Judiciary Archives

ObamaCare Ruled Unconstitutional

It’s just the latest ruling, and other courts have agreed and disagreed, but the lawsuit of 26 states against it has had a major ruling in its favor.

The ruling favors of the 26 state attorney generals challenging the law. The judge ruled the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance invalid and, according to the decision, "because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void."

Friday Link Wrap-up (Catch-up Edition)

More links this week since I didn’t get around to it last week.

What’s keeping this recession going for so long?  Ask James Madison.  Yes, that James Madison.

The 6th Circuit judge that upheld the health care reform individual mandate to buy insurance has really redefined terms in order to make his ruling.

With that reasoning, Judge Steeh thoroughly unmoors the commerce clause from its concern with actual economic activity that Congress can regulate to a more amorphous realm of “economic decisions” which apparently include the decision to NOT enter into commerce at all.

A better example of an activist judge you’re not likely to find soon.

Roger Ebert, in reviewing “Waiting for Superman”, acknowledges that the private school highlighted does better than public school, proclaiming “Our schools do not work”.  His solution?  (Wait for it…)  More money for public schools, for the ones that don’t work instead of encouraging what does work and at typically a lower cost per student.  Liberal education policies are now just talking points rather than reasoned arguments.

Remembering a sociopathic mass murderer, who is extolled by liberal students T-shirts everywhere.  (No, not Charles Manson. I’m talking about Che Guevara.)

The Rise of the (Conservative, Christian) Woman in American politics.

Juan Williams responds to the NPR sacking.  Ah, the tolerant Left in action.

And to close it out, two cartoons to make up for missing a week.  I just love Chuck Asay.  (Click for larger versions.)

Friday Link Wrap-up

Leave it to Newsweek to call family films "shameful" for not fulfilling their PC feminist quotas.  With so much that is actually shameful coming out of Hollywood, you’d think they’d have more to deal with than "Finding Nemo".

Robert Robb of The Arizona Republic asks:

What will it take for economic policymakers to understand that the chief problem today is uncertainty? And that until they quit moving significant pieces of fiscal, monetary and regulatory policy around, the uncertainty won’t abate?

Quite a lot, apparently.  If jobs start getting created after big Republican wins in November, it’ll likely be because the "Party of No" will be there to curb this uncertainty.

If 91% of white voters had voted against Obama, some would have called it partially due to racism.  If 91% of black support him, can that be partially attributed to racism?  Jerome Hudson considers this.

The New York Times trumpets how well the civilian court system is for dealing with terrorism it when a terrorist pleads guilty and is sentenced.  Um, that’s not a real test of the system, guys.  A trial is the way to test it, and a terrorist trial going on in the civilian system was dealt a huge blow.  Do we want to chance, perhaps, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed getting off on a technicality?

Glasses that give perfect vision for any type of eyesight, even if you need bifocals?  Looks possible!

And finally, the longest stretch of 9.5+ percent unemployment since the 1930s has not been mitigated one bit by the two highest deficits since 1945.  Given liberal claims, we ought to have been sailing out of this by now.  Can we finally put that "government spending fixes the economy" meme to bed?

Friday Link Wrap-up

Media Bias Dept.:  The Left got upset when Rupert Murdoch gave money to right-wing groups.  No mention, of course of the 88% of TV network donations go to Democrats.  And how much coverage did you hear about the BBC’s Director General admitting that the state-run news organization has had a "massive" left-wing bias?  Yeah, me neither.  Also, Patterico explains how the media has shaped the national discussion by selective coverage.

Market Watch:  The market is doing more for troubled homeowners than the government it.  CNN is, apparently, shocked to discover such a thing can happen.

"Recovery" Summer Dept.:  Germany’s recover has been fueled to a large extent by private sector consumption and growth, as opposed to the graph I posted earlier showing most of our jobs went to the government.  And irony of ironies, a French bureaucrat had to tell the US about cutting spending spurs growth.  Why can our own guys understand that?

ObamaCare Dept.:  After helping pass the health care bill, one Democratic Senator, using language he helped craft in the bill, is trying to use it to exempt his state from the individual mandate.  "Yeah, it’s a great idea … for everyone else but me."  Also, reality is putting the lie to the promise that nothing was going to change for you if you like the health care you have.

Film Corner:  The trailer us up for "Blood Money", an expose of the abortion industry.

Government (In)action Dept.:  The Justice Department is refusing to enforce voter fraud laws, and they’ve plainly said as much.  So one lawyer is using a provision of the law to file the lawsuits the Obama’s Justice won’t.  Our President respects the rule of law insofar as it furthers his own agenda.  No good can come of that.

