Tag Archives: SCOTUS

No ‘Obamacare’ Decision Today

News networks have been teasing the possibility that today the Supreme Court might make the decision on Obama’s health care reform law public, but it was not to be.

The on the  pivotal health care law had been expected to be included in releases this morning, but it was not. The decision is expected no later than the end of the month and may surface as soon as the Thursday press event.

On Monday, three decisions were released: Williams v. Illinois was affirmed, Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter was overturned, Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. was upheld, and Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak was upheld.

Now for the waiting, will Americans hear whether all or part of the Affordable Care Act will be deemed unconstitutional on Thursday or will the court make a decision at all before they go on summer recess at the end of the month?

 

Obamacare – Where Are We?




We are all aware that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare, is being debated this week at the US Supreme Court. While I am not a lawyer (or even played one on TV), I want to bring two points to your attention.

Justice Elana Kagan

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was present to hear arguments about Obamacare. She gave no indication she would recuse herself from judging Obamacare, even though she had cheered its enactment, is an Obama political appointee, and personally assigned her top deputy in the Obama Justice Department to defend the law in federal court. Federal law 28 USC 455 says a Supreme Court justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned” or anytime he has “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”    [emphasis mine]

During her confirmation process in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kagan assured the committee in written responses to its questionnaire that she would follow the “letter and spirit” of 28 U.S.C. 455. And here is some information that Kagan supplied during her Senate confirmation hearing after being nominated for the Supreme Court. She was given a 13 question questionnaire, and she responded in writing: Had she ever been asked her opinion about the merits or underlying legal issues in Florida’s lawsuit against Obamacare, and: Had she ever been asked her opinion regarding any other legal issues that may arise from Pub. L. No. 111-148? To both questions she responded “no.” But evidence suggests otherwise.

So the question is, “What part of 28 USC 455 does she not understand?” She qualifies for recusal under at least three provisions of 28 USC 455. Further, she said that she would follow the letter and spirit of the law. Further, when asked if she had been asked about Obamacare, she said no. Yet her responses were demonstrably false.

When questioning attorney Paul D. Clement (who was presenting an oral argument on behalf of 26 states seeking to have the federal health care law declared unconstitutional) Kagan said, “The exact same argument so, so that really reduces to the question of: why is a big gift from the federal government a matter of coercion? In other words, the federal government is here saying: we’re giving you a boatload of money. There are no, is no matching funds requirement. There are no extraneous conditions attached to it. It’s just a boatload of federal money for you to take and spend on poor people’s healthcare. It doesn’t sound coercive to me, I have to tell you.” She actually said that!

The Individual Mandate

Yesterday (March 28, 2012) Justice Antonin Scalia asked Obama’s solicitor general a fundamental question about the Obamacare mandate: “What is left? If the government can do this, what else can it not do?” Scalia asked the question of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli on the administration’s claim that forcing people to buy health insurance is justified by the clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution, specifically the third clause, which states: “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” In the “stretch” department, Verrilli argued that by not purchasing health insurance Americans are really participating in health-care commerce because by not buying insurance they are having an “effect” on interstate commerce in health care. Verrilli’s unstated assumption is that not buying health insurance is an “economic activity.” Scalia pointed out to Verrilli that the administration’s argument seemed to take no cognizance of the Tenth Amendment.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said that “…you don’t have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger. And here the government is saying that the Federal Government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases and that changes the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in the very fundamental way.”

So, following Kennedy’s reasoning, an ambitious and aggressive government, would literally be able to require anything, as long as it was for the “common good.” Where would this power end? Justice Sam Alito asked Verrilli if Congress could force young people to buy burial insurance because everyone is going to die someday. Chief Justice John Roberts asked Verrilli if Congress could force people to buy cell phones because it would facilitate contacting emergency services in the event of an accident. And Justice Kennedy asked Verrilli: “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it.”

Justice Scalia wondered if the mandate was confirmed, could destroy the very concept of limited government.

Where are we? With Kagan not recusing herself, who knows. We know that Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsberg are political hacks. All we can do is hope that at least five Justices view the mandate as unconstitutional, and therefore illegal.

But that’s just my opinion.

Obamacare, the Constitution, and the Founders – What SCOTUS should be debating

As we’re on the last day of arguments before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Obamacare, there are pundits from all sides offering their thoughts on every look, twitch, word, and tone coming from the Justices during the sessions. The vast majority are focused on the elasticity of the Commerce Clause and today in particular, on the lack of a Severability Clause in the current law. While the former is a favorite among left-wing legal analysts and Constitutionalists alike, the latter is the most-likely candidate to become the linchpin that either holds the law in place, or ends its existence.

