NO KUDOS FOR TRUMP

Every reporter, anchor or commentator who uses any media platform to suggest Trump should be celebrated for signing this executive order promising, “I’m going to cut way back on the torture of children,” must face serious criticism.

You can start with Dana Bash for offering “Kudos to Trump”. Feel free to send reasonably-worded reactions to CNN.


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Just Listen To Wonkette, Will You: “Fuck his fucking executive order”

I (and probably will) write up an analysis of the Flores v Reno consent decree and how Trump has been using it to justify child ICE-olation and how the current executive order conflicts with the requirements of that settlement, but I don’t have the time to do the job I want to do this afternoon. So for now just listen to Wonkette:

So basically, the Trump administration wants to thumb its nose at Flores and indefinitely detain mommies and daddies seeking asylum and babies over a FUCKING MISDEMEANOR. Indeed the order literally instructs the attorney general to beg the courts to say violating Flores is OK and babies can stay in jail with mommy and daddy for A LOT LONGER, because that’s what the Trump administration is stomping its feet and clapping its hands for. Hey, maybe they can live in concentration camps, like one big happy family, at least until Trump can figure out a way to Finally Solve the whole problem!

Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo and Wonkette agree that litigation is inevitable, and Trump is going to lose at trial on a bunch of key issues. Probably on appeal, too. But for Trump, that’s a feature. His executive order puts the lie to the idea that child ICEolation was mandated by laws passed by Democrats, but if he can lose quickly enough in court, he’ll be able to rapidly pivot to blaming unaccountable, unelected judges.

Nothing says, “I love America” like hating on the US Constitution’s Article I, Article III, Article VI clause 2, and Eighth Amendment.


 

A Minor Major Victory: Trump Steps Back From Child Isolation Policy

Trump is now planning to end child isolation by permitting children to stay in the same prison as their accompanying parent. This is a huge victory for the children affected while still being entirely inadequate.

Now is not the time to back down. Now is the time to press both the administration and congress. Trump should still be impeached, in my view, for various important reasons from his refusal to safeguard US elections to his blatant violations of two vitally important treaties (one on torture, the other on refugees) to his deeply corrupt campaign. He probably won’t be impeached until Mueller releases more info because impeachment is a political exercise and no matter how definitive is the evidence that congress can see, if they can’t yet show it to the public I doubt it will count as “admissible evidence” (metaphorically, if you understand my meaning here) for congress’ impeachment efforts.

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Enforcement of Church Law: A Good Thing For Once?

Fuck the witch hunts, and the inquisition, and the condemnation of scientific heresies, and the support for inherited, monarchic rule, and, well, just about everything. But maybe, just maybe there’s something good that might come out of Christian church law after 1700 years?

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a fellow United Methodist, [faces charges under Methodist church law] over a zero tolerance U.S. immigration policy …

Specifically, the group accuses him of child abuse in reference to separating young children from their parents and holding them in mass incarceration facilities; immorality; racial discrimination and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrines” of The United Methodist Church.

All are categories listed in 2702.3 as chargeable offenses for a professing member of a local church.

Interesting. I wonder how this might affect the national conversation, given that so many US citizens are Christian.

 

 

 

These Are The Children: A Child Raped By Law Enforcement

This is intended to be a a first look at how undocumented immigrants with children come to the attention of ICE. This new series is not limited to documenting only children and parents who are separated from each other, and cannot guarantee that separation occurred for all the families mentioned. Instead, this series seeks only to illustrate how many families come to the attention of ICE and what a child-isolation policy might mean in those contexts.


I was struck by a particularly horrifying story today. It’s not unique. They’re never unique. But it’s one human example of how a woman and her child came to the attention of ICE.

A 47-year-old deputy with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office was arrested Sunday on allegations he repeatedly raped the 4-year-old daughter of an undocumented immigrant, threatening to deport her if she dared report him to the authorities.

It is not clear how long the mother was aware of the rapes, ….

Investigators say the deputy may have been raping the girl for months, if not years.

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I Couldn’t Be More Disappointed In SCOTUS

This morning a decision was released in Gill v Whitford (and a parallel case out of Maryland, Benisek v. Lamone). It is, to my mind, among the worst possible decisions. Rather than taking up the case and deciding it wrongly, they have remanded the case back to a lower court with orders to consider the question of whether or not the plaintiffs have suffered an individual injury to their voting rights.

Gill v Whitford is a case arising out of Wisconsin, where egregious gerrymandering occurred after the 2010 census. The census, for those who don’t know, is primarily done – or at least was primarily intended by the framers – to determine the number of representatives in the House and the number of presidential electors awarded to each state. Since these numbers can change, and because even when they don’t the distribution of population within a state can change, every decade after the census each state redraws their electoral districts to keep the total population in each district similar.

In Wisconsin redistricting is a legislative function (in some states it is performed by an independent, non-partisan commission), and in 2010 Republicans held a majority in the state’s Assembly and Senate. They used this majority to redraw electoral maps not merely to keep populations similar, but to put as many democrats as possible in as few districts as possible so that the remaining democrats spread throughout the majority of districts would be unable to successfully contest most republican nominees.

