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Judiciary Archives

Not that states actually matters much...

Not that states actually matter much…

In June of 2013, the Supreme Court’s liberals declared that the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, was unconstitutional, because, as they said, the power of the individual state in defining marriage is “of central relevance”, and the decision to grant same-sex couples the right to marry is “of immense import.” Basically, it’s the state, and not the federal government, which should determine what marriage is and license accordingly.

Two years to the day later, those same liberals overrode those immensely important marriage laws in 14 states and proclaimed same-sex marriage from the federal bench.

If you celebrate these rulings, and if you’ve ever been a proponent of power to the people, or you’ve ever put forth the idea that every vote should count, you either have not been paying attention, or have no idea at all what those phrases even mean.

Mentioned links:

Supreme Court DOMA Decision Rules Federal Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

HIGH COURT FINDS GAY COUPLES HAVE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO MARRY

The Supremes Decide

“The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me,” says Justice Scalia…

It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy, Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism.

Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions

What Actually Comes Next Read the rest of this entry

Can you live with this?

Can you live with this?

The Supreme Court case, King v Burwell, was essentially a question of whether the ObamaCare law would be interpreted as written, or as it was meant to be written, as best as the justices could divine the intent of Congress. The particular issue was whether the IRS could provide subsidies to those who needed them in states where they had their own health insurance exchanges, or in all states, even if they didn’t have an exchange.

What the law said was that the IRS would administer those subsidies through the exchanges “established by the states”. However, what the IRS did was to funnel them through state and federal exchanges, which is not what the law, y’know, actually said. They essentially reinterpreted the law to mean that exchanges not established by the states qualified as exchanges established by the states.

How this was decided was as much an issue as the outcome itself. Hope you can live with this power that Washington has over you.

Mentioned links:

In 2012, Obamacare’s Architect Agreed With ‘Right-Wing’ Strategy To ‘Gut’ Obamacare

On Obamacare, John Roberts helps overthrow the Constitution

The Supreme Court forgets about Jonathan Gruber, completely botches the Obamacare case

Explainer: What You Should Know About the Obamacare Ruling (King v. Burwell)

SCALIA BLASTS OBAMACARE RULING: ‘WORDS HAVE NO MEANING’ Read the rest of this entry

Once hailed, RFRA now considered bigoted.

Once hailed, RFRA now considered bigoted.

Indiana has come under intense fire from the Left for passing a law just like one that Bill Clinton signed in 1993, and was supported by conservative Christian groups, the ACLU, and People for the American Way, among other unlikely allies. More interestingly, it was supported in a huge way by Democrats.

That was then, this is now. What happened in the intervening decades? I explain it in this episode, as well as what RFRA really means. (Hint: it is not open season on gays.)

Mentioned links:

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Explained

Remember When Democrats Used To Support Religious Freedom?

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACTS

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Being argued today at the high court is King v Burwell, a lawsuit against ObamaCare (also known in some circles as the Affordable Care Act). This is a set of questions and answers that I imagine many people have about this.

Q: What is this case all about?

A: The crux of the issue is a 4-word phrase inside the massive law; “established by the States”. The subsidies supplied by the IRS, according to the text of the law, were to only go to those who applied for insurance via exchanges “established by the States”. If they used the federal exchange (HealthCare.gov), that is not “established by the States” so the subsidies wouldn’t apply.

That’s according to the plain language of the law, and according to Jonathan Gruber, a major influence in the creation of the law.

What happened was that the IRS gave out subsidies to those without state exchanges anyway. The lawsuit is saying that the government broke the law in doing so.

Q: What case is the government making?

A: That the rest of the law, taken as a whole, makes it clear that withholding subsidies from those who didn’t get their insurance via exchanges “established by the States” was not the intent.

Q: Does it actually say in the law somewhere, specifically, that those people should get subsidies?

A: Not that I’ve read. In fact, those articles I’ve seen that have written in defense of the subsidies (like this article by Robert Schlesinger in USA Today) don’t cite any other text that would buttress that opinion. Rather, they argue about the results if the subsidies were overturned.

To me, that sounds like they’re arguing that a law should say what the implementers want it to say, regardless of what the law itself says. That’s a precedent I don’t think we want to create. For example, if a Republican President vetoes legislation, and a Democratic Congress overrides that veto, is the President free to implement the provisions of the law he or she likes and ignore others? I’d say No, and I think those arguing for the ObamaCare interpretation would agree with me if the parties today were reversed.

