good advice from Sessions to Yates, which he should take

Sessions did not “testify,” per se, yesterday. He offered a defense of himself, free of the annoyance of cross-examination and kept his consistently partisan blinders as high as always.

I have no doubt that he does not question his own integrity.

That was believable. And not shocking.

I think this Jeff Sessions was actually the best counter-argument to yesterday’s Jeff Sessions. It’s oddly on point. (And prescient, as well.)

Sens Feinstein & Moseley-Braun – Justice Ginsburg’s confirmation hearing

The opening statements of the first two women senators to ever serve on the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun’s statement was unexpectedly moving.

History, my friends. True history.

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4654997

I don’t see any way this doesn’t end up in front of SCOTUS

Case Name Sarsour v. Trump IM-VA-0005
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00120 ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia <!—->
Case Type(s) Immigration
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration/Refugee Orders
Case Summary
<!–

–>

This class action, filed January 30, 2017, challenges President Trump’s Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order ban on admission to the U.S. of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

read more >

This class action, filed January 30, 2017, challenges President Trump’s Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order ban on admission to the U.S. of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The plaintiffs are Muslim Americans residing in the U.S. Many are public figures in the U.S. or have otherwise prominent roles in their communities. Many are executive members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Some are students, and others are asylees. Still others are at risk of not being reunited with their families.

The complaint argues that one of the purposes of the executive order is to “initiate the mass expulsion of immigrant and nonimmigrant Muslims lawfully residing in th

e United States by denying them the ability to renew their lawful status or receive immigration benefits afforded to them under the Immigration and Nationality Act.” Moreover, it argues that the Executive Order applies only to Muslims. As such, the executive order has an illegal purpose and effect, and violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause and right to free exercise of religion, Fifth Amendment equal protection rights, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The complaint seeks class declaratory and injunctive relief as well as jury demand. The case is ongoing.

I’m still advocating for David C. Frederick. We want David Frederick arguing this. Trust and believe.

https://www.oyez.org/advocates/david_c_frederick

SCOTUS: Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer of women’s rights as an advocate in early ’70’s

ruth_bader_ginsburg

Frontiero v. Richardson

Advocates

Joseph J. Levin, Jr. Argued the cause for the appellants

Samuel Huntington Argued the cause for the appellees

Ruth Bader Ginsburg for American Civil Liberties Union, amicus curiae, by special leave of Court

Facts of the case

Sharron Frontiero, a lieutenant in the United States Air Force, sought a dependent’s allowance for her husband. Federal law provided that the wives of members of the military automatically became dependents; husbands of female members of the military, however, were not accepted as dependents unless they were dependent on their wives for over one-half of their support. Frontiero’s request for dependent status for her husband was turned down.

Question

Did a federal law, requiring different qualification criteria for male and female military spousal dependency, unconstitutionally discriminate against women thereby violating the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause?

 

Oral Argument: 17 January 1973

This case was a turning point in sex discrimination cases and the first case (of many) to argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court by an amazingly convincing young female attorney, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (as amicus curiae for American Civil Liberties Union, by special leave of Court.) She does not disappoint.

on 14 May 1973 the court decided 8-1 in favor of appellants in what would be a stark turning point in sexual equality/discrimination cases; a cause that now Ruth Bader Ginsburg would take up again and again; and win again and again.

It is interesting to look back at how one of the most influential and respected Jurists of our time began her career, but also to see the genesis of this area of law at a time when narrowly conscripted roles of women and men went from being taken for granted to being questioned for the first time in any real way in society, but what is most interesting is just how vital the unquestionably persuasive power of this young female attorney was in changing minds in real time on the opinions of the supreme court justices she argued in front of.

(Side note: the single dissent in this ruling came from Justice Rehnquist.)

 

Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: Lizzy Ratner in The Nation and on Democracy Now

Nobody Wanted to Take Us In

hias-action-blog-1-_1

Lizzy Ratner was interviewed by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! today about her beautifully written and powerful piece, Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine in The Nation where she is a Senior Editor.


The piece begins:

In my aunt’s house, in the bedroom where 
I’ve often slept, there’s a framed photo of a ship’s manifest that I love to stare at. The ship was the RMS Aquitania, a Cunard ocean liner with an inky-black hull that was famous for its four smokestacks; its picture hangs in the bedroom, too. I can spend long minutes looking at these photos, first the ship, then the manifest, with its clutter of blocky print that draws my eyes up, down, and across the page until they finally settle on the name I’m always looking for: Ozcar Ratowzer. The print tells me that he was a worker from the town of Bialystok in Poland. If I trace down the column labeled “race or people,” I come to the word “Hebrew.”

aquitania_ratner


Although the interview on Democracy Now! wasn’t long, it was powerful.

Amy Goodman, referring to The Nation article:

You quote the head of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS, [Mark Hetfield] who says, ‘The way we describe ourselves is that we used to resettle refugees because they were Jewish; now we resettle refugees because we are Jewish.’

Lizzy Ratner:

“There’s another amazing quote I just want to end with. Mark Hetfield also said, you know, ‘For us to come here, for us’—and he’s referring to Jewish people at this moment. But for Jews to say, We’re here now. It’s OK to close the doors on other people, is morally reprehensible.’  And I don’t think I could have ever said it better.”


I couldn’t agree more. It is a beautiful thing that is opening up in the face of all this darkness. To see African-Americans fighting for Latinos fighting for Jews fighting for Muslims fighting for Christians fighting for Native Americans – and leading the way are women – is an amazing thing like nothing I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. We all understand that this is not for fame or fortune or ego. We all understand that this fight is a fight for life itself.

We understand that if we lose this fight there may not be another one.

And we understand that if any of us lose we all lose.

We understand that everything – everything – is on the line.

