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[VIDEO] Antonin Scalia: On American Exceptionalism

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivers opening statement before a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Role of Judges under the U.S. Constitution. Remarks delivered 5 October 2011.

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[VIDEO] REWIND: Justice Antonin Scalia Schools Senator Dianne Feinstein

 


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Slow-Walk the Executive Order Appeal, Fast-Walk Gorsuch Nomination

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Gorsuch Nomination More Important Than Travel Ban & Judges’ Opposition

“The point I wanted to make in the column was, there is the moratorium, and there is the vetting. The vetting will get 90 percent support in the country, but they actually should do it. It doesn’t depend on a moratorium. The fact is, they have lost the case in the most liberal circuit in the country, they’ve lost it at the district level, and for now, the Supreme Court is deadlocked, so it’s likely to return. In other words the case is stacked against them. I happen to think it’s legal, but these courts have decided not, so why play a losing hand? What he needs to do — I think it’s exactly right — either rewrite the order or have a new one, so you are dealing on a different playing field. You’ve gotten essentially the feedback of the ninth circuit, so you know what will pass muster and what won’t. For example, from the beginning, you exclude the holders of green cards, and then what you do is, you slow-walk the appeals case and you fast-walk the nomination of Gorsuch. There is no hurry on appealing this ruling. They are not going to win it in the end. … “

Read more

Source: National Review


REWIND 2010: President Obama Insults Supreme Court Justices to Their Face at State of the Union Address 

 

WASHINGTON, JAN. 28, 2010—  It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with Supreme Court decisions. But they tend to do so at news conferences and in written statements, not to the justices’ faces.

President George W. Bush, for instance, did not hesitate to criticize a 2008 rulingrecognizing the rights of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — but he did it at a news conference in Rome. President Richard M. Nixon said he was disappointed with a 1974 decision ordering him to turn over the tapes that would help end his presidency — in a statement read by his lawyer.

President Obama’s approach at the State of the Union address Wednesday night was more personal, and he seemed a little self-conscious about it.

Before he began his attack on a Supreme Court decision not yet a week old, Mr. Obama added a few words that had not been in the prepared text. The new preface — “with all due deference to separation of powers” — seemed to acknowledge that he was aiming unusual rhetorical fire at several Supreme Court justices sitting right in front of him.

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Several justices, in the first two rows, were sitting right in front of the president when he attacked the campaign finance ruling. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., one of the justices in the majority in the decision under attack, shook his head as he heard the president’s summary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and he appeared to mouth the words “not true.”

It was not quite the shouted “You lie!” from Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, at September’s presidential address to a joint session of Congress. But in its way, the breach of decorum on both sides was much starker.

Peter G. Verniero, a former justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, said neither end of the exchange helped the prestige of the United States Supreme Court.

“The court’s legitimacy is derived from the persuasiveness of its opinions and the expectation that those opinions are rendered free of partisan, political influences,” Mr. Verniero said. “The more that individual justices are drawn into public debates, the more the court as an institution will be seen in political terms, which was not the intent of the founders.”

Modern presidents and Supreme Court justices do not interact very much, and this particular president might be expected to have strained relationships with at least Justice Alito and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., both of whose nominations he voted against as a senator. The president and chief justice would both also probably like to forget the flubbed administration of the presidential oath at Mr. Obama’s inauguration last year. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Short Circuits Washington

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The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning.

Matthew Continetti writes:

…The same forces that opposed Trump during the Republican primary and general election are trying to break his presidency before it is a month old. At issue is the philosophy of nation-state populism that drove his insurgent campaign. It is so at variance with the ideologies of conservatism and liberalism predominant in the capital that Washington is experiencing something like an allergic reaction.

“The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy.”

Nation-state populism diverges from Beltway conservatism on trade, immigration, entitlements, and infrastructure, and from liberalism on sovereignty, nationalism, identity politics, and political correctness. Its combative style and heightened rhetoric offend the sensibilities of career-minded Washingtonians of both parties, who are schooled in deference, diplomacy, being nice to teacher, and the ancient arts of CYA.

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“Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.”

