. Well, it’s not, O.K.? It’s weird and it’s wrong. And just talking about it like it’s O.K. and whatnot is making me angry beyond belief.”
As the other justices averted their eyes, Justice Scalia broke down, sobbing that he wished “things were normal, the way they used to be.”

And then there was the Voting as a “racial entitlement”.


Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Domestic terrorism, The New Jim Crow


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bill Maher Hits Supreme Court Voting Rights Racism On the Head

Maher does it again…

The New and Improved…Jim Crow.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 29, 2013 in The New Jim Crow


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Melissa Harris-Perry Calls Out Clarence Thomas

This is a good one. One of the reasons it is critical that Obama win this next election is the opportunity to replace at least 2 justices on the Supreme Court and clean up the cesspool the Rethugs made of that institution.



Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 205 other followers