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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Filmmaker Ken Burns ditched his trademark political neutrality during an undergraduate commencement address at Massachusetts' Brandies University to warn what will happen to the U.S. if former President Donald Trump wins back the White House. "We are at an existential crossroads in our political and civic lives. This is a choice that could not be clearer." read more


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Justice Sonia Sotomayor admitted on Friday that some of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court's rulings have privately driven her to tears - and hinted that there are likely going to be more of such instances soon as the high court gears up to hand down majorly consequential decisions. read more


Thursday, May 23, 2024

Christina Bobb, who will help oversee the Republican National Committee's "election integrity" efforts, is a "big lie" proponent, an election conspiracy theorist who played a prominent role in a scandal that led to one of Trump's many felony indictments, and is now under indictment in Arizona, where she has been charged with election-related crimes. read more


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Zac Anderson: Like many things that Trump does, bringing back into the fold a group of political operatives that he pardoned has no modern historical precedent. ... "With Lincoln, they had a team of rivals," [Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley] said. "With Trump, you have a team of felons." Presidents normally try not to be associated with criminals, Brinkley noted. read more


Jesse Wegman: In 1969, Justice Abe Fortas resigned his seat for accepting a $20,000 consulting fee (which he returned) from a foundation led by a man who was convicted of securities fraud. That sort of humility is nowhere in evidence on today's court, which is finding new ways to embarrass itself, thanks largely to the brazen behavior of two of its most senior members, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who are making a mockery of their obligation to at least appear neutral and independent. read more


Comments

More factual information regarding the Roberts Court's tacitly extralegal adjudication of this case:

The lawsuit did not go through the normal procedure. Rather, it was heard as part of the Supreme Court's granting of "certiorari before judgment" (Bouie 2022) - that is, taking on a case before lower courts have issued final judgments, making it less likely that "the factual and legal issues have been resolved to the maximum extent possible" (Vladeck 2022). The frequent issuance of certiorari in the past few years has troubling implications for the Supreme Court's exercise of power. It's considered emblematic of the rise of the "shadow docket," a collection of orders and decisions the court issues without full briefing or explanation (Baude 2015; Vladeck 2019).

In this case, after a George W. Bush-appointed district court judge dismissed the lawsuit against student debt relief, the Eighth Circuit issued a national injunction, effectively stopping the administration from canceling any student debt until the case is resolved. However, instead of being heard by the Eighth Circuit, which would have forced the plaintiffs to verify the factual basis of their claims, this case skipped directly to the Supreme Court. This means that the Republican attorneys general trying to stop student debt cancellation for 43 million borrowers have at no point been obliged to verify the basic facts of this case.

Instead, rigorous and factual review has been incumbent on the efforts of citizen-researchers like ourselves, who rely on basic Freedom of Information prerogatives to complete an analysis that would otherwise have been taken up by legal research teams. As a result, the Supreme Court risks making a ruling affecting millions of people's lives without essential, accurate information.

rooseveltinstitute.org

There should be no reasons for this SCOTUS to short circuit the briefing and fact establishment normally done before the SCOTUS hears cases. It's abhorrent that this Chief Justice is a party to adjudicating cases with nationwide ramifications based on unchallenged "facts" easily proven 100% false.

There is nothing about this ruling that should be considered "legal." It's an intentional, extralegal misuse of "certiorari before judgment" that allowed the conservatives on this court to quickly reach a finding for which the parties suing invented the foundational harm that must exist for them to have standing to file a lawsuit in the first place. These jurists didn't get their degrees yesterday. They know when they're allowing unchallenged and unestablished "facts" to pave the way to rule as they want to when the law precludes them if it were followed to the letter.

There was no overripe legal reason for skipping the fact establishment step in the appeals process. This was a naked misuse of the Court's power, used to forward the conservatives desired ends during a contentious election cycle. Don't just blame Alito and Thomas for this type of dreck. Roberts is as deeply involved in these non-constitutional machinations as are the rest of the assenting justices.

Let me drop this truth bomb on the thread removing any doubt that based on what the plaintiffs claimed as grounds for standing to sue was not only inaccurate, it was a bald-faced lie which would have come out in the appeals process if the Roberts Court hadn't hijacked this case onto their shadow docket.

In their brief to the Supreme Court, the six GOP attorneys general cited MOHELA's 2022 financial statement, showing it made $88.9 million in revenue from servicing 5.2 million federal direct loans, and then went on to argue that cancellation will harm MOHELA's revenues. But MOHELA's own internal impact analysis anticipates that after cancellation is complete, it will make $8,096,002 a month, or $97,152,024 annually, servicing federal direct loans (see Appendix 3). This is more than a 9 percent increase, even without including the 2
million loans transferred to MOHELA since August 2022. In other words, even MOHELA admits that it will not be financially harmed by cancellation.