The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy. That is why his firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates was so important. She ordered her department not to defend an executive order that had been cleared by the White House counsel and her own Office of Legal Counsel. For Trump to have delayed or done nothing would have been an invitation to further subversion. He let Yates go within hours.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning. “Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump,” read one Politico headline. “An anti-Trump resistance movement is growing within the U.S. government,” says Vanity Fair. “Federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives,” reports the Washington PostRead the rest of this entry »


Charles Krauthammer’s Religious Epiphany

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He guaranteed Neil Gorsuch elevation to the Supreme Court.

…Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the high court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.

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God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the court. In 2013, as Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as Cabinet) and judicial, for all district and circuit court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.

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Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here.

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The result is striking. Trump’s Cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need HarryReidClockonly 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.

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

And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.

Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. Read the rest of this entry »


Judicial Watch Statement Regarding Judge Neil Gorsuch Nomination for the SCOTUS

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States:

President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a victory for Americans who are fed up with corrupt judicial activism.  The judicial branch needs as much draining as the rest of the federal government swamp. President Trump avoided the temptation to nominate yet another politician to the Supreme Court.  It is good we have a nominee who has a demonstrated record of applying the rule of law rather than legislating from the bench.  The U.S. Senate should swiftly confirm him.

In Michele Gorman’s January 27 profile piece on Neil Gorsuch for Newsweekmagazine, Fitton provided the following:

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, tells Newsweek that Gorsuch fits the Scalia mold, which Trump has promised to adhere to in his replacement nominee. “I think conservatives would consider him to be an exciting pick. I think it’s fair to say he’s a leader in terms of conservative jurisprudence and I think he quickly would become a strong voice on the court for his constitutional approach to decision making,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


Judge Gorsuch, Writer

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Judge Gorsuch is one of the finest writers on the federal bench.

John O. McGinnis writesPresident Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, meets the most important criterion for the successor to Justice Antonin Scalia—that he be an articulate exponent of originalism. Scalia was the most consequential justice in the last half-century because he had the intellect to forge a consistent jurisprudence and the pen to make it widely known. When he arrived on the Court in 1986, originalism had no influence in the legal academy. Today, even among liberals, it is the jurisprudential theory to beat. He not only changed the law but the legal culture as well. Changing the legal culture is as important as making the right decisions in individual cases, because only a good culture will preserve those decisions for tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »


Kochs Come Out Against Trump Travel Ban

In this February 26, 2007 file photograph, Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries, talks passionately about his new book on Market Based Management. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — Christopher Bedford reports: The sprawling libertarian Koch network came out against Trump’s executive order banning travel from certain high-risk countries, emailing reporters that it “is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families. The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

— Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute

“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families,” Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute and co-chairman of the Koch’s far-reaching Seminar Network, said. “The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

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“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

(RELATED: Three Republican Senators Kick Off Koch’s First Massive Donor Conference In Age Of Trump)

Hooks and Koch are currently with hundreds of conservative and libertarian donors at the network’s conference in Palm Springs. Held twice a year, the seminars are a gathering place for the Seminar Network, a large group of wealthy donors interested in libertarian causes. This weekend’s seminar, held in the temperate desert outside of Los Angeles, will be the first since Trump’s election and inauguration.

(RELATED: Mike Lee Is Certain The Senate Will Confirm Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee)

The network spent hundreds of millions on advertising and advocacy for limited-government politicians — namely, Republicans — running for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, but notably stayed out of the presidential primaries and race. Read the rest of this entry »


Jeffrey Bewkes: ‘Democrats Were Bigger First Amendment Threat Than Trump’

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‘The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side more,’ he says, arguing that journalists viewed a Democratic plank “overly charitably” as campaign finance reform.

Paul Bond reports: When it comes to politicians trampling free speech and free press, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said Tuesday that he doesn’t fear president-elect Donald Trump as much as he does his rivals on the other side of the aisle.

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“The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side,” Bewkes said during a conversation with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget at a conference in New York in a session that was webcast. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Scalia on Flag Burning 

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[VIDEO] An AR-15 in Every Home: 3D Gun Printer Cody Wilson on Resistance, Trump, the Media, & More

 

“It doesn’t matter what the origins of the Second Amendment were,” says Cody Wilson, creator of the first 3D-printed gun and author of the new book, Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free. “With the internet, we can transform this thing into right to resistance on a global scale. If it’s just a fact that the government serves guns519nzpvwfvl-_sl250_ now, this is just a point of political life.”