Choose your painkillers

Choose your painkillers - Eric Norris (CC)


But neither of these even mentions one thing that theoretically should have been the center of the debate from the beginning. Obamacare overextends into the realm of State powers. Over-stretching the Commerce Clause to make it fit was wishful thinking, and hopefully the Justices will point that out. The only Constitutional way the Federal Government really had to enact this reform was through its power of taxation, not the regulation of commerce. For a relatively plain language explanation of this, one needs to look no further than The Federalist Papers, No. 45 to be exact.

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

It is not the Constitution. It is arguably, the definitive lobbyist’s playbook on the side of the States adopting the Constitution. Any time anyone suggests that SCOTUS needs to stop legislating from the bench, and stay true to the intentions of the Founders, this collection of documents should be included in the statement.

And in this case, Obamacare is a case of the Federal government overstepping into the realm of State jurisdiction. This is also why comparing this law to the one adopted in Massachusetts is a fallacy. The government of Massachusetts had the right to create that program for the benefit of their residents, as does every other State in the Union if it so chooses. You want healthcare reform, stop crying to Washington for it. It is a State issue, not Federal. Unless, of course, you are willing to take a massive Federal tax hike to pay for it. And yes, this is a little note to the Romney campaign – please feel free to point out what I’ve said here. Romneycare does not equal Obamacare, period.

Why Newt Appeals to Americans

Newt Gingrich is beginning to soar in the polls for many reasons. He is clearly the leader in the debates, which are really question and answer forums, for the Republican nomination. This is decidedly a factor in his popularity among those people who watch them.

His assault on the media’s hypocrisy concerning how they treat Democrats as opposed to Republicans is something to which people are drawn. This is something which people have been talking about for years and have not been able to do anything about beyond turning off the MSM news programs. Newt is getting back at the press for the duplicity of the press, a business protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in order to protect the right of the people to get the facts about what is going on in our government without government interference. The people of the USA know the media isn’t doing their job and they know the media has become an opinion generating machine for the Democratic Party.

People are angry. People are fuming at the President, at Congress and at the way their freedoms are being whittled away incrementally. They are angry at SCOTUS for legislating from the Bench. People are tired of being dictated to, of having their elections overturned by activist judges who are not elected.

But there is something much more subtle about his popularity that stems from this anger: it’s the way his vicious attacks on President (and I use that word loosely) Obama are seen by citizens. Newt is the only candidate to not only go after the media and the government, but he unequivocally goes after Obama in a way that people can’t. Common citizens, (actually, we’re subjects now,) are not allowed to vent the anger we feel openly in a public forum against the President and what he’s doing to our country without the old RACIST label being attached to them. People want to beat someone up for all the draconian actions this government, especially Obama, have taken against WE THE PEOPLE. The anger runs deep and it is frustrating to the people of this country to not be able to physically take their anger out on someone. It is not only pleasing to people that Newt is harassing the press, but that he is aggressively beating Obama’s policies to a pulp and it’s satisfying to those who can’t get up on a stage and speak their minds. The fact that firearm sales have skyrocketed is indicative of people’s fears and anger. People are ready to fight in the streets to protect the Constitution of the United States. Newt appears to be doing this for them in a verbal barrage calling legislatures, and the press, on their inequities.

This is probably the most important election we’re going to have as a country since the Constitution was adopted by the original Thirteen States. The Civil War elections weren’t even as important because that didn’t decide which direction our country would take on so many different levels of political tangents. Lincoln had to contend with the split of the country and yes, it was a Constitutional Crisis but he didn’t have to be concerned about massive government spending, Social Security, Welfare, wars in several different countries waged by a small number of American volunteers or any of the other issues we as Americans face today. The most important of the issues we are facing is whether or not we’re to remain a country that practices Free Market Capitalism or become a full blown Marxist state using fascism first, and gradually leading to communism. And Newt isn’t afraid to bring this argument to the debates right now, or those in the future with Obama.
Newt is fulfilling a psychological need of the general populace in this country. And people trust him to continue if he’s eventually elected as the nominee for President of the USA by the rank and file GOP. After all, after Saturday, January 22nd, 2012, there are still 47 states to vote in the primaries. People see Newt as having the brass balls they want the GOP nominee to have and they have not seen this kind of truthfulness or aggression since Reagan.

Oh, wait, is that 54 states?

A Busy Week for U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, Jan. 9th 2012 the Supreme Court handed down a decision rejecting a free-speech challenge to the longtime ban on contributions by foreign citizens who temporarily live and work in the United States. A three-judge panel had already affirmed and upheld the ban that was adopted by Congress to prevent foreigners from effecting U.S. Elections. Key points to consider in this most recent attempt to allow foreigners to donate money to U.S. politicians can be found in the fact that President Obama and fellow Democrats in Congress criticized the ruling, while Republicans applauded it. Once again Barack Obama and the Democrats are proven to be desperate to win the 2012 elections at any cost. Add to that the justice department’s blatant attempt to promote vote fraud in 2012 by trying to stop voter ID laws, and yes, it certainly appears that the current campaigner in chief knows darn well he is in trouble in his upcoming reelection bid. Several key Supreme Court decisions are to be handed down this week, some very important, and as you will see, some appear to be a waste of time and leave people wondering just how they got before the SCOTUS in the first place.  NewsDaily  provided the following ridiculous claims made by the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case of Bluman v. Federal Election Commission, No. 11-275.


