Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wall-Mart and the U.S. Supreme Court

“Too big to sue and too big to fail” No one likes to say that the U.S. Supreme Court is capable of making a serious error in judgment when it comes to their rulings. The U.S. Supreme Court is the court of last resort for our country, and their rulings are final say for any case brought before our legal system. We would hope that the justices on that court could put aside political agendas for the sake of protecting the American Society as a whole. Their roll has always been to protect minority classes that are unable to speak for and defend themselves.

In cases such as Brown v. Board of Education they upheld the rights for all citizens to get a fair and equal education no matter what the past practice. Our court understood that equal but separate did more harm than good to our society. We are now left to wonder that if Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. had headed that court would we have seen the same results.

Women in general may outnumber men in this country but as a class it has been common knowledge that top jobs and top pay goes to the men in the corporate hierarchy. Just because everyone does it is not a valid excuse for discrimination of any type. The fact that one or two of our justices have publicly expressed the view that women are not equal to men, that they see nowhere in the constitution where women even have the right to be treated equally (“Equal Protection Doctrine,” Justice Scalia) and that it is perfectly acceptable for women to be treated as sex objects (I can see why you keep your mouth jammed shut, Justice Thomas) is shameful in our day and time.

When it comes to the case of Wall-Mart v. Duke the courts ruled in favor of a huge corporation at the expense of low income and often minority women; women who face the reality that they have no right to fair and balanced treatment in this country due to their sex and their race.

The courts clear conservative stand with a split between the conservative elderly white male justices and the women justices of the court (We understand that you are the exception and we respect you greatly, Justice Breyer.) only served to point out their inability to understand the discrimination these women faced in the business world. The “boys will be boys attitude,” and that it is perfectly “OK” in the view of the U.S. Supreme Court for them to act in that manner as long as a piece of paper states otherwise is a clear message to Corporate America.

The message is that Corporate America is free to commit open discrimination against women, and far too often minority women, as long as they have documentation stating otherwise. Not that they have to create policies and procedures that force their male employees to follow the rules stated in that documentation, or that there is any adverse effects to their careers if they don’t following the rules. Of course enforcing the rules would help, but with no negative consequences to the corporation as a whole; why even bother?

The fact that these Corporations have billions of dollars and are willing to appeal until they reach the U.S. Supreme Court which is sure to side with the Corporations on these types of issue gives low income and often minorities female employees no hope of fighting claims on a individual bases.

Since the highest court in the land does not like large class action lawsuits; perhaps it is time for our legislators to get to work to change the laws which would allow women to receive large settlements from these types of cases. So lawyers would be willing to spend the time and money to litigate individual cases. The incentive would be that lawyers would get paid fairly in the end for their service should they be able to prove the complaints.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Keeping up on how our Representatives Vote in Washington D.C.

So what do we learn about this week when it comes to how our representatives voted on Capitol Hill? Congressman Steve Pearce voted against veterans, while Congressmen Heinrich and Lujan voted to protect veterans who come back from war with a desire to commit suicide. The republicans won this issue and defeated a bill to help veterans deal with the overwhelming emotional problem. We need Congressmen who protect and support of veterans. I hope everyone calls Congressman Pearce to explain that issue clearly and directly to the republican congressman. There can be nothing more shameful then not supporting in every way possible our heroes who fight for our country.

Next Congressman Pearce and the republicans wanted to take 85 million dollars away from mothers through the WIC program. The program educates women on the benefits of breastfeeding. This country has serious problems when it comes to childhood obesity and breastfeeding is one way to reduce this major problem for our children. So much for family values when it comes to the Republican Party. On the other hand Congressmen Heinrich and Lujan both supported this very important funding. It was a small win for mothers and democrats when it comes to family values in this state and around the country. The larger bill which passed sharply cuts overall spending for the Women and Infants program.

“Wall-Street before Main Street” is the battle cry of Congressman Steve Pearce as he won the vote to delay regulations on derivatives. Derivatives and the lack of regulations on these financial instruments are what caused the recession that took away homes and jobs for the voting public on Main Street. Both Congressman Heinrich and Congressman Lujan voted to not delay these regulations that would only hold accountable Wall-Street. Congressmen Heinrich and Lujan lost this battle for now. This should make voters very angry toward Congressman Steve Pearce.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back to the Real Issues Like Children and Local Judges

So now that the Weiner Mobil has left DC maybe we can get back to important issues like republicans attacking women and children in Washington D.C. What insane mind thinks it is ok to cut funding to babies in this country while they give tax breaks to rich corporations?

Republicans don’t want to balance the budget; they just want all the money and power for themselves. Ever notice that republicans talk a good game but when it comes to facts and real action they don’t care about the middle class and working poor in this country.

