Tag Archives: Neil Gorsuch

Because of Trump, American Federation of Teachers union lost 76,000 members and $18M in dues revenue

Founded in Chicago in 1916, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the second largest teacher’s labor union in America, the largest being the National Education Association (NEA). 

Members’ dues underwrite much of AFT’s political activities.

Since 1980, AFT and the NEA have contributed nearly $57.4 million to federal campaigns, an amount that is about 30% higher than any single corporation or other union. About 95% of political donations from teachers unions have gone to Democrats:

  • In 2008, AFT donated $1,997,375.00 to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, and $1,784,808.59 to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
  • The AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race — Hillary and AFT president Randi Weingarten are longtime friends. Some AFT members felt the endorsement did not reflect the wishes of rank-and-file AFT members because they supported socialist Bernie Sanders.

According to Department of Labor filings, Weingarten, 61, earned nearly $560,000 in total compensation during the 2013-2014 school year.

On June 27, 2018, in a landmark but narrow 5:4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court ruled that public sector union dues violate the First Amendment by compelling nonmembers to “subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern”. Unions will, subsequently, need to gain the affirmative consent of individual teachers before enrolling them in the AFT and NEA.

The Supreme Court’s Janus ruling led directly to the cancellation of membership by a substantial portion of teachers in the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Sean Higgins reports for Washington Examiner, Oct. 9, 2019, on the effects of the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling in the year since:

  • AFT lost 76,000 members and $18 million in dues revenue.
  • AFT membership declined 4% to 1.7 million members, and would have declined even more if AFT had not made a grassroots outreach to build up its membership by adding 8,000 full-time teachers and 8,000 retiree members.
  • In a recent Labor Department filing, AFT reported having lost some  82,000 “agency fee” payers — from more than 85,000 the previous year to just 3,000. Agency fee payers are people who are not members of a union but are covered by a collective bargaining contract which requires them to pay a union a regular fee. The Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, however, means agency fee payers no longer are required to pay a fee to the AFT. The remaining agency fee payers are all at private-sector schools, because the Janus ruling doesn’t cover private-sector employment.

Conservatives must remember this when you find yourself unhappy with President Trump:

The narrow majority of five justices are Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Gorsuch.

The landmark Janus v. AFSCME ruling and the American Federation of Teachers’ loss of members and $18 million in revenue were made possible entirely because of President Trump’s nomination and the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch, who replaced the late Justice Antonin Scalia, joined the four justices (Alito, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas) in the majority ruling.

~Eowyn

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Up your meds, proggies: RBG can barely function, get ready for ANOTHER possible Trump SCOTUS appointment?

While the demoRATS do everything possible to thwart the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, there is a chance that President Trump might get to nominate another justice.

Just watch Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this interview. She is 85 years old and has survived colon and pancreatic cancer. She also has a stent in her heart.

I don’t know if RBG will make it through Trump’s presidency, let alone if he gets a second term.

You think the meltdown and antics with Kavanaugh’s appointment are epic? You ain’t seen NOTHING YET!

DCG

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Good news: Senate demorats confirmed lots of Trump’s judges so they could go on vacation

From HuffPo: Senate Democrats just gave a huge gift to President Donald Trump: They agreed to expedite votes on 15 of his nominees to lifetime federal court seats because they wanted to go home.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) had lined up votes for all those district court nominees last week. Normally, Senate rules require up to 30 hours of waiting time for each nominee ― something Democrats typically take advantage of to delay action on confirming Trump judges. But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) cut a deal with McConnell on Tuesday to bypass the wait times and let them all get through.

Why? So Democrats could get back to campaigning and focusing on winning re-election in November. The Senate is now out of session until next Tuesday.

Of the 15 nominees, six were confirmed by voice votes on Tuesday. Another one was confirmed on a recorded vote. The remaining eight will get quick votes next week.

It’s a major win for Trump and McConnell, whose No. 1 priority is filling up federal courts with conservative judges ― many of whom are incredibly anti-abortion, anti–LGBTQ rights and anti–voting rights. Trump has gotten 26 circuit court judges confirmed, more than any other president at this point in his term. Another way of putting it: 1 in 7 U.S. circuit court seats is now filled by a judge nominated by Trump.

