Friday, January 16, 2015

A Decision is Finally Coming: Marriage Equality to be Argued at SCOTUS

As reported by many news organizations, at least four Justices of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) have agreed to hear four cases coming out of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in regards to marriage equality.  After the October 6th, 2014 decision by SCOTUS to deny "cert" to challenges to rulings coming from the 4th, 7th and 10th US Circuit Courts of appeals and the despicable ruling by the 6th Circuit, this day could not come soon enough.

The two questions before SCOTUS will be whether or not same sex marriage bans in 31 states and their denial of recognition of same sex marriages performed in other states violates the 14th Amendment.  Numerous federal courts, including four appellate courts, along with several state courts have ruled that yes, these bans violate the 14th Amendment.  The 6th Circuit is the only appellate court to have ruled otherwise, going so far as to claim that the federal courts have no business overturning "voter approved" bans on marriage equality.

I am, of course, biased and believe that these bans do violate the 14th Amendment as well as the 9th Amendment.  Hell, SCOTUS has already ruled that marriage is a "fundamental right" in Loving v. Virginia (which also, by the way made marriage a "federal issue").

My hope is that the votes are there for marriage equality to become the law of the land in all 50 states and the various territories come June of this year.  My fingers are crossed.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marriage Equallity Gets Great Field Position On A Punt From SCOTUS

Sometimes, when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decides it really doesn't want to deal with an issue just yet, it will do what we like to call a "punt".  That is, without comment they decide to let various appellate court decisions stand.  Today, October 6th, 2014, SCOTUS did just that in regards to various marriage equality cases attempting to be reviewed by SCOTUS.

Just as we saw in several NFL games this past weekend, a punt can be a wonderful thing, for either team.  In the case of marriage equality, it is now legal for same-sex couples to get married in 24 states and the District of Columbia and in a very short time, it will be legal in 30 and Washington D.C.  That is incredible field position for advocates of marriage equality, such as myself.  In essence, to further push the football analogy, with the punt from SCOTUS, anti-marriage equality forces are stuck on their own 10 yard line with two minutes left on the clock, only one time out left , down by nine points and their quarterback is playing injured.

But, as we also saw this past weekend, the fortunes of any team can be turned around in the last two minutes.  So we need to watchful of the decision soon to come out of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which could be the first appellate decision against marriage equality.  If that is the case, SCOTUS will most likely need to take up the issue of marriage equality for a full hearing.  I just hope it doesn't come down to the that.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

... And Now, Not So Lost ...

I got great news on Friday.  Well, better than great.  Fucking fantastic news, to be perfectly honest.  I received notice that I have been approved for full Medicaid and it is like massive weight taken off of my shoulders.  I can now get the physical health care and continue to get the mental health care I need.

But this is what Republicans and their conservative allies don't want.  They don't want the millions of Americans who need health insurance to get it.  They have fought and will continue to fight tooth and nail to take away and prevent the 99% from getting the medical and mental health care we need.  They are willing to condemn millions of Americans to a life of abject misery.  If they had their way, I would never have received Medicaid because it wouldn't exist.

I wish I didn't need the help of the government via Medicaid, but I do and I am grateful that the help was there and is now available to me.  Now I don't need to beg my parents each month for money to pay for my psychiatrist and therapist visits.  Now I don't need to beg friends to help pay for my medication.  And now, I can have the host of physical health problems looked at properly and maybe taken care of.

I have hope.  I have some direction now.  I am no longer so lost.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Starting about a week before my 45th birthday on July 18th of this year, I have felt "lost".  I don't know if its a mild form of depression or if its some sort of midlife crisis, but my mind has been rather cloudy.  It is difficult for me to focus on anyone thing, let alone enjoy anything.  I have even stopped playing Star Wars: The Old Republic the feeling of being "lost" is so great and I have really enjoyed playing SWTOR.  Hell, I don't even find enjoyment reading anymore.

I wonder if this is a problem other manic-depressives have dealt with or is it just me?  Luckily I have a therapy session tomorrow (Wednesday) and maybe I can start not feeling so "lost" again.

PS Please don't worry.  I am not having harmful thoughts, I just feel "lost".

Friday, June 27, 2014

Who Will Decide Hobby Lobby / Conestoga Wood and Why It Matters

Like 99.999999999% of Americans, I am no expert regarding the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS).  But, as the saying goes, I know enough about SCOTUS to be dangerous.  It is a time honored tradition to try and guess what the SCOTUS will do and I will be partaking in that tradition today.  In fact, I am going to try to diving who will write the opinion in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby aka Hobby Lobby / Conestoga Wood (Hobby Lobby), for who writes the opinion will determine if the decision is (based on your ideology) is good, bad or ugly.

So here we go, starting with the one I think will be the author of the opinion.

Justice Anthony Kennedy: When it comes down to it, Hobby Lobby is about social issues, specifically, the ability of employees to have access to contraceptives through their employer provided health plans.  Except with respect to the matters of abortions and voting rights, Justice Kennedy tends to be on the moderate/liberal side of social issues.  Take for instance his authorship of the opinions in Romer v. EvansLawrence v. Texas and United States v. Windsor.  Both decisions expanded equality under the law to gays and lesbians.  If Justice Kennedy writes the opinion, which I believe he will, look for the court to decide that corporations, even privately held family owned ones, do not have religious liberty, reversing the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The decision would be 5 - 4.

Justice Antonin Scalia / Justice Clarence Thomas
: In my view, these two justices are almost interchangable.  Based on their history of supporting the concept of "corporate personhood", either Justice would easily vote to give all corporations religious liberty and the ability to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against its employees.  Either would affirm the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The decision would be 5 - 4.

Chief Justice John Roberts: His potential authorship is what scares the hell out of me.  Seeing how much he loves to "split the baby" when it comes to decisions, his authorship could only spell ugliness.  Take for instance his authorship of the ACA decision where he upheld the ACA but struck down the provision requiring States to expand Medicaid, thus overturning the "power of the purse" legal concept.  This has left millions of Americans in States that refused to expand Medicaid without affordable medical care.  If the Chief Justice is the author, look for him to declare that non-publicly traded wholly family owned corporations have religious liberty while publicly traded and/or non-wholly family owned corporations do not.  It would be a 6 - 3 decision with Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito in dissent.

Again, this is all speculation.  Who will be the author of the Hobby Lobby decision is anyone's guess, but it is very important as to who will write it.