Patterico's Pontifications


Gay Marriage Decisions Today; UPDATE: DOMA Struck Down 5-4; UPDATE: Prop. 8 Struck Down (In Essence) on Narrow Standing Ruling

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:40 am

For now, consider this your open thread.

UPDATE: I’ll be updating now from the live chat coverage. First opinion is DOMA.

UPDATE: DOMA struck down 5-4. Kennedy writes the opinion. Not a big shock. Kennedy finds it to be Equal Protection violation.

UPDATE: Opinion confined to “lawful marriages” — possibly a signal that Prop. 8 will be upheld.

UPDATE: Link to the DOMA opinion (.pdf).

UPDATE: A “careful consideration” standard for unusual classifications. Classic Kennedy. My eyes are rolling hard.

UPDATE: Quote from SCOTUSBlog re Scalia reading his dissent: “The Court’s opinion both in explaining its jurisdiction and its decision ‘both spring from the same diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society.'” Classic Scalia.

UPDATE: SCOTUSBlog says there is a suggestion in Roberts’s dissent in DOMA that Prop. 8 will be dealt with on standing grounds.

UPDATE: It’s starting to look like Prop. 8 will go down on a narrow ruling dealing with standing. No wonder Alito was glowering at Kagan the other day.

UPDATE: Proposition 8 struck down (in essence) due to lack of standing on the part of the appellants. Weird majority: Scalia, Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan.

UPDATE: Have not read the ruling but I get the sense Scalia was worried about what Kennedy would do unleashed.

UPDATE: Kagan in majority, not Sotomayor.

Mob Rule Kills Bill to Ban Late-Term Abortions in Texas

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 am


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Despite barely beating a midnight deadline, hundreds of jeering protesters helped stop Texas lawmakers from passing one of the toughest abortion measures in the country.

As the protesters raised the noise to deafening levels in the Texas Senate chamber late Tuesday, Republicans scrambled to gather their colleagues at the podium for a stroke-of-midnight vote.

“Get them out!” Sen. Donna Campbell shouted to a security guard, pointing to the thundering crowd in the gallery overhead that had already been screaming for more than 10 minutes.

“Time is running out,” Campbell pleaded. “I want them out of here!”

It didn’t work. The noise never stopped and despite barely beating the midnight end-of-session deadline with a vote to pass the bill, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said the chaos in the chamber prevented him from formally signing it before the deadline passed, effectively killing it.

Here is a video of law enforcement trying to clear the gallery:

This is the kind of thing that causes good citizens to throw up their hands and lose faith in the system. The mob’s actions came after a filibuster of the bill by Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, who was supported in her efforts by Barack Obama’s Twitter account:

I want someone to ask Barack Obama whether he supports the bill being shouted down by a mob.

Gov. Perry should call another legislative session.


Fallout from the Voting Rights Act Case: Texas Can Now Implement Its Voter ID Law

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 pm

And Eric Holder (at least currently) doesn’t have a thing to say about it:

Just hours after the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that guts parts of the Voting Rights Act, Texas is moving forward with a controversial voter ID law that state Attorney General Greg Abbott hopes to implement right away.

“With today’s decision, the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately,” Abbott said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News. “Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

The Texas law requires voters to show photo identification to vote—a measure that was blocked by the Justice Department, arguing the law could discriminate against racial minorities. At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder called the law a “poll tax.”

A “poll tax.” Absurd.

Justice Roberts struck a blow for common sense today. (A small one, to be sure. But still.)

Weiner Leads NYC Mayor Poll

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:03 pm

My initial reaction to this is a shrug. It’s not my city. Why should I care?

But then I go back and look at what Michelle Malkin said on June 7:

Remember: Democratic women on Capitol Hill stood by Weiner and his Twitter tawdriness until a critical moment almost exactly two years ago this week: It was the moment news broke that among the bevy of online groupies he hit on, Weiner had communicated with at least one teenage high school student in Delaware.

