Supreme Court Upholds Texas Voter ID Law

Supreme Court Allows Texas Use Of New Voter ID Law – Wall Street Journal

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Texas to enforce its voter identification law for the Nov. 4 midterm elections, denying emergency requests from the Obama administration and other challengers who said the law harmed minority voting rights.

The high court’s move, announced in an early morning order, is a setback for civil-rights advocates and marks the court’s fourth recent action on a state’s election procedures just ahead of Election Day.

A federal judge in Texas last week struck down the state law after holding a trial on the issue and concluding lawmakers acted with discriminatory intent when they enacted the law in 2011.

Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said the Texas law was the strictest in the country for several reasons, including because it allowed the fewest forms of acceptable photo identification and didn’t make certain accommodations for the poor and the elderly.

The judge said more than half a million registered voters, many of them black or Hispanic, were expected to lack the ID necessary to vote in person at the polls.

This week the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, acting on an emergency appeal by state officials, decided Texas could use the voter ID law for this election. The appeals court said the state already had been training poll workers to apply the voter ID law and said it was too late to change the rules so close to the date when voters were due to begin casting ballots. Early voting in Texas begins Monday.

The appeals court said it was guided in part by recent Supreme Court emergency actions on election rules in Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The results in those cases pointed in different directions, but in each case the justices blocked late changes to state election procedures, seemingly out of concern for voter confusion. The high court didn’t offer an explanation for its course of action in those cases.

The same held true Saturday when a majority of the court issued a brief written order that allowed Texas to use its voter ID law. But three justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – dissented, saying the court should have intervened.

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Justice Ginsburg wrote for the dissenters.

The Justice Department and civil rights groups had filed emergency appeals with the Supreme Court, saying there was no justification for allowing Texas to use the voter ID law after a judge found it to be discriminatory.

Texas said in court papers that its law wasn’t discriminatory and was approved to deter and detect voter fraud. The state also disputed the trial judge’s finding that large numbers of voters could be disenfranchised, saying it had taken extensive steps to mitigate “the already minor inconveniences associated with securing photo identification.”

The Supreme Court action Saturday wasn’t a ruling on the legality of the Texas law. The court was considering only whether the law could be applied while Texas appealed the trial judge’s ruling.

With the high court’s action in favor of Texas, three of the court’s four recent emergency actions in election matters have favored the states. The court also allowed Ohio to cut back on early voting and let North Carolina prohibit same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting. In a win for civil rights advocates, the court blocked Wisconsin from enforcing its voter ID law for the midterms.

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Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Hobby Lobby In Obamacare Contraception Case

Supreme Court Pares Back Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate – The Blaze

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Obamacare cannot force companies to pay for emergency contraceptive coverage for their employees that could lead to abortions, in violation of their religious beliefs.

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The 5-4 ruling delivered a huge victory to conservatives who have worked for years to scale back the various mandates of the controversial healthcare law.

The Court decided that Obamacare cannot be used to require for-profit, closely held companies to provide certain birth control drugs and devices – such as morning after pills – that could cause abortion.

The case was brought by Hobby Lobby, a Oklahoma-based retail chain owned by the Green family. The Greens said they are willing to cover 16 of the 20 birth control methods mandated by Obamacare to its employees, but not four others because the risk of abortion goes against their religious beliefs.

The company argued before the Court that the Obamacare mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which says the government cannot place burdens on the exercise of freedom of religion.

“Providing these objectionable drugs and devices violates the deeply held religious convictions of the Greens – the sole owners of their family businesses – that life begins at conception,” the company’s website says. “Yet refusing to comply with the federal mandate would subject them to an untenable choice of paying substantial fines or discontinuing the outstanding and affordable health insurance plan currently provided to their valued employees.”

The majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito agreed with that argument. According to SCOTUS Blog, the Obama administration failed to show that the broad contraception mandate is the least restrictive way of advancing its interest in ensuring access to birth control. The Court also ruled that the decision applies only to the contraception mandate, not other insurance mandates, such as those involving vaccinations.

Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that the government could pay for this coverage if it wants to make it available, but cannot compel a company to do so.

The decision deals a big hit to the Obama administration, which defended its interpretation of the law as something that forces companies to provide all manner of birth control methods to workers.

Republicans in Congress welcomed the high court’s ruling.

“Religious liberty will remain intact and all Americans can stay true to their faith without fear of big government intervention or punishment,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “Our nation was founded on the principle of freedom, and with this decision, America will continue to serve as a safe haven for those looking to exercise religious liberty.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the ruling a victory for religious freedom and a defeat for the Obama administration’s “Big Government objectives.”