Add that Trump put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and is poised to get another justice through, Brett Kavanaugh, and you’ve got a president drastically reshaping the nation’s courts for generations.

Some progressives are furious that Democrats just handed more judges to Trump, particularly given recent revelations implicating the president in federal crimes. It would have taken only one Democratic senator to say “no” to letting the nominees through this week, but none did.

“Trading this many lifetime positions away for a couple days back home in the dead of August is a metaphor for how myopic the Democrats’ approach has been at this dark moment in history,” said Brian Fallon, who, awkwardly, was previously Schumer’s chief spokesperson. He is now the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group.

“An entire branch of government is being lost for generations, and Senate Democrats are willfully blind to it,” Fallon said. “In the coming months and years, these same Democrats will issue outraged statements about the rulings issued by the very judges that they could not be bothered to try to slow down. It is pathetic.”

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Gabby Giffords' gun control group sues the Trump Admin

Giffords1

“Assault rifles” for me but not for thee.


If a gun grabber showed at least some interest in enforcing current gun laws, I might reevaluate their agenda. But they aren’t so I won’t.
From HuffPo: The gun control group led by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) is suing the Trump administration for failing to turn over documents that could show the National Rifle Association’s influence over President Donald Trump’s gun policies.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Tuesday in the the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The gun safety group is accusing ATF of refusing to respond to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests for documents relating to communications between administration officials and the NRA.
Specifically, Giffords’ group filed FOIA requests seeking any records relating to Trump administration policies on concealed carry reciprocity, gun silencers, bump stocks and assault weapon exports; evidence that Donald Trump Jr. improperly lobbied on behalf of gun manufacturing companies; communications between gun lobbying groups and senior administration officials following last month’s mass shooting in Las Vegas; and attempts by the NRA to review bump stock regulations in coordination with ATF.
HuffPost reached out to ATF for comment late Thursday afternoon. The person who answered the phone said nobody was available via email or phone to give a comment until Friday morning.
Trump’s firearms agenda is certainly proceeding along lines favored by the gun lobby.
In February, a leaked ATF document revealed a top official at the bureau urging a series of proposals that the NRA has long advocated. Last spring, the NRA sunk $1 million into helping Trump get Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed.
Last week, NBC obtained White House talking points being distributed to Trump allies on how to talk about the Las Vegas massacre. They sound a lot like the NRA’s talking points after mass shootings.
“The Trump administration appears willing to let the National Rifle Association dictate its federal gun safety policy, which includes remaining silent on how to stem our nation’s gun violence epidemic,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center. “Protecting the safety of Americans should be the top priority of any president. Unfortunately, gun lobby profits seem to be more important to President Trump.”
There have been 307 mass shootings in 2017, according to a New York Times tracker. Neither Congress nor Trump has taken any real action in response.
DCG

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Al Sharpton's daughter arrested after attacking a NYC cabbie

ashley and al sharpton
I’d say anger management classes should be on the agenda for this “committed activist.”
From Fox News: The Rev. Al Sharpton’s daughter got an unexpected gift early Saturday at her birthday celebration — handcuffs for allegedly attacking a cab driver in New York City, according to reports.
Ashely Sharpton, 30, is accused of shoving and punching the cabbie after snatching his keys in midtown Manhattan just before 1 a.m., it was reported.
“She told me it didn’t happen the way they said it happened but I can’t speak for a 30-year-old woman,” the activist preacher told the New York Daily News. His daughter couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
The trouble started when Sharpton and three pals hailed the cab. All jumped in and gave different destinations, confusing the cabbie who became annoyed and stopped the vehicle.
He told his passengers he wasn’t going anywhere until they figured out where they wanted to go, the paper reported. Cops said Sharpton, who was sitting next to the cabbie, then snatched the keys from the ignition and jumped out of the cab.
Things got physical when the cabbie got out and tried to grab the keys from Sharpton, telling her, “Give me my keys back,” cops told the New York Post. “I don’t have your keys,” she allegedly spat before later admitting she tossed them, the paper reported.
One of her pals might have given her an awful birthday present by filming the encounter, according to the paper. Cops said the footage shows Ashley Sharpton punching the driver in the chest.
By the time cops arrived she had vanished. Cops found her two hours later on a nearby street.
She was issued a summons to appear in court at a later date, the Post reported. She was charged with petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
“Happy Birthday to my youngest, Ashley,” Sharpton tweeted Friday referring to his daughter. “A strong black woman and committed activist. So proud to be your Dad.”
Ashley Sharpton was one of 16 protesters arrested in January for blocking traffic outside Trump Tower to protest President Trump’s Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Prosecutors agreed in March to dismiss the arrest if she stayed out of trouble until Sept. 20, the New York Post reported at the time.