The reality is that MOHELA will actively benefit from cancellation. 9 MOHELA and other servicers will receive additional revenue to process the Biden administration's cancellation plan, which is not reflected in our figure above. MOHELA's current contract pays $11.49 per account to process a discharge, but MOHELA will likely be paid significantly more under the
Biden cancellation plan. We have pending Sunshine Law requests about contract modifications that include payments for processing discharge under this plan. Based on the January 31, 2023, account information we received from MOHELA, we estimate that MOHELA will be processing reductions or complete discharges for 5,319,138 unique borrowers. If we take the conservative approach and use the $11.49 per discharge under its current contract, MOHELA would get a windfall of over $61 million.

rooseveltinstitute.org

And please note, the argument here isn't really about the SCOTUS' interpretation of the law in question; it's that by no way or measure can the plaintiffs claim standing when there is no underlying harm. In fact, the plaintiffs example stands to gain millions of dollars more should the forgiveness law become enacted.

Unless the above financial numbers are false, there was simply no standing for the case to be tried, especially by the SCOTUS itself. They accepted the case because the facts were never established in any court through the rules of evidence. The SCOTUS bought the lie, fast-tracked the case, then issued a ruling that never should have happened based on one of the simplest tenets of jurisprudence.

In most of these cases the government wasn't the lender.

Wrong again as usual.

Federal student loans are made by the government, with terms and conditions that are set by law, and include many benefits (such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans) not typically offered with private loans.

studentaid.gov

And it's rich that you quote Pelosi here when you're favorite quote on the passage of the ACA was her saying "We have to pass it first to figure out what's in it" - meaning the ACA. Unless there was limiting language placed into the law when written Pelosi's thoughts on the subject are moot.

And more on point is that we're back to standing. MOHELO is a SERVICER, not a lender. They have no money at risk except the fees they collect for administering loan repayment collections given to them by the federal government. They are under contract as having ZERO power nor control over the federal government giving or taking loans away from them at any time for any reason, nor can they file any lawsuits disputing what the federal government does with THEIR loans, period.

And for the record, you can cry all you want about buying votes, but every single direct action of Congress that has financial ramifications with a specific group of taxpayers can be viewed as buying votes. It's obviously NOT against any law this nation has unless there is a direct and unmistakable tie in - which in this case there isn't. This case has plaintiffs without standing. It couldn't be clearer based on the contracts themselves, not your hyperbolic idiocy. Student loan recipients come from all political persuasions including non-voters. To assume forgiveness of any individual's loan means a vote for Biden this fall is baseless beyond argument and cannot be quantified because the answer is a complete unknown. Case in point: Trump's COVID checks to American households. How'd that "vote buying" scheme turn out in 2020? Nary a single Democrat made a peep about the relief as "buying votes" because Democrats typically don't decry anytime the federal government steps in to financially assist non-wealthy American households and families live better lives under improved financial conditions.

This is an interesting thesis (from what I've read so far) as to why standing should be expanded.

Again, spending time on what YOU want instead of internalizing that which proves you a liar, hypocrite and fool all at once.

Read this entirely - rooseveltinstitute.org - and see why the argument you make regarding student loan foregiveness is fatally wrong and baseless. The SCOTUS broke so many precedences and short circuited the fact-finding process to arrive at their unconstitutional decision. I know you want Biden to be wrong for implementing loan foregiveness, but both the law and precedence are on his side, not yours. And most importantly, those who used MOHELA as their basis for standing were never forced to support their argument of foregiveness bringing harm. It was actually just the opposite and I don't see anything disputing the facts and figures noted in the above paper.

And just to be clear, after loan forgiveness MHELA stood to make MORE MONEY when all factors were considered:

After President Biden's proposal is enacted, MOHELA's direct loan revenue will actually be larger than at any prior point in the company's existence, 88 percent higher than the previous year. Should the Supreme Court affirm the plaintiffs' suit, they would not only be sanctioning a judicial process devoid of basic fact-checking; they would potentially be establishing a "no feet" theory of standing - in which plaintiffs can file suit based on claims untethered to actual, factual harms.

The lawsuit did not go through the normal procedure. Rather, it was heard as part of the Supreme Court's granting of "certiorari before judgment" (Bouie 2022) - that is, taking on a case before lower courts have issued final judgments, making it less likely that "the factual and legal issues have been resolved to the maximum extent possible" (Vladeck 2022). The frequent issuance of certiorari in the past few years has troubling implications for the Supreme Court's exercise of power. It's considered emblematic of the rise of the "shadow docket," a collection of orders and decisions the court issues without full briefing or explanation (Baude 2015; Vladeck 2019).

In this case, after a George W. Bush-appointed district court judge dismissed the lawsuit against student debt relief, the Eighth Circuit issued a national injunction, effectively stopping the administration from canceling any student debt until the case is resolved. However, instead of being heard by the Eighth Circuit, which would have forced the plaintiffs
to verify the factual basis of their claims, this case skipped directly to the Supreme Court.