Now, if the Republicans had done this based explicitly on race, it would have been profoundly illegal and SCOTUS would never have gotten involved. Precedent here is sufficient that lower courts would have slapped down the Wisconsin republicans and there would be no sufficient legal question to interest SCOTUS. However, the Republicans went out of their way to say that they were disadvantaging Democrats as a party, not any voter on the basis of race.

Of course, Democrats as a party are much more non-white than Wisconsin voters as a whole. So there is a racial asymmetry here, and Republicans were acutely aware of that asymmetry, but the cover story of ratfucking Democrats while really, deeply not giving a shit about hurting people of color is every bit as believable as actively wanting to hurt people with darker skin for the sin of being born non-caucasian. So the courts have generally accepted that this is political discrimination and not racial discrimination (along the way throwing out a hard-won understanding of disparate impact developed in areas of law other than voting rights and in voting rights law itself).

So what did the court do here? Well, it ignored past precedent that held that an injury to an individual occurs when districts are racially gerrymandered to the detriment of the value of that individual’s vote. On the presumption that no injury to individual voters had occurred, the court vacated the previous judgement that a new electoral map was needed and instead remanded the case to the lower court to ask the plaintiffs how they’ve actually been injured. Only if the plaintiffs have been actually injured should the lower court then take up the legal questions about whether the actions causing the injury were illegal and if so whether any remedy is justified.

It’s difficult to see how to resolve this infirmity of standing, at least to me, since in deciding that the plaintiffs had given no evidence of individual injury SCOTUS necessarily decided that statewide gerrymandering does not injure individual voters.

To be clear, SCOTUS distinguished statewide gerrymandering from living in a gerrymandered district. The idea, from SCOTUS’ point of view, is that a state could gerrymander some districts without gerrymandering others. However, the mathematical analysis of the Wisconsin gerrymander actually provided evidence that the packing of large numbers of democrats into a few districts and the cracking of the rest into isolated remnants insufficient to contest (most of) the remaining districts was actually a systemic strategy. Though I haven’t looked at each of the plaintiff’s district of residence, a good many districts were called out as specific examples in the analysis. The idea that none of the plaintiffs lived in one of the districts seems a bit of a stretch to me, though I suppose it’s possible.

The danger here is that if any democrat lived in any district that was specifically discussed, then a careful reader of the trial court record will find that and be able to argue quite reasonably that SCOTUS believes that evidence of political gerrymanders is not evidence of an individual voter’s injury. In a decision ordering remand for lack of standing without ensuring that they examined every voter’s district of residence and the trial court record for indications that none of the voters lived in a district specifically discussed, SCOTUS has come dangerously close to asserting that no voter is injured when legislators gerrymander electoral districts on the basis of anything other than race.

If SCOTUS had accepted the standing of the plaintiffs and ruled against them, it would hardly approach the danger of SCOTUS asserting that there is no injury to voting rights at all.

This is an unmitigated disaster, and quite likely caused by sheer cowardice.

American Academy of Pediatrics is Not Down

The AAP is not down with what’s been happening to immigrant children of immigrants (both those who seek to cross within the law and those who seek to evade it). In addition to putting out a statement,

Dr Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited a shelter for children under the age of 12 that runs along the Texas border with Mexico.

And what did Kraft find?

The shelter in question held 60 beds and had a little playground for children. Rooms are equipped with toys, books and crayons. …

But the child who caught the paediatrician’s attention during a recent visit was anything but happy. This little girl – no older than two – was screaming and pounding her fists on a mat. Yet staff members could not comfort the infant because of the rules prohibiting physical contact.

That’s right: no hugs for toddlers is the law, because Democrats and their awful, no good, very bad refusal to capitulate to everything the Orange Tyrant wants, forever.

Or at least, I guess that what the Rs are saying today.

Ishtar fucking Inanna with the Strap-On of Birth Control, there are no words.

Guns Have Nothing To Do With Art-All-Night Shootings

Another week, another mass shooting, this time in New Jersey at a festival called Art All Night.

I can already here the mating calls of the 2nd Amendment Republicans:

Too many doors!

Why do they let people were baggy clothes on a summer night?

This is what happens when liberals get together at festivals that value lefty things, like art!

We’ll propose a ban on doors, baggy clothes, and art to save the people just as soon as we find a way to stop all this criticism that keeps happening to us despite the fact we’re only exercising our 1st Amendment rights!

Call your representatives and senators and insist that they vote for the ban on doors, baggy clothes & art! Don’t let them take away your guns! Freedom first!

Fuck.

Would you believe that the CNN story on this this morning included the line:

Authorities have heard that as many as 1,000 people were in the area at the time of the shooting, Onofri said. The festival entrances had no metal detectors, he said.

Yes. Yes of course you would.

As for the people, there’s still one victim in “extremely critical” condition – probably still in surgery. Twenty people were injured. It appears that “one killed” is in reference to a suspect that was killed, probably by police. Unusually for situations like this, there was actually another suspect as well, that one taken into custody alive.

I hope the final death toll doesn’t get any higher.