CORRECTION: The Ghost Gunner sells for $1,500 not $250. The deposit is $250.

[Order Cody’s book “Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free” from Amazon.com]

The full transcript of this interview is available here.

Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to reason.com for a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines. Read the rest of this entry »


Justice Thomas: ‘Honor Scalia by Reining in Government’

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Thomas told 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called on fellow conservatives Thursday to continue the work of the late Justice Antonin Scalia to keep the power of the courts and other branches of government in check.

Thomas told 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution. He cited the decision in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal across the country.

Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an “odd couple” of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia.

He paraphrased Lincoln’s Gettysburg address to exhort the audience to “be dedicated to the unfinished business for which Justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion.”

Thomas and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito were the bookends of the Thursday meeting of the Federalist Society, at which conservatives were reveling in Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the presidential election because it is likely to result in the appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

Justice Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

Alito issued his own rallying cry to conservatives, describing religious freedom and gun rights as among “constitutional fault lines,” important issues at stake in the federal courts.

The conference of conservatism’s leading legal lights took on a new air of importance with Trump’s victory, and included a list of judges the president-elect has named as candidates to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death last February.

In their remarks, Thomas and Alito didn’t mention the election or the vacancy, rather using the platform to pay tribute to Scalia, a longtime colleague and conservative ally in high-court battles on hot-button social and political issues. Read the rest of this entry »


Guns Win Big on Election Day Across the United States

Though Donald Trump’s presidential victory represents the greatest opportunity for policy changes that have widespread impact, there were many unexpected wins at the state and local levels. The National Rifle Association won in nearly every race where it invested money.

[ALSO SEE – Dear Lefties: If You Don’t ‘Feel Safe,’ You Can Always Buy Some Guns]

The NRA spent more than $30.3 million in the presidential race, up from just over $12 million in 2012. $19.7 million of that went to opposing Hillary Clinton and $10.6 million went to supporting Donald Trump, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission documents by the Center for Responsive Politics. The group invested another $20 million in six Senate races and won five of them.

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Hillary Clinton’s defeat comes after she staked out the most aggressive gun control positions for a major party candidate in modern memory.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

“She has been more forceful on guns/gun lobby than any other person who ever seriously ran for president,” one of Clinton’s advisers wrote in an email posted by WikiLeaks in October. “Certain members of the dem caucus [sic] were freaking out about [her gun positions.]”

Audio first published in October 2015 by the Washington Free Beacon showed Clinton telling donors privately that she believed the Supreme Court was “wrong on the Second Amendment.” When asked about her opposition to the court’s landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision at the final presidential debate, Clinton claimed she was concerned about protecting toddlers from unsecured guns but did not reverse her position.

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Just two weeks after audio of Clinton’s comments on the Supreme Court was published, she endorsed an Australian-style mandatory gun buyback scheme at a public rally. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Talking Heads Confidently Predict a ‘Landslide’ Victory for Hillary

Just days before the election pundits, experts and pollsters predicted Hillary Clinton would win in a “landslide.”

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[VIDEO] Justice Clarence Thomas: Personal Reflections On The Court, His Jurisprudence, and His Education

Personal reflections on twenty-five years on the Court, his jurisprudence, and his education. Click “Show more” to view all chapters. For more conversations, visit here.

Chapter 1 (00:15 – 32:38): On the Supreme Court
Chapter 2 (32:38 – 1:09:36): The Education of Clarence Thomas

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas give the commencement speech to the 2008 graduation class of High Point University Saturday, May 3, 2008 in High Point, N.C. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

Appointed by President George H.W. Bush, Justice Clarence Thomas has served on the Supreme Court since October 1991. In this conversation, Justice Thomas shares personal reflections on the Court, his jurisprudence, and the people, ideas, institutions, and experiences that have influenced him. Justice Thomas also reflects on his late colleague and friend Justice Antonin Scalia.


A Constitutional Amendment Overturning Citizens United: Really? How?

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Peter J. Wallison writes: One jarring note in Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was her statement that she would press for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

“The New York Times is a corporation, so this language would prohibit the Times from editorializing in favor of or against either Ms. Clinton or Donald Trump. Moreover, it might shut down blogs, or firms like Facebook or Twitter, that are corporate vehicles for the expression of opinions about candidates by others.”

