In the 1874 case, Chy Lung v. Freeman, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the limits of state government interference in immigration policy. Paul A. Kramer writes about the case of the lewd Chinese women in his recent Slate article:
“[...] state governments could invoke ‘the sacred law of self-defense’—the power to exclude convicts, lepers, those afflicted with incurable disease, and others likely to become public charges. But states’ power in this arena was tightly restricted in light of the federal powers. ‘Whatever outside of the legitimate exercise of this right affects the intercourse of foreigners with our people,’ he wrote, ‘their immigration to this country and residence therein, is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the general government, and is not subject to state control or interference.’”
Read the full article.
Congress is currently hard at work on a bill called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). If passed into law, CISPA will allow the Federal Government to force corporations to turn over their customers’ and clients’ private data without a warrant or subpoena. But that’s not all…
Scott Lemieux at AlterNet has a list of 6 things we should all know about this bill.
Remember when we stopped SOPA? Where are the Facebook and Google on this one?
The first time I voted was the 2004 general election. I’ve been eligible to vote since 1998. I never stayed home on election day because of apathy or laziness. I avoided the ballot box because I sincerely believed our democracy was a sham. I believed that voting and participating in that sham was a form of acquiescence. If I were to make my way to the polling station and cast my vote for one of two equally loathsome candidates, each of them pre-purchased by their corporate contributors, I would essentially be capitulating to an election system that is dominated almost entirely by the interests of the wealthy few at the expense of the common good. If my loathsome candidate loses, and the other loathsome candidate starts two wars that morally and financially bankrupt the country, I’m complicit because I participated in, and therefore legitimized, that process. I believed that casting a vote in that system was ultimately casting a vote for that system. So I refused. But then Bush happened. And when it was time for his second term, I had a change of heart. The stakes were too high. Our country was moving irretrievably to the right. So I participated… desperately…and futilely.
And then came Barack Obama. Our savior. We were moths – we young voters – caught in the glow of his youthfulness and charisma. He was cool and different and “progressive.” He was promising us all this change. He was going to help us wrest the country from the ornery old rich men that had whipped and demoralized it for too long. Yes we could!
But we didn’t. Now, I don’t want to get into all the things Barack Obama hasn’t done. I know there’s a whole list of Democratic talking points about the things he has done. None of that has an impact on my decision not to vote for him. I’m basing this decision on two factors. The first is this: the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are helping coordinate the crackdowns of Occupy movements across the country. This is the Executive branch of the Federal Government. This is the branch of government over which President Obama has direct control. This is President Obama helping coordinate violent police raids of Occupy encampments all over the nation. This is President Obama violently suppressing the First Amendment rights of Occupy protesters. That’s what you vote for if you vote for Obama.
The second factor is that I believe the combination of a Republican presidency, Republican Congress, and Republican Supreme Court will do much more to galvanize and advance the Occupy movement. Some may find that to be soul-crushingly cynical, but I disagree. I think it’s a solid long-term strategy for challenging a corrupt system; one in which we use our opponent’s weakness against it (our opponent being unrestrained capitalism and its weakness being a greed-fueled disregard for economic justice and equality). I’m not saying we should support the other guy, whoever that might be (ahem-Mitt Romney). I couldn’t possibly word-fuck my way into a moral justification for voting Republican. What I am suggesting is that we should all just sit this one out, and do so in an obvious way. We should start “Block the Vote” campaigns. We should actively and publicly pledge to support no one for President. We can make t-shirts and bumper stickers. We can go door to door encouraging people not to vote for President.
Our fight is with rampant capitalism, economic inequality, and corporate control of government. We know that if the Republicans get to do it their way, they’ll continue to march even farther along that path. And with each step taken in that direction, our voices grow louder and our message becomes more immediate. Why settle for the few scraps the establishment liberals are willing to toss our way to shut us up when we can make this movement powerful enough to demand a seat at the table?
Here’s an essay called Profiling Originalism
Did you read it?
Did you really?
Don’t bother. The most interesting statistic in this essay is the considerable correlation between “originalism” and belief in a literal interpretation of the Bible. 76% of people identifying as originalists also believe in the literal truth of the Bible. This finding supports an assumption I had a few weeks ago during a conversation about the demographics of people who prefer the constitution be interpreted according to 18th century social and moral standards: that there must be a link between the two, as they both seem to spring from the same intellectual obsequiousness.The Bible and the Constitution are natural analogues for those inclined toward uncritical and irrational deference to (presumed) tradition. In the mind of the true believer, the Constitution becomes a sort of civic appendix to the Bible’s spiritual authority. Literal interpretation then offers an existence free from too much bothersome analysis. If someone else already took the time to think it through and write it down, I don’t need to spend my “Dancing With The Stars” watching time rethinking it. It just seems inefficient. Right?
Literal interpretation and originalism also conveniently place the layman on equal footing with the scholar. Adherents can pluck out verses or clauses, entirely absent any historical, philosophical, or social context, and use them in support of their own limited world view. Why should they spend years at seminary or in law school when they’re already equipped with the one tool necessary to truly understand and apply ancient texts and over 200 years of jurisprudence: basic literacy? And for the kids, the Constitution even comes packaged with its own mythologized figures in the form of “The Founding Fathers,” whose timelessly sound judgement and foresight are beyond reproach.
Although the correlation between the rise of evangelicalism in the U.S. and the popularization of originalism is not surprising, it should be alarming. Applying the same religious fervor to the Constitution that is reserved for religious texts assumes that the Constitution is a perfect document. And an electorate that believes in Constitutional inerrancy will certainly be much less likely to approve of any constitutional amendment that might be passed through the process originalists claim is the only acceptable avenue for progress, unless, of course, the amendment comes from the pages of that other inerrant text. But then we wouldn’t really be talking about progress.