Gossip Column:  Fidel Castro himself admits that the communist economic model doesn’t work.  It "works" only insofar as you get influxes of cash from, say, a beneficiary either internally (the "rich") or externally (the USSR).  But on its own, it is an abject failure.  Would that the Left would hear this and stop trying to move us closer to it.

And finally, the last word on the "Ground Zero Mosque" and the burning of Korans, from Rick McKee.  (Click for a larger image.)

Is "World Vision" a Christian Organization?

World Vision is a humanitarian organization based on Christian values and, as part of their stated goal, they aim "to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God."  Its founder was an evangelical pastor who wanted to help orphans and other needy children.  Its articles of incorporation include doctrinal statements.

Is World Vision a church?  No, they don’t claim to be, and neither are they directly affiliated with any church or denomination.

So then; can World Vision claim the religious exemption to employee discrimination laws?  Can they require their employees to also be Christian and to represent the organization’s doctrinal stance?

That’s the question that came up before a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court, and they release a ruling yesterday in the case Spencer v. World Vision that says that, yes, they qualify for the religious exemption.  It was a 2-to-1 decision, and the dissenter seems to think that in order to be religious you have to have worship services or, at least, Bible study or preaching. 

Eugene Volokh does a yeoman’s work distilling the ruling down to 5 points.  It’s worth a look.  The 77-page full opinion is, well, optional. 

We were one vote away from suddenly having religious organizations that don’t hold services legally considered secular and losing their right to hire folks of the same beliefs.  In today’s judicial climate, I just hope we can hang on to it.

Crime Is Down; That’s a Good Thing, Right?

Graeme Wood, writing in The Atlantic:

[E]ven as crime has fallen, the sentences served by criminals have grown, thanks in large part to mandatory minimums and draconian three-strikes rules—politically popular measures that have shown little deterrent effect but have left the prison system overflowing with inmates.

So, we’ve been incarcerating more criminals, sentences are longer, and hence crime has fallen.  That’s a good thing, right?

Not according to Wood, who’s article starts with this sentence:

Incarceration in America is a failure by almost any measure.

OK, so, um, I’m confused.  What measure other than the crime rate is a better measure?

Scalia the Prophet

James Taranto notes that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia basically predicted the ruling against Prop 8 in California.  Judge Walker, in this decision, cited, among other things, Lawrence v. Texas which struck down state laws criminalizing consensual sodomy.  "It’s just personal behavior", was the argument from those trying to get those laws overturned.  The Supreme Court justices themselves, who wrote the opinion in Lawrence successfully overturning the state laws, said that the Lawrence case "does not involve" the issue of same-sex marriage.

Scalia essentially called that disingenuous in his dissent.

Today’s opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is "no legitimate state interest" for purposes of proscribing that conduct, and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), "[w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring," what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising "[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution"? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case "does not involve" the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court.

Same-sex marriage is not the first step on some slippery slope.  It is, for some, the destination; the result of supposedly innocuous rulings that have come previously which laid a foundation that backers, including liberals on the Supreme Court, claimed had nothing to do with same-sex marriage. 

This is how they remake society; by lying to you until such time as they’ve built up enough steam, by whatever means necessary, to force through what they ultimately want.  This destination has been predicted for some time; Scalia’s prediction came in 1986.  He (nor I) could believe that the liberals on the bench were that stupid as to not know what they were doing.  It was, and is today, not so much about the law as it is about the politics for them. 

Also, Scalia’s prediction was not "fear mongering"; it was an honest conclusion drawn based on an understanding of the law and its ramifications.  Neither it is "fear mongering" to suggest that this destination is itself not final, but simply a stopping point on the way to who knows where else.  One simply has to look at history, even just recent history, to know that.  After same-sex marriage, the Netherlands began giving civil unions to unions of 3 or more in 2005.  And in 2004:

Tucker Carlson, host of CNN’s "Crossfire", debated with Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques on the polygamy issue. Carlson asked her why shouldn’t polygamists be able to marry and all she could say was, "I don’t approve of that."

Jacque was pushing for same-sex marriage, but figured it would all just stop in its tracks right there, because she didn’t approve of it.  I’ve got news for you:  jokes about "boogetymen", trying to ignore this history and the considered opinions of law scholars much smarter than they or I, display an ignorance and dismissiveness that belie a facade of thoughtful consideration.

In 1986, few people who argued against sodomy laws thought that it was any more than a privacy matter.  They were naive and/or misguided.  Those who think today that the debate over what is marriage will be done once we have same-sex marriage are equally naive and misguided.  But they will have less of a reason to claim, down the line, that they couldn’t have had an idea what would come of it.  Willful blindness will be the only explanation.

Scalia was right.  Remember that.

A Trend in Obama SCOTUS Nominees?

