Finally, A Ruth Bader Ginsburg Decision I Can Support

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The Supreme Court's last Golden Girl standing falls asleep during oral arguments about Texas redistricting. It's unclear whether she was really sawing the log—an artist's sketch doesn't show a curved trail of ZZZZs over her head—but one witness said she was down for about ten or fifteen minutes.

Based on their questioning, Ginsburg and other justices appear willing to let the new Texas districts stand.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Supreme Court allows Sikhs to bring daggers into school. (Things really are getting better up there.)

Last year, Jesse Walker revealed how long the SCOTUS has been sleepwalking through history.

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  1. Are the daggers sharp?

  2. Which decision are you supporting? Her decision to catch some winks at work?

  3. You know, there’s a meme that’s been circulating for the last couple of years that goes along the lines of “The Supreme Court will reinstate and protect our civil rights.”

    To anyone who adhered to that idea, I’d like to just say the following:

    You got served.

  4. “The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that orthodox Sikh students could carry traditional daggers to school.”

    I can live with that. I draw the line, though, with the ripping out of peoples’ hearts, holding them aloft, and yelling “Kali-Ma! Kali-MAAAAAAA!”

    They should probably consider banning that at school. Or at least hold a discussion where folks can share their concerns.

  5. Congress can impeach federal judges, can’t they?

  6. Imagine if Justice Scalia or Thomas had fallen asleep during oral arguments? That would’ve made the headlines; Jon Stewart would be all over that and other late night shows; and there’d be talk about replacing those Justices.

  7. One would think she should at least recuse herself from the case, rather than rule on a matter which she’s not given a proper hearing.

  8. Supreme Court justices may be removed by articles of impeachment voted by a majority of the House and conviction by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

    The only Supreme Court justice ever to have been impeached by the House was Samuel P. Chase in 1804. The Senate vote failed, and he remained on the Court until his death in 1811.

  9. I am pretty certain this is not the first time a SC justice has nodded off during oral arguments. And as for the “what would happen if Scalia/Thomas did this” concern, I think what would happen is that we would all hear about it and some people would make fun of it, just like happened with Ginsburg. And all things being equal, if someone is not denied a fair trial by their own lawyer falling asleep during a murder trial, I don’t think one of 9 judges falling asleep raises any due process concerns either. If you allow judges to serve for life, it’s bound to get ugly toward the end.

  10. Mr. Nice Guy, how about a compromise – they can rip out people’s hearts, and hold them aloft, but they must do so quietly. It is school, after all.

  11. I love that drawing of Ginsburg with her little head down. So cute!

    What I wonder is how the rest of them stayed awake through all that redistricting malarkey. Perhaps they’ve all perfected the art of sleeping with their eyes open?

  12. I love that drawing of Ginsburg with her little head down. So cute!

    What I wonder is how the rest of them stayed awake through all that redistricting malarkey. Perhaps they’ve all perfected the art of sleeping with their eyes open?

  13. The Daily Show is on reruns this week. That’s probably why Jon Stewart hasn’t commented on it.

  14. Q:

    Does Canada have a mandatory “moment of silence” in their schools? If so, perhaps the human sacrifices could be performed during that time. Quietly, of course.

  15. Perhaps they’ve all perfected the art of sleeping with their eyes open?

    That would explain a LOT.

  16. It’s kind of funny that our partisan barometer is now set by whether or not Jon Stewart weighs in on something.

  17. “Perhaps they’ve all perfected the art of sleeping with their eyes open?”

    Per the “Simpsons”, all they need to do is get glasses with “open eyes” painted on the lenses. Don’t most of those geeks wear glasses?

  18. Are we certain that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is still alive, and that this all isn’t some “Weekend at Bernies” plot to keep Bush from nominating another one?

  19. “I can live with that. I draw the line, though, with the ripping out of peoples’ hearts, holding them aloft, and yelling ‘Kali-Ma! Kali-MAAAAAAA!'”

    Uh, those were Hindus rather than Sikhs.

  20. “The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that orthodox Sikh students could carry traditional daggers to school.”

    Lot’s of things are traditional.

    So do the Indian kids get to bring Tomahawks to schools and take scalps?
    Do the Druid kids get to burn people alive in wicker baskets?
    Do the Aztec kids get to cut out people’s hearts?
    Do Italian kids get to stage Gladiator fights?
    Do the Jewish kids get to stone witches?

    Just asking.

  21. What’s funny is the other two pretending not to notice.

    Justice #1 thought bubble: Is she dead?
    Justice #2 thought bubble: Maybe I can sneak a feel…

  22. “One would think she should at least recuse herself from the case, rather than rule on a matter which she’s not given a proper hearing.”

