‘Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown': Man-Made Drought: A Guide To California’s Water Wars

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Rep. Devin Nunes writes: In the summer of 2002, shortly before I was elected to Congress, I sat through an eye-opening meeting with representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council and several local environmental activist groups. Hoping to convince me to support various water restrictions, they argued that San Joaquin Valley farmers should stop growing alfalfa and cotton in order to save water — though they allowed that the planting of high-value crops such as almonds could continue.

Then, as our discussion turned to the groups’ overall vision for the San Joaquin Valley, they told me something astonishing:

Their goal was to remove 1.3 million acres of farmland from production. They showed me maps that laid out their whole plan: From Merced all the way down to Bakersfield, and on the entire west side of the Valley as well as part of the east side, productive agriculture would end and the land would return to some ideal state of nature. I was stunned by the vicious audacity of their goal — and I quickly learned how dedicated they were to realizing it.

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How To Steal Water And Get Away With It

For decades, extreme environmentalists have pursued this goal in California with relentless determination. The method they have used to depopulate the targeted land — water deprivation — has been ruthless and effective.

Much of the media and many politicians blame the San Joaquin Valley’s water shortage on drought, but that is merely an aggravating factor. From my experience representing California’s agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.

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Working in cooperation with sympathetic judges and friendly federal and state officials, environmental groups have gone to extreme lengths to deprive the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of much of the U.S. agricultural production, of much-needed water. Consider the following actions they took:

The Central Valley Project Improvement Act: Backed by the NRDC, Sierra Club and other extreme environmental groups, large Democratic majorities in Congress passed the CVPIA in 1992 after attaching it to a must-pass public lands bill. The act stipulated that 800,000 acre-feet of water — or 260 billion gallons — on the Valley’s west side had to be diverted annually to environmental causes, with an additional 400,000 acre-feet later being diverted annually to wildlife refuges.

Smelt and salmon biological opinions: Lawsuits filed by the NRDC and similar organizations forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to issue, respectively, biological opinions on smelt (in 2008) and on salmon (in 2009). These opinions virtually ended operation of the Jones and Banks pumping plants — the two major pumping stations that move San Joaquin River Delta water — and resulted in massive diversions of water for environmental purposes.

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The San Joaquin River Settlement: After nearly two decades of litigation related to a lawsuit filed in 1988 by the National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and other environmental groups, San Joaquin Valley agriculture organizations agreed to a settlement in 2006, later approved by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The settlement created the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. The program, which aims to create salmon runs along the San Joaquin River, required major new water diversions from Valley communities. Despite warnings from me and other California Republicans, agriculture groups naively approved the settlement based on false promises by the settlement’s supporters that Valley water supplies would eventually be restored at some future, unspecified date.

Groundwater regulation: In September 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown approved regulations requiring that water basins implement plans to achieve “groundwater sustainability” — essentially limiting how much water locals can use from underground storage supplies. But these pumping restrictions, slated to take effect over the next decade, will reduce access to what has become the final water source for many Valley communities, which have increasingly turned to groundwater pumping as their surface water supplies were drastically cut.

A Litany Of Hypocrisy

As radical groups have pursued this campaign to dry up the San Joaquin Valley, it’s worth noting some of their stunning contradictions, hypocrisies, fallacies and failures:

“There’s not enough water in California”: Environmentalists often claim that the California water crisis stems from the state not having enough water to satisfy its rapidly growing population, especially during a drought.

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However, the state in fact has abundant water flowing into the Delta, which is the heart of California’s irrigation structure. Water that originates in the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada Mountains runs off into the Delta, which has two pumping stations that help distribute the water throughout the state.

But on average, due to environmental regulations as well as a lack of water storage capacity (attributable, in large part, to activist groups’ opposition to new storage projects), 70% of the water that enters the Delta is simply flushed into the ocean. California’s water infrastructure was designed to withstand five years of drought, so the current crisis, which began about three years ago, should not be a crisis at all. During those three years, the state has flushed more than 2 million acre-feet of water — or 652 billion gallons — into the ocean due to the aforementioned biological opinions, which have prevented the irrigation infrastructure from operating at full capacity.

“Farmers use 80% of California’s water”: Having deliberately reduced the California water supply through decades of litigation, the radicals now need a scapegoat for the resulting crisis. So they blame farmers (“big agriculture,” as they call them) for using 80% of the state’s water.

This statistic, widely parroted by the media and some politicians, is a gross distortion. Of the water that is captured for use, farmers get 40%, cities get 10% and a full 50% goes to environmental purposes — that is, it gets flushed into the ocean. By arbitrarily excluding the huge environmental water diversion from their calculations — as if it is somehow irrelevant to the water crisis — environmentalists deceptively double the farmers’ usage from 40% to 80%.

