Supreme Court 2012 Rulings
Obamacare - The Affordable Care Act of 2010
On Thursday (June 28), the court handed down a ruling almost nobody was wanting to hear. The controversial and often derided (for good reason) "Obamacare" law has been ruled constitutional in a 5-4 vote with Chief Justice Roberts breaking with all sound logic and reason to side with the liberals on the court to arrive at this decision.
Though it didn't come without a truly hair-brained and odd twist to things. Rather than ruling it was constitutional under the commerce clause (it's not btw) ti was ruled instead that the major sticking point of the law, the individual mandate, was constitutional under Congress' authority to levy taxes.
We do not consider whether the act embodies sound policies, that judgment is entrusted to the nation's elected leaders.
There's of course one tiny problem with this. That's exactly what the court is supposed to do when it interprets the law, so they are giving it tacit approval as "sound policy".
No, but it IS your job to do so when the law being examined was railroaded through despite the people objecting to the passage of the law to start with.
Tell that to all the people who can now be charged with tax evasion for refusing to pay for health insurance they neither want nor can afford. Hell, at this point, JAIL is looking appealing because at least there you get fed, clothed, and house. For free. So go ahead, call it a tax. When people refuse to pay, cart them off to jail and be really sensible about this when you're spending $50K/yr to care for each of them.
In an equally surprising turn though, Justice Anthony Kennedy read the dissenting opinion. In that dissenting opinion, the 4 justices on that side were voting to toss out the entire law as unconstitutional. Kennedy. A hard core liberal, siding with the conservatives on the correct side of an issue? What the hell is going on in this world?
"Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs."
What? States Rights being advocated by a flaming liberal? This is likely the first case I've paid close enough attention to that he's said something about that I can actually agree with.
Speaking so plainly against the concept of judicial activism? When he's been guilty of this since... forever? Is this Bizzaro World now? Did Kennedy and Roberts switch bodies or something?
There was apparently also a sub-ruling or something attached to this as well. One in which the court handed down a 7-2 decision stating, in effect, that the federal government can't actually compel the states to participate in the system. When I leave California, I will be looking for any such state which decides to opt out of this mad power grab to confiscate even more of my money.
So... uh... what do we have here, really? A toothless chicken shit ruling combined with what is now an equally toothless piece of shit law that appears to have no practical way to enforce what the court just said they can do. Bizzaro World.
Yes, I mad.
On an interesting side note. The political panel on Fox News I watched a couple of hours ago thinks there might be some clever political trickery going on here. I found it intriguing. Basically they were musing about the fact that Roberts went out of his way to convince the libs to declare it a tax. A tax the Republicans can now galvenize the base over. A tax that Obama flat out lied about in 2009 during the State of the Union address when he said nobody in America making less than $250K will see their taxes go up in any form. Ooops.
The clever political trickery? That Roberts might have done what he did on purpose to galvanize Republicans for the November election and assure Romney his victory so the law can then be repealed by Congress. It sounded pretty nutty to me, but then I thought about it. They could be right. Consider what the options were.
He joins the conservatives and the law is struck down in whole. Romney no longer has that as an issue, and the Democrats are hopping mad. Mad enough to rally the liberal base.
He joins the liberals, convinces them to call it a tax, AND engages in some judicial activism while doing it. Obama spikes the ball and now the Republicans are hopping mad. Mad enough to rally the conservative base.
He still joins the liberals, but buys totally into their game, and declares the entire law is valid under the Commerce Clause. Obama spikes the ball, Republicans walk away in disgust.
Clever ploy? Maybe. Insane gamble? You bet. Provided that's why he did it. Though I can't think of any actual sound legal principle he based it on since even his 4 majority partners wanted to fully validate it under the Commerce Clause.
Arizona Immigration Law
On Monday (June 25th) the court ruled on the Arizona immigration law, commonly referred to as SB1070 in Arizona. This law was, among other things, designed to supplement enforcement of federal immigration law that the Feds have openly said they won't enforce. Three of the laws provisions were struck down. One where it was made a state crime to seek employment without carrying proper work permits, one where immigrants were being made to carry their immigration documents on them, and one where the police were being legally authorized to arrest an illegal alien being suspected of a deportable offense.
