Ethan Bronner of the New York Times: "Commentators from across the political spectrum have been saying that Justice Scalia, who is the most senior as well as, hands down, the funniest, most acerbic and most politically incorrect of the justices, went too far." ...
... E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post: "Justice Antonin Scalia needs to resign from the Supreme Court.... He really seems to aspire to being a politician -- and that's the problem. So often, Scalia has chosen to ignore the obligation of a Supreme Court justice to be, and appear to be, impartial." ...
... ** Joan Walsh of Salon: Scalia's "brazen partisanship might wake Americans up to the court's increasingly radical political agenda." ...
... Walter Dellinger in Slate: Psst. Nino. This country's states are not sovereign.
... AND the Old Goat Just Made up Stuff. Judge Richard Posner: "... the suggestion that illegal immigrants in Arizona are invading Americans' property, straining their social services, and even placing their lives in jeopardy is sufficiently inflammatory to call for a citation to some reputable source of such hyperbole. Justice Scalia cites nothing to support it." Posner cites some statistics that & assumptions that belie Scalia's argument.
Walter Dellinger on why the Court ruled against the Montana campaign finance case without hearing it: "the court's majority did not want to hear argument on whether in Montana, or anywhere else, independent expenditures can give rise to an appearance of corruption, because the court's conclusion in Citizens United on this point is almost surely wrong. For the majority's point of view, the less said about that, the better.... There is ... no external check on buying offices or other favors from government when money flows through independent committees."
Connor Simpson of the Atlantic: "Attorney General Eric Holder spent the night before his contempt vote mingling with the rest of Congress, including the GOP, at a barbecue for their families on the White House grounds." ...
... President Obama speaks at the barbecue. He seems so relaxed!
... Al Sharpton discusses the upcoming vote on contempt of Congress charges against AG Eric Holder with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), columnist Dana Milbank & writer Katherine Eban, whose 6-month investigation for Fortune revealed that Congressional charges about the "Fast & Furious" incident are fictional (Eban's story, also linked yesterday is here):
... Ryan Reilly of TPM: "A day ahead of a vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said his committee is no longer even strongly suspicious that highest ranking law enforcement officer in the country knew that guns 'walked' during the botched ATF operation known as Fast and Furious."
... Jonathan Allen of Politico: "The Congressional Black Caucus plans to walk off the House floor during [today]'s votes to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress, according to a letter being circulated among members of Congress." Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.
"The Scam Wall Street Learned from the Mafia." Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone: "... three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America. The [big] banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes -- from 'virtually every state, district and territory in the United States,' according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being cheated." When they were caught, the banks accepted fines, but government entities go "right on handing [them] billions of dollars in public contracts."
Making The Da Vinci Code a Reality. Adele Stan of AlterNet: "The pope's new PR strategist not only hails from Fox News; he belongs to the secretive Opus Dei society and lives in an all-male house cleaned by women members." Stan looks at the little distractions Greg Burke is supposed to cover up put in a favorable light.
Julian Borger of the Guardian: "A landmark case brought by a former United Nations employee against the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has cast light on what activists describe as a pervasive culture of impunity in an organisation where whistleblowers are given minimal protection from reprisals. James Wasserstrom, a veteran American diplomat, was sacked and then detained by UN police, who ransacked his flat, searched his car and put his picture on a wanted poster after he raised suspicions in 2007 about corruption in the senior ranks of the UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik)."
"War on Voting." Julian Brookes in Rolling Stone: "[Wednesday] This afternoon, the New Hampshire Legislature successfully overrode Gov. John Lynch's [D] veto of a voter ID law requiring voters to present driver's licenses, state-issued non-driver's identification cards, passports or military IDs before casting a ballot, though it doesn't come fully into force until after the November election. In Michigan, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder looks likely any day now to sign a bill requiring volunteers to attend state-approved training sessions before they can register voters.... The bill makes no provision for training sessions! Not only that, but volunteers have to have to sign an affidavit making them liable for registration offenses -- offenses that aren't specified! The bill is basically a copy a Florida law, parts of which a federal judge shot down in May, saying they had 'no purpose other than to discourage' voting."
As Marvin Schwalb said in commentary here some while back, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) numbers don't add up. But as Kate Zernike of the New York Times reports, Christie is doubling down on his fantasy numbers. He "derided the director of the nonpartisan office who downgraded the revenue estimates as a partisan hack, a 'Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers.' ... He promises to flog Democrats 'all long, hot summer' in town-hall-style meetings.... At a town-hall event on Tuesday..., Mr. Christie referred to [Paul Sarlo, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee,] with a profanity.” CW: Christie called Sarlo "an arrogant S.O.B." Video here.
Guardian: "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been served with a police letter saying he has to present himself to a London police station on Friday. Assange has been seeking political asylum inside Ecuador's embassy in London since last week as he tries to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about alleged sex offences."
Contemptible Contempt. Washington Post: "The House of Representatives voted Thursday to make Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress for withholding documents requested as part of a congressional investigation into a botched gun-running operation. On a vote of 255 to 67, the Republican-led House successfully sanctioned Holder for failing to cooperate with an ongoing probe into Operation 'Fast and Furious' ... On a separate vote, lawmakers voted 258 to 95 to approve a civil contempt charge against Holder." ...
... Washington Post: "The House plans to vote Thursday on whether Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. should become the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress for withholding documents requested as part of a congressional investigation into Operation 'Fast and Furious.'"
For News Ledes related to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act, see the next entry forward -- "ObamaCare."
Murdoch Steps Aside. From the Guardian liveblog: "The surprise in News Corp's announcement is that Rupert Murdoch will, for the first time in 60 years, not directly run the company's global stable of newspapers. He will be chairman of the new publishing business, but that is likely to be seen as a ceremonial role compared with his close involvement with his newspapers in the past."
Savvy Businessmen, My Ass. New York Times: "Losses on JPMorgan Chase's bungled trade could total as much as $9 billion, far exceeding earlier public estimates, according to people who have been briefed on the situation."
New York Times: "Some 26,000 people were forced to evacuate late Tuesday when the Waldo Canyon [Colorado Springs, Colorado] fire, as the blaze is known, exploded without warning -- just a day after officials reported making progress on it.... President Obama planned to survey the damage on Friday." The Denver Post front page currently links to numerous stories on the fires.
New York Times: "Overcoming lingering historical animosities with its former colonial master, South Korea said on Thursday that it would sign a treaty with Japan that would encourage the sharing of sensitive military data on their common concerns: North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and China's growing military expansion in the region."
Reuters: "Apple Inc's suppliers in China have violated local labor laws when they imposed excessive overtime and skimped on insurance, a New York-based labor rights group, [China Labor Watch,] said."
New York Times: "On Friday, Peter Madoff -- more than three years after his brother, Bernard, confessed to running a vast Ponzi scheme that swindled investors out of billions of dollars -- is expected to appear in Federal District Court in Manhattan and plead guilty to criminal charges, according to prosecutors."