Pacific Ocean 5 Chinatown Jack Nicholson Faye Dunaway

If at first you don’t succeed, do the exact same thing: Many of the Delta water cuts stem from the radicals’ litigation meant to protect salmon and smelt. Yet after decades of water reductions, the salmon population fluctuates wildly, while the smelt population has fallen to historic lows. The radicals’ solution, however, is always to dump even more water from the Delta into the ocean, even though this approach has failed time and again. Read the rest of this entry »


Poll: 70 Percent of Americans Believe News Media is Intentionally Biased

Jeff Fager (L), chairman CBS News and executive producer '60 Minutes', Scott Pelley, anchor and managing editor CBS Evening News and David Rhodes (R) president CBS News, speak at the CBS Television Network's 2011 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) - RTR2PL1B

Nearly three quarters of Americans believe the news media reports with an intentional bias, according to a new survey.

“These are discouraging results for those of us who have spent our careers in journalism. In 23 years in newsrooms, I saw consistent and concerted efforts to get stories right. Clearly, the public’s not convinced.”

— Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, in an op-ed for USA Today

The 2015 State of the First Amendment Survey, conducted by the First Amendment Center and USA Today, was released Friday…

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Other findings in the survey:

• Only 19 percent of Americans say the First Amendment goes “too far” in the rights that it guarantees. Last year, 38 percent said it went too far, meaning support for the First Amendment has grown.

• 38 percent agree that business owners should be required to provide services to same-sex couples, a 14-point drop from 2013, when the question was first asked. Read the rest of this entry »


Percentage of ‘Extremely Proud’ to Be American Declines; Dems Pick Up Edge in Party Affiliation in Unrelated Gallup Polls

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Independence Day approaches, most in the U.S. say they are proud to be an American, including a slight majority, 54%, who are “extremely proud.” The percentage saying they are “extremely proud” is slightly lower than in recent years and down from peaks at and around 70% between 2002 and 2004, after 9/11….

Meanwhile, by coincidence, there’s this:

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PRINCETON, N.J. — In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans’ party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place.(read more)

Completely unrelated, we’re sure.

…In addition to the 54% who are extremely proud to be an American, 27% say they are “very proud,” 14% say they are “moderately proud,” 4% are “only a little proud” and 1% state that they are “not at all proud.”

These data are from a June 2-7 poll. Gallup has asked this question regularly since 2001. The highest percentage saying they were “extremely proud” to be an American came in 2003, in the months after the Iraq war began and not long after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans’ patriotism surged. It is likely that the aftermath of 9/11 may have produced an anomaly in the levels of “extreme pride” in patriotism.

While most Americans are proud to be an American, certain groups are especially likely to say they are extremely proud. “Extreme pride” rises for each succeeding age group, from a low of 43% among those under 30 to a high of 64% among senior citizens.

Extreme pride also varies regionally, from a high of 61% in the South to a low of 46% in the West.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans say they are extremely proud to be an American, much higher than the 47% of Democrats who say the same. As usual, independents are in the middle, at 53%.

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Americans’ likelihood of saying that they are “extremely proud” to be an American has returned to where it was in early 2001, before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Back in the Late 1700s, When Jessie Ventura and John Wilkes Booth and the other Founding Fathers Signed the Declaration of Independence, What Year Was That, Exactly?”

Conversation with the General Public: Americans Don’t Know Why We Celebrate 4th of July

Media analyst Mark Dice asks beachgoers in San Diego, California some basic questions about America’s 4th of July Independence Day celebration. Their answers are as informed as you’d expect them to be.


Fred Schwarz on Conservative and Liberal Views of the Constitution: ‘Rules vs Tools’

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“Conservatives see the Constitution as a set of rules that must be followed, while liberals see it as a box of tools that can be used to put their policies into effect.”

Fred Schwarz writes:

…Progressives (or technocrats) act as if the Constitution had a hidden clause: “The purpose of this document is to promote equality and fairness, and every part of it must be interpreted in accordance with that goal.” We’ve all heard the story about the time Learned Hand, after lunch with Oliver Wendell Holmes, said in parting, “Do justice, sir,” to which Holmes shook his head and replied, “My job is to apply the law.” This story would bewilder a modern progressive, to whom those are just two slightly different ways of saying, “Enact progressive social policy.

And if you have to use a chisel as a screwdriver or bang in nails with a pair of pliers, it’s no problem as long as the thing gets built.”

I wrote in a book review once that the basic distinction between Right and Left when it comes to the Constitution is “rules vs. tools”: Conservatives see the Constitution as a set of rules that must be followed, while liberals see it as a box of tools that can be used to put their policies into effect. And if you have to use a chisel as a screwdriver or bang in nails with a pair of pliers, it’s no problem as long as the thing gets built.

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

It’s not so much a matter of ends justifying means as of ends creating means: If a given interpretation will lead to “social justice,” that in itself makes the interpretation correct. This principle turns the 14th Amendment into a Swiss Army knife and the Commerce Clause into a roll of duct tape.  Read the rest of this entry »


DIPLOMACY, BABY! IRAN Repatriates 13 TONS of GOLD Under Sanctions Relief

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Washington Free Beacon


Poll: Obama Millennials Want to Leave the America They Created

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Ben Shapiro writes: A new poll from TransferWise shows that 35 percent of those born in the United States would consider ditching their home country to live elsewhere; that number skyrockets among those aged 18-34, the so-called millennials, 55 percent of whom 200181253-001said they would think of taking off if given the chance.