When Sonia Sotomayor was questioned by the Senate before her confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, she sounded positively conservative.  As Don Surber notes:

A year ago, as senators were deciding whether to confirm her appoinment, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy asked: “Is It Safe To Say That You Accept The Supreme Court’s Decision As Establishing That The Second Amendment Right Is An Individual Right? Is That Correct?”

Then-Judge Sotomayor replied: “Yes, Sir.”

NewsBusters has the video.

However, she voted against individual gun rights a couple of days ago.

In her dissent against the finding that the city of Chicago’s ban on handguns is unconstitutional, Justice Sonia Sotomajor said: “I Can Find Nothing In The Second Amendment’s Text, History, Or Underlying Rationale That Could Warrant Characterizing It As ‘Fundamental’ Insofar As It Seeks To Protect The Keeping And Bearing Of Arms For Private Self-Defense Purposes.”

It does establish "an individual right" but doesn’t protect "private self-defense purposes".  Right.  I’m not a constitutional law scholar, but what tortured reasoning can you have in mind when you agree with the first statement, and then make the second statement?  Or is it just out and out lying? 

And now Elena Kagan is in front of the Senate, and Paul Mirengoff notes, "As with Sotomayor’s articulated vision, Kagan’s could have come from the lips of John Roberts."  Is this what we can expect from Obama nominees now and in the future; not just a resistance to being pigeon-holed, but being completely evasive to the point of mischaracterizing their own views? 

I hate to have to wind up with two justices that are not at all what they sold themselves to be in order to find out how true this may be, but this does point out how important elections are.  The enduring legacy of Obama, besides the enormous debt we’ll be saddled with, are Supreme Court justices that are entirely, 100% political, willing to say whatever it takes to get their job.

Yes, that 9th Circuit.  The same one that ruled it unconstitutional before.

A federal appeals court upheld the use of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency, rejecting arguments Thursday that the phrases violate the separation of church and state.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected two legal challenges by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who said the references to God are unconstitutional and infringe on his religious beliefs.

The same appeals court caused a national uproar and prompted accusations of judicial activism when it decided in Newdow’s favor in 2002, ruling that the pledge violated the First Amendment prohibition against government endorsement of religion.

But here’s the thing.  The last time he tried this, it went to the Supreme Court which simply said he had no standing.  So they never really dealt with the salient issue.

Now, the 9th Circuit takes up the exact same issue, and, lacking some SCOTS precedent to fall back on, rules in the opposite direction. 

Apparently, it’s all due to the luck of the (judicial) draw; it depends on which 3 judges you get.  Although…

In a separate 3-0 ruling Thursday, the appeals court upheld the inscription of the national motto "In God We Trust" on U.S. coins and currency, citing an earlier 9th Circuit panel that ruled the phrase is ceremonial and patriotic and "has nothing whatsover to do with the establishment of religion."

I’d say, neither does "under God" in the pledge; it’s a statement of historical fact.  Still, "In God We Trust" gets a 3-0 unanimous decision while "under God" goes 2-1.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals richly deserves it’s position as the most overruled appeals court in the country.

Hat Tip: Stop the ACLU

No, it’s not that our Federal court system can’t handle a case like this. 

No, it’s not that New York can’t handle it (though we are about to open old wounds). 

No, it’s not that Barack Obama is doing it.

No, it’s not even that we conferring constitutional rights to someone who was neither a citizen or living here at the time of the crime (though that is a big issue).

James Galyean, a former federal prosecutor and former counsel on the US Senate Judiciary Committee, spells it out.

The criminal justice system is not the proper place to determine his fate. Our criminal courts provide protections to our citizens that should not be provided to a terrorist, and may actually damage national security.

Just think about the discovery requirements that could be placed on prosecutors. For instance, in the trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, prosecutors were required to turn over to defense lawyers a large amount of intelligence information. Documents from that discovery production, which were never supposed to be provided to anyone outside the defense team, were later found in an al-Qaeda hideout. Let me say that again, confidential documents from a trial in New York were later found in the hands of al-Qaeda.

Now consider that KSM was captured in a lightening raid in Pakistan. The intelligence that led to that capture has been the subject of a number of reports. However, al-Qaeda would love to know for sure where that information came from and how it was obtained. In addition to that, they may be able to learn a number of other things from discovery in this trial.

Emphasis his.  And he also notes that even military tribunals have their hands tied

The Obama Administration just approved new rules for military commissions. The President’s new rules make obtaining a conviction much more difficult, maybe impossible in some cases. The new rules require that a defendant be allowed access to any classified information used against him. This may prevent a number of trials from going forward if the military decides it cannot afford to “burn” the method or source of the information. And since the new rules are now the President’s rules, it would be his fault if the terrorist were not convicted, or perhaps not even tried.

But you know he’ll still blame Bush. 

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