There’s A Hidden Timebomb In The Senate Rules That Will Go Off If A Supreme Court Justice Retires

CREDIT: (AP Photo/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, Steve Petteway) As Jonathan Chait notes, only five Republican senators voted to confirm Justice Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, and three of those senators — Judd Gregg, Richard Lugar and Olympia Snowe — are no longer in the Senate. If Republicans take the Senate this November, there is a very real possibility that no one President Obama nominates to a Supreme Court vacancy, no matter what their record or qualifications, could be confirmed to the Court. We made a similar point in 2012, when Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock defeated Lugar in a Republican Senate primary after he attacked Lugar for his support of Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. As we wrote then, “[i]n light of this incident, it … [Read more...]

Justice Scalia Tells Law Students ‘Perhaps You Should Revolt’ If Taxes Become Too High

CREDIT: AP During an event at the University of Tennessee’s law school on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested to the capacity crowd that perhaps they should revolt against the U.S government if their taxes ever get too high. During a question and answer part of the event, a student asked Scalia about the constitutionality of a federal income tax. Scalia assured the questioner that the tax was in fact permissible by the constitution, but added that if it ever became too high, “perhaps you should revolt.” The remark, first reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel, has become a common rhetorical flourish for conservatives nationwide during the Obama presidency. A state Tea Party chairman in Mississippi called for armed rebellion ahead of Obama’s reelection in … [Read more...]

Baltimore Will Stop Automatically Detaining Immigrants, Maryland Governor Says

CREDIT: Shutterstock The Baltimore City Detention Center will start scrutinizing federal orders to hold immigrants for deportation instead of automatically granting these requests, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced Friday. The policy change adds Baltimore to the growing number of cities in the U.S. resisting federal immigration policy. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents often ask local jails to hold immigrants for deportation. Baltimore will now only grant these requests if the immigrant has been charged with or convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor. “We will focus our efforts on complying with ICE detainers when there is an actual threat to the public’s safety,” O’Malley said. O’Malley’s move comes on the heels of a Baltimore Sun … [Read more...]

Half of New York City Teens Behind Bars Have A Brain Injury, Study Finds

CREDIT: Shutterstock About half of teens between the ages of 16 and 18 suffered a traumatic brain injury before being locked up in a New York City jail, a new study finds. Traumatic brain injuries can cause mood and behavior changes that vary depending on the nature of the injury, but often include impulsiveness, emotional volatility, and slowed brain processing speeds. These factors not only contribute the likelihood of individuals ending up in jail; they also affect the proper treatment while there and their likelihood of returning once released. “Two of the most common features of TBI, emotional dysregulation [mood volatility] and processing speed, may be linked to criminal justice involvement as well as problems while in jail,” according to the study in the Journal of … [Read more...]

Court-Ordered Deportations Plunge, But This Mother Is Still Caught In The Deportation Dragnet

Undocumented immigrants rally outside the White House to ask the President to stop deportations. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee Court-ordered deportations decreased by 43 percent between the 2009 and 2013 fiscal years, according to new Department of Justice data released Wednesday. That statistic, which includes the last four months of the former President George W. Bush’s presidency, may help to bolster the Obama administration’s argument that federal immigration officials are now focusing on detaining and deporting criminal immigrants, but other immigrants are still caught in deportation proceedings. The data found that in the 2013 fiscal year, immigration judges ordered deportations for 105,064 cases, down 56 percent from 185,426 cases ordered in 2009. Fewer … [Read more...]