This 2009 Supreme Court case held that corporations had the same rights as individuals to make statements for or against the election of a candidate for public office. Particularly difficult to understand was her linking Citizens United to the fact that our economy is not functioning well for many Americans.

A sign during a protest against the Citizens United decision in Portland, Oregon. Credit: Flickr/lance_mountain

A sign during a protest against the Citizens United decision in Portland, Oregon. Credit: Flickr/lance_mountain

“Clearly, closing down newspapers that publish editorials wouldn’t be satisfactory to many Americans, and if extended to other corporate opinion forums would be highly unpopular among the American people. How, then, could the language be modified to allow the New York Times and other corporations to express their views and still overturn Citizens United?”

Taking the last point first, what could be the link between Citizens United and a poorly functioning economy? It’s likely that Ms. Clinton wanted her listeners to infer that corporate power, expressed through independent expenditures—presumably Hidden in plain sightcontributions to superpacs or other hidden sources—had distorted the public’s will for the benefit of powerful private parties.

[Order Peter J. Wallison’s book “Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again from Amazon.com]

This is a peculiar claim to make after almost eight years of the Obama presidency, in which the most significant government actions—the Dodd-Frank Act, ObamaCare, and various tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals—could hardly be said to favor corporations or business interests generally. It is also peculiar in light of a recent Wall Street Journal report that hedge fund contributions to Clinton superpacs have outraised those to Trump superpacs by a ratio of more than 2000-to-1 ($46.5 million to $19,000).

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But leaving aside these anomalies, what is it about Citizens United that has stirred Ms. Clinton to propose something as drastic as a constitutional amendment, especially one affecting the First Amendment’s right to free speech?

[Read the full story here, at AEI]

Many of Ms. Clinton’s listeners who cheered her idea probably believe that their right to free speech would not be affected by overturning Citizens United. Of course, the language of the amendment would be determinative, but let’s assume it is as simple as adding new language at the end of the First Amendment as it now reads. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: Only Way to Stem ISIS Recruitment Is ‘Defeating the Jihadists’ 

Charles Krauthammer says only showing defeating ISIS or showing it in retreat will stop jihadist recruitment.


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: ‘I Think You’re Missing the Point’, Trump ‘Revealing Who He Is’ with Racist Attacks on Judge 

Charles Krauthammer says Republican politicians must look and ask themselves whether Trump is the man they want to be leading their party.


So What? Assign the Blame, Take the Dump

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Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

Mark Mazzetti reports: Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot. Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.”

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.

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“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens.”

— Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.

Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

[Read the full story here at The New York Times]

The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.

Rows of same flags are placed on the Memorial section of the South Tower at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2013 UPI/Chris Pedota /POOL

“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.

President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials. It is unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks.

A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy did not respond to a message seeking comment.Saudi officials have long denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and the 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.” But critics have noted that the commission’s narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role. Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot. Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Rich Lowry: What a Contested Convention for the GOP Means 

National Review Editor Rich Lowry explains the meaning of a likely contested convention for the GOP in 2016, who and what the delegates are and looks back on the history of convention fights. Sign up for the National Review newsletter here.

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Adorar a la Reina! Michelle Obama’s Floral Outfits Cost 23x Annual Salary in Cuba

Raul Castro, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama

 reports: The two floral dresses that first lady Michelle Obama sported in Cuba this week would not be affordable for the wide majority of individuals living in the repressive country.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

US Weekly recently spotlighted two outfits that Obama wore during appearances in Havana on Sunday and Monday that, according to a Free Beacon analysis, together cost more than 23 times the average annual state salary in Cuba recorded in 2014.

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When the president and his family landed in Cuba Sunday, the first lady descended Air Force One wearing a sleeveless, rose-print dress made by designer Carolina Herrera. The dress is currently sold for $2,190 at Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale department store. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] George Will with Nick Gillespie, & Matt Welch: Brace Yourself for the Authoritarian Moment

These days, people are less hyped about “The Libertarian Moment” than they seem worried about an “Authoritarian Moment” that’s exemplified by Donald Trump’s political success.

