Scalia, Thomas, WingNutDaily: Is There a Difference?

There’s not much difference between Antonin Scalia/Clarence Thomas and WingNutDaily as concerns supporting partisan divisiveness and whackjobbery. You can see that in the fake controversy and conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama’s US citizenship, to which Thomas and Scalia are giving tacit credit.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Last week I wrote about how the right wing pretend news magazine WorldNetDaily was using the phony issue of Barack Obama’s citizenship to bilk its readers. First, they pretend there’s a big issue, then the issue goes to Conference at the SCOTUS, then they ratchet up the need for all their oh-so-concerned readers to send notes to the SCOTUS members, while WingNutDaily makes a profit. The Donofrio case, which had been brought to conference by Clarence Thomas, was turned down for review without comment yesterday. In the meantime, Antonin Scalia has moved another case, Cort Wrotnowski v. Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut secretary of state, to conference, which, according to Donofrio himself, makes the exact same argument as the Donofrio case, which just got turned down.

Be that as it may, the interesting thing here is not the old news that WingNutDaily is still milking this issue in order to bilk its readers. We know already that WingNutDaily will push any conspiracy theory to serve their need for making money. What we didn’t know is that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia appear to be in on the act. At the very least, since they brought these bogus cases to conference, it is hard to tell the difference between them and the most extremist and whacked out of the right wing. There’s a little of that frustration peeking out in the reporting by Tampabayonline, but mostly there’s wonderment at the shear whackjobbery of the people who so fervently believe in the conspiracy theories about Obama’s citizenship. Read some of this:

The slim chance the Supreme Court might act on this issue was enough reason for Bredow, 49, an affable Internet publisher, to drive 10 hours from Bethlehem, Ga.

He had received hundreds of thousands of hits and messages of encouragement while questioning Obama’s citizenship on his Web page,, and in a video he posted on YouTube.

“People started pounding on me, saying, –What are you going to do?’ ” Bredow said. “And I said, –Well, okay, why don’t we do a march on the 5th up in Washington?’ And so here we are.”

All 19 of them.

His fellow skeptics included a mom and her teen daughter from Williamsburg, Va., a retired Marine from Virginia, a pilot from South Florida, and Pam, a young black woman from Texas who said she never bought the story that Obama was from Hawaii. “I have never heard him say –Aloha,’ ” she said.

This just goes over the top. Someone born in Hawaii evidently has to prove that fact by saying “Aloha” once in a while? These folks are completely whack. I mean, seriously, look at the reaction from a guy named Bredow, who had traveled from Alabama to the Supreme Court to march with 18 friends before the Donofrio conference the other day. Even though Donofrio was denied without comment, this guy still has hope:

The word came down midmorning Monday: denied. No explanation, no comments.

Bredow got the news back in Bethlehem. He spent a couple of hours reading the court’s rules, in search of an explanation.

“Donofrio wasn’t what you would call a constitutional lawyer. He might have just goofed something up on the application,” Bredow suggested.

Members of Congress still could call for hearings, he said. And he has heard about some anonymous fraternity brothers in Hawaii on the hunt for Obama’s birth records.

“According to these guys – I guess they have to protect themselves legally – but according to these guys, they went to all nine hospitals in Honolulu, and they have not found Obama’s name,” he said. “So there’s still other little things floating around there.”

He stakes his hope on the work of some anonymous frat boys. Of course, he stakes that hope on Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the two most vocal conservative Justices in a long, long time. Let’s get serious here. The Supreme Court rarely overturns the elected decisions of the people. This election this year was pretty decisive. Of course, the fact of Barack Obama’s mother being a natural born citizen makes him one, too, but besides that, there are seven people on the Supreme Court who do not look at the world through such partisan eyes that they’ll credit such whackjobbery. Only Scalia and Thomas are willing to give this whackjobbery legs.

Which brings us to the question in the title of this post: what’s the difference between WorldNetDaily and the Scalia/Thomas wing of the SCOTUS? Only profit motive. Both WingNutDaily and Scalia/Thomas seek to roil up the whack jobs and undermine our duly elected President. WingNutDaily and Scalia/Thomas seek to ratchet up partisan divisiveness. Sure, we know the role of SCOTUS does not include partisanship, but Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas seem bent on proving us wrong on that score.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |

Latest GOP Whine? Chief Justice John Roberts, About His Pay

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, in the midst of the most significant downturn in our economy in eightly years or so, has decided to ask Congress for a raise. With unemployment running rampant and foreclosures punishing average household, Mr. Roberts evidently sees no irony in whining about his lifetime appointment and $217K salary.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I recently wrote about Alberto Gonzales whining about not being able to find a job, posing himself as a victim of 9/11. Now another Republican, Bush-appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John G. Roberts is whining, about how much money he is paid. It’s all covered in the Associated Press:

Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday that Congress should be as generous to judges as it already has been to itself, by approving an inflation-related increase in their pay.

