Williamson in Wonderland: ‘The Supreme Court Has Firmly Established That It Does Not Matter What The Law Says Or Does Not Say’

Illustration: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland original vintage engraving. Tea party with the Mad Hatter, Dormouse and the White Rabbit. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Illustration from John Tenniel, published in 1865. TEXT: Kevin D. Williamson, National Review http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420406/john-roberts-decision-kevin-d-williamson

Opening paragraph of “Ayatollah Roberts and His Sharia Council” by Kevin D. Williamson
Read Kevin D. Williamson‘s article about the SCOTUS rulings here, at National Review 

 


Supreme Court rules against EPA

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John Siciliano reports: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Environmental Protection Agency pollution rules for power plants Monday, in a blow to President Obama’s environmental agenda.

The majority decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, said the EPA has to consider the costs of complying with the rules and sent the air pollution regulations back to the agency.

The EPA rules in question regulate hazardous air pollutants and mercury from coal- and oil-fired power plants, known as the MATS regulations. The regulations went into effect April 16. The utility industry had argued that the rules cost them billions of dollars to comply and that EPA ignored the cost issue in putting the regulations into effect.

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“EPA must consider cost — including cost of compliance — before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary. It will be up to the agency to decide (as always, within the limits of reasonable interpretation) how to account for cost,” Scalia wrote in agreeing with the industry.

The decision will have repercussions for other EPA regulations that are key to Obama’s climate change agenda. The EPA will now have to examine the cost of compliance for the Clean Power Plan, which is at the heart of the president’s environmental agenda. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] FIRE Co-Founder Harvey Silverglate on Harvard’s Free Speech Bait-and-Switch

FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate’s take on the importance of free speech on campus and Harvard’s deception when it comes to academic freedom.

via Instapundit


Elena Kagan: ‘That Was Then, This Is Now’

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Via  at Legal Insurrection Read more here…


America, Rejoice! Same Sex Ruling Sets Up National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry

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AWR Hawkins writes: When the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that every state must recognize same sex marriages, they used a basis for judgement that will not easily stop at same sex marriage. In fact, it is a basis for judgement that should offer itself to national reciprocity of concealed carry permits and permit holders.

The SCOTUS legalized same sex marriage by finding a right which Justices Anthony KennedyRuth Bader Ginsburg , Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan ruled as beyond a state-by-state prerogative via the 14th Amendment.

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Crucial in this ruling is the fact that same sex marriage–now recognized by the SCOTUS–is not the only right the 14th Amendment shields from state-by-state prerogative and/or recognition.

Consider this pertinent aspect of the court’s Majority Opinion, written by Justice Kennedy and printed by the LA Times:

Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Now the question–Are 2nd Amendment rights among those “protected by this Clause”? Read the rest of this entry »


The SCOTUS Marriage Decision, in Haiku

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Adam White ‏@adamjwhitedc, via Twitter
Sheer genius, from @McSweeneys (via @DouthatNYT)

Dissent Is Now The Highest Form Of Bigotry

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 Read on… from Brandon McGinley at The Federalist

Also, from Daily Caller‘s Betsy Rothstein writes:

The editorial board of PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. is taking a hardcore stance against those who disagree with the Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage.

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“As a result of Friday’s ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage,” they declared. 

After receiving strong pushback, the newspaper’s editorial board, which is overseen by Editorial Page Editor John Micek, quickly revised its policy. Freedom of speech will be allowed — but only for a “limited” period of time. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Psychological Meltdown: Democrat Councilman Shocks Room With Toxic Outburst As Resident Pushes Back On Gun Control

Priceless: A recent city council meeting in New York paved the way for residents and politicians to discuss a proposed anti-gun measure, and when a man who lived in the town pushed back against the idea, a Democrat councilman left others in the room stunned. 439 more words

Mad World News: by Sean Brown, via The Silent Soldier


Mona Charen: ‘The Less Racist the South Gets, the More Republican it Becomes’

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Whitewashing the Democratic Party’s History

Mona Charen writes: Here’s what the former president of the United States had to say when he eulogized his mentor, an Arkansas senator:

We come to celebrate and give thanks for the remarkable life of J. William Fulbright, a life that changed our country and our world forever and for the better. . . . In the work he did, the words he spoke and the life he lived, Bill Fulbright stood against the 20th century’s most destructive forces and fought to advance its brightest hopes.

So spoke President William J. Clinton in 1995 of a man was among the 99 Democrats in Congress to sign the “Southern Manifesto” in 1956. (Two Republicans also signed it.) The Southern Manifesto declared the signatories’ opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Educationand their commitment to segregation forever. Fulbright was also among those who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That filibuster continued for 83 days.

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Senator Robert Byrd

“As recently as 2010, the Senate’s president pro tempore was former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.). Rather than acknowledge their sorry history, modern Democrats have rewritten it.”