[NOTE: For a full transcript and more links and resources, go here.]

“He’s an authoritarian,” says Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor George Will. “He believes that government we have today is not big enough and that particularly the concentration of power not just in Washington but Washington power in the executive branch has not gone far enough.”

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In late February, Will sat down with Reason’s Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch for an opening-night interview at the International Students For Liberty Conference, which was attended by nearly 2,000 people from all over the world.

The official topic was “Is The Libertarian Moment Over?” and the conversation was as wide-ranging as it was at times depressing. “Today, 67 percent of the federal budget is transfer payments,” announced the 74-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner. “The sky is dark with money going back and forth between client groups served by an administrative 51Vf7+q1emL._SL250_state that exists to do very little else but regulate the private sector and distribute income. Where’s the libertarian moment fit in here?”

[Order Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch’s book “The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with Americafrom Amazon.com]

Gillespie and Welch, who coined the “Libertarian Moment” term in a 2008 Reason story and expanded its meaning in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America (praised by Will, incidentally), argued that many things are moving in a decidedly libertarian position. As Welch pointed out, in 2008, recreational pot legalization, marriage equality, and criminal-justice reform were barely discussed at the national level. Now, all three have proceeded or are proceeding apace, as is judicial support for liberalized gun rights. And there’s this: “In the last 25 years, a historical number of people—1 billion people—have been lifted out of extreme poverty,” said Welch. “Even the United Nations says this is because in large part due to globalized reductions in tariffs and barriers to trade.”

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For all his gloom, Will acknowledged that “there are good signs underway.” Specifically, he cited Reason Senior Editor Damon Root’s Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court (2014), which makes the case for “libertarian judicial activism” as a constitutionally legitimate way of reining in government action. Root and others such as Georgetown Law’s Randy Barnett and Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily argue that “what we need is an engaged judiciary asserting the fact that the 51LhArwxFSL._SL250_essence of America is not majority rule, it is liberty,” said Will, who applauded the rise and power of this argument.

[Order Damon Root’s book “Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court from Amazon.com]

He also cited the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in the Citizens United case, which invalidated many campaign-finance rules. “The court,” noted Will, “overturned prior decisions and overturned certain clear principles enunciated by elected officials around the country by saying that when Americans band together in corporate form, they do not, for the purpose of advocacy, forfeit their First Amendment rights.”

What happens if Donald Trump actually becomes the Republican nominee? Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea Ominously Warns Manhattan Residents of Impending Threat Even More Harmful than Salt and Oversized Soft Drinks

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The website is a strange choice for making such a claim, given that it also carries reports about such topics as rabbit farming and domestically made school backpacks.

SEOUL — North Korea claimed Sunday that it could wipe out Manhattan by sending a hydrogen bomb on a ballistic missile to the heart of New York City, the latest in a string of brazen threats.

“Our hydrogen bomb is much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union.”

Although there are many reasons to believe that Kim Jong Un’s regime is exaggerating its technical capabilities, the near-daily drumbeat of boasts and warnings from North Korea underlines its anger at efforts to thwart its ambitions.

“Our hydrogen bomb is much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union,” DPRK Today, a state-run outlet, reported Sunday. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.

“If this H-bomb were to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile and fall on Manhattan in New York City, all the people there would be killed immediately and the city would burn down to ashes,” the report said, citing a nuclear scientist named Cho Hyong Il.

“The H-bomb developed by the Soviet Union in the past was able to smash windows of buildings 1,000 kms away and the heat was strong enough to cause third-degree burns 100 kms away.”

The website is a strange choice for making such a claim, given that it also carries reports about such topics as rabbit farming and domestically made school backpacks.

North Korea’s newly developed hydrogen bomb “surpasses our imagination,” Cho is quoted as saying.

“The H-bomb developed by the Soviet Union in the past was able to smash windows of buildings 1,000 kms away and the heat was strong enough to cause third-degree burns 100 kms away,” the report continued. (A thousand kilometers is about 625 miles; 100 kilometers, about 62.5 miles.)

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

Kim in January ordered North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and claimed that it was a hydrogen bomb, not a simple atomic one. But most experts are skeptical of the claim, saying the seismic waves caused by the blast were similar to those produced by the North’s three previous tests.