    Justices aren’t even required to attend oral arguments to participate in case — they are allowed to review the transcripts.

    Brain first, then mouth.

  23. As someone who’s sawed more than a few ZZZs at work, I must say I can sympathize with her. I don’t know what kind of lighting they’ve got there in the uber-chamber, but I’ve found it’s hard to get decent REM sleep under fluorescent lights.

  24. Oral arguments at the Supreme Court or any appellate court are just a dog and pony show. The cases are settled in writing through the briefs. The oral arguments rarely if ever make any real difference in the outcome of the cases. In addition, most oral arguments are boring as hell, especially if you have read the briefs and are already familiar with the case. While I think Justice Ginsburg is a moonbat, I really sympathize with her on this one. Everyone has at some point fallen asleep during some interminable meeting.

    As far as the redistricting case goes, the hypocrisy on the Democrat’s part is a new low even by their already low standards. In 1994 when Democrats controlled the state legislature and had their own gerrymandering scheme, Republicans received 63% of the overall Congressional vote, yet were still a minority in the state’s congressional delegation. Rather than sure, the Republicans actually won elections and took over the legislature and in 2003 redrew the lines to their favor. Amazingly the Democrats are now concerned about gerrymandering. Go figure. They don’t seem too concerned about redistricting in states like Massachusetts where Democratic legislatures have drawn districts to ensure that Democratic representation in the Congressional delegation is much higher than actual Democratic votes in the election. (Yes there are a few Republicans in Massachusetts) If the Democrats prevail in this case, let us see what they have to say when Republicans sue in Massachusetts. I am sure it will be a political question then. Keep the courts out of the whole thing. If you don’t like the districts, convert someone to your side and win a few elections and then you can draw your own districts.

  25. I’m just shocked that the sketch artist was allowed to draw her asleep. Considering the current environment I half-expected there to be some obscure rule against depicting them like that.

  26. Or house districts could be randomly drawn by algorithm. That might be preferable, and would solve the gerrymandering issue.

  27. Meanwhile, the Canadian Supreme Court allows Sikhs to bring daggers into school.

    Good. I think it was wrong tur ban them in the first place.

  28. John,

    The Texas redistricting was the first one in the history of our country when districts were redrawn without a new census being taken. Amazing how quickly, and ignorantly, the “poor oppressed Republicans” card comes out whenever they caught in some dirty business.

    Also, Massachusetts districts were not drawn to keep Democrats in office. They were drawn to keep incumbants in office. The obvious gerrymander shapes are reaching towards the Congressman’s house, not to any particular voting group.

    Not sure if that’s better or worse.

  29. Why, Stevo, so they can Sikh-and-Destroy?

  30. That cartoon is cute. Only a “THUNK” sound effect would improve it. 🙂

  31. From the article:

    It is one of the biggest redistricting cases the high court has heard in years, but the special two hour argument proved less then compelling to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who at times appeared to be, well, asleep.

    Catty, isn’t that? It’s not as if the justices flanking her look look especially engrossed.

  32. Stevo, glad to see you’re getting back your old form. And, joe, you’re not funny at all today.

  33. thoreau, the “joke” that people get their news from Jon Stewart has evolved into, “I really do get my news and opinions from Jon Stewart”. If anyone here is really doing that, I’d think long and hard about resetting my Irony Meter to zero and starting over.

    Of course, I get my news from re-runs of The Bob Newhart Show, but that’s just me.

    Speaking of Sikhs, I had two friends my senior year at UF who were Indian. One was a Sikh, the other Parsi (Zoroastrian). The latter couldn’t believe I knew what a Zoroastrian was. Only reason I did at the time was that I had read Gore Vidal’s Creation. Anyway, I thought the dagger thing was pretty cool. That and not cutting your hair.

  34. The Texas redistricting was the first one in the history of our country when districts were redrawn without a new census being taken.

    Well, no.

    Mid-term redistricting was frequent until the early 1960s. In Washington, for example, Democrats trying to oust Republican incumbents and grab more House seats redistricted in 1951, 1957, and 1959. Even more extreme, Ohio redistricted in 1878, 1880, 1882, 1884, 1888, and 1890.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0529/p02s02-uspo.html

  35. PL-

    People actually rely on Jon Stewart for news?

    I get all of my truthiness from the Colbert Report. And the Onion.

  36. The Onion isn’t a news source, thoreau, it’s an accurate predictor of future events. Like Nostradamus but in English. Of course, it’s not really that funny anymore; I guess the writers are focusing all their energies on prognostication.