“The mandate overturned today would have required for-profit companies to choose between violating their constitutionally-protected faith or paying crippling fines, which would have forced them to lay off employees or close their doors,” he said.

“The president’s health care law remains an unworkable mess and a drag on our economy,” he added. “We must repeal it and enact better solutions that start with lowering Americans’ health care costs.”

The case is Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, referring to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell. She replaced Kathleen Sebelius earlier this year – prior to that, the case was Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby.

The case is second big blow to Obama from the Supreme Court in as many weeks. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Obama’s 2012 “recess” appointments were not legal, because Obama made them when the Senate was not in recess.

That ruling prompted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to say the decision was the biggest rebuke to a sitting president since 1974, when the Court decided unanimously that President Nixon must release the Watergate tapes.

Also related to abortion, the Court last week struck down a Massachusetts law that said people can’t stand on a public road or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion clinic.

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The Supreme Court Deals Blow To Public-Sector Unions – Business Insider

The Supreme Court on Monday limited the power of public-sector unions to compel employees to pay contributions, dealing a setback to public-sector unions.

But the 5-4 decision, written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, wasn’t as sweeping as some union advocates had feared.

“This is a substantial obstacle to expanding public employee unions, but it does not gut them,” SCOTUSblog’s Tom Goldstein wrote.

Unions had been concerned that the court would strike down laws in 26 states requiring teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public-sector employees to pay dues to the unions that negotiate contracts on their behalf, even if the workers don’t want to become union members.

The court hedged somewhat, but the decision is still a setback for public-sector unions. In a 5-4 decision written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the court “recognized a category of ‘partial public employees’ who could not be required to contribute to union fees,” according to SCOTUSblog. Unions worried the court would rule all public employees could not be forced to pay, which would dry up their ranks and their coffers.

“It remains possible that in a later case the Court will overturn its prior precedent and forbid requiring public employees to contribute to union bargaining. But today it has refused to go that far. The unions have lost a tool to expand their reach. But they have dodged a major challenge to their very existence,” Goldstein wrote.

The case, Harris v. Quinn, stemmed from a challenge in Illinois involving in-home care providers. Illinois uses Medicaid funds to pay in-home care workers, but turnover was high at the low-paying jobs. In response, more than 20,000 in-home car workers organized and joined the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), after executive orders from Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn, both Democrats, classified them as “public employees.”

The National Right to Work Foundation brought a challenge to Quinn in 2010, arguing workers who didn’t want to participate in the union shouldn’t have to pay the dues.

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Arkansas Supreme Court Overrules Leftist Judge’s Anti-Voter ID Decision

Arkansas Court Voids Judge’s Decision Against Voter ID Law – New York Post

The Arkansas Supreme Court has tossed out a judge’s ruling striking down the state’s voter ID law, but stopped short of ruling on the constitutionality of the measure.

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Justices on Wednesday vacated a Pulaski County judge’s decision that the law violates Arkansas’ constitution. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox had struck down the law in a case that had focused on how absentee ballots are handled under the law, but justices stayed his ruling while they considered an appeal.

Justices said Fox didn’t have the authority to strike down the law in the case focusing on absentee ballots.

Fox has also ruled the law unconstitutional in a separate case, but said he wouldn’t block its enforcement during this month’s primary. That ruling is also being appealed to the high court.

Arkansas is amid early voting ahead of next Tuesday’s primary.

The ruling comes as voter ID laws are being challenged throughout the nation. Though 31 states have laws in effect requiring voters to show some form of identification, Arkansas’ in one of the strictest in the nation. Seven other states have photo ID requirements in effect similar to Arkansas.

A federal judge in Wisconsin struck down that state’s voter ID law last month, and Pennsylvania’s governor has said he wouldn’t appeal a judge’s recent ruling striking down his state’s voter ID law. President Barack Obama last month waded into the voter ID debate, accusing Republicans of using restrictions to keep voters from the polls and jeopardizing 50 years of expanded voting access for millions of black Americans and other minorities.

Republicans backing voter ID laws in Arkansas and elsewhere have said the efforts are aimed at preventing voter fraud and protecting the integrity of the election process.

Under previous law in Arkansas, election workers were required to ask for photo ID but voters didn’t have to show it to cast a ballot. Under the new law, voters who don’t show photo identification can cast provisional ballots. Those ballots are counted only if voters provide ID to county election officials before noon on the Monday after an election, sign an affidavit stating they are indigent or have a religious objection to being photographed.

