Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category
I’ve spent the last half of Tuesday illustrating the fact that Section 36B is clearly written. In this clip, Charles Krauthammer explains that the bill’s language is exceptionally straightforward:
The language in the bill simply states that the subsidies are ony available to people purchasing health insurance through state-run exchanges. This doesn’t require guessing. It just requires the ability to believe what you’ve heard.
After Charles’ explanation, Kirsten Powers argued that the language was ambiguous. She essentially said that the intent was clear if you read the entire section. This doesn’t have anything to do with reading the entire section. The only context that’s required is the simple declarative statement.
The statement isn’t filled with caveats. It’s straightforward. It’s declarative.
What the administration and its apologists are arguing is that we should a) accept their word that they really meant for everyone of a certain income level to qualify for subsidies and b) ignore the straightforward language of the bill.
My response to that is simple. I don’t read minds to determine legislative intent and I don’t trust liberals who say that federal statutes really mean whatever liberals insist they mean at any point in history. Liberal constitutional law Professor Jonathan Turley agrees with me on that. Here’s what he said:
I’d love hearing Kirsten Powers or Ron Fournier dispute Professor Turley’s explanation. Ultimately, though, Prof. Turley is right in saying that this is about more than the ACA. It’s about which branch of government has the responsibility to correct the law. Ultimately, the question is whether the executive branch can usurp the legislative branch’s authority to write new laws.
Dishonest progressives argue that the executive branch isn’t writing new laws. They’re lying about that. The plain language of the bill says one thing and they’re saying that the straightforward wording isn’t what they meant.
Let’s remember that the ACA was written by Max Baucus in Harry Reid’s office. Dishonest progressives want me to believe that Sen. Baucus was so inept that he accidentally slipped that language into the bill. He’s written dozens of bills and hundreds of amendments to bills. I’m supposed to think that he mistakenly put in a straightforward-sounding statement runs contrary to his intent into the most important bill he ever wrote. Why would I buy into that?
Further, even if I thought that was the truth, I’d still argue that the executive branch, in this instance the IRS, has the authority to rewrite that language to mean what it wants the section to mean years after the fact. The language is clear. When the language is clear, the intent is clear.
I don’t need a clairvoyant to determine what Sen. Baucus meant. I just need a little common sense, a little reading ability and the ability to ignore misinformed liberals.
Brian Beutler’s article attempts to make the case that Republicans might ultimately lose if the Supreme Court upholds today’s ruling:
An adverse Supreme Court ruling would throw the ACA into chaos in three dozen states, including huge states like Florida and Texas. The vast majority of beneficiaries in those states would be suddenly unable to afford their premiums (and might even be required to reimburse the government for unlawful subsidies they’ve already spent). Millions of people would drop out of the insurance marketplaces. Premiums would skyrocket for the very sick people who need coverage the most.
But that’s where the conservatives’ “victory” would turn into a big political liability for red- and purple-state Republicans. An adverse ruling would create a problem that could be fixed in two ways: With an astonishingly trivial technical corrections bill in Congress, or with Healthcare.gov states setting up their own exchanges. If you’re a Republican senator from a purple Healthcare.gov state—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and others—you’ll be under tremendous pressure to pass the legislative fix. If you’re a Republican governor in any Healthcare.gov state, many thousands of your constituents will expect you to both pressure Congress to fix the problem, and prepare to launch your own exchange.
Conservatives would like to believe that they could just leave something as deeply rooted as Obamacare permanently hobbled, or that they could use the ensuing chaos as leverage, to force Democrats to reopen the books, and perhaps gut the law in other ways. I think they’re miscalculating. Just as government shutdowns and debt default threats don’t create leverage because the public doesn’t support inviting chaos in pursuit of unrelated goals, I don’t think an adverse ruling in Halbig will create leverage for the GOP.
I think Beutler isn’t just wrong about the leverage. I think he’s kidding himself if he thinks this puts Republicans in a difficult position.
By the time the Supreme Court rules on this lawsuit, it’s quite possible that there will be Republican majorities in the House and Senate. If that’s the case, think of this scenario:
Congress might well change Section 36B as part of a bigger bill that’s sure to include other provisions that Republicans like and that President Obama doesn’t like.
For instance, a new bill might include a change to 36B along with a change that eliminates the medical device tax, another change that changes the definition of a Qualified Health Plan, aka QHP, and a change that reduces the penalties for the employer and individual mandates.
Employers and families would certainly love a tiny penalty for not obeying the law. Young people would love being able to buy a catatrophic policy with a HSA to cover other expenses. There’s no question that eliminating the medical device tax would make medical device manufacturers happy.