“I must renew the judiciary’s modest petition: Simply provide cost-of-living increases that have been unfairly denied,” Roberts said in his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary.

Alone among federal employees, judges will not receive a cost-of-living allowance in 2009. Members of Congress are getting a 2.8 percent boost, worth $4,700. But they refused before Christmas to give an identical increase to judges.

Federal trial judges are paid $169,300 a year. Appellate judges make more, ranging up to Roberts’ salary of $217,400. The salaries pale in comparison to what top lawyers earn in private practice.

Roberts also has pointed out that the 678 full-time trial judges who form the backbone of the federal judiciary are paid about half that of deans and senior law professors at top schools.

. . .

“Judges knew what the pay was when they answered the call of public service. But they did not know that Congress would steadily erode that pay in real terms by repeatedly failing over the years to provide even cost-of-living increases,” Roberts said.

The chief justice also lamented Congress’ failure to pass larger salary hikes for judges. Committees in the House and Senate voted nearly 30 percent increases for federal judges, but neither house of Congress acted on the measure.

In prior reports, Roberts has focused on the need for the larger increase, which would take his pay to around $280,000 a year and increase trial judges’ annual salaries to $218,000.

Two years ago, he said pay for federal judges is so inadequate that it threatens to undermine the judiciary’s independence.

OK, there may be merit in paying judges more so we can attract judges to the bench on merit rather than them being able to afford to serve. But we’ve got unemployment going up (NC unemployment highest since 1983, for instance, and the outlook is not good for 2009) and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions, and a government deficit driven by Roberts’ buddy George Bush. This is definitely not the time to ask for a pay raise, not when Roberts’ $217K salary is a mere dream to millions of Americans on unemployment.

I’d call this a lack of judgement on Mr. Roberts’ part. Just as there are real victims of the War on Terror while Alberto Gonzales whines about his victimhood, there are also real victims of this downturn in the economy, and John G. Roberts ain’t one of them.

Thursday, January 1st, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Whack Job Scenario: SCOTUS to Decide Election

The whack jobs are trying to get the Supreme Court to review whether Barack Obama was really born in the US. They will fail, but they’re all excited. Clarence Thomas accepted the challenge to the conference of the SCOTUS, which pretty much seals his reputation as a partisan hack. It’ll be fun to watch regardless.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

WingNutDaily is reporting today that the Supreme Court has accepted the Philip Berg challenge to Barack Obama’s citizenship for conference on December 5th. It appears the case was first submitted to Justice Souter, who denied the request. When resubmitted to Justice Thomas, one of the Justices who helped decide the 2000 election, the petition was accepted. The hearing will be December 5th, 10 days before the Electoral College meets on Decemeber 15th.

The right wing whack jobs are going all nutso over this one. Philip Berg, a whack job from here in Philly, is the lead on this action, and his web site,, is going nuts. (Isn’t it odd that they have a web site devoted to crimes by Obama a full two months before he is inaugurated?)

Let’s just say this. If the Supremes, in their infinite wisdom, decide to invalidate documents recognized by the State of Hawaii, when this Supreme Court has been steadfastly behind the notion of state’s rights, then there will surely be riots in the streets. That this case was accepted for review by Clarence Thomas seals his dismal legacy.

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

The 2008 Wake – Waiting For The Sea To Change

Many elections are bittersweet. 2008 was no exception. While celebrating Obama’s historic election, California voters were dashing the dreams of LGBT children throughout the world. Today, they doubt voters will ever grant an LGBT candidate the same defining moment of acceptance.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

When we’re young, life is immeasurable and expansive. As we leave the coddled confines of our childhood, it is the equivalent of the snail emerging from its protective shell to explore all that exists in the grand garden of life…eager and idealistic…hopeful to a fault in the absence of unforeseen obstacles and disappointments…unaware of the protective nature of the domicile we depart.