Now to local issues

Judges in this state are facing a major attack from the Republican Party. The issue at hand is campaign donations. A blog posted a listing of judges with how much they contributed over the past 8 to 10 years. They did not explain in a clear manner that the donations were for more than one year. What they did not do was break it down as to what was actually given to Governor Richardson on the front page of their listening. The whole thing was very misleading when it come to the basic facts in the matter.

Let me tell you most of our local judges are pretty cheap when it comes to giving out cash. Considering how much they earn each year they could have afforded to give much more to all candidates of our party. Some judges gave to their political party so as to not appear to favor any one candidate. Most judges only take part in local politics during the time they have to run in a partisan race for their office. I know many would love nothing more than to be appointed to office for long periods of time.

The problem with appointment is that they don’t have to face the voting public on equal ground. These appointment committees are political pits where only the in boys get to play. These committees are the black holes that anyone who supports open government detests the most. Government at the local level should never be a restricted spectator sport especially when it comes to our court system.

The major problem at present is that rules are being made behind the scene right now that will turn our local court system into a restricted spectator sport when it comes to the voting public. They would force candidates running for office to reject the public and only attend high priced private affairs. They would not allow these candidates to work with local groups such as unions that support our local judges. They would allow large corporations who act as third parties to attack judges publicly while restricting democratic judges from getting the support from the local communities.

The problem with this is that we don’t want what happened in Wisconsin to happen to us here in New Mexico. We want a court system that rules in favor of the common people and not the political elite republicans and large corporations. We want a court system that works to decide cases on the legal facts and not political conservative views.

We have republican judges that base their decision on the statues and past court cases, so why would we want conservative activist judges that would rule in favor of things like destroying the environment. All we have to do is look up at the smoky skies to see how republican run states fail to care for their local environment. The court system is our final resource to ensure that our laws protect society as a whole and not just the elite conservatives.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Judges and Honesty

This is the committee commentary on how a judge should behave in public.


Paragraph A

The commentary to Rule 21-100 NMRA also applies to Paragraph A.

Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. A judge must therefore accept restrictions on the judge's conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly. Examples are the restrictions on judicial speech imposed by Subparagraphs (10) and (11) of Paragraph B of Rules 21-300 NMRA that are indispensable to the maintenance of the integrity, impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

The prohibition against behaving with impropriety or the appearance of impropriety applies to both the professional and personal conduct of a judge. Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, the proscription is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmful although not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual improprieties under this standard include violations of law, court rules or other specific provisions of this Code. The test for appearance of impropriety is whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge's ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired.

Now, I know that a small percentage of judges have not followed these rules in the past year. Their behavior has been inexcusable when it comes to both professional and personal issues. They should and were held accountable for their misconduct by the State Supreme Court. Others are being investigated at this point in time. Like doctors, judges are often judged harshly by the public for what a few rogue individuals may do while in office.

The public should remember that not all judges disregard the rules of conduct. Some judges hold fast to those rule, and yes a few even work to educate the public on those rules. Nevertheless, I myself have been sadly disappointed and even angered by the behavior of a few of these rogue judges over the past year. I can say that they gave no indication of their poor judgment while running for office. If any judges have behaved in a manner that disregards the above rules then they should be investigated thoroughly in order to either prove their incenses or guilt.

As we have seen on the national level not all misconduct is carried out by one party or the other. We must watch closely and question even more harshly any candidate that will replace one of the judges who were forced to retire over the past year.

There is a hearing in Santa Fe, which is open to the public, this month where candidates for the Appeals Court position will be interviewed. I must admit that holding this during a workday instead of a weekend does not show a great desire for encouraging the public to view these interviews.

I personal believe that the public should be allowed to question judicial candidates before they are placed on a short list for the governor. I don’t disagree that their peers should also have an opportunity to review their qualification and question them in an interview process. I think that a combination of both methods would produce a much more successful list of candidate for the governor to choose from in the future. The more open the process the less likely that a candidate with poor moral values will slip through and be picked for a position on our courts.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Growth in Government Jobs

Over the years republicans have all claimed long and loudly to stand for smaller government. But if you look at the statics then you will see that the states leading in government growth are controlled by republican governors. Republicans are going to have a hard time putting a positive spin on this report.

What republican governors want is to provide government workers with low wages and no benefits. They are willing to hire all the slave labor they can as long as they do not have to provide livable wages.

This is clearly not a report that the Republican Party wants spread around during an election cycle. The time has come to demand the truth from republican governors when it comes to the size of their administrations.

Every democrat in this country understands that without workers to run the government than the government cannot provide vital services to the voting public. Fewer police officers mean unsafe neighborhoods. Fewer teachers mean bigger classes which leads to lower levels of student achievement. Fewer fire fighters means watching you home burn down and higher insurance rates for homeowners.