At that point, President Obama signs the bill that’s essentially a fresh start that dramatically improves the ACA or he vetoes a popular bill that forces families to pay higher insurance premiums, that doesn’t repeal an unpopular tax and he alienates major parts of his base. In my opinion, that’s ‘Rock meets hard place’ territory for President Obama. The good news is that it’s great news for employers, families and young people.
All that’s required is for Republicans to pass a bill that’s filled with popular provisions. Since a majority of people don’t like the bill’s specifics, that shouldn’t be that difficult.
Finally, Beutler insists that this is judicial activism. There’s nothing activist about the DC Circuit’s ruling. They said that Section 36B meant what it said. For the record, here’s the specific language of Section 36B:
monthly premiums for such month for 1 or more qualified health plans offered in the individual market within a State which cover the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or any dependent (as defined in section 152) of the taxpayer and which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under 1311  of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The judiciary’s first responsibility is to determine whether a law is constitutional. If it passes that test, the next test is to determine whether the statute gives the executive branch the authority to take action.
In this instance, the DC Circuit ruled that the ACA didn’t give the executive branch, in this case the IRS, the authority to change a major provision of the statute.
It isn’t radical to think that the executive branch doesn’t have the authority to rewrite specific provisions of existing statutes. If the Supreme Court validates this ruling and if President Obama wants that provision changed, there’s a simple remedy: work with Congress to change that part of the ACA.
Technorati: President Obama, Halbig v. Burwell, DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Qualified Health Plans, Employer Mandate, Individual Mandate, Medical Device Tax, HSAs, Insurance Subsidies, Supreme Court, Republican Reforms
Virginia Postrel’s article is a welcome spotlight on the corrupt practices of “Citrus Community College near Los Angeles.” Thankfully, someone afflicted by Citrus Community College’s corruption has a spine:
Last September, Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, a student at Citrus Community College near Los Angeles, was collecting signatures on a petition asking the student government to condemn spying by the National Security Agency. He left the school’s designated “free speech area” to go to the student center. On his way there, he saw a likely prospect to join his cause: a student wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt. He stopped the student and they began talking about the petition. Then an administrator came out of a nearby building, informed them their discussion was forbidden outside the speech zone, and warned Sinapi-Riddle he could be ejected from campus for violating the speech-zone rule.
Sinapi-Riddle has now sued Citrus College, a state institution, for violating his First Amendment rights by, among other things, demanding that “expressive activities” be confined to the 1.34 percent of campus designated as a “free speech area.” Perhaps the most outrageous part of his experience is how common it is. The vague bans on “offensive” language and other “politically correct” measures that most people think of when they imagine college speech codes are increasingly being joined by quarantine policies that restrict all student speech, regardless of its content.
People don’t have a constitutional right to not be offended. As Ms. Postrel, these policies aren’t just anti-constitutional, they’re anti-educational:
Contrary to what many people seem to think, higher education doesn’t exist to hand out job credentials to everyone who follows a clearly outlined set of rules. (Will this be on the exam? Do I have to come to class?) Education isn’t a matter of sitting students down and dumping pre-digested information into their heads.
Higher education exists to advance and transmit knowledge, and learning requires disagreement and argument. Even the most vocational curriculum, accounting, physical therapy, civil engineering, graphic design, represents knowledge accumulated through trial and error, experimentation and criticism. That open-ended process isn’t easy and it often isn’t comfortable. The idea that students should be protected from disagreeable ideas is a profoundly anti-educational concept.
That Citrus Community College thinks that they can establish a rule that trumps the First Amendment of our Constitution is stunning. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights trump everything. If a law doesn’t fit within the Constitution’s framework, it’s unconstitutional and it should be repealed ASAP.
Why would a college want to brag that they’re producing intellectual wimps incapable of dealing with life’s uglier moments? That doesn’t make sense, especially to employers. They’re looking for people who can defend their ideas, who can stand up to criticism and still deliver a high-quality product.
Places like Citrus Community College and other like-minded institutions are producing the opposite of what businesses are looking for.
Sinapi-Riddle, in other words, can make a strong case that the Citrus Community College District blatantly violated his First Amendment rights. That’s why his lawsuit and two others involving speech zones at other public schools are part of a new litigation push by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil-liberties watchdog group on whose board I serve. By bringing cases that don’t require new precedents, FIRE hopes to make public colleges pay for their violations of free speech and thereby change the financial incentives facing administrators. “They’re probably going to succeed,” says Volokh, who is not involved in the litigation, “because the case law is generally on their side.”
These lawsuits are great if you’re attempting to right a wrong. Litigation should always be a weapon in the citizen’s arsenal if anyone violated their constitutional rights. What’s better, though, is that state governing boards would discipline institutions that violate students’, or faculty’s, civil rights before it gets to a lawsuit.