UPDATE (Sept. 12):

Here’s the video of Ashley Sharpton assaulting the cabbie (h/t CP):
[wpvideo 080SnsSL]
DCG

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Second Amendment case Peruta vs. California may be heading to Supreme Court

erwin chemerinsky

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky: No right to have concealed weapons

If this does make it to the Supreme Court, I’m certainly hoping for an outcome which favors legal firearm owners.

From Fox News: The Second Amendment is only 27 words, but Americans have used millions of words arguing over what it means. It guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” But which people, what arms, and under what circumstances?
Two milestone cases involving the Second Amendment that reached the Supreme Court are District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), declaring an individual has a right to own a firearm, and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), affirming the Second Amendment applies to state law.
Now, if the Supreme Court decides to hear it, there may be a third major case in a decade: Peruta v. California.
At issue is the right to keep and bear arms outside the home. The Heller case specifically applies to situations within the home. Those who have petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case are hoping the justices will see it as a logical extension of their earlier opinions.
The case arose when Edward Peruta and other gun owners who lived in or near San Diego, Calif., couldn’t get concealed-carry permits in their county. The Sheriff’s Department handles permit requests and requires “good cause” to carry a gun outside of the home. This does not mean a generalized concern for safety, but something specific, such as fear of domestic violence or a regular need to move large amounts of money.
There were two separate lawsuits challenging the interpretation of “good cause,” but the district courts found no violation of the Second Amendment.
Then, in 2014, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the policy did indeed violate the right to bear arms for self-defense. The state, however, got a new hearing in front of 11 9th Circuit judges, who decided 7-4, the restrictions for concealed-carry permits were allowable.
The case has now been appealed to the Supreme Court and though the Justices have rescheduled its consideration several times, some experts feel the court is finally ready to hear Peruta.
“I suspect they’re going to grant it,” said John Eastman, former law dean at Chapman University and the director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. Eastman told Fox News, “it’s percolating all across the country.”
He also feels the justices may have put it off while waiting for a full complement on the court, which they got when Neil Gorsuch was confirmed last month. Gorsuch, in fact, may be the justice to tip the opinion in one direction or the other, as previous Second Amendment cases were determined in a 5-4 ruling.
According to Eugene Volokh, professor of law at University of California at Los Angeles, this case is primed for the Supreme Court, as it deals with a basic constitutional right and “the lower courts are split on the issue.”
It would be a good time for the highest court to step in and settle the controversy. He also feels that while no one is sure how Gorsuch will vote, there is a “sense that he’s sympathetic to a broader view” of the Second Amendment.
The case may turn on how the court frames the issue. To Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law, the legal question to be settled is whether a state like California may determine its own rules on concealed-carry permits.
“The Second Amendment isn’t an absolute right,” Chemerinsky notes. Throughout British and American history, “there’s never been a right to have concealed weapons.”
But Eugene Volokh believes there’s a bigger issue at stake. If the state of California, which essentially bans open carry of a gun, makes it next to impossible for a typical citizen to get a concealed-carry permit, this is “tantamount to banning” the right to bear arms “except for a few favored people.”
Experts agree on one point. As Chemerinsky puts it, if Peruta is taken up, “no matter what the Supreme Court says, it will be a landmark decision.”
DCG

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