“Most of those millennials cite economics as a chief factor in their desire to leave: 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women said they’d leave if they could get paid more in another country.”

The rationales for staying in America, articulated by Americans, are particularly weak: 59 percent say they would stay because “it is home,” another 58 percent say they would stay thanks to romantic and family ties – and then the stats drop precipitously, with just 22 percent stating they would stay for the democratic society, 17 percent for the culture, 10 percent for the good future for children, 5 percent for wealth, 3 percent for low crime, and 2 percent for low taxes.

All of which makes sense, given that America has been moving in the wrong direction with regard to preservation of democratic society, a common culture, a good future for children, wealth, low crime, or low taxes. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] OH YES HE DID: David Axelrod Caught Emailing Hillary Clinton at Personal Address He Knew Nothing About

It was so very, very considerate of concern troll David Axelrod to give Republicans some helpful advice on campaign priorities back in March:PANTSUIT-REPORT

The email trap: If the Rs make HRC email an obsessive fixation, to the exclusion of larger concerns of people, they will pay a price….

332 more words…

Twitchy.com


Survey: Majority of Americans Not Interested in Gun Control for 2016

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AWR Hawkins writes:

…According to Suffolk University, in addition to not wanting to hear about gun control in 2016, a majority of Americans do not believe increasing gun control via expanded background checks will curb mass violence. Fifty-six percent of respondents said it would not, while only 40 percent of Emily-Gets-Her-Gun-But-Obama-Wants-to-Take-Yoursrespondents said it would.

This makes sense, when you consider that Roof allegedly purchased his gun via a background check at a Charleston gun store.

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

This poll comes nearly seven months after a PEW Research Poll showed that American attitudes toward gun control had shifted to a place where the majority of Americans wanted protection of gun rights rather than passage of more gun control. Released on December 10, the PEW Poll showed that 52 percent of Americans were concerned with protecting gun rights while 46 percent were concerned with passing more gun control. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Who Be Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye for decades, but the more we learn about her, the more we PANTSUIT-REPORTrealize how little we actually know. As the former First Lady attempts another run for President, let’s uncover exactly who she is before it’s too late.

Read more…

National Review Online

 


Hillary Clinton’s Secret #Benghazi Phone Call

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If it’s almost 100% redacted, does it count as ‘unclassified’?

 writes: Another day, another tiny, minuscule, pin-width beam of light shining down on who knew what, when, and how during and in the wake of the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Most recently, we saw Sid Blumenthal, having been dragged before a Congressional committee, providing investigators with a batch of then-PANTSUIT-REPORTSecretary Clinton’s private e-mails that the State Department failed to hand over. The very existence of those e-mails had members of the committee convinced that their much-maligned digging is not only justified, but necessary in the effort to figure out what was in the Administration’s collective hive mind in the wake of the attacks.

We already knew that Clinton and Obama spoke on the night of the Benghazi attacks; what we didn’t know is what they talked about. But finally! A federal court has released a new document, the contents of which have the potential to blow this whole thing wide open.

The problem? The “unclassified” document is almost completely redacted:

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READOUT OF PRESIDENT’S CALL TO SECRETARY CLINTON: *crickets*Does it count as “unclassified” if it’s covered in correction tape?

Of course, the Administration has a totally predictable excuse for all the white-out. They’re not arguing that the information contained in the call was classified, but that it “represents internal deliberations” about the 2012 attack.

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[Read the full story here, at Legal Insurrection]

This e-mail was released as part of a FOIA demand made by activist group Judicial Watch, and it’s a vital link in the timeline.

Via Fox News:

The emails also show that Rhodes, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, and before the attack was over, endorsed a statement from Clinton that cited an anti-Islam Internet video.

That statement noted some tried to justify the assault “as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.” Rhodes told Clinton’s aides that “we should let State Department statement be our comment for the night.” Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


Obama: ‘I Never Promised to Bridge Washington Partisan Divides. Oh Wait, I Did Actually Did Promise to Bridge Our Partisan Divide, A Lot’


President Obama claimed last week to never promise he would bridge Washington partisan divides, but in 2008, he consistently touted his ability to do so in speeches and debates.


[VIDEO] State Department: Clinton Turned Over All Emails She Deemed Work-Related


Which States Have the Most Libertarians?

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…To see which states have the most libertarians, I use six measures: Libertarian Party presidential vote share in 2008 and 2012, Ron Paul contributions as a share of personal income in 2007-8, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson contributions as a share of income in 2011-12, and “adjusted” Ron Paul primary vote share in 2008 and 2012. Ron Paul vote shares are adjusted for primary vs. caucus, calendar, number of other candidates, and the like.

This is no guarantee that laws and policies in your new digs will be to your liking (for that, look here). But you might find some new friends who will gripe about them with you…(read more)

Reason.com


Chart of the Day: Tracking the Pace of Social Change

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Look how fast America changes its mind on gay marriage, abortion and other big issues…

via Michael R. Strain, Twitter

Source: 


[VIDEO] REWIND: Barack Obama Describes His Christian Definition of Marriage

 


[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 »


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 »


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


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