Speaking of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, let’s review (since they don’t teach this in schools): The percentage of House Democrats who supported the legislation? 61 percent. House Republicans? 80 percent. In the Senate, 69 percent of Democrats voted yes, compared with 82 percent of Republicans. (Barry Goldwater, a supporter of the NAACP, voted no because he thought it was unconstitutional.)

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“The Democrats have been sedulously rewriting history for decades.”

When he was running for president in 2000, Vice President Al Gore told the NAACP that his father, Senator Al Gore Sr., had lost his Senate seat because he voted for the Civil Rights Act. Uplifting story — except it’s false. Gore Sr. voted against the Civil Rights Act. He lost in 1970 in a race that focused on prayer in public schools, the Vietnam War, and the Supreme Court.

[Read the full story here, at National Review Online. Follow Mona Charen on Twitter]

Al Gore’s reframing of the relevant history is the story of the Democratic party in microcosm. The party’s history is pockmarked with racism and terror. The Democrats were the party of slavery, black codes, Jim Crow, and that miserable terrorist excrescence, the Ku Klux Klan. Republicans were the party of Lincoln, Reconstruction, anti-lynching laws, and the civil rights acts of 1875, 1957, 1960, and 1964. Were all Republicans models of rectitude on racial matters? Hardly. Were they a heck of a lot better than the Democrats? Without question. Read the rest of this entry »


‘The Mystical Aphorisms of the Fortune Cookie’

Justice Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in WashingtonFortune-Cookiescookie

‏@Taniel, via Twitter


George F. Will: On Obamacare, John Roberts helps Overthrow the Constitution

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George F. Will writes: Conservatives are dismayed about the Supreme Court’s complicity in rewriting the Affordable Care Act — its ratification of the IRS’s disregard of the statute’s plain and purposeful language. But they have contributed to this outcome. Their decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches has borne this sour fruit.

“Since the New Deal, courts have permitted almost any legislative infringement of economic liberty that can be said to have a rational basis. Applying this extremely permissive test, courts usually approve any purpose that a legislature asserts. Courts even concoct purposes that legislatures neglect to articulate.”

The court says the ACA’s stipulation that subsidies are to be administered by the IRS using exchanges “established by the State” should not be construed to mean what it says. Otherwise the law will not reach as far as it will if federal exchanges can administer subsidies in states that choose not to establish exchanges. The ACA’s legislative history, however, demonstrates that the subsidies were deliberately restricted to distribution through states’ exchanges in order to pressure the states into establishing their own exchanges.

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“The Roberts Doctrine facilitates what has been for a century progressivism’s central objective, the overthrow of the Constitution’s architecture. The separation of powers impedes progressivism by preventing government from wielding uninhibited power. Such power would result if its branches behaved as partners in harness rather than as wary, balancing rivals maintaining constitutional equipoise.”

The most durable damage from Thursday’s decision is not the perpetuation of the ACA, which can be undone by what created it — legislative action. The paramount injury is the court’s embrace of a duty to ratify and even facilitate lawless discretion exercised by administrative agencies and the executive branch generally.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

The court’s decision flowed from many decisions by which the judiciary has written rules that favor the government in cases of statutory construction. The decision also resulted from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s embrace of the doctrine that courts, owing vast deference to the purposes of the political branches, are obligated to do whatever is required to make a law efficient, regardless of how the law is written. What Roberts does by way of, to be polite, creative construing (Justice Antonin Scaliadissenting, calls it “somersaults of statutory interpretation”) is legislating, not judging.

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” The paramount injury is the court’s embrace of a duty to ratify and even facilitate lawless discretion exercised by administrative agencies and the executive branch generally.”

Roberts writes, almost laconically, that the ACA “contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting.” That is his artful way of treating “inartful” as a synonym for “inconvenient” or even “self-defeating.”

Rolling up the sleeves of his black robe and buckling down to the business of redrafting the ACA, Roberts invents a corollary to “Chevron deference.”

Named for a 1984 case, Chevron deference has become central to the way today’s regulatory state functions. It says that agencies charged with administering statutes are entitled to deference when they interpret ambiguous statutory language. Read the rest of this entry »


Friday Document Dump: Read the Ruling!

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[Read Gay Marriage Ruling – 103 pages]

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[VIDEO] REASON TV: 5 Takeaways From Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare

5 Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Subsidies Ruling in King v. Burwell
Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote the law in order to save it – again.


Blowhard Theater: House Bill Would Force the Supreme Court to Enroll in ObamaCare

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Mark Hensch reports: A House Republican on Thursday proposed forcing the Supreme Court justices and their staff to enroll in ObamaCare.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said that his SCOTUScare Act would make all nine justices and their employees join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.

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“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people. That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare.”