MOHELA's bottom line would actually improve after millions of cancellations are processed. This information suggests that the plaintiffs' claim for standing, already widely acknowledged as extravagant, is even weaker than previously considered, if not completely baseless.

rooseveltinstitute.org

The above paragraphs fully encapsulates the anti-constitutional machinations of the Roberts Court and their failure to follow the very procedures that protect defendants from fact-free rulings such as this.

Now Bellringer, if you cannot see that the SCOTUS has been fully wrong for multiple reasons and precedence regarding their ruling, there truly is no help for you to be anything but the blind partisan you show us you are every single day. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more egregious example of judicial activism from the beginning to end of this case. Their decision is unsupportable because of how they took it up, ignored statistical facts in favor of non-confirmed conjectures, and short circuited the normal process such cases take before reaching the SCOTUS.

They won't fast track cases involving Trump's criminality and insurrection prior to his re-election attempt, yet they fast track this garbage argument while sidelining the actual fact-finding path for the allegations a lower court adjudication would have established and then ignored that the state stood to make more money from cancellations than they would from remittances.

And it gets worse, Thomas' concurrence is taking aim at POPULATION gerrymandering cases. If Thomas has his way states could put all of the blue voters in one district and the rest (no matter how few people) in red districts.

The fact remains that these antebellum conservative troglodyte judges continue to invent their ruling rationales out of the ether. Gerrymandering wasn't possible when the Founders wrote the Constitution because only white landowners had the right to vote anyway. But by everything we know of our Founders, they never intended for elections to be influenced by elected politicians picking their voters instead of voters choosing their elected representatives.

And to add insult to injury, Thomas believes that gerrymandering for political purposes is fully constitutional, and with this new ruling, all any legislature need do is say that the lines they draw are based on partisan reasons, not race - when every statistic know to man shows that Black Americans vote Democratic more than 80+ percent of the time! There is no difference between moving Black voters to diminish their power to elect someone of their choosing and moving Black voters to dilute Democratic representation within given districts. The two are one in the same and it's the height of intellectual dishonesty to dismiss this obvious fact as Alito does.

He has no legal basis for this decision but for his lifelong advocacy of the same that happens to disproportionately empower the partisan actors whom he wants empowered.

Every taxpayer has standing because that's where the "debt relief" is being transferred to.

That's not how standing works in this case you braindead moron. Even in Missouri, the actual entity standing to lose money did not sue for relief! Their name and status was used by others NOT in the MHELA who wanted nothing to do with the lawsuit. missouriindependent.com

You've been told ad nauseum that zero money was spent by Biden for his loan foregiveness programs. He used the statutory authority given the Secretary of Education to alter loan repayment because of the emergency caused by the pandemic. And on that score, it would appear that only Congress has the standing to sue because they're the only entity who wrote the law in the first place and they should be the only authority entitled to define how it's applied, not the SCOTUS.

I can't believe something this simple evades your limited reasoning abilities, but then again, most everything does so I shouldn't be surprised.

1) is that income, and if so, do they declare on their income tax?

2) is that "stuff" given because those billionaires having pending cases before SCOTUS?

1) I'm not sure how the IRS views expensive trips given by friends as "gifts," but we know for certain both Alito and Thomas failed to report various trips as required by the rules for federal judges, and depending upon the situations such expensive trips can indeed be viewed as income requiring the proper filing with the IRS as well as whatever the judiciary requires.

2) This is where the gray area resides. Both Thomas and Alito have made no bones about their views on how laws should be constitutionally interpreted in their understanding - which runs averse to prior Court decisions and the vast majority of constitutional scholars and their interpretations. Those views are completely sympatico with the views of the oligarchs and scions of industry that they call their "friends," though in Thomas' case, he only befriended these people once he'd ascended to the SCOTUS itself. Most did not predate his appointment.

In this sense I can understand how both of the men view themselves as "impartial" when faced with court cases, but at this point - based on their own voting records and court opinions - I find it near impossible for any sober person to say that either isn't "biased" by the preformed beliefs. And they find themselves wholly unable to accept any legal merit or standing in rulings or arguments they have previously openly come out against. So it isn't that their benefactors are nakedly trying to purchase any particular rulings in their favor, they're only expressing both past and future thanks for rulings to come down the pike.

And Thomas has been particularly insidious in his later court opinions and statements, telling right wing attorneys and judges how to frame specific cases in the future which will allow him and other Federalist jurists to overturn precedence based on their already established and preformed belief in how the law should work towards their desired ends. So in both Thomas' and Alito's world views, they're quite vocal about having already reached their decisions and aren't in the least open minded on specific topics of law. They will never take other circumstances or individuals into consideration because their minds are closed to any conclusion that doesn't meet their predetermined outcome. And that is why they should have no place on the SCOTUS.

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