The case involved Benjamin Bluman, a Canadian citizen who attended Harvard Law School and now works as an attorney for a New York law firm. He has lived in the United States since late 2009 and can remain in the country until November 2012.

The U.S. Justice Department said Congress adopted and then amended the law over the past 50 years in response to specific incidents of foreign interests seeking to spend money to sway American elections and government decisions.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli told the Supreme Court that invalidating the ban would allow millions of foreign nationals in the United States to spend unlimited amounts on election advocacy and contribute money directly to candidates, even at the behest of hostile foreign governments.

In addition to seeking to make campaign contributions, Bluman wanted to spend money to express his political views, seeking to print flyers that support Obama’s re-election and to distribute them in Central Park.

 

Note the key information in the above paragraph: A foreign citizen that graduated from Harvard simply wants to donate money and distribute fliers to Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, so the Supreme Court has to spend valuable time reaffirming that no foreign money from non-U.S. citizens will be allowed  to sway American elections and also sway…  .government decisions.  Meanwhile the Supreme Court refuses to be bothered with such trivial cases as to whether the POTUS is actually qualified to be president according to the Unites States constitution, as can be seen here.  Seems like someone has gotten their priorities backwards there, as far as the Supreme Court’s actual sworn duties are concerned.

Also on Monday the Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in the case of an Idaho couple that has been maliciously bullied and threatened with huge fines by the EPA simply because they wanted to build their dream home on a property they had bought years ago. An article at cnsnews.com has a complete rundown of this situation here. The lot they had purchased is bordered by houses on the north and south sides of the lot, is 500 feet from the shore of Priest lake and contains not one drop of standing water, yet the EPA has denied them usage of their own land simply because it has been deemed “wetlands.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation is representing the Sacketts, who have been given the run-around by the EPA in attempts to resolve this issue for going on four years now. The Sacketts filed suit in 2008 seeking to establish that EPA “wetlands” designations are subject to judicial review. Both the federal district court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the EPA. The court held that the Sacketts could not seek judicial review of the EPA “wetlands” designation until after they had restored the land to its original status and had applied for and had been denied a wetland permit. The wetland permit application is much more expensive and time consuming than local permits. The hidden message in the court decisions denying the Sackett’s due process in a court of law? The EPA is the federal government and the taxpayers have no right to question their decisions, ever.

Let’s hope the Supreme Court will put a stop to the EPA’s tyrannical unconstitutional law-making political agenda in this situation and that they set a precedent to reign in their power grab. Denying the Sacketts usage of the land they purchased hinges on the most ludicrous example of government stupidity to ever have to go before the Supreme Court: The supposed “wetlands” actually is as dry as a bone. The lake is across the road. There are already houses to the north and south of their land.  Is this what our founding fathers meant when they said a government of the people by the people and for the people?  Not even close. This is a very small case that has huge implications for all landowners in America.  What are the consequences of the Supreme Court refusing to stop the unconstitutional law-making of big government power-brokers in the near future? We then get things like Barack Obama, with help from the EPA and the Interior department banning uranium mining on 1 millions of public land outside the Grand Canyon for 20 years, as  can be seen here.  Here are a few facts from the CFP article :

Most people will be surprised to learn that nearly 30% of the 2.63 million square miles of the United States is directly owned by the federal government.

This federal land is located primarily in the West. For example, 69.1% of Alaska is owned by the federal government and 84% of Nevada. More than half of both Utah and Idaho is owned by the federal government. Other western states such as Arizona, California, Wyoming, Oregon, New Mexico and Colorado have from 53.1% to 36.6% of their land allocated to the federal government.

Check out the complete CFP article to see how the U.S. Congress in 2010 took more steps ( while under control of Democrats) to keep stealing taxpayer dollars to put into shady “trust funds” to take State land and to control every drop of water in the United States.  

The Supreme Court will also be reviewing three separate Texas redistricting cases this week which may be reviewed here. These disputes are, at their core, a fundamental test of historic questions about federalism — that is, the roles of federal vs. state governments in managing election processes. With the U.S. Justice Department infringing on State’s rights more every day today, all of this week’s Supreme Court decisions will have huge implications for all Americans in the very near future.

 Pay attention America, 2012 is here, and with it could come  four more years of Barack Obama and his radical power-brokers that are indeed, already transforming America.

 

 

 

 

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