Arkansas’ law took effect Jan. 1 and had been used in some local elections this year. This month’s primary is the first statewide test of the new law.

The case had initially focused on rules for absentee ballots under the voter ID law. The Pulaski County Election Commission sued the state Board of Election Commissioners for adopting a rule that gives absentee voters additional time to show proof of ID. The rule allows voters who did not submit required identification with their absentee ballot to turn in the documents for their vote to be counted by noon Monday following an election. It mirrors an identical “cure period” the law gives to voters who fail to show identification at the polls.

Fox’s ruling had been stayed by the state Supreme Court, but the high court declined to stay Fox’s decision to strike down the state board’s rule giving absentee voters additional time.

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First Among Equals: An Orwellian Dissent From A Muddled Ruling (James Taranto)

First Among Equals: An Orwellian Dissent From A Muddled Ruling – James Taranto

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You might have heard that the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 today that states have the right to ban racial preferences, euphemistically known as “affirmative action,” in public-university admission, but that’s not quite right. On that point the justices (save for Elena Kagan, who sat the case out) were unanimous. “When this Court holds that the Constitution permits a particular policy, nothing prevents a majority of a State’s voters from choosing not to adopt that policy,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a dissent joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

But in the case styled Schuette v. BAMN, Sotomayor endeavored to make nothing into something. She and Ginsburg would have upheld a decision by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held illicit the method by which Michigan’s voters accomplished that end: a ballot initiative, approved in 2006, that amended the state constitution to bar racial discrimination.

We noted the case, and offered a lengthy analysis, back in 2011, when a three-judge Sixth Circuit panel first ruled in favor of the unwieldily named Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary. We pegged the case then as a likely one for the high court to take up, and we didn’t expect the Sixth Circuit’s ruling to stand. But we’re disappointed the court didn’t repudiate BAMN’s arguments more clearly.

The background, in brief: As there was no colorable argument that the substance of the Michigan amendment was unconstitutional, BAMN invoked what the appellate court called the “political process doctrine.” It rested on two prior cases, Hunter v. Erickson (1969) and Washington v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (1982), in each of which the high court struck down a ballot measure repealing and banning a policy that, as Justice Harry Blackmun put it in Seattle, “inures primarily to the benefit of the minority.” In Hunter, the policy in question was a fair-housing ordinance enacted by the city council; in Seattle, a forced-busing program instituted by an elected school board.

The six justices who voted to reverse the Sixth Circuit and let the Michigan amendment stand split 3-2-1 on the grounds for doing so. The result is a clear outcome but a doctrinal muddle. We thought it would be amusing and enlightening to go through the four main opinions in descending order of clarity.

Clearest of all is Justice Antonin Scalia’s concurrence in the judgment, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas. “It has come to this,” Scalia begins portentously. “Called upon to explore the jurisprudential twilight zone between two errant lines of precedent, we confront a frighteningly bizarre question: Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbid what its text plainly requires?”

Scalia and Thomas’s view, thus far joined by no other sitting justice, is that racial discrimination in public-university admissions is flatly unconstitutional. The prevailing view on the court is that such discrimination is permissible, but only for the purpose of realizing “the educational benefits” of a “diverse student body,” as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003).

As Scalia notes: “Were a public university to stake its defense of a race-based-admissions policy on the ground that it was designed to benefit primarily minorities (as opposed to all students, regardless of color, by enhancing diversity), we would hold the policy unconstitutional.” The Sixth Circuit had to reach just that conclusion in order to fit the Michigan amendment into the political-process doctrine.

Thus, as we noted in 2011, Grutter and BAMN were on a collision course. Either the racial preferences the court upheld in Grutter were unconstitutional or the political-process doctrine didn’t apply. Scalia and Thomas recognized this contradiction squarely and would have dealt with it by both holding the preferences unconstitutional and overturning Hunter and Seattle.

Justice Stephen Breyer concurred in the judgment on much narrower grounds. He was part of the Grutter majority in 2003 and still thinks racial preferences are constitutionally permissible. He ducked the question of whether the political-process doctrine applied to the substance of the Michigan amendment by saying it didn’t apply to the process. Because racial preferences were imposed by unelected university administrators, he argued, the process change isn’t a “political” one at all. It appears to be a way of evading the central questions of the case, but it does have the virtue of being relatively simple.

Then there’s the Sotomayor dissent, which begins as follows: “We are fortunate to live in a democratic society. But…” An empty piety, followed by an equivocation, followed by a total of 58 pages – you know this is going to be a tough slog.