  37. It’s probably true that there would be more jokes from the liberal media if the sleeper had been Scalia or Thomas (unlikely, btw, since Thomas is supposed to be pretty fit), but as it happens I heard this anecdote on NPR. John’s right, no-one dast blame Ginsburg for snoozing during this ridiculousness.

  38. A grad student in my office proudly proclaimed that she got all her news from “The Daily Show.” She said it in that ironic way that meant either she was kidding, or was telling the truth, but kidding that she was proud about it.

    I think alot of people look to Jon Stewart as a sort of representative of who they are, that many people, I guess urban leftist hipsters, and those who wish they were urban leftist hipsters, see him as being like them, and look to him for cues on what to believe (maybe that part is unconscious.)

    In my teens I felt that way about David Letterman; I was sort of a lonely nervous smart ass, and sort of identified with Letterman.

  39. “I love that drawing of Ginsburg with her little head down. So cute!”

    Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

  40. the Canadian Supreme Court allows Sikhs to bring daggers into school.

    That’s just f’in nuts. We’re not talking about responsible adults here, but 12-year-old kids. I don’t think anyone here would have a problem with a school banning weapons in general. Is there *any* point in “religious freedom” where we can draw the line?

  41. “I love that drawing of Ginsburg with her little head down. So cute!”

    Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

  42. mediageek, you’re evil, man.

    But in a good way. 🙂

  43. RC,

    Don’t confuse Joe with facts, it makes him uncomfortable. What kills me about Joe is his complete inability to see any evil by any Democrat under any condition. I am a Republican but I will freely admit the Republicans redrew the lines to screw the Democrats. I also think the Democrats do the same thing, but ultimately, if you don’t like it, do what the Republicans did and win an election and take over the State House. Not a great system but I would rather have that than the Supreme Court drawing the lines. Joe in contrast honestly believes that it just happened to work out that the Republicans were a minority in the Congressional delegation in 1994 despite getting 64% of the vote and the whole thing had nothing to do with Democrats drawing the lines to screw the Republicans. It was all just an incumbant thing. The depths of Joe’s denial and narrowmindedness never fails to amaze me.

  44. Isaac, the way I see it, why should I wait for someone else to make a joke about Ginsburg’s nap when I can make my own.

    😀

  45. Yeecch! Mediageek, I am scarred for life!

  46. Thanks for the heads up, RC. I had thought that mid-census redistricting was unprecedented, but I guess it’s just archaic.

    mediageek, that’s hilarious.

    John, ha ha. I know, handling a correction with class is a foreign concept to you.

  47. Just asking: I know you’re just trolling, but the serious point is that none of those other things is actually something that religion demands you do all the time as a tenet of the faith. For Sikhs, carrying a kirpan is one of the five commandments. A more accurate analogy would be forbidding Jews to leave the corners of their beards uncut, or forbidding Catholics to take Communion.

    I have a degree in Anthropology, and as part of my senior work, I actually spent some time studying Sikhism, talking with Sikhs, and visiting a gurdwara. I’m an agnostic myself, but if I had to choose a religion, it would probably be Sikhism – it’s relatively egalitarian and non-hierarchical, discourages asceticism, and emphasizes personal responsibility in standing up for yourself and your community.

  48. I am sorry to be so nasty to you Joe, but jeez everyone knows that the two parties gerrymander to screw each other. For you to claim that the Democrats don’t do it as well or better than the Republicans, kind of drove me over the edge.

  49. John,

    I never claimed “that the Democrats don’t do it as well or better than the Republicans.”

    I stated that they play by the rules when gerrymandering – limiting their greed to the scheduled redistricting – and that the boundaries in Massachusetts are not an example of partisan gerrymandering, but of incumbancy-protecting gerrymandering.

    The leap from that to “Democrats don’t gerrymander,” you made by yourself.

  50. Rhywun – What the news stories don’t usually tell you is that the “daggers” carried by Sikhs are usually all of about two inches long and not very sharp. They are, after all, purely ceremonial items. But that makes the story less exciting, and the reporter probably doesn’t know jack about the topic he’s writing about anyway.

  51. the Canadian Supreme Court allows Sikhs to bring daggers into school.
    That’s just f’in nuts. We’re not talking about responsible adults here, but 12-year-old kids. I don’t think anyone here would have a problem with a school banning weapons in general. Is there *any* point in “religious freedom” where we can draw the line?

    The decision hinged on two things:

    1) The knife in question is about as sharp as a butter knife – i.e. not at all. You’d have more luck hurting someone by picking up a chunk of rock and belting them with it than with the knife in question. The decision cited the easy availability of scissors, sharp pencils, and similar such items on school grounds that are not banned.

