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Laws: Maybe We Should Write Them Down

Disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive imagination.

Louvre_code_Hammurabi

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.

Prologue_Hammurabi_Code

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)

obama-signing-law

From Halbig and Hammurabi

[Also see: Progressives Learn the Hard Way that the Constitution is Obstructionist]

[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]

National Review Online

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By Design: Progressives Learn the Hard Way that the Constitution is Obstructionist

unhappy-progressives

For The Washington Post, Charles Lane writes: President Obama’s plan to transform the U.S. health-care market is once again in trouble. This time, two Republican-appointed judges on a federal appeals court have invalidated a key portion of the program.

In other words, the U.S. constitutional system is functioning normally.

“Progressives are in deep denial…the Constitution is designed to inhibit comprehensive national legislation like Obamacare.”

That’s not to say that the majority of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit correctly struck down the issuance of tax credits through the federal health insurance exchanges in 36 states — though it is true, as the judges said, that the law only speaks of “Exchanges established by the State.”

“As for GOP resistance, it’s shocking that progressives are shocked by it. Did they expect the opposition to facilitate a law Democrats advertised as their key to a permanent political majority?”

There is a strong argument that ambiguities in the statute should be resolved in favor of the Internal Revenue Service’s interpretation, given the law’s manifest purpose to expand coverage, as a Democratic-appointed dissenter on the D.C. Circuit (as well as a unanimous Richmond-based federal appeals court) concluded. Read the rest of this entry »


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’

handgun-getty

Just in: For Reality-Based Litigationalangura writes,

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.

In 2012, I won Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012), which struck down Illinois total ban on the carrying of defensive handguns outside the home…(read more)

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Noted Constitutional Expert Eleanor Holmes Norton Schools Congress: ‘You DON’T Have a Right to Know Everything’ Government Does!

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 oversight-so-not-coolbefore 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.”

As the Washington Examiner‘s Sean Higgins explains, the committee’s Republicans “believe the office is being used a political campaign operation, a violation of federal election law.”

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 Error

 “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)

National Review Online


[AUDIO] Frosting on the Schadenfreude Cake: Obamacare Architect Says AGAIN That Subsidies Only Go To State Exchanges

“That is really the ultimate threat — will people understand that gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.”

For The Daily CallerSarah Hurtubise frosts the cake with more embarrassing evidence: While Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has brushed aside a video of himself arguing that Obamacare subsidies are only allowable in state-run exchanges as a “speak-o” — or verbal typo — a second audio tape has now emerged of Gruber making the very same GPO14-Approved-Vintagecomments yet again.

“So that’s the other threat, is will states do what they need to do to set it up.”

“That is really the ultimate threat — will people understand that gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to be delivered to your citizens,” Gruber says in the audio clip, resurfaced by Morgan Richmond and John Sexton. “So that’s the other threat, is will states do what they need to do to set it up.”

UPDATE: More to come?

Read the rest of this entry »


NEWSEUM: FBI Turns 106 Years Old Today

FBI birthday

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.

FBI birthday-2

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 »


[VIDEO] Oh Yes He Did: Obamacare’s Architect Agreed That Only State Exchanges Could Offer Subsidies

gruber-halbig“What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credit.”

Jonathan Gruber, on the record explaining that Obamacare subsidies are limited to state exchanges

NRO‘s Veronique de Rugy has the best summary of this breaking story, from last night. Follow the links to see more from the sources, and here to see the full text of this one at The Corner. Reason’s Peter Suderman published an interesting revelation about the history of the decision reached this week by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, that Obamacare subsidies couldn’t be distributed unless it happened through a state exchange.

Is there video? Oh yeah, there’s video:

[See Peter Suderman's revelation at Reason]clip_image002_0073

[See Dueling Rulings Hasten Obamacare's Almost Certain Path Back to the Supreme Court]

[Also see Ed Morrissey's comments at Hot Air]

It turns out that one of the key minds behind Obamacare, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, entirely agreed with Michael Cannon and Jonathan Adler, the scholars behind the legal theory that backed up the Halbig plaintiffs who triumphed this week.  He’s on the record explaining that Obamacare subsidies are limited to state exchanges.

UPDATE: Wait, there’s more video? Yes, there’s more video. The White House takes a flailing spin:

Back to Veronique de Rugy‘s Corner item, quoting from Reason‘s Suderman bombshell Suderman writes:

Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped design the Massachusetts health law that was the model for Obamacare, was a key influence on the creation of the law. He was widely quoted in the media. During the crafting of the law, the Obama administration brought him on for his expertise. He was paid almost $400,000 to consult with the administration on the law. And he has claimed to have written part of the legislation, the section dealing with small business tax credits. Read the rest of this entry »


GLOBAL PANIC OF JULY 2014 STRIKES SEATTLE: Space Needle Still Standing After Reported Drone Strike

space-needle

For Seattle Police Blotter reports: Seattle’s famous sky-high tourist attraction is still standing after police received reports of a drone crash Tuesday at the Space Needle.

Space Needle security called police just before 8:30 PM after several guests reported seeing a small drone buzznow-panic-and-freak-out_i-g-61-6183-1f81100z 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.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Meredith Powell Update: Former Tacoma High School Teacher Pleads Guilty to Child Rape

“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 TribuneAdam 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.meredith-power-perp

“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.”

[See more from our ongoing coverage of the Meredith Powell arrest]

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.

Meredith Powell in Custody of Her Mother: Boy-Crazy High School Teacher Accused of Rape Resigns, Surrenders Teaching Certificate

UPDATE: Tacoma Teacher Meredith Powell Pleads Not Guilty in Latest Sex Charge

Out of the Shadows: Organization of Female Teachers Dedicated to Woman-Boy Love Pledge Legal Support to Meredith Powel (satire)

Libido Update: Boy-Crazy Teacher Meredith Powell Raped Tacoma Teenagers, Police Say

The Meredith Powell Letter: “Obviously nothing physical or emotional ever happened between (the boy) and I, nor would it ever…”

Read the rest of this entry »


Batman and Robin: A Search Warrant, Due Process, Rule of Law – Even in Gotham City

batman-robin-due-process

tompeyer.tumblr.com


SMIDGEN REPORT: IRS Head Confirms Investigators Have Found Backup Tapes

koskinen

Fox News reports: July 23, 2014: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before a House oversight subcommittee hearing in Washington.AP

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 smdg-tv2had 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 »


Dueling Rulings Hasten Obamacare’s Almost Certain Path Back to the Supreme Court

(Photo: Karen Bleier, AFP Getty Images)

For National Review OnlineHans 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.

President Obama and his successors in the Oval Office are not obligated to make public the names of individuals visiting the White House, according to a decision of the federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia made public Friday. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

(AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

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 »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: Affordable Care Act Language Is ‘Not Ambiguous At All’

 “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.”

The Corner


Good News: Americans No Longer Required to Obey Laws, Regulations, or Court Decisions

rise-up-disobey-obama

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 CallerSarah 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.

[White House on Obamacare Ruling: Letter of the Law Doesn’t Matter]

[RELATED: Federal Court Takes Down Obamacare: Subsidies In Federal Exchange Are Illegal]

[‘Court Upholds Obamacare; Liberals Hit Hardest’]

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 »


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