The most quoted part of Sotomayor’s opinion is this: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.” This is a rejoinder to Chief Justice John Roberts’s assertion, in Parents Involved v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (2007), that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” (Roberts in turn rebutted Sotomayor in a separate concurrence to today’s decision, which we’re leaving out of our ranking by clarity.)

Roberts’s statement was trivially true, which means that Sotomayor’s defies logic. Her argument amounts to an assertion that a ban on racial discrimination is a form of racial discrimination–that everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Also Orwellian is her claim that she wants “to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.” Such an assertion is almost always disingenuous. After all, the way to speak openly and candidly is to speak openly and candidly. Declaring one’s intention to do so is at best superfluous throat clearing.

And while Sotomayor may be open, she isn’t candid. She presents a potted history of race in America in which there is a straight line from Jim Crow segregation through literacy tests to the Michigan amendment, which “involves this last chapter of discrimination” – even though it bans discrimination, and even though Sotomayor acknowledges that its substance is perfectly constitutional.

Yet for all the faults of the Sotomayor opinion, she does score some points against the plurality opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Kennedy refrained from either reversing the Hunter and Seattle precedents or distinguishing the Michigan amendment from those cases by noting the contradiction between the Sixth Circuit’s finding and the high court’s rationale for upholding racial preferences in Grutter.

Instead, he essentially rewrites Hunter and Seattle, as Sotomayor notes (citation omitted):

Disregarding the language used in Hunter, the plurality asks us to contort that case into one that “rests on the unremarkable principle that the State may not alter the procedures of government to target racial minorities.” And the plurality recasts Seattle “as a case in which the state action in question… had the serious risk, if not purpose, of causing specific injuries on account of race.” According to the plurality, the Hunter and Seattle Courts were not concerned with efforts to reconfigure the political process to the detriment of racial minorities; rather, those cases invalidated governmental actions merely because they reflected an invidious purpose to discriminate. This is not a tenable reading of those cases.

Although Sotomayor is right about this, she goes on to make an error that is the mirror image of Kennedy’s, in citing the 1996 case of Romer v. Evans (omitting another citation):

Romer involved a Colorado constitutional amendment that removed from the local political process an issue primarily affecting gay and lesbian citizens. The amendment, enacted in response to a number of local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against gay citizens, repealed these ordinances and effectively prohibited the adoption of similar ordinances in the future without another amendment to the State Constitution. Although the Court did not apply the political-process doctrine in Romer, the case resonates with the principles undergirding the political-process doctrine. The Court rejected an attempt by the majority to transfer decision-making authority from localities (where the targeted minority group could influence the process) to state government (where it had less ability to participate effectively).

Actually in Romer the high court, with Justice Kennedy writing for the majority, rejected the Colorado Supreme Court’s application of the political-process doctrine. Instead, Kennedy held that the amendment itself violated equal protection–something even Sotomayor concedes is not true of the Michigan measure.

The plurality opinion is frustratingly muddled, but it’s likely to be seen as the controlling one, since it reflects the farthest position in either direction that a majority of justices are willing to go. In effect it means that it will be difficult if not impossible to challenge state ballot initiatives banning racial preferences at public universities. And while the court did not overturn the Hunter and Seattle precedents, they do not look like especially robust law, now that they’ve been rewritten by Justice Kennedy.

As for the Roberts-Sotomayor kibitzing, it’s actually a continuation of a conversation that started many years earlier, when the late Justice Harry Blackmun, in an opinion in University of California v. Bakke, wrote: “In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”

Blackmun wrote those words in 1978, when Sonia Sotomayor was a law student. Thirty-six years later, Justice Sotomayor wrote these words:

Race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”

Are Sotomayor’s lamentations evidence that Blackmun was right, or that he was wrong?

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Four Points From Scalia’s Scathing Dissent In Supreme Court Ruling To Allow Searches Based On Anonymous Tips – The Blaze

“A freedom-destroying cocktail.”

That’s how Justice Antonin Scalia characterized Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling that law enforcement officers may pull over and search drivers based solely on an anonymous tip.

The justices ruled 5-4 Tuesday to uphold a traffic stop in northern California in which officers subsequently found marijuana in the vehicle. The officers themselves did not see any evidence of the tipped reckless driving, which was interpreted as drunkenness, even after following the truck for several minutes.

Justice Clarence Thomas said the tip phoned in to 911 that a Ford pickup truck had run the caller off the road was sufficiently reliable to allow for the traffic stop without violating the driver’s constitutional rights.

But Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the dissent in Prado Navarette v. California, had strong words about the decision’s implications for the future.

Here are some of Scalia’s points, in which he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor (emphasis added):

* Law enforcement agencies follow closely our judgments on matters such as this, and they will identify at once our new rule: So long as the caller identifies where the car is, anonymous claims of a single instance of possibly careless or reckless driving, called in to 911, will support a traffic stop. This is not my concept, and I am sure would not be the Framers’, of a people secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.

* Anonymity is especially suspicious with respect to the call that is the subject of the present case. When does a victim complain to the police about an arguably criminal act (running the victim off the road) without giving his identity, so that he can accuse and testify when the culprit is caught?

* The Court’s opinion serves up a freedom-destroying cocktail consisting of two parts patent falsity: (1) that anonymous 911 reports of traffic violations are reliable so long as they correctly identify a car and its location, and (2) that a single instance of careless or reckless driving necessarily supports a reasonable suspicion of drunken­ness. All the malevolent 911 caller need do is assert a traffic violation, and the targeted car will be stopped, forcibly if necessary, by the police. If the driver turns out not to be drunk (which will almost always be the case), the caller need fear no consequences, even if 911 knows his identity. After all, he never alleged drunkenness, but merely called in a traffic violation—and on that point his word is as good as his victim’s.

* Drunken driving is a serious matter, but so is the loss of our freedom to come and go as we please without police interference. To prevent and detect murder we do not allow searches without probable cause or targeted Terry stops without reasonable suspicion. We should not do so for drunken driving either. After today’s opinion all of us on the road, and not just drug dealers, are at risk of hav­ing our freedom of movement curtailed on suspicion of drunkenness, based upon a phone tip, true or false, of a single instance of careless driving.

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If I could just correct Justice Sotomayor

Via The Right Scoop

CBS DC – On the Supreme Court since 2009, Sotomayor said it was tough at first as justices made references that went over her head. She said joining the high court amounted to joining an ongoing conversation among justices who had served for years.

“I figure I may not be the smartest judge on the court but I’m going to be a competent justice,” she said. “I’m going to try to be the best I can and each year I think my opinions have been getting better. And I’m working at finding my voice a little bit.”

Sotomayor was asked at a talk at Yale Law School later in the day about her use of the term “undocumented immigrants” rather than the traditional illegal alien. Sotomayor characterized the issue as a regulatory problem and said labeling immigrants criminals seemed insulting to her.

“I think people then paint those individuals as something less than worthy human beings and it changes the conversation,” Sotomayor said.

No, people who are for LEGAL immigration do not paint illegal immigrants as lesser people. But what I really need to correct here is what is “insulting”. What is truly insulting is having a race-obsessed, Left Wing hack on the Supreme Court

California’s Activist Supreme Court Rules Illegal Alien Can Practice Law In State

Illegal Immigrant Allowed To Practice Law, California Court Rules – Wall Street Journal

A Mexican immigrant who is living in the country illegally but had graduated from law school and passed the California bar was granted a law license Thursday by the state’s highest court.

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In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court granted a motion filed by the state bar’s Committee of Examiners to admit 36-year-old Sergio C. Garcia. Mr. Garcia, who will open his own practice in Chico, Calif., after he is sworn in, can now legally be retained as an attorney in the state, though he cannot be employed by a firm, attorneys representing him said.

In an interview, Mr. Garcia said he was satisfied with the decision, as it was always his intention to practice privately, in the area of civil litigation. Attorneys who represented Mr. Garcia said he is the first attorney living openly in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant granted the right to practice law. Similar cases are before courts in New York and Florida.

“Right now, I am super excited, I am super happy; this has been a long, drawn-out struggle,” Mr. Garcia said. “This case in California serves as a beacon for the rest of the country to follow suit. There really is no national interest for keeping somebody like me from practicing, and paying taxes to their full potential.”

The decision to grant Mr. Garcia a law license came after California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed into state law legislation that specifically allows undocumented immigrants to be admitted as attorneys. That law went into effect Wednesday.

Thursday’s decision by the state Supreme Court, which grants licenses to attorneys in the state, clears the way for admission to the bar of at least one other current applicant in California who is in the country illegally.

At issue in Mr. Garcia’s case was a federal law that prohibits people in the country illegally from obtaining professional licenses. That law had a subsection that allowed states to grant licenses if a state law was passed.