    2) There has never been an incident in Canada where a Sikh student used his kirpan to injure or threaten anyone.

    Personally, though, I’m in the “f’ing nuts” camp on this one. The knife in question may not be sharp, but AFAIK that’s not a religious requirement and the decision as written doesn’t seem to allow for the obvious “but not if it’s sharp” exception. While I think the odds of a Sikh sufficiently observant as to carry the knife ever using it are nonexistent, it sets a stupidly dangerous precedent.

    Other things you may not be aware of: Canadian Sikhs have successfully sued to wear turbans instead of RCMP hats in official RCMP dress uniform, and unsuccessfully to wear turbans instead of hardhats on construction sites.

    As a Canadian who thinks that all the laws and rights against “discrimination” in the Charter and Code are abominations and intolerable in a free society, I’d rather see the whole issue solved privately. Go to a private Sikh school that will let you carry a knife. If the RCMP says “this is the dress uniform”, then suck it up. Start your own all-Sikh construction company and wear turbans (hell, practice firewalking on the high steel if it amuses you. Maybe if a few Sikhs get themselves killed by falling debris they’ll rethink this, or design a hardhat that can be worn over a turban).

  52. I have no problem with religious frippery in public places–in school, on the job, etc.–except when it contradicts common sense or sensible law. If the “knife” is merely decorative as you say, then fine. The sikhs recently won a case here in NYC allowing them to wear turbans while driving subway trains. I’m fine with that. But if, say, one of the more hallucinogen-friendly religions starts agitating for the right to practice one of their heightened awareness rituals while driving my train, I’d have to put my foot down.

  53. Quite frankly, the fact that you flip out over kids carrying knives is stupid.

    It wasn’t that long ago that I was a kid, and I carried a pocket knife to no ill effect.

  54. Strange anecdote:

    A few years ago, the provincial government made it mandatory for motorcyclists to wear helmets. This, despite the fact that most legitimate riders already do wear them, and if someone is dumb enough not to wear a helmet, he probably has more serious issues. But when Sikh riders complained that they would be discriminated against, the government actually wrote in an exemption to the law. Course, we all know it’s just a cynical attempt at raising ticket revenue, but still, I found the message being sent amusing: we care about your health enough to fine you, but we care more about saving face and not offending anyone.

  55. Seriously, if the Sikh daggers are dull and merely symbolic, really, than I don’t see the harm.

    Just as long as they don’t bring, say, brightly colored plastic toy guns to school … that would never be allowed.

  56. Mediageek,

    That’s just wrong.
    And I’ve heard of a hung jury but that justice must be filing some huge briefs.

  57. I have to concur with Mediageek. I have carried a (sharp)pocket knife since I was given one on my 10th birthday and taught how to use it.

  58. Seriously, if the Sikh daggers are dull and merely symbolic, really, than I don’t see the harm.

    Hell, I don’t see the harm if they are razor sharp and carried with a purpose.

    There is no harm in carrying a knife. I would say the majority of the boys carried knives to school when I was a kid. Hell, we would hunker down in the shade at recess and touch up the edges on them, amidst much debate about proper sharpening technique. No harm done.

  59. “Just as long as they don’t bring, say, brightly colored plastic toy guns to school … that would never be allowed.”

    I wonder, did Canadians embrace the zero tolerance overkill that Stevo is alluding to?

  60. Seriously, if the Sikh daggers are dull and merely symbolic, really, than I don’t see the harm.

    Hell, I don’t see the harm if they are razor sharp and carried with a purpose.

    There is no harm in carrying a knife. I would say the majority of the boys carried knives to school when I was a kid. Hell, we would hunker down in the shade at recess and touch up the edges on them, amidst much debate about proper sharpening technique. No harm done.

  61. Seriously, if the Sikh daggers are dull and merely symbolic, really, than I don’t see the harm.

    Hell, I don’t see the harm if they are razor sharp and carried with a purpose.

    There is no harm in carrying a knife. I would say the majority of the boys carried knives to school when I was a kid. Hell, we would hunker down in the shade at recess and touch up the edges on them, amidst much debate about proper sharpening technique. No harm done.

  62. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

    Evil!

    Unrelated: I will note that Sikhs seem to have gotten a lot of undeserved crap the last few years.

  63. Eric the .?b,

    that could be due to this incident.

  64. Oh, and incidentally, feel free to copy and distribute my little gif as far and wide as you like.

    🙂

  65. Maybe, Deuce X. Thanks for the pointer.

  66. “What .5b doesn’t know is that Deuce X is actually his long-lost older brother, Rex…”

  67. Sikh and ye shall find.

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