My journey began in 1976 as I graduated from The Abbey School. Two years prior to my graduation, I made a decision I recall announcing in our kitchen to my mom, “I won’t be the valedictorian of my class…that’s not what’s important to me…but I’m going to win the Sullivan Award”. I can’t even say exactly how she reacted though I believe it was part surprise and part puzzlement at such a specific pronouncement. Once she absorbed my statement, she observed that grades weren’t everything and, by and large, left it at that.

The Sullivan Award was given at graduation to the high school student who contributed the most to student life during their four years of attendance. While an esoteric achievement, it fully symbolized my sense of community and my unyielding belief in the promise of humanity. On a warm summer day in front of the towering monastery…as a member of the esteemed 50th graduating class…in the centennial year of Colorado’s statehood and the bicentennial year of this nations existence…I received the Sullivan Award…and all was well in my idyllic world. My dreams had come true.

In a few short months, while attending college, I cast my first vote for Jimmy Carter and life was my oyster. Much to my dismay, little else would measure up for many years to come. Aware of my homosexuality, but determined to suppress it, I decided to quit college after three years and return home to work with my dad and his brother.

On the surface, the decision had the appearance of a considered choice, but in retrospect, it was motivated by my fear that should I remain in college, the opportunities to pursue my orientation would overwhelm my hesitations and preclude the remainder of my smoldering dreams…not the least of which was the political arena and the fanciful notion that the presidency was within the realm of possibilities.

In hindsight, my actions had little to do with choice and everything to do with being a Catholic raised in a small community where the thought of being gay struck my psyche as nothing more than a perceived and fully unacceptable pathology…the kind that not only precludes one from social acceptability…but most certainly eliminates any fanciful ideas of the presidency.

Yes, the little boy of five (who vividly remembered every detail of the assassination of John Kennedy…including the faces of those he encountered as he entered Safeway with is father after having heard the news on the radio)…and the boy of 10 (who watched every speech and every primary in the candidacy of Robert Kennedy…including anxiously getting up early in the morning to see if he had finally been declared the winner of the California primary…only to realize he was dead)…and the teenage boy (who watched the Watergate hearings with an intensity reserved for a member of the prosecution…up to and including the moment when Richard Nixon…the antithesis of his idealism…finally boarded a helicopter and released the presidency from the egregious grip of corruption)…had by the age of 21 found himself feeling as if fate had stripped him of his dreams.

Four years later, following countless hours of contemplation and with the realization that I had now lived a lie for a quarter of a century…I met a man and fell in love. Soon after, I allowed myself to accept my sexuality, announced it to my family, and on the spur of the moment…on a summer afternoon…with my relationship with my family in ruins and all that remained of my seemingly shattered life hastily tossed in a pickup truck…I moved to Denver.

Ever the idealist, abundantly na–¯ve, and convinced that acceptance…or at least some simulation thereof…would undoubtedly come by affiliating with other homosexuals…I jumped headfirst into being gay. Unfortunately, doing so while attaching oneself to a lover is apt to end up being little more than an act of misguided transference. Should one be unlucky enough to choose, in haste, the wrong partner or the wrong affiliations, the process of separating oneself and completing the task of attaining a sound and self-sufficient identity can appear to be an insurmountable struggle.

In retrospect, it’s terribly saddening that gays…during the coming out process…the moment they most need support…are often required to summon a strength they most likely lack in order to accept and understand the rejection they encounter from those they love. Toss in the abject scorn that much of society heaps upon homosexuals and you have a rather rancid recipe unlikely to bake an ebullient and unencumbered identity.


Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

Scalia: Some Rights Are More Equal Than Others

There’s a great quote in Animal Farm by George Orwell where he notes that some animals are more equal than others. Even though Antonin Scalia is steeped in fear of danger to our citizens, he’s decided that the right to bear arms is a far more equal right than is habeas corpus. So goes my reading of the case.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Reviewing Antonin Scalia’s opinions this last week in two big cases, his dissent in the habeas corpus decision thratening the viability of Gitmo, and his majority opinion in the Washington DC case threatening all the citizens of that fair city, I am reminded of that famous quote in George Orwell’s Animal House: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” As the two cases before the Supreme Court tackle two of our most fundamental rights, of habeas corpus and the right to bear arms, it seems appropriate to note whether Justice Scalia treeats them equally. I aver he does not. Habeas corpus to Scalia evidently only counts if a person is a citizen of the US, though if that citizen is declared an enemy combatant, that right likely goes out the window for Scalia. Why? Good question – answers after the break…


Friday, June 27th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |