Category Archives: Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court Sends Obamacare Back to the People, Where it Rightfully Belongs.

“Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.”  William Shakespeare

Like many conservatives I had come to hope the United States Supreme Court would not only put an end to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but would also breathe life into the 10th Amendment by placing much needed limitation on the “Commerce Clause”. That hope was awkward and indeed misplaces as one who has opposed judicial activism relying on the court to overturn a legislative act was uncomfortable. It ended just after 10 am yesterday as the court essentially upheld most of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In doing so the court put Obamacare exactly where it belonged, in the hands of the American People who will almost certainly decide its fate at the ballot box November 6, 2012.

John G. Roberts, 17th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

To be clear, I disagree strongly with Chief Justice Roberts and his majority opinion, believing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong dissent was on firmer constitutional ground. Yet my faith in the constitution and the institutions it defines necessitates respect for the decision of the court. I suspect history will long debate the words we first read yesterday but the fate of Obamacare has now passed back to the legislative branch the people who elect their representatives.

We can play “who wins the polls” all day and do nothing but waste hot air. What is clear is Obamacare has failed to secure the majority support among the American people that any major piece of social legislation (think Civil Rights which had strong majority bi-partisan support) has in modern American history. The President and the Democratic leaders in congress were hard pressed to pass the legislation despite strong majorities in both houses of congress. Indeed in all votes more Democrats voted in opposition to their own parties proposal than Republicans voting for healthcare. Then Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi famously told Democrats they had to pass the bill so the public would come to understand and support healthcare reform. Without a doubt this was the central issue in the 2010 Congressional election which resulted in significant Democratic losses in the senate and a near record loss in the House which saw control pass to the Republicans. Throughout the 112th Congress Obamacare has continued to be the focus of debate with the House passing legislation repealing and Senate democrats killing those bills without a vote. Indeed the repeal votes have been little more than political theater since with Barack Obama in the White House, no repeal can ever become law. So Republicans have had to settle for preventing key elements of Obamacare from being funded (such as IRS agents being hired to enforce the taxation elements).

Obamacare

Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in American History

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the solution to this situation seems crystal clear as Obamacare now stands to be one of if not the central issue of the 2012 Presidential & Congressional elections. Indeed, it would seem that in authoring that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts may have helped the conservative cause much more than was first apparent. Clearly, the Obama fabrication that Obamacare was not a tax increase was undermined by his own Solicitor Generals oral argument and was killed in Roberts ruling. Republicans how have a clear case to present that Barack Obama has put into place the largest tax increase in American history, for the middle class and every other class. While initially less apparent but potentially of greater long term significant, Chief Justice Roberts has for the first time in modern history placed significant limits on the Commerce Clause, indeed stating that if the act had relied upon that it would have been unconstitutional. This guidance will live on for generations and many liberals may come to have considerable indigestion over this.

Mitt Romney Pledges to Repeal and Replace Obamacare as First Act Upon becoming President in the Wake of June 28th Supreme Court Decision

Thus Obamacare will be put to its most significant vote exactly where the decision should be made, by the American People. Mitt Romney was quick to say that if he is elected president and sworn in on January 20, 2013 his first act will be to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Given the GOP has a strong majority in the house and with 23 Democrats to just 10 Republicans up for election in the senate this year, a President Romney would almost certainly have majorities in both houses of congress. Obamacare would soon find a place of honor on the ash pile of history. However, if President Obama is reelected, it much less likely he would have both houses of congress, yet he would have a real mandate to move forward with Obamacare. He may well have to finally negotiate in a truly bi-partisan manner to realize the funding required to implement Obamacare, but he would have a moral mandate to move forward (even though we conservatives would like it no better). The only way Obamacare can be implemented as it now exists would be for the American People themselves to show their support by not only re-electing President Obama but giving the Pelosi-Reid Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress.

So the battle lines are drawn and the fight has been joined. Within 24 hours of the court’s decision Mitt Romney raised more than $5 million in small donor online funds and a yet unknown non-online donations. While many things have been said and debated about Barack Obama, one thing is for certain, he is the great unifier of Republicans. Mitt Romney in one day has seen significant divisions in his own base evaporate and conservatives find enthusiasm for his candidacy. Mitt Romney has become the great, if unlikely, savior of free market health care in America. Barack Obama is now clearly the advocate of socialized medicine and the massive tax increases which will be needed to affect such a program. To be certain there will be other issues in the 2012 election such as America’s role in the world, keeping American’s Safe and restoring our nation’s economic base and getting millions of Americans back to work. Yet the fate of health care in America is almost certainly to be decided in this election and the debate over it pivotal to the election itself.

Let the fight begin, it sure will not be boring.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Congress, Constitution, Free Markets, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Supreme Court of the United States, Taxes, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

Supreme Court of the United States Orders Release of up to 46,000 Prison Inmates in California

Yesterday we received a vivid example of why perhaps the single biggest impact the next president may have is the appointment of the next one or two justices to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) as the justices in a 5 to 4 decision upheld an order to release of up to 46,000 prisoners in the California prison system. The written decision was accompanied by dissenting opinions by the court’s four conservative justices which contain some of the most animated language seen in recent years. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined with the courts four liberal justices and wrote the opinion for the majority in upholding a lower court order. Justice Antonin Scalia characterized the lower courts actions saying “The proceedings that led to this result were a judicial travesty”.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America

Now let’s not let The State of California off easy is that they have practiced the dual hypocrisy of being tough on crime while not implementing the policies and resulting spending on prison construction needed to support those policies. California has a death penalty which is widely imposed by local courts and has left the state with the largest death row population in the nation with over 700, yet the state has executed only 13 since the death penalty was reintroduced in 1976. California led the nation with one of the toughest Three Strikes laws resulting in the incarceration of thousands of repeat felons, yet has lagged the nation in new prison construction. Courts for years have been citing the state for the sub standard treatment of inmates and threatening forced releases, yet the Democrat dominated state legislature failed to protect the people of the state from risk posed by a forced release.

Yet the upholding of a lower federal court order directing the release of state inmates on this level is without precedent. Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent joined by Chief Justice John Roberts “The majority is gambling with the safety of the people of California. Before putting public safety at risk, every reasonable precaution should be taken… I fear that today’s decision, like prior prisoner release orders, will lead to a grim roster of victims. I hope that I am wrong. In a few years, we will see.”

While saying he would protect the people of the state, California Governor Jerry Brown did not disagree with the logic of the decision. His administration has a plan to shift as many as 30,000 inmates to already crowded county jails. I guess that means Lindsey Lohan has little to fear about going back to jail.

For Conservatives there is much to fear in this decision and it serves to illustrate how fragile the assumed 5 to 4 conservative majority is on the high court. This extends a recent trend for the high court to insert itself into the affairs of the states in areas of clear state jurisdiction rather than deferring to state courts on those matters. Justice Anthony Kennedy, once seen as part of the 4 conservative justice block curing the Rehnquist court has increasingly joined with the four left wing justices. With major decisions on maters fundamental to the nature of government in our nation moving towards the Supreme Court, issues such as the constitutionality of the individual mandate in Obamacare, nothing is certain.

However perhaps the biggest take away of this decision is how important it is to make sure that the next president to make an appointment to the court is a Conservative Republican. Antonin Scalia, the leading conservative on the court is the second oldest justice at 75, having served more than 24 years. Guessing on when court vacancies will occur is a poor science, however it is likely the winner of the 2012 election will have at least one appointment, and that could well determine the future direction of our country on many current issues. Had John McCain won the 2008 election and made the last two appointments instead of President Obama, this decision almost certainly would not have occurred. Winning elections does matter and has profound effects for generations. This is something those of us on the right cannot

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Filed under 2012 Election, Law and Order, Politics, Republican Party, Supreme Court of the United States, The Grand Old Party