Then in February, Kim oversaw the launch of what North Korea said was a rocket that put a satellite into orbit, a move widely considered part of a long-range-ballistic-missile program. Read the rest of this entry »


Documents Reveal US Army Indoctrinated Soldiers on Dangers of ‘White Privilege’ 

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

‘Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual.’

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained documents from the United States Department of the Army revealing that in April 2015, 400 soldiers in the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, were subjected to a “white privilege” briefing, including a PowerPoint presentation instructing the attendees: “Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual …”

The slideshow also informed the soldiers: “Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans.” It alleged that there are unspecified “powerful forces everywhere” keeping different kinds of people from being valued, accepted, and appreciated, but “we act as if it doesn’t exist.” This alleged privilege creates a “yawning divide” in income, wealth, and dignity.  The material described a mythical African woman who isn’t aware that she’s black until she comes to America, encounters “white racism” and discovers the U.S. is “organized according to race.”

The Department of the Army documents were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:

Any and all materials used in an Equal Opportunity briefing provided on April 2, 2015, to the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, which included a discussion of “white privilege,” including but not limited to, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, audio/video tapes, course syllabi, and any recordings of the presentation itself.

The response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request included the entire Equal Opportunity Training PowerPoint presentation entitled “Power and Privilege,” which states:

Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.

Privilege has become one of those loaded words we need to reclaim so that we can use it to name and illuminate the truth

***

Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. “To be white in American [sic] means not having to think about it” [Quotation not attributed]

***

Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual regardless of your social class.

***

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Imagine a school or a workplace where all kinds of people feel comfortable showing up. [sic] valued, accepted, supported, appreciated, respected, belonging. [sic] Something very powerful keeps this from us.

The truth of this powerful forces [sic] is everywhere, but we don’t know how to talk about it and so we act as though it doesn’t exist

The trouble we’re in privileges [sic] some groups at the expense of others.

It creates a yawning divide in levels of income, wealth, dignity, safety, health and quality of life.

It promotes fear, suspicion, discrimination, harassment, and violence.

***

Consider the “black woman” in Africa who has not experienced white racism and does not identify herself as a “black woman”.  African, a woman, but not black.

She only became “black” when she came to the U.S. where privilege is organized according to race, where she is assigned to a social category that bears that name and she is treated differently as a result. [Emphasis added]

***

The trouble we’re in can’t be solved unless the “privileged” make the problem of privilege their problem and do something about it.

The fact that it’s so easy for me and other people in dominant groups not to do this is the single most powerful barrier to change.

Though news of the indoctrination incident was briefly reported in Stars and Stripes shortly after it occurred, only one of the above slides previously has been made public.  Confronted with the information at the time, an Army spokesperson claimed the presentation was not officially sanctioned. Read the rest of this entry »


Charles C.W. Cooke on Antonin Scalia: Originalism Was His Judicial Philosophy

Justice Scalia was referred to as a “conservative” justice, but his judicial philosophy was about ahdering to the Constitution.

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg: How will Scalia’s Death Affect the 2016 Election? 

How will the upcoming fight on Capitol Hill over Antonin Scalia‘s Supreme Court seat bleed into the 2016 presidential race? AEI Resident Fellow Jonah Goldberg explains how Scalia’s passing drama.

Source: AEI


David Harsanyi: GOP Has A Duty To Reject Obama’s SCOTUS Pick

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Republicans should follow Sen. Barack Obama’s advice and filibuster the president’s SCOTUS nominee.

headshot4-001David Harsanyi writes: Although nothing in his political history suggests magnanimity, Barack Obama may surprise us by nominating one of those moderate-consensus types who would provide some of that national healing he promised us eight years ago. But he’s certainly under no constitutional obligation to do so. He can nominate whomever he pleases in the wake of the vacancy left by Antonin ScaliaAnd Republicans have plenty of precedent for rejecting his choice.

I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record. And when I examine the philosophy, ideology, and record of Samuel Alito, I’m deeply troubled.

You’ll notice, as well, that precedent only matters sporadically. Democrats were uninterested in historical guidance when they were shoehorning a massive generational reform through Congress without any consensus for the first time in history or filling imaginary recess appointments. When it works out for them they transform into strict traditionalists.

Whatever precedent says, if Republicans truly believe Obama has displayed a contempt for the Constitution, they have a moral obligation to reject his choice—whether it’s someone who argues in favor of book banning or enables abusive power. Because we’re not talking about good-faith disagreements over what the Constitution says anymore, we’re talking about a party that believes enumerated powers stand in their way.

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Contemporary liberalism is fundamentally opposed to any precedential restrictions that curb “progress.” Wilsonian progressives were skeptical of the Constitution and separation of powers, and so are modern progressives. Only the former had the decency to be honest. So why do we pretend otherwise?

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Just like Wilson, Democrats argue that the Supreme Court is holding back many morally advantageous policies. What they do not do, and haven’t done for years, is offer any limiting principles (other than for few incidental partisan policies they happen to support for reasons have nothing to do with individual liberty). For them, process exists solely to further ethical policy (which they don’t believe could possibly be subjective).

(Photo: Karen Bleier, AFP Getty Images)

Even Donald Trump, who claims to believe America is limping towards extinction, felt the need during the last debate to claimed he would build consensus when applying trade and immigration policy rather than act unilaterally. There is no such inclination, not even rhetorically, on the Left. Just listen to the Democratic Party debates. Bernie Sanders’ litmus test for a Supreme Court nomination is pretty simple: the candidate must support restrictions on the First Amendment. Most Democrats agree.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Uncommon Knowledge with Justice Antonin Scalia 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia visits Uncommon Knowledge for a wide ranging interview including the living constitution, Roe v. Wade, Congress’ relationship to the court, and to discuss his new book Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts


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 »


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 »


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: 


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 »


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.

scotuscarelaw

“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 »


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

scotuscare

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 »


Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare

ObamaOrwell

“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.

SupremesOshrug

“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.”

torture-obamacare-popularity-contest

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 »


‘The First Amendment is Not Abridged for the Benefit of the Brotherhood of the Robe’

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Symposium: When strict scrutiny ceased to be strict

NW_HB_abrams_070805_289_360_c1At SCOTUSblog, Floyd Abrams writes: The result in the Williams-Yulee case was a difficult one to predict except that it was entirely predictable that the result would be by a deeply divided Court. It is no surprise that it was a five-to-four ruling, and no surprise at all that the jurists on both sides appear to have been irritated and frustrated by the views of those on the Court with whom they differed. The same had been true in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002), the Supreme Court’s last trek into the muddy constitutional waters that required an assessment of First Amendment issues in the context of judicial elections. That case was not only decided by a five-to-four vote, but one of the five Justices — Justice Sandra Day O’Connor — repeatedly announced after her retirement that she regretted her vote.

“Critics of Citizens United can take no solace from yesterday’s decision, since it is rooted in all respects in the difference between judicial elections and all others. If anything, the more the Court focuses on the special and distinct role of judges as opposed to other elected officials, the more firmly it reinforces its earlier ruling as to the latter.”

The unavoidable problem in the case stems from the reality that if judges are to be elected, they must be allowed to campaign for election. Yet, what they say in their campaigns about what they will do as judges may lead people to doubt their open-mindedness as judges.

[Also see – Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar: A Disappointing End by Jonathan Keim]

And when they personally raise money, at least from lawyers and potential litigants before them, it may well lead to the perception of indebtedness on their part to their contributors.

Justice Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia testifies before a House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“One need not adopt wholesale Justice Scalia’s final thrust at the majority in the case to admire its beauty: ‘The First Amendment is not abridged for the benefit of the Brotherhood of the Robe.’”

The Florida Code of Judicial Conduct sought to strike a compromise, barring judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign funds, while allowing their campaign committees to solicit funds for them and allowing the candidates to write thank-you notes to contributors. On its face, it was a perfectly reasonable, goodfriend-of-court faith effort to walk a difficult line. The First Amendment, however, is more demanding than that.

[Check out Floyd Abrams’s book “Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines with the First Amendment” at Amazon.com]

The problem with the ruling begins with an ostensible First Amendment victory. Seven of the nine members of the Court (all but Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer) concluded that strict scrutiny should apply, a usual predicate for striking one sort or another of government limitation on speech. Read the rest of this entry »


FTCA Act Update: Supreme Court Eases Rules To Sue Federal Government For Malpractice

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The justices, voting 5-4, ruled in two cases the deadlines for filing such lawsuits can be extended if plaintiffs tried their best to comply or simply failed to learn about important information before a deadline.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it easier for people to sue the federal government for negligence, in a decision that could affect military veterans with claims of medical malpractice.

“One case stemmed from a fatal traffic accident on Interstate 10 in Phoenix in which a car passed through a safety barrier into oncoming traffic. The plaintiff, Marlene June, represents the child of one of two people killed in the crash.”

The justices, voting 5-4, ruled in two cases the deadlines for filing such lawsuits can be extended if plaintiffs tried their best to comply or simply failed to learn about important information before a deadline.

“June claimed that the Federal Highway Administration made her wait more than two years before she was allowed to depose officials and uncover evidence that the barrier had failed a crash test.”

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion that combined the cases and upheld rulings by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said the deadlines were somewhat flexible under the federal law that deals with lawsuits against the government.

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The Obama administration argued that Congress intended the deadlines to be firm and that the government should not leave itself open to old claims indefinitely.

“The other case involved a Hong Kong woman who sued the Immigration and Naturalization Service after she was detained in Oregon, strip-searched and deported.”

But Kagan said Congress did not clearly indicate it wanted those deadlines to be iron-clad when it passed the Federal Tort Claims Act. “The time limits in the FTCA are just time limits, nothing more,” Kagan wrote. Judges have discretion to extend the deadlines, she said. Read the rest of this entry »


The State Electricity Revolt

Health care, Wall Street, the Internet—by the time President Obama leaves office, there may not be much of the economy left for his successor to take over. The better news is electricitythat his attempt to do the same to the energy industry is meeting heavy resistance in the states.

The Environmental Protection Agency is finishing a rule—expected in June or July—that requires the states to meet carbon-reduction targets by reorganizing their “production, distribution and use of electricity,” as the EPA puts it. This is an unprecedented federal usurpation of what has been a state responsibility since the invention of the modern steam turbine in the 1880s.

States are normally allowed as much as three years to comply with EPA mandates that are far less complex than this one. But the EPA will instruct them to submit implementation plans by summer 2016 and make interim progress as soon as 2020. The rule is intended to impress the greendees of the Paris climate conference this year, so Mr. Obama can announce a global climate deal.

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EPA offices in Washington, D.C. Photo: Getty Images

The plan hangs on an obscure section of the 44-year-old Clean Air Act. That law’s section 111(d) was well understood but the EPA has published a new interpretation of these several hundred words that runs 1,200 pages. No less a dean of legal liberalism than Harvard’s Larry Tribe is stunned by this attempt to nationalize U.S. electric generation.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

States will be told to meet the targets using four “building blocks.” The first is uncontroversial: improving the efficiency of fossil-fuel power plants and installing pollution-control technology like smokestack scrubbers. But for the first time the EPA is also telling states to roam “outside the fence line” of power plants to force coal and eventually natural gas to shut down, mandate quotas for renewables like wind and solar, and impose energy conservation.

The problem is that the federal government has no legal power outside the fence line. Last year the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals slapped down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s bid to claim authority over “demand response” on the electric grid.

Thus the EPA is trying to coerce the states into doing what it can’t do itself. Read the rest of this entry »


A Bunch of Crazy-Pants Cuckoo Bananas Bigots Speak Out for Religious Liberty

From MKHamm,  Hot Air:

Wow, just check out the hate!

Chuck Schumer:

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[VIDEO]

“The parade of horribles has already begun. The American people today know that religious freedom is not a luxury. I believe this legislation is essential.”

Steny Hoyer:

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[VIDEO]

“It’s no accident the Founders decided to put the free practice of religion first… and this Congress should do the same…It was the genius of our framers…that we were not to leave minority religious practices to the…majority…If there is a shared American value, it is a commitment to religious liberty.

Jerrold Nadler:

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[VIDEO]

“It’s no accident the Founders decided to put the free practice of religion first… and this Congress should do the same…It was the genius of our framers…that we were not to leave minority religious practices to the…majority…If there is a shared American value, it is a commitment to religious liberty.”

President Bill Clinton:

(read more)

Hot Air