Weiner had flirted with the underage girl through Twitter direct messages using a macho line about donning “cape and tights” — a quip he had also used with an adult woman with whom he had exchanged raunchier sexually explicit messages. Conservative blogger Patrick Frey ( first uncovered the evidence. Fox News then broke the news in the mainstream press that Delaware police had visited the girl’s home and questioned her about her online communications with Weiner. The 17-year-old said she had met Weiner on a school trip to Washington.

At his watershed press conference circus on June 6, 2011, Weiner claimed he “never had an intention of having a relationship with underage women” and blustered that the girls he communicated with “weren’t young, per se.” Per se? Just a few days later, Weiner was forced to admit that he had exchanged “at least five private messages on Twitter” with the Delaware girl, not two messages as initially reported. He also denied that any messages to the teen were “explicit” or “indecent.”

If his opponents don’t care to raise that issue, and NYC media don’t care to raise the issue, why should a blogger in Los Angeles care?

I’ll tell you why. Because I was in the center of the story, and was threatened by someone who told me not to write about Weiner, and was then SWATted . . . possibly by people obsessed with the notion that Weiner was hacked, as well as by an insane desire to exact revenge for journalism about a notorious convicted bomber.

P.S. The New York Times did get around to publishing that article they accidentally published, and then withheld for so long, about Weiner’s victims:

Customers taunt Lisa Weiss. “Talk dirty to me,” they joke. “We know you like it.” Colleagues refuse to speak with her. Strangers mock her in nasty online messages.

“Clearly she’s got mental issues,” declared the latest.

Anthony D. Weiner’s improbable campaign for mayor of New York City is a wager that voters have made peace with his lewd online behavior, a subject he has largely left behind as he roils the race with his aggressive debating style and his attention-getting policy proposals.

But for the women who were on the other end of Mr. Weiner’s sexually explicit conversations and photographs, his candidacy is an unwanted reminder of a scandal that has upended their lives in ways big and small, cutting short careers, disrupting educations and damaging reputations.

I don’t think Weiner cares a bit about the damage left in his wake.

It remains to be seen, I guess, whether New York voters do.

Snowden Buying Unfriendly Countries’ Cooperation with Information

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:34 pm

Allahpundit on reports that Snowden is paying off hostile countries by revealing our secrets:

This is why it gets stupider by the day to say that the story of his escape is merely a distraction from the far more important story of U.S. surveillance capabilities. How is it “distracting” to know there’s a guy running around in China and Russia with huge stores of state secrets, essentially blackmailing the government to let him leak selectively with impunity or else he’ll leak indiscriminately? On what planet is that a non-story?

It depends upon what you think is important. If you’re wedded to the narrative of Snowden-as-hero, then he Struck a Blow for Truth and Justice, and it hardly matters that he is furnishing unfriendly countries with information that has zero to do with exposing surveillance of U.S. citizens — but gives those countries a propaganda victory, or perhaps something even more valuable, like a technical roadmap of our surveillance network. To make a whistleblower omelet, you gotta crack open a few choice secrets for our enemies, to encourage them to facilitate your escape from the country you’re trying to save. As Rick Ellers says, Snowden needed to “ingratiate” himself:

Greenwald said he would not have published some of the stories that ran in the South China Morning Post. “Whether I would have disclosed the specific IP addresses in China and Hong Kong the NSA is hacking, I don’t think I would have,” Greenwald said. “What motivated that leak though was a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”

But I’m sure Mr. Putin isn’t requiring much from Snowden in the way of information.

By the way, Dersh has some pretty harsh words for Ellison (Via Hot Air Headlines):

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, it doesn’t border on criminality — it’s right in the heartland of criminality. The statute itself, does punish the publication of classified material, if you know that it’s classified. And so, Greenwald — in my view — clearly has committed a felony.

And for him to take umbrage at the question — now, he’s right though that the government doesn’t usually go after the publishers. They don’t go after The New York Times, The Washington Post, in the Pentagon papers case, though they could have! They don’t go after other newspapers — in the WikiLeaks case — though they could have. They’ve made a discretionary decision to go after the leaker but not the publisher.

Look, Greenwald’s a total phony. He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America. This had nothing to do with publicizing information. He never would’ve written this article if they had published material about one of his favorite countries.