It isn’t clear what impact Mr. Garcia’s case might have beyond California. While the precedent set by the high court in the country’s most populous state is noteworthy, the decision came only after the state legislature acted.

Mr. Garcia was born in Mexico but was brought to the U.S. when he was about 18 months old. He returned to Mexico at the age of nine, and then came back to the U.S. at the age of 17, according to the summary of his case that was part of the court’s opinion. Mr. Garcia’s father filed an immigration visa petition on his son’s behalf in 1994. That application has been pending since 1995, given the visa backlog for individuals from Mexico.

Mr. Garcia graduated from high school, attended college and received his law degree in 2009 from Cal Northern School of Law, passing the bar that same year. After he listed his immigration status as “pending” in his application to the state bar, the bar conducted an investigation into Mr. Garcia and determined the immigrant possessed the “good moral character” to qualify.

Jerome Fishkin, an attorney in Walnut Creek, Calif., who originally took Mr. Garcia’s case pro bono with his wife, Lindsay Slatter, said that it was immediately clear that Mr. Garcia’s immigration status was the main issue, and that Mr. Garcia met all other requirements to be a good attorney.

Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group that wants to reduce the flow of immigrants to the U.S., said the decision was a mockery of the rule of law.

“It conveys or demonstrates once again, how we are not serious about our laws,” Mr. Camarota said.

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Rights? You want rights? Only if the Left approves you Homophobic Homphobes!

At times it seems that America has lost its mind, or at least that the concept of “rights” as our Founders understood and defined them is slipping away. RS McCain reports that the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that everyone in New Mexico must do anything that Gay couples looking to get married say because human rights you Homphobe!

Gosh, it seems like just a few years ago that allegedly serious people were warning about how the “christofascist godbags” of the Religious Right were an existential threat to freedom in America, and if you disagreed with these allegedly serious people, you were just a hateful bigot.

Now? Well, you’re still a hateful bigot, but freedom’s just another word for “nothing left to lose”:

New Mexico’s Supreme Court rules that people must set aside their religion in order to avoid creating the slightest inconvenience for gay people. . . .
No, by all means, let’s use the power of the state to reach as deeply as possible into people’s lives instead of just telling the gay couple to “Look online for ten minutes and find someone else.”

Just how they reached such a fundamentally flawed decision is frankly, inexplicable. Can the government now FORCE a business to provides goods or services against their will? Apparently the Leftists on that court think so. It is the price of citizenship apparently!

On Thursday, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that religious wedding photographers could be forced to photograph same-sex weddings. “When Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the [New Mexico Human Rights Act, or NMHRA] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races,” the court ruled unanimously.

The court said that Elaine Huguenin, the photographer, had discriminated against gay customers for not photographing their weddings, even though she had said she would be happy to take their pictures in different contexts. The court also refused any differentiation whatsoever between homosexual and heterosexual conduct under the law, despite the fact that same-sex marriage is not licensed in the state of New Mexico. Justice Edward Chavez wrote, “The difficulty in distinguishing between status and conduct in the context of sexual orientation discrimination is that people may base their judgment about an individual’s sexual orientation on the individual’s conduct. To allow discrimination based on conduct so closely correlated with sexual orientation would severely undermine the purpose of the NMHRA.” In other words, orientation and conduct are so intertwined that to discriminate against activity would be to discriminate against the person — an odd line of logic, given that it would then follow that discriminating against religious activity would constitute discrimination on the basis of religion, making the court’s logic self-defeating.

Justice Richard Bosson wrote, in concurrence, that the Huguenins are “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” He concluded, “The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.” That “compromise,” he wrote, “is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”

Talk about making it up as you go along! And note the word “tolerance”. How odd that the Gay couples must have, as in must have or else, “tolerance” but what of the “tolerance” for the wedding photographer? I guess some tolerance is more equal than others? Since when the Leftist definition of tolerance become part of our Constitution? I suppose, as McCain puts it, our moral superiors are to decide our every action now

Do you see what this is really about? If not, let me tell you that this is really about, “We, who are Your Moral Superiors, have authority to dictate your behavior, your words and, indeed, your thoughts.”

The language of “rights” is not about freedom, but rather power.

As I have said before, Gay marriage is a legitimate issue to debate, and, I think for states to decide. But the Gay activists and other Leftists will not let that happen. They are using this issue, as they have used many others, not to liberate, or to achieve equality of opportunity, but to create their version of what America ought to be. And understand me when I tell you that in their version of America, there will be no rights, only Leftist Totalitarianism! the Left’s thirst for power, TOTAL power, can never be slaked.