— Rep. Brian Babin

“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people,” he said.

“That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare,” Babin said.

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“They deserve an Olympic medal for the legal gymnastics.”

— Rep. Joe Pitts

Babin’s potential legislation would only let the federal government provide healthcare to the Supreme Court and itsnon-stop-panic-4 staff via ObamaCare exchanges.

Also see – Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare]

[More – Scalia: ‘Words No Longer Have Meaning if an Exchange That is Not Established by a State is ‘Established by the State’]

“By eliminating their exemption from ObamaCare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” he added.

His move follows the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday morning that upheld the subsidies under ObamaCare that are provided by the government to offset the cost of buying insurance. Read the rest of this entry »


THE SMIDGEN REPORT: IRS Workers ‘Mistakenly’ Erased Tea Party Emails

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IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that ‘most likely’ contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS’s inspector general.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Ohlemache reports: Investigators are blaming mistakes
smdg-tv2by IRS employees — not a criminal conspiracy — for the loss of thousands of emails related to the tax agency’s tea party scandal.

IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that “most likely” contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central
figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS’s inspector general.

The workers erased the tapes a month after IRS officials discovered that an untold number of Lerner’s emails were lost. The IG says the workers were unaware of a year-old directive not to destroy email backup tapes.

J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee about his investigation into the emails. The Associated Press obtained a copy of his prepared testimony.

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George says his investigation “did not uncover evidence that the erasure was done in
furtherance of an effort to destroy evidence or conceal information from Congress and/or
O-SMDGE-CONDENSEDlaw enforcement.”

Still, the revelation that computer tapes were erased after officials knew about the lost emails is likely to fuel conspiracy theories among conservatives who say the IRS has obstructed investigations into the scandal.

An IRS spokeswoman said Wednesday evening the agency had no immediate comment.

George set off a firestorm in May 2013 with an audit that said IRS agents improperly singled out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

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Several hundred groups had their applications delayed for a year or more. Some were asked inappropriate questions about donors and group activities, the inspector general’s report said.

Lerner used to head the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. In June 2014, the IRS told Congress it had lost an unknown number of Lerner’s emails when her computer hard drive crashed in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »


Scalia: ‘Words No Longer Have Meaning if an Exchange That is Not Established by a State is ‘Established by the State’

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Did the chief justice mean what he said? 

James Taranto writes: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices,” Chief Justice John Roberts observed three years ago in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the case that is usually described—with a good deal of imprecision—as having “upheld” ObamaCare.

Did the chief justice mean what he said? Today the court delivered another ObamaCare ruling, this time entirely in the administration’s favor and by a vote of 6-3. Unlike in NFIB, the majority in King v. Burwell spoke with a single voice, Roberts’s. So did the dissenters, that of Justice Antonin Scalia.

As Scalia sums it up: “The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd.” The practical consequence is that despite the limiting language, tax subsidies will continue to flow to people who buy medical-insurance policies in the majority of states, which have not established exchanges.

ALERT-GOP

BONUS: GOP Already Fundraising on SCOTUS Defeat

The justices went further in the administration’s favor than the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose judgment they upheld. As Roberts explains (citations omitted here and in subsequent quotes): “The Fourth Circuit viewed the Act as ‘ambiguous and subject to at least two different interpretations.’ The [circuit] court therefore deferred to the IRS’s interpretation”—a doctrine known as Chevron deference.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

In a similar case called Halbig v. Burwell, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia had ruled that the statute was not ambiguous—that the provision limiting subsidies to policies purchased through “an Exchange established by the State” did in fact limit subsidies to policies purchased through “an Exchange established by the State.” As Scalia observes:

You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. . . . Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” Read the rest of this entry »


TAKE DOWN THIS STATUE: Expunging Woodrow Wilson #TakeItDown

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Randy Barnett writes:

…Now that we are expunging the legacy of past racism from official places of honor, we should next remove the name Woodrow Wilson from public buildings and bridges. Wilson’s racist legacy — in his official capacity as President — is undisputed. In The long-forgotten racial attitudes and policies of Woodrow Wilson, Boston University historian William R. Keylor provides a useful summary:

[On March 4th, 1913] Democrat Thomas Woodrow Wilson became the first Southerner elected president since Zachary Taylor in 1848. Washington was flooded with revelers from the Old wilsonConfederacy, whose people had long dreamed of a return to the glory days of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, when southern gentlemen ran the country. Rebel yells and the strains of “Dixie” reverberated throughout the city. The new administration brought to power a generation of political leaders from the old South who would play influential roles in Washington for generations to come.

