By Robert A. Vella

The U.S. Supreme Court issued three important rulings today related to political gerrymandering, legal double-jeopardy, and so-called “religious freedom.”  There is growing alarm among legal analysts and political observers that President Trump’s unchecked abuses of power will escalate particularly concerning the 2020 election which his own internal polling shows him trailing badly against several possible Democratic opponents.  The European Union, under continuous rhetorical attack from Trump, is moving to upgrade its own military defenses under the assumption that the U.S. can no longer be relied upon as an ally.  Climate change, population growth, and mismanagement of freshwater resources are causing vital river systems in North America to dry up especially in the desert southwest.

SCOTUS rulings

From:  U.S. Supreme Court spurns Virginia Republicans in racial gerrymandering case

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed Republican legislators in Virginia a defeat, leaving in place a ruling that invalidated state electoral districts they drew because they weakened the clout of black voters in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The justices, in a 5-4 decision, sidestepped a ruling on the merits of the case. They instead found that the Republican-led state House of Delegates lacked the necessary legal standing to appeal a lower court ruling that invalidated 11 state House districts for racial discrimination.


The state’s House of Delegates “lacks authority to displace Virginia’s attorney general as representative of the state,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court’s majority.

From:  U.S. Supreme Court declines to expand ‘double jeopardy’ protections

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to limit the ability of federal and state prosecutors to charge people for the same crime, ruling in a gun possession case even as state officials move to prosecute people charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe who potentially may get a presidential pardon.

From:  U.S. Supreme Court sends lesbian wedding cake dispute back to lower court

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a lower court ruling against the owners of an Oregon bakery who refused based on their Christian beliefs to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in another case pitting gay rights against religious rights.

The justices sent the case back to the Oregon Court of Appeals so it can take a second look at its ruling against the bakery owners in light of the Supreme Court’s June 2018 ruling in a strikingly similar case from Colorado.

Trump’s lack of accountability

From:  ‘There’s no accountability’: Trump, White House aides signal a willingness to act with impunity in drive for reelection

Slumping in the polls and at war with his political rivals, President Trump has signaled a willingness to act with impunity in his drive for reelection, taking steps over the past week that demonstrate a disregard for legal boundaries meant to hold him accountable and protect the sanctity of American democracy.


Taken together, the actions set off new alarm bells among legal analysts and Trump’s political rivals who warned that the president and his aides have emerged from the scorched-earth battle over the special counsel’s 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election with a conviction that they need not feel constrained by the safeguards built into the nation’s political system as they look to 2020.

“We’re at a bad place. They’re emboldened and not trying to hide it anymore,” said Glenn Kirschner, a legal analyst who spent three decades as a federal prosecutor.

From:  Trump Campaign to Purge Pollsters After Leak of Dismal Results

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s campaign has decided to purge some of its pollsters after a leak of dismal internal polls for the president that he denied existed.

Just two days before the president is set to kick off his bid for re-election, a top adviser said on Sunday that the campaign was cutting ties with three of its five pollsters to prevent further disclosure of survey data.

E.U. defense project

From:  Spain joins France and Germany in race to build Europe’s next combat jet

PARIS, June 17 (Reuters) – Spain on Monday joined a Franco-German project to build a next-generation fighter jet, an initiative touted as key to ensuring Europe can defend itself without depending on allies in an increasingly uncertain world.

Dassault Aviation and Airbus will build the warplane which is expected to be operational from 2040, with a view to replacing Dassault’s Rafale and Germany’s Eurofighter over time.

The European project faces competition from Britain, which last year launched its own plans for a new combat jet dubbed “Tempest.” Industry executives have urged European capitals to move swiftly or risk losing out in a global market to bigger players led by the United States, or even China in the future.

15 American rivers are drying up

Via:  15 Rivers in America That Are Running Dry

  1. Gila River – New Mexico
  2. Rio Grande – Texas, Mexico
  3. Pecos River – Texas
  4. John Day River – Oregon
  5. North Fork Red River – Oklahoma, Texas
  6. Canadian River – Oklahoma
  7. Arkansas River – Colorado, Kansas Oklahoma, Arkansas
  8. Brazos River – Texas
  9. Colorado River – Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Mexico
  10. Red River – Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana
  11. Washita River – Oklahoma, Texas
  12. Smoky Hill River – Colorado, Kansas
  13. Ouachita River – Arkansas, Louisiana
  14. Sacramento River – California
  15. Gasconade River – Missouri

Related story from:  Progressive climate policy poised to pass in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon is on the precipice of becoming the second state after California to adopt a cap-and-trade program, a market-based approach to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions behind global warming.

Supporters call it the United States’ most progressive climate policy, saying it not only cuts emissions but invests in transitioning the state economy and infrastructure to better prepare for more intense weather events as climate change worsens.

5 thoughts on “SCOTUS rulings, Trump’s lack of accountability, E.U. defense project, 15 American rivers are drying up

  1. A bit of good news from the Supreme Court, but more evidence that we are sick, insane and suicidal. It scares me that so many people can ignore reality. We’re killing the planet. Yes, it will survive, but few humans and animals will and the changes are beyond despicable and contemptible. I don’t know the proper language to convey how horrible this is.

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