The crux of the matter on this case was the federal government's assertion that it was their duty to enforce (or not enforce) these laws as each of these is already considered a federal immigration crime. The problem of course, as those of us in border states know all too well, is that the federal government has deliberately decided NOT to enforce these laws. So the flood of illegal immigrants continues to pour in unabated.
The fourth provision of the law, the one allowing the Arizona police to check the status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, has been remanded back to the lower courts. Which doesn't really resolve the issue, but SCOTUS found no basis for there being a problem with this provision solely based on unfounded speculation of what might happen as a result of its implementation.
Being the childish prick he is, Obama responded by ordering the DHS to suspend their immigration agreements with Arizona. Heavily implied in this of course is that the administration is simply not going to accept any filings from Arizona whether they be legitimate or not.
Personally I would have much preferred a more concrete ruling on everything that sent a clear message to the feds that they need to do their jobs and enforce the law as it stands, and if they choose not to, let the states pick up the slack. Mitt Romney effectively agrees with me on this.
Juvenile Life Sentences
In a 5-4 ruling, the court split down ideological lines in handing down a decision that it is unconstitutional for state legislatures to require a life sentence on a juvenile without the possibility of parole. Justice Elena Kagan cited the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment in writing her majority opinion which was supported by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Chief Justice John Roberts stated that neither the Constitution's text nor judicial precedent gave the court the authority to rule on the matter. His dissenting opinion was supported by Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
Yep, the Obama court stacking is now beginning to have exactly the negative effects we expected it would with judicial activism winning out over Constitutional law. This should have been left as a state matter to decide.
Citizens United Reaffirmed
In another 5-4 ruling, this time in favor of free speech, the court has reaffirmed it's 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case and has apparently taken it one step further in ruling that their decision is also binding on states as well as the feds. This apparently stemmed from a Montana case in which the state there was trying to impose spending limits on certain groups.
FCC Nudity and Profanity
Last Thursday, in what a lot of us will likely hail as a good decision, myself included, SCOTUS has ruled 8-0 against the FCC's policies on nudity and profanity for broadcast television.
"Because the FCC failed to give FOX or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent, the Commissions' standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague."
The case arose out of a myriad of different issues involving awards shows with cursing presenters and some nude shots of women's asses on the old NYPD Blue series that ABC has since canceled due to low ratings.
Though they stopped short of ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC's policy itself, time marches on, and it will come up again at which point they may very well bring the hammer down on this. Market forces already drove many of the involved shows off the air long before this got this high up the chain. Don't like it? Change the channel and/or be a more responsible parent.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself from the case due to having been involved in the lower court proceedings leading up to the SCOTUS decision.
SEIU Union Fee Hikes
Also last Thursday, in a 7-2 decision, SCOTUS ruled that SEIU was not legally allowed to charge a special $12 million assessment in California for campaign purposes. The union failed to give adequate notice for the public sector employees involved that would have allowed them to opt out of it rather than being forced to pay.
"When a public-sector union imposes a special assessment or dues increase, the union must provide a fresh ... notice and may not exact any funds from nonmembers without their affirmative consent."
Naturally the employees will hail this as a victory, and one might note that the ruling extends this to ALL special assessments and dues increases which will serve to properly reign in a lot of the duplicitous methods these unions use to raise money from their membership.
We'll let slide the fact that these are public sector unions to begin with, because that's a whole other back of rotten worms that should never have happened to start with.
RIP United States of America
July 1776 - November 2012.
What is its name? Needle, and do you know how to use it? Yes Father, stick them with the pointy end.
HeH, Sorry Samson for treating your blog like our own personal forums
What is he writing, the bible
I'll tell you what, with the some of the fans he has...
As long as you're not posting porn spam it doesn't bother me