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THE NOONER for February 14, 2016
Happy VDay. My Valentine today is Bill Maher, who is bringing his shtick to the Sacramento Community Center tonight. I am ready for some profanity and perhaps a light up of a joint tonight. He has a medical marijuana card, you know.
Wow, that was a contentious debate last night. Donald Trump just kept interrupting the other candidates. You can see highlights here.
The political world is still obsessed with the news of Supreme Court associate justice Antonin Scalia's death. Beyond the condolences to his family, the timing could not have been worse. The Court's current term ends in June, although cases still on the docket are continued until the next term, which begins in October. Opinions require 5 votes, and with 4 right of center and 4 left of center make decisions on controversial cases unlikely.
The presidential election has Washington even more hyperpoliticized than normal and makes a confirmation by the Senate before a new president assumes office even less likely. The highest court in the land is now divided equally between Republican and Democratic appointees.
President Obama perhaps might be able make a recess appointment before February 22, when the U.S. Senate reconvenes. Oddly, it's up to a decision by the Senate and perhaps the Supreme Court as to whether the current recess is a legal recess pursuant to the U.S. Constitution. The legal world is talking mostly about Sri Srinivasan, who was appointed to the DC Court of Appeals in 2013. He is a joint MBA/JD graduate of Stanford University, served as a law clerk to Sandra Day O'Conner, was the principal deputy Solicitor General of the United States, and won confirmation on a unanimous, 97-0 vote. He would be the first Asian-American (Indo-American) on the Court.
Of course, if the Senate declares that it is in session and two Senators show up to do something miniscule, it is technically in session. As Borat would say, "What a Country!"
Supreme Court appointments from the DC Circuit are particularly popular (Scalia was one), as that Court of Appeals handles most of the country's decisions on federal law. They are often hyper-technical matters of regulatory law and require the best legal minds. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated that there would be no confirmation until after the November election. Interestingly, the odds are about 50-50 between a Democratic and Republican majority after next term, which makes things very interesting.
Funny aside. Sri played high school basketball in Lawrence, Kansas at Lawrence High School with future NBA star Danny Manning.
Many of my readers didn't like my condolences message yesterday. However, when the father of 9 children and 28 grandchildren dies, we pay respect. And, he served our country for 36 years, mostly on the bench. I disagree with most of his decisions and won't miss him on the Court, but from the Earth. Nevertheless, as a highly accomplished lawyer, he could have made far more money as a private sector lawyer. For that, I am thankful for his service.
His best friend on the Court was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, after all.
For California, perhaps the biggest impact is on the case of Freidrichs v. California Teachers Association. That's the case challenging "fair share" union fees to cover the mandatory "non-political" costs of representing union-organized employees. The case was won for CTA at the Ninth Circuit level. Thus, if the Supreme Court is deadlocked at 4-4, the Ninth Circuit decision remains as law.
Similarly, there is a Texas affirmative action case accusing the University of Texas of unlawful use of affirmative action, which was allowed under a lower court ruling. Of course, in California, Proposition 209 takes precidence and race can't be used in admissions. Justice Elena Kagan, as former Solicitor General, has recused herself from the case, so there would still be a conservative 4-3 majority. On the Supreme Court, however, recusal is self-determined as an ethical practice rather than a legal practice, so she could change her mind, albeit unlikely.
AWESOME SAUCE: Best dunks from an incredible NBA slam dunk competition [SFChron]
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Right On Daily blog's Aaron Park, California Community Colleges' Dan Troy, and California Federation of Labor's Angie Wei!
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Hillary Clinton called Senator Mitch McConnellâÂÂs statement that the next president, not President Obama, should appoint a successor to Justice Scalia âÂÂdisappointingâÂÂ and âÂÂtotally out of step with our history and our constitutional principle.âÂÂ
Services and transit schedules for Presidents Day
San Francisco Chronicle Presidents Day Holiday transit and services Monday: Banks and other financial institutions Closed. Post offices Closed, no mail delivery. BART Saturday schedule. Muni Sunday schedule. Golden Gate Transit Sunday schedule for buses, weekend schedule for ferries. SamTrans Weekday schedule, no school-bus routes. Caltrain Saturday schedule. AC Transit Sunday schedule. San Francisco parking Meters enforced. Commuter tow-away zones, residential parking and Monday-Friday street sweeping not enforced.