The IRS did issue a ruling saying that they would, in fact, give subsidies to those in states without exchanges, but as far as I’m aware, the IRS is not part of the legislative branch.

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Celebrating the Hobby Lobby decision (AP)

Celebrating the Hobby Lobby decision (AP)

For this episode, I’m taking on just one topic; the “Hobby Lobby” case decided by the Supreme Court.

On Monday, June 30th, the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision saying that companies that are “closely held”, as Hobby Lobby is, could opt out of the new ObamaCare requirement that they cover contraceptives for women, including drugs that induce abortions. Those on the Right were cheering this win for religious freedom, but it occurred to me that, since the vote was 5-4, we’re just one Supreme Court justice away from losing our religion, er, religious freedom. The ruling from the court did not couch it in First Amendment terms, per se, but make no mistake; had it gone the other way, it would have been a precedent for continued chipping away at this constitutional protecting. The whole idea that religion is something you can only practice in your house of worship – or “freedom of worship”, as it has be redefined by the Clintons and others on the Left – is what has brought us to this point.

What kinds of people or government consider religious liberty something to avoid? There are some countries out there that actively do that, but I’m not so sure we want to live in them.

Another part of the Hobby Lobby ruling you may not have heard about; a more strong affirmation that corporations can indeed have a religious component to them. From a story on Politico, “The court appeared to reject, 7-2, the Obama administration’s argument that for-profit companies cannot assert religious rights under RFRA.” RFRA stands for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law created by Democrats, which had massive bipartisan support, and was signed into law by President Clinton. Just remember that when you hear Democrats complain about the ruling based on a law they supported.

As previous guest to Consider This, Dale Franks, put it, “If you don’t want your employer making decisions about your health, then you probably shouldn’t ask them to pay for it.”

A couple other bits of information typically lost among the snarkiness coming from the Left include the fact that Hobby Lobby employees make significantly more than the minimum wage; $14 an hour is the minimum for full-time, and $9.50 for part time. So what contraceptives won’t be covered, they can certainly afford them on their own.

But the other not-so-well-known bit of info is that Hobby Lobby insurance already covers 16 out of 20 contraceptive methods on the ObamaCare list. The other 4 are generally after-the-fact, morning-after type that are, in the belief of the Green family that owns the company, tantamount to abortion. You want to prevent conception? They’re with you. You want to end a life? Eh, not so much.

Postscript: During the episode, you’ll hear me talk about some information from a ReligionNews.com article. In it, they cite a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, released in April that said that a majority (55 percent) said yes, a for-profit business owner with religious objections to birth control be subject to the requirement, “even if it violates their owners’ personal religious beliefs”. However, I’ve recently seen a Weekly Standard article noting that a new Rasmussen poll finds that 49 percent of American voters support a religious exemption to the federal government’s contraception mandate, while 39 percent oppose such an exemption. They’re polls, so they really just measure attitudes at a point in time, and who knows what might have changed between April and June. Just an FYI.

Mentioned links:

Five takeaways from the Hobby Lobby case

SCOTUS sides with Hobby Lobby on birth control

Want birth control? Go buy it. Nobody is stopping you.

When you find out how much Hobby Lobby pays their employees tell every liberal you know

Read the rest of this entry

Government health care (Gary Varvel)

Government health care (Gary Varvel)

Keep an eye on Matt Sissel and the Pacific Legal Foundation’s lawsuit against ObamaCare. They are taking a tact that’s not been used before, that ultimately the Supreme Court will likely have to look into. Listen in for details.

The problems with the Veterans Administration health care system may not be solved just by more money. (That’s usually the case, isn’t it?) The issue may be the very socialized medicine framework that it uses. And what does that have to say for the results of ObamaCare?

Mentioned links:

Obamacare’s doom

Remarks in Kansas City, Missouri: “A Sacred Trust”

He KNEW! Obama told of Veterans Affairs health care debacle as far back as 2008

MSNBC Guest Repeatedly Breaks Hosts’ Hearts by Insisting VA Scandal Not About Funding

SHAPIRO: Left’s VA-Worship Comes Back to Bite

Veterans are dying, but at least this criminal still gets his sex change

Comedian Argus Hamilton

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The "Freedom of Speech" Thought Police

The “Freedom of Speech” Thought Police

Freedom of speech is under attack in this county. The irony is that those who call themselves “tolerant” and “free thinkers” are, very often, the ones pushing against this right, both in our culture and via the legal system. Two examples in this episode include a man pushed out of his job because of an unrelated political contribution 5 years ago, and a group of people denied that right because they can speak louder and more than most people. In both these high-profile cases, the “Progressives” are most certainly not for progress.

Mentioned links:

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down

Supreme Court strikes down overall limits on political contributions

Read the rest of this entry

I’m at half a hundred episodes with this one. Another big milestone.

The lawmakers who passed the bill and the unions who promoted the bill all want exemptions from complying with the bill. “The bill”, of course, is ObamaCare(tm). But I thought that the more people who were a part of it, the better it would be for everyone! The fact that they want out of it should be telling.

Free-market capitalism, even for things like “essential services”, is working hard to make Detroit safe. And it’s working, even (and especially) for the poor. The profit motive works, for all of us.

Will same-sex marriage anywhere mean same-sex marriage everywhere? A judge’s decision in Ohio may allow for just that outcome.

Mentioned links:

IRS employee union: We don’t want Obamacare

Hill gets Obamacare fix

This is What Budget Cuts Have Done to Detroit … And It’s Freaking Awesome

Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage

Read the rest of this entry

I’m a little under the weather this episode, and my voice reflects that. But I’m here anyway to bring you conservative commentary in 10 minutes or less.

This time around, I’m taking a look at 3 landmark rulings from the Supreme Court last week; striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and telling California voters that they can’t defend their own constitutional amendment if their politicians won’t do it themselves.

Is 50-year-old data better than current information when trying to determine who should come under the Voting Rights Act? Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of the past? The four liberal Supreme Court justices, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama would answer No to both those questions, at least based on the outrage they feigned over the ruling. They can’t seem to bring themselves to believe that progress has actually occurred. Or they’re pandering to their base. Either way, to call requiring these stats to be updated “turning back the clock” is cognitive dissonance of the highest order. The request is that the clock be turned forward, and Democrats are against it. Or they are pretending to be against it, and hoping that their base isn’t paying attention.

Regarding DOMA: Basically, now that states decide what marriage is, the logical end of this is that marriage will mean what anyone wants it to mean, which means it will be meaningless. Since states were redefining an already well-defined term, it fell to the federal government to bring a little order and common sense to this chaos. I didn’t like it, but didn’t see any other good way out of it.

Regarding Prop 8: While I’m against true direct democracy (the ol’ “two lions and a sheep voting on dinner” analogy), the proposition feature of California law has a high enough bar to clear to get something on the ballot to safeguard that. But now the people’s will can be simply ignored, with the ruling of a single judge, and we, the people, have no standing to challenge it at the Supreme Court. Wow.

Mentioned links:

Supremes to Congress: Update the Voting Rights Act

Voting Rights Progress

Three at Last: What almost everyone is missing about the Voting Rights Act decision

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN PORTION OF DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT, THROWS OUT PROP 8 APPEAL

Thoughts on DOMA and a Reaction Roundup!

Behold: The Democratic Process

Episode 38: What Marriage Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It [Consider This podcast]

California ballot proposition

Read the rest of this entry

The Supreme Court recently heard 2 cases related to same-sex “marriage”. Facebook lit up with picture of red “equal” signs with folks proclaiming their support of “marriage equality”. But is equality really what this is about? This episode asks you if you are for “driving equality”. I’m betting you aren’t, but not on account of any equality issue.

I plan on tackling more issues on the subject of same-sex “marriage” in the future, so I’d love to hear your thoughts here for use in a future episode.

President Obama, who has overseen the addition of $6 trillion to the debt, proclaims this month as Fiscal Capability Month to, among other things, help kids learn how to use a budget. How can I further parody something as humorous as that?

Last July, 3 California cities went bankrupt. Recently, the largest city in the US to go into bankruptcy was also in California. Could the spending habits of this blue state have anything to do with this? Judge after you hear what their biggest costs are.

Mentioned links:

The Red Herring of “Marriage Equality”

Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It

Obama Proclaims April the Month to Teach Young People ‘How to Budget Responsibly’

Presidential Proclamation — National Financial Capability Month, 2013

Judge: Stockton, Calif., Can File for Bankruptcy

Read the rest of this entry

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