Wilson is widely and correctly remembered — and represented in our history books — as a progressive Democrat who introduced many liberal reforms at home and fought for the extension of democratic liberties and human rights abroad. But on the issue of race his legacy was, in fact, regressive and has been largely forgotten.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

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Born in Virginia and raised in Georgia and South Carolina, Wilson was a loyal son of the old South who regretted the outcome of the Civil War. He used his high office to reverse some of its consequences. When he entered the White House a hundred years ago today, Washington was a rigidly segregated town — except for federal government agencies. They had been integrated during the post-war Reconstruction period, enabling African-Americans to obtain federal jobs and work side by side with whites in government agencies. Wilson promptly authorized members of his cabinet to reverse this long-standing policy of racial integration in the federal civil service.

Cabinet heads — such as his son-in-law, Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo of Tennessee – re-segregated facilities such as restrooms and cafeterias in their buildings. In some federal offices, screens were set up to separate white and black workers. African-Americans found it difficult to secure high-level civil service positions, which some had held under previous Republican administrations.….(read more)

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No doubt there are others whose names should also be expunged. But because of his record of official racism and betrayal, Wilson’s name should be first on any such list.  Read the rest of this entry »


Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare

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“If only there was some branch of government designed to review legislative actions, thwarting the intentions of Congress if they conflict with the law… oh, wait, that branch does exist…”

 writes: In his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell observed that “the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” Today is Orwell’s birthday; it’s also the day the Supreme Court released its 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell, which preserves the Affordable Care Act at the expense of plain English.

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“The majority opinion explains away this blatant contradiction by expressing confidence that architects of the law intended something other than what they wrote—the opposite of it, in fact.”

The majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled that the provision of the law mandating an “Exchange established by the State” should be interpreted to include an Exchange not established by any state, but instead by an agency of the federal government, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

[More – In Upholding Obamacare’s Subsidies, Justice Roberts Rewrites the Law—Again]

In his spot-on dissent, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia explains why this is an “impossible possibility”:

Justice Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal
Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.…

[Read the full text here, at Reason.com]

Faced with overwhelming confirmation that “Exchange established by the State” means what it looks like it means, the Court comes up with argument after feeble argument to support its contrary interpretation. None of its tries comes close to establishing the implausible conclusion that Congress used “by the State” to mean “by the State or not by the State.”

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The majority opinion explains away this blatant contradiction by expressing confidence that architects of the law intended something other than what they wrote—the opposite of it, in fact. Intent should trump plain English—even when the two directly oppose each other—writes Roberts, because the Court’s job is to defer to the will of lawmakers, and even contort logic to assist them, “if at all possible”: Read the rest of this entry »


Politicians Win, Public Loses: Supreme Court Upholds Obama’s Health-Law Subsidies

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Presidential Legacy Preserved, Achievement Enshrined: After Trash-Talking Supreme Court and Insulting its Integrity, Obama Reverses Course, Celebrates Wisdom of Court

WASHINGTON — Brent Kendall and Louise Randofsky report: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Obama administration can continue to subsidize health-insurance purchases by lower-income Americans across the country, a decision that preserves a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The ruling marks the second time President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement has survived a near-death experience in the courts, and leaves the law on a firmer footing for the remainder of his time in office.

The court ruled contested language in the 2010 health-care law allows the administration to offer subsidies in the form of tax credits to people in all states, including those who buy health coverage on the federal insurance site HealthCare.gov.

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Roughly 6.5 million Americans in around three dozen states stood to lose credits if the Supreme Court had ruled against the administration. The court was deciding whether the tax credits could only go to people in the minority of states running their own online insurance marketplaces, where people compare policies and apply for coverage.

At issue was language in the Affordable Care Act that says insurance subsidies are available for coverage purchased on an insurance-exchange “established by the state.”

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The Obama administration argued the entire structure and design of the law made clear its purpose was to extend affordable coverage nationwide.

[Read full text here, at WSJ]

Challengers who sued the administration—four residents of Virginia—argued the wording of the law authorized insurance subsidies only when an individual buys coverage on a state-run insurance site. Read the rest of this entry »


The History That Must Be Erased

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Supreme Court Guide: Six Big Decisions Remain

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The Supreme Court is scheduled to issue decisions Thursday, with six major cases remaining on the docket, and is expected to release opinions again on Friday and perhaps next week. Still to be decided are the health-law subsidies and gay-marriage cases, along with closely watched rulings involving congressional redistricting and power plant emissions. Here’s a list of the remaining cases….(read more)

WSJ


BREAKING: Boston Bomber Apologizes, Admits Guilt for Deadly 2013 Attack

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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday apologized for the deadly 2013 attack at a hearing at which he was to be formally sentenced to death.

“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage,” Tsarnaev, 21, told a federal court.

“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage…In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother.”

It was the first time that the ethnic Chechen, who did not speak in his own defense during his trial, had addressed the court.

Tsarnaev

“In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother,” Tsarnaev said, standing at the defense table. Read the rest of this entry »


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