And we understand that our only hope lies in complete solidarity.

hias-banner

Each day love gets stronger.

Can you feel it?

Can you feel it?

Love wins. Never doubt that.

Never.

Love wins.

LOVE WINS.

justice

**For those uninterested in my alterations on the game of chess or other random free-flowing thoughts and want only to skip straight to changing the world, scroll down to “Justice and the Course of History.”

(as an aside i apparently seem done with capitalization. we’ll see if that changes. Okay. Fuck. Oh, well, it was worth a try. Guess I’ll just have to double-down on the vulgarities.)

And, while I – as citizen of the world – came on here to write the grand, world-altering legal theory of a lifetime; I –  as Serene – was distracted by capitalization and instead now first want to write first about “how we play chess.”

There’s also “how we solve Rubik’s Cube,” but I have yet to introduce that as a disconnected tag or inside joke that appears “apropos of nothing” and yet actually has both literal meaning and quite a bit of unadulterated fun both in terms of story value and — and, perhaps most importantly —  real life applicability for regular people. Okay, well, maybe not “regular” people, but regular, very intelligent people.

Yes, boys and girls, if you are one of the many real people out there in the world afflicted with Limitless Intelligence Syndrome #limitlessintelligencesyndrome – or are either a card carrying member of the Intentional and Consensual Mindfuckers Organization, a devotee to their belief system, or even a person with a still closeted mindfuck fetish, we welcome you.

This is for you.

How We Play Chess

In actuality, it’s quite simple, really. The story of how it started is good but as my mind has wandered again, it doesn’t look like I’ll get to it here.

(Yes, I am one highly annoying bitch. Cute, though.)

The basic idea usually begins like it did with us – although as most good ideas, the genesis of it was really accidental – and that is by a single-order change in the objective of the game: in our case that objective shifted from putting the King in “checkmate” to putting the Queen in mate. No other rules were changed. So The Bitch – as I refer to the most awesome and powerful goddess of the chess board – still can move in exactly the same amazing ways as before, and the King is still limited as before, and everything else stays the same – but the objective shifts to going after The Bitch. Oh, as a natural consequence one other corresponding change is made; whether you choose to view it as making my original statement of a single-order change incorrect or not depends on you, but the King may be taken prisoner as the Queen was before and the Queen may not be taken but is instead required to free herself from the many and myriad entanglements of check that she so necessarily finds herself in, just as the King is required to do in the regular rules of the game.

And that, really, is what makes it so much fun and so radically changes the game.

Justice and the Course of History

And so now I will attempt to briefly set down my idea that could practically be accomplished right at this moment – depending on whether the U.S. Supreme Court could be persuaded to address the issue, which I believe they very well could be persuaded to do – of how we go about altering the course of human history.

Making a fairly simple change in argument via the lawsuit brought by appellees Sarsour, et. al. on the lawfulness of Trump’s “Muslim Ban” and seeking leave of the court to address a broader question of whether or not the courts should take international law more into account, something they actually already do  – and how much they should take international law into account – including treaties and conventions of long standing recognition in the U.S. courts, up to and including the United States Supreme Court, we who believe in justice and humanity have a path available to us that could very well alter the course of humanity.

If there is anyone out there besides me and the set of lawyers who appear in front of SCOTUS in a near continual loop who still watch the Supreme Court and its jurists on a regular basis they will understand immediately why this is, quite truly and without hyperbole, a very, very real opportunity to alter everything. To change the future of the world.

And for those who do not watch these justices and want a head start: hint, his name is Justice Breyer.

But not only Justice Breyer. This court, as now comprised, despite the usual “liberal”/”conservative” labels, has quietly been doing some truly extraordinary things in the past 11 months. This court has surprisingly coalesced in ways I never thought possible. Hell, Justice Thomas read two opinions from the bench a few months back, and to be honest, I was not at all sure that Justice Thomas even had use of his voice box anymore. But the women up there are insanely brilliant, and both Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts have surprised me not only in many rulings of late, but perhaps more importantly, in many of the questions they’ve asked from the bench; questions that demonstrate beyond all doubt that in issues of human rights, both at home and internationally, they care deeply about justice and fairness and rule of law and that they understand the gravity of this moment in history and their place in it.

In fact, I say here now that everyone out there working on outdated assumptions about these justices need to come full stop and give these men and women a fresh start. We expect them to be fair minded and I am saying, as a vulgar, shock-loving heretic of all things, that it is our burden – BURDEN – as people of conscience, to now give the same measure of justice, fairness, and humanity we wish to receive to those from whom we fervently hope to receive it. I do not say that we should do it uncritically or that we might not, after an unprejudiced look, decide that they have not done their duty as arbiters of justice. All I say is that, not from some delusional wish or blind faith, but instead a wealth of experience in the weeds of this court – and not just as it is now comprised but historically as well – that these justices look poised to take on the most important issues that have ever faced that court, issues that will surpass the importance of everything else they have ever considered, because they will not only effect human and civil rights here but also internationally.

I hope that faith is not in vain.

*I am also including the comment I made on this post into the post itself directly after the youtube.com clip from “Charlie Wilson’s War”

Now, go play chess.

(Aw hell, now that I’ve more fully delineated the issue of How We Play Chess, watch this 2 and ½ minute clip again.)

“The Nerdy Looking Kid In the White Shirt”

Just P.S., I want David C. Frederick to argue this. And my reasoning is simple: he rocks. My new favorite SCOTUS case, feat. David C. Frederick, is UNIVERSAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., Petitioner v. UNITED STATES AND MASSACHUSETTS, EX REL. JULIO ESCOBAR AND CARMEN CORREA, Respondents – the link contains both the original oral argument and the unanimous opinion read from the bench by Justice Thomas (!!!)