The more I learn about Snowden, the more I find his actions distasteful — and I haven’t seen anything he revealed that is obviously a violation of the Fourth Amendment. When media outlets broke the SWIFT story during Bush’s tenure, I was outraged. While I was torn about prosecuting the journalists, I wanted to explore whether the journalists should be prosecuted if they knowingly helped reveal classified information about an effective and legal program — and I leaned slightly towards the view that prosecution was wise. Tell me why I should not feel the same way about this. I know it’s very fashionable to say that it’s unthinkable to “prosecute journalists for journalism” — but if national security information is legitimately classified, helps us fight terrorism, and is knowingly revealed by a “journalist,” I don’t know that such actions are obviously beyond prosecution.

As I said in 2006, a lot of it comes down to whether the journalist is exposing wrongdoing or whether they are just telling our secrets. Often they think they are doing the former when they are just doing the latter.

Does a spy get to be a hero if he is revealing secrets to “We the People” as well as Russia and China to buy off their cooperation?

UPDATE: Thomas Ellers weighs in:


I’m too SUPER-IMPORTANT to be prosecuted. So good DAY, sir!


Section 4 of Voting Rights Act Found Unconstitutional

Filed under: General — JD @ 10:29 am

[Guest post by JD]

Here is the ruling.

This proves how racist Republicans are, because they don’t want to impose 50 year old standards on States, and some counties, based on actions that took place 50 years ago. Gasp! Heaven forbid current standards should address current problems, and apply to States equally. The Dems were warned by the Court in 2009 that they were on thin ice, yet chose to do nothing about it.

Section 4 is essentially the standards and metrics, which triggers enforcement under Section 5.

Melissa Perry Harris at MSNBC is worried her citizenship will be taken away. Chris Hayes is physically angry. The leftist grievance industry will be in full blown OUTRAGE today.


Snowden Took the Consultant Job to Gain Access to Classified Intelligence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

That seems like it should be relevant to whether he is viewed as a hero or a traitor.

My pal Ken at Popehat says Snowden is being prosecuted for revealing secrets to “We the People.”

Trouble is, he’s revealing them to our enemies too.

Wonder if Rick Ellensburg knew what Snowden was going to do before he did it.

Government vs. Terrorism As The Biggest Threat: More Thoughts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Yesterday I ran a poll asking readers to say whether they are more frightened/concerned by government or by terrorism. I am including the poll here again in this post because I would like as many people as possible to answer it. Please answer the poll now if you have not already, before proceeding to my comments under the fold.

Which frightens/concerns you more: government or terrorism? free polls 



Knock Knock. Who’s There? A Lawyer with Very Little Self-Awareness

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:12 pm

So I read this excellent Legal Insurrection post about the composition of the Zimmerman jury and thought: this sounds like a good defense jury. Maybe one clearly prosecution-oriented juror in the bunch. Maybe Zimmerman has a chance!

Then I saw this:


Just because you think something doesn’t mean you have to say it out loud. Humor with a jury on a murder case is a tricky business.

Ken at Popehat has the best line I saw all day on this:

Yo mama’s so incompetent she told the jury a knock knock joke.


Serious Question: Which Frightens You More, Terrorists or the Government?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

I was listening to one of my favorite voices on the economy, Peter Schiff, when he made a comment about the latest revelations by Edward Snowden, whom he considers a hero. Schiff said that he is more scared of the government’s powers than he is of anything the terrorists might do to him.

It got me thinking: a big part of the way people view the actions of a guy like Snowden has to do with this fundamental question: which concerns you more? The government’s far-reaching surveillance abilities combined with its power to investigate, harass, incarcerate, and perhaps even kill (at least by seeking the death penalty) its citizens? Or the terrorists, who may not always be in the forefront of our minds, but whose top aim is to kill us all, and would be thrilled to do so with a nuclear weapon if they could?

In short, which frightens you more: the government, or the terrorists?

Stop now and answer the poll. We’ll pick up the discussion below the fold.

Which frightens/concerns you more: government or terrorism? free polls 

Answer it before you click the “more” button. I don’t want to prejudice you. I’d like it if everybody who reads this post would answer the poll question.


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