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Showing posts with label SCOTUS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SCOTUS. Show all posts

Friday, April 28, 2017

Get 'Er Done

Over the next day or two, much will be written about President Trump's first 100 days in office. Many will say that he hasn't done anything really and they would be correct. But that doesn't matter to the GOP voter. Why?

Neil Gorsuch.

If there was ever a campaign that was single issue, 2016 was it. Conservatives held their nose and voted for a guy that is repugnant for one simple reason. They wanted a conservative, not a liberal, on SCOTUS and they got it. Anything else he does can be explained away and/or stymied (e.g. health care repeal/replace). Trump "got 'er done"

What Democrats need to understand is that even though Republicans are a dying party, they are a dying party that votes. They don't stay home because of single issues like Supreme Court nominees. So, this begs the question...what turns out Democrats? Solid candidates with populist streaks and connections to ordinary citizens. This is why Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won by such large margins.

Get people out to vote. Get local candidates to run. It's just that simple.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Puzzling Gorsuch

Now that Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed by the Senate to take the seat left empty by the passing of Antonin Scalia last year, I find myself puzzled over why conservatives are so elated. Do they think that Gorsuch is going to help them out on issues of abortion, affirmative action or same sex marriage? After all, the court has ruled on cases recently which upheld affirmative action, struck down restrictions on abortion and declared same sex marriage to be Constitutional.

So, despite there being "conservative" justices on the court, liberals are still having their way. I have to wonder if Gorsuch will tip anything right at all. Certainly, Alito and Thomas will vote to the right but Kennedy and Roberts aren't exactly the right wing blogger/commenter's dream, are they? Certainly, I would have preferred Merrick Garland for a variety of reasons, the most important one of which was that it was his seat. The Senate failed to do their duty.

Yet something tells me that all those folks who held their nose and voted for Trump simply because of right wing Supreme Court fever dreams are going to end up mightily disappointed.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why I Heart Al Franken


Sen. Franken Pushes Back Against Republicans Obstructing Supre...
In case you missed it, yesterday in the Judiciary Committee I decided to set the record straight on some of the absurd arguments that many Senate Republicans are using to shirk their constitutional duty. They are refusing to hold hearings for Chief Judge Merrick Garland—President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court—and many are refusing to even meet with him. This is obstruction, plain and simple, and the American people deserve better.
Posted by U.S. Senator Al Franken on Friday, March 18, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Boiling Vat of Oil


Monday, March 07, 2016

Not #1!!!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Supreme Court Vacancy


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Things Just Crazier For 2016

With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the political world has been thrown into more than just its usual upheaval. The Supreme Court is now drawn even at 4-4 and will likely vote that way on most of the incoming and most controversial cases. SCOTUS Blog has the best coverage available for exactly what it means in terms of these pending cases before the court.

President Obama has said that we will name a replacement quickly and expects the Senate to confirm his nomination. Mitch McConnell has said that such a nomination should be delayed a full year until the new president takes office. This tack was echoed last night by all candidates (save Jeb Bush) in the GOP debate. I guess the president's last year isn't exactly going to be calm.

Honestly, it's a lose-lose situation for McConnell. He stalls and the sheen that is on a somewhat productive Senate goes away during an election year. He allows a vote to go forward and the president gets to install a vote that will surely side with the four liberal justices thus tipping the balance. I think he's going to ride out that first choice as long as he can.

I hope he does:)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Adolescents, Wordsmiths and The Right Wing Blogsphere

The New York Times has an interesting piece in today's paper about the "four words that imperil" the Affordable Care Act...interesting in that it fails to address the real problem with King V Burwell. It seems some parties concerned are most befuddled at how a simple phrase could lead to a Supreme Court Case that could ultimately lead to the removal of health care subsidies for all those states which do not have their own exchange. Well, when you understand these assholes...


and the fact that they live  most of their lives in the comments sections of blogs vainly attempting to wordsmith and fallacy their way into a "win," you grasp the origin of the problem. The drafting error of the ACA that led to the use of the words "the state" was the sweetest crack cocaine for the conservative base which is filled with adolescent losers that one frequently sees trolling various online forums. After all, nothing sends these children into a tantrum like the words "the state." 

Shit...every right wing blogger from here to Timbuktu sprung a boner at the thought of being able to finally "get" Obama and those liberals in the ULTIMATE FLAME WAR. The lead attorney and all the plaintiffs in this case are classic examples of the mouthfoaming conservative who endlessly try to find some way to wordsmith and bamboozle their opponents into defeat. Of course, it can never actually be about the law itself because they have fucking lost on that every single time. It has to be some sort of hyper obsessive focus on a word that will ultimately spell "doom" for those evil statists.
Then, they can merrily dance their happy dance with one another, issuing imperial declarations at how we've all been told many times how right they have been all along, revealing the inner authoritarian they pretend doesn't exist. 

I suppose this is finally their day in the sun and they should get to enjoy one last chance at denying success to their mortal enemies. Consider what joy their lives will be filled with should SCOTUS rule in their favor. The adolescent glee in the air will be almost palpable....


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Supreme Court of United States Gives Air Time To Right Wing Blogger

It comes as  absolutely no surprise to me that the face of King V Burwell suffers from Obama Mental Meltdown Syndrome.

The man who could cripple Obamacare isn’t shy about telling the world that he thinks the president is an “idiot,” posting altered images of the first lady in Middle Eastern clothing and expressing his hatred for the “Democraps” who enacted the health care law.

A review of King’s public social media accounts show he is a proud grandfather who loves his family, enjoys cooking and sharing photos from conservative blogs. One image shows a photo from the movie “Back to the Future” with instructions to the time traveler: “Marty, there is no time to lose. You must go back in time and give Obama’s dad a condom.”

On Facebook, King frequently criticizes Obamacare and immigration policies and espouses support for limited government, the Second Amendment and Republican political candidates. He jokes often that the federal government is watching him.

Great...

So, somehow, the Supreme Court of the United States managed to give air time to a fucking right wing blogger. I do take heart in one thing, though...

“So do you think NSA, FBI and the other three letter government workers watch face book? Just wonder because if they do I’ll have a house full of them soon. I guess we will be able to enjoy a cold beer and make fun of the idiot in the White House,” he posted on Oct. 8, 2013. “I sued the irs over this bull shit so … get ready.”

So much for the "frivolous" lawsuits meme!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Standing in King V Burwell

Two recent stories in the Wall Street Journal (here and here) raise significant queries as to whether or not the people bringing suit against the ACA have standing to even do so.

Legal experts say the fact that Mr. King could avoid paying the penalty for lacking insurance by enrolling in VA coverage undermines his legal right to bring the case, known as “standing.” The wife of a second plaintiff has described her husband on social media as being a Vietnam veteran. The government previously questioned the standing of a third plaintiff on the grounds that her income may exempt her from paying the penalty for lacking insurance, but a lower court didn’t address the issue.

So, why did they bring about this suit?

Mr. King said his challenge to the law is “not about me,” but rather an effort he undertook for his family and others to bring down the health law.

Ah, so he suffers from Obama Mental Meltdown Syndrome....always a sound reason to go to the Supreme Court.

Worse, we are still stuck on the "not letting him win no matter what!!" mentality.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Who Has The Most Anxiety?

At first glance, the Supreme Court's looming decision in the King V Burwell case will cause the president and the Democrats the most anxiety. If SCOTUS decides that the subsidies do not apply to the states that do not have their own exchanges and are being run by the federal government, millions will lose coverage.

Yet, if I were a conservative, I would think for a moment before I began to thump my chest in victory over the president. This recent piece from AP details how Republicans have quite a bit to lose as well from such a decision.

RED STATES IN THE PATH

Insurance losses would be concentrated in Republican-led states, which have resisted "Obamacare." Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, and New Jersey are among those with the most to lose. Residents of blue states that are running their own markets would continue to receive benefits.

"It is not simply a function of law or ideology; there are practical impacts on high numbers of people," said Republican Mike Leavitt, a former federal health secretary now heading a health care consulting firm.

Because the health law's 2015 sign-up season is still under way, it's unclear how many millions of people could become uninsured. Two independent studies estimate around 8 million. Not all the 37 states where the federal government is currently running insurance markets would be affected equally. Some have made progress setting up their own exchanges.

Imagine you are a Republican governor of one of these states and suddenly millions of your constituents lose their coverage. Certainly, there would be some people that would blame the president but there would be plenty that would blame you.

That's why I predict, in what will be most amusing irony, Republican governors will end up putting together their own exchanges should the court rule against the president. Eventually, every state will and should have their own exchange. This way the federal government can be kept out of it to a greater degree and conservatives can claim some sort of victory. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Free Speech and Clinic Safety

Noah Feldman from Bloomberg breaks down the recent SCOTUS decision which allows anti-abortion activists inside the buffer zones that clinics have created in front of their buildings for safety. He notes that a first glance might reveal a big victory for abortion foes. Yet, a closer examination reveals much more.

The crucial element in the opinion — the element that got the liberals on board and enraged the conservatives — is that Roberts said the law was neutral with respect to the content of speech as well as the viewpoint of the speakers. That conclusion protected the possibility of other laws protecting women seeking abortions that pay more attention to what Roberts said was missing here, namely proof that the law was narrowly tailored.

What would be a real world example?

Consider a law banning sound trucks blaring on your street at night. It would probably be constitutional, because the government has a significant interest in citizens’ sleep, and there would be plenty of other times for sound trucks to operate, leaving ample alternatives for communication. It is this standard that Roberts applied to the buffer zone — and that will therefore be applied to other, similar buffer laws in the future.

Essentially, the details of the ruling give fair warning to abortion foes who may be emboldened to shout or threaten clinic patrons. The constitutionality of a ban or a buffer zone is still there because (surprise!) the freedom of speech is not unlimited.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

John Paul Stevens v The Gun Cult

Well, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens went and done did it. He has taken on the Gun Cult. Here is how he would change the 2nd Amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.

Holy SHEEEIT! Look out!!! Here comes that boiling pit of sewage frothed with a fresh set of bowels blown!!!

Props out to him for having the guts to go that far and shine a spotlight on the people in this country who have very serious control and authority issues. The link above should also be noted for this passage.

He recalls a colorful remark on the topic by the late Warren Burger, who served as chief justice from 1969 to 1986. Responding to the NRA’s lobbying campaign opposing gun control laws in the name of Second Amendment rights, Burger, a lifelong conservative, remarked during a television interview in 1991 that the amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat, fraud—on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

Completely agree. I would not go as far as to ban private ownership of guns as Stevens suggests but I do think it is way past time in allowing the assholes of the Gun Cult free reign on the 2nd Amendment. Just like Republican Jesus believers, they are not the sole interpreter of the Constitution simply because they act like the biggest dicks.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

My Hair Is Not On Fire

Liberals are running around today with their hair on fire after yesterday's SCOTUS ruling on campaign contributions. The "end is nigh" because there is (gasp!) money in politics. I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked to find out the gambling is going on in this establishment!! Well, I have a few words for my friends on the left who think life, as we know it, is over.

Pay attention to the nuance of this case. If you read the SCOTUS blog link, you can see that there is more transparency now. There is also a larger playing field for individuals, not just mega donors, to get in the game. If liberals really want to have an effect on this issue, they need to push for transparency. Anyone who donates in whatever amount has to be disclosed in the most transparent way.

Consider as well how much money was spent to defeat the president and how it all amounted to zilch. Money isn't as much of a factor as you think given other influences in politics today. Look at the example of social media. Facebook and Twitter are free, right? Anyone can post a video on YouTube. This is what people look at these days and they are more of an influence on votes than millions of dollars of donations. Honestly, the mouth foamers about this law don't understand the digital generation.

This ruling also puts more power back in the hands of the parties and out of the hands of the mega donors. I predict we will see the decline of the Super Pac as a result of this decision.

So, liberals, chill the fuck out! Money has always been in politics and it always will. If you try to ban it, somehow it will find a way to spread around. Keep it out in the open and remove all limits and watch how its effect diminishes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tough One

The Supreme Court has a tough one in front of it with this case. Does free speech trump possible physical danger?

A couple of mornings a week, Eleanor McCullen stakes out a spot outside the Planned Parenthood clinic here and tries to persuade women on their way in to think twice before having an abortion. But she has to watch her step. If she crosses a painted yellow semicircle outside the clinic’s entrance, she commits a crime under a 2007 Massachusetts law. Early last Wednesday, bundled up against the 7-degree cold, Ms. McCullen said she found the line to be intimidating, frustrating and a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in her challenge to the law.

Yet...

The state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley, who is the lead defendant in the suit, said the 35-foot buffer zone created by the 2007 law was a necessary response to an ugly history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.

It's going to be interesting what SCOTUS has to say about this. My first reaction is what difference does a few feet make? Is there some sort of Pavlovian response to having a line drawn the prevents people from committing violence? Before reading their opinions, I say that Ms. McCullen's right to free speech is being violated. It's a public street. People can say whatever they want. If you are tough enough to go get an abortion, you can withstand an extra few seconds of conversation.

Or maybe you shouldn't have been a moron in the first place and used birth control more effectively.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Health Care Conversation

Here's a recent conversation I had with a Facebook friend who is positively apoplectic about the Supreme Court's decision on health care. I thought I would copy and past some portions of it as it speaks to some of the comments I have received here thus far. His comments are in blue.

Mark, you're missing the point. The Court didn't say that Congress has the power to tax people for not buying insurance because insurance is important and necessary. The Court said Congress can simply tax people for not doing whatever Congress wants them to do. The point is that if Congress can tax us for not having insurance, it can tax us for not exercising or not eating enough green vegetables.

 I disagree. In looking at the brief, it's very clear throughout the entire opinion that this ties to health care and shared responsibility. For example, 


A tax on going without health insurance does not fall within any recognized category of direct tax. It is not a capitation. Capitations are taxes paid by every person, “without regard to property, profession, or any other circumstance.”  The whole point of the shared responsibility payment is that it is triggered by specific circumstances—earning a certain amount of income but not obtaining health insurance. The payment is also plainly not a tax on the ownership of land or personal property. The shared responsibility payment is thus not a direct tax that must be apportioned among the several States.


To me, this says that the health care market is unique and sets up a precedent that Congress cannot tax people for not doing whatever it is they want them to do. Roberts details that further. 


Congress’s ability to use its taxing power to influence conduct is not without limits. A few of our cases policed these limits aggressively, invalidating punitive exactions obviously designed to regulate behavior otherwise regarded at the time as beyond federal authority.


And the fact that everyone should have decent health care doesn't give Congress or the Court the right to trample to trample the Constitution and invent new powers for Congress to achieve a desired end. I agree that those who benefit from receiving health care should pay for it. But that doesn't mean that the federal government, having gotten in the business of providing and paying for health care, has broad power to compel people to buy health insurance.


From the brief... 


None of this is to say that payment is not intended to induce the purchase of health insurance. But the mandate need not be read to declare that failing to do so is unlawful. Neither the Affordable Care Act nor any other law attaches negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance, beyond requiring a payment to the IRS. And Congress’s choice of language—stating that individuals “shall” obtain insurance or pay a “penalty”—does not require reading §5000A as punishing unlawful conduct.


Further 


The Act, however, bars the IRS from using several of its normal enforcement tools, such as criminal prosecutions and levies. §5000A(g)(2). And some individuals who are subject to the mandate are nonetheless exempt from the penalty—for example, those with income below a certainthreshold and members of Indian tribes. §5000A(e).


So, it's not "broad or new power." In fact, Roberts points out (as does the law), that it is limited power. Roberts also goes to great lengths to point out in the commerce clause section and necessary and proper section that the Constitution does indeed limit the power of the federal government. So, no trampling here certainly. I'd also urge you to read pgs 41-43 of the brief and take note of Roberts reference to Benjamin Franklin's letter to M. Le Roy regarding the Constitution and taxes. 


What if we moved away from an insurance-based model and simply expected that people were going to pay hospital and doctor bills on their own? The cost of healthcare is ridiculously inflated by the comprehensive insurance model, which keeps larding benefits into plans. The government can tax people to put money into a pool available on a means-tested basis for those who can't pay for major health problems. Let people take back ownership for their own health care costs, decisions and priorities. 


The issue I have here is inelastic demand. If services and products were directly available to the public without insurance in the way, what's to stop the supplier from charging a high price. In many health care markets, demand is inelastic because people aren't going to leave the market when the price goes up. The suppliers will know that they have their customers trapped and will undoubtedly act to increase profit. So, these markets would not allocate resources efficiently and consumer surplus would erode. Believe me, I'd love to remove insurance from the equation. My wife and I pay nearly 800 dollars a month for our family! But that would lead to higher prices unless the government got involved and put price controls in place. That also would be detrimental as it would erode market efficiency. 


Don't forget that the Democratic Congress and the Administration argued loudly and repeatedly that revenue in re: the individual mandate was NOT a tax. The Court has declared that it is, so therefore it is constitutional. It's bizarro-world. Again, what practical limits are there now on Congress' power to force people to do whatever it happens to decide is in the people's best interest?


These practical limits are pointed out extensively in the brief as I have listed above. You and I have different sensitivities when it comes to the federal government so we will likely have to agree to disagree here. My hope is that you take some solace in Roberts' words, though:) 


Enumerated powers is effectively a dead doctrine, and now the federal government can do anything that the constitution and Court precedent have not explicitly forbidden. Think about that, and what that might mean when a political party and/or President you don't like get back in power.


Well, this speaks to our differing views on government. Yes, government is indeed bigger today but so is the private sector. I don't see a problem with that. We have a 15 trillion dollar economy and a global marketplace that is in a constant state of change every single day. In my view, having less government in light of these facts (and regardless of who is in power), would be detrimental.


That's it so far. Likely the conversation will continue...