Disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive imagination.
Kevin D. Williamson — no slouch when it comes to precise language himself — has a must-read in this weekend’s National Review, reminding us that the “ancients understood something that has been neglected in recent centuries: Grammar is the foundation of logic.”
There will always be occasions for discretion and interpretation on legal questions, but it is not the case that such discretion should presumptively empower the IRS to do things that the IRS is not legally entitled to do simply because Barack Obama wishes it to be so. If history teaches us anything, it is that a system of law that presumptively sides with political power soon ceases to be any sort of system of law at all. Rather, it becomes a post facto justification for the will to power, an intellectual window dressing on might-makes-right rule.
The matter addressed in Halbig is hardly the Obama administration’s first attempt to circumvent the law as written — see Hobby Lobby, etc. — nor is it the progressives’ only attempt to impose what they imagine to be enlightened ad-hocracy on the American people. The disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive managerial imagination: The law, in their view, is not something that limits the ambitions of princes, but something that empowers them to do what they see fit… (read more)
From Halbig and Hammurabi
[Kevin Williamson's book "The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure" is available at Amazon]
BREAKING: Victory in Palmer v. D.C. ‘The Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional’Posted: July 26, 2014
Justice never sleeps…. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.
[VIDEO] Noted Constitutional Expert Eleanor Holmes Norton Schools Congress: ‘You DON’T Have a Right to Know Everything’ Government Does!Posted: July 26, 2014
OUT: Government Transparency. IN: Government Secrecy, and proud of it! Oversight is not cool, my friend.
Washington, D.C.’s non-voting congressional Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton told her House colleagues on Friday that other branches of government do not necessarily have a right to know what the White House does in private. The remarks came during a Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, as the Democratic official railed against Republicans for ignoring a White House assertion that Office of Political Strategy and Outreach director David Simas cannot be subpoenaed to appear before Congress.
“You don’t have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government.”
Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., noted he was not alleging any wrongdoing by Simas, but there was a history of violations involving that particular office in prior administrations that justified requesting his testimony. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Krauthammer Closes the Lid: Gruber Video Is ‘Absolute Proof’ that Provision Was Not a Drafting ErrorPosted: July 25, 2014
“This is truly devastating.”
Charles Krauthammer thinks that a two-year-old video of one of Obama’s chief architects is proof that the denial of subsidies through federal exchanges was not a drafting error…
“This is absolute proof…It was a deliberate political strategy by the Democrats in drafting the law.”
…It is not the role “of any court to overturn an obvious provision in a law, simply because the strategy of those who drafted it didn’t succeed.”(read more)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) turns 106 years old today. Before the FBI was established in 1908, investigations went through the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice lacked internal investigators for years, and any investigators needed were often hired detectives or Secret Services personnel.
Attorney General Charles Bonaparte wanted more control over investigations and disliked pulling personnel from other places that didn’t report to him. Bonaparte appointed special investigative agents within the Department of Justice in early 1908 to circumvent this issue. On July 26 of the same year he ordered agents to report to their chief examiner. This date marks the establishment of the bureau.
Then-president Theodore Roosevelt and Attorney General Bonaparte both suggested the FBI become a permanent bureau before their terms were over. The FBI has indeed followed countless investigations since its establishment. Although in its early years the FBI tackled mostly financial crimes, it has investigated gangsters, mobs and acts of terror and continues to do so. Read the rest of this entry »
Space Needle security called police just before 8:30 PM after several guests reported seeing a small drone buzz the top of the Needle, and possibly crash into an observation Deck window. Witnesses then saw the drone—described as a white, quad-propeller unmanned aerial vehicle, equipped with a camera—glide to a hotel two blocks east of the Needle, where it landed inside a fifth floor room.
Police found no signs of damage to the top of the Space Needle
Security staff pointed out the fifth floor hotel room where the drone had landed, and officers went and contacted a man inside. The man told police he’d just flown his drone past the Needle, but disputed he’d struck anything.
“She’s the adult. She’s the one is who is responsible on a lot of different levels, including being a teacher.”
– Powell’s attorney, Wayne Fricke
For The News Tribune, Adam Lynn reports: A 25-year-old former math teacher at Tacoma’s Lincoln High admitted Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court that she had sex with two students and communicated with others about sex.
“She was going through a difficult time in her personal life and obviously made a lot of bad choices, regrettable choices.”
Meredith Powell pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree child rape and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, all felonies.
“She’s 11 years older than her victims, at least one of her victims.”
Judge Frank Cuthbertson ordered Powell, who’d been free on her personal recognizance pending trial, be taken to jail to await her Aug. 29 sentencing. She faces a standard-range sentence of three years, 10 months to five years in prison.
“There’s no circumstance in which a teacher should be taking advantage of the trust put in them to harm children.”
However, attorneys will recommend she be sentenced to six months in jail and three years of sex-offender treatment under a program available to first-time offenders, said her attorney, Wayne Fricke.
The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing “backup tapes” — despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.
“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive.”
– House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.
The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”
It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking. Read the rest of this entry »
For National Review Online, Hans A. von Spakovsky writes: And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: two different federal courts of appeal, issuing completely contradictory rulings on the very same day, on the very same issue.
“An Exchange established by the federal government cannot possibly be ‘an exchange established by the State.’ To hold otherwise would be to engage in distortion, not interpretation.”
– Senior Judge Ray Randolph
That’s what happened Tuesday. If nothing else, the dueling rulings should hasten the day when the next phase of litigation involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reaches the Supreme Court.
In Halbig v. Burwell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the administration, voiding an IRS regulation that provided tax credits in the form of a subsidy to individuals purchasing health insurance through exchanges run by the federal government. Meanwhile, in Richmond, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held the exact opposite: In King v. Burwell, it concluded that the IRS had the power to authorize such subsidies.
The language of the statute is not ambiguous, so the Justice Department was forced to argue that the IRS rule was a valid exercise of regulatory authority to implement the intent of the law.
The Obamacare law specifically says that the federal government can provide subsidies for insurance bought on an exchange “established by the State.” But there is no mention whatsoever of extending the subsidies to those who purchase coverage on an exchange run by the federal government. Read the rest of this entry »
“If the D.C. Court is upheld, Obamacare is over. It won’t survive.”
Charles Krauthammer believes that the language in the Affordable Care Act saying that subsidies are to be provided through state exchanges is unambiguous…He referred to a point made earlier today on NRO by Andrew McCarthy, who argued that even if you accept the government’s defense that it was indeed a drafting error, Congress is the only instrument in the constitutional system that can change the error.
“It is not in the power of the executive to fix what’s written in the legislation.”
White House Signals Greater Flexibility and Autonomy, Encourages Non-Compliance for All Americans, All U.S. Laws and Regulations Subject to Individual Discretion
For The Daily Caller, Sarah Hurtubise reports: The Obama administration will continue handing out Obamacare subsidies to federal exchange customers despite a federal court’s ruling Tuesday that the subsidies are illegal.
A D.C. Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday morning that customers in the 36 states that didn’t establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits, according to the text of the Affordable Care Act itself.
But the White House said in response that it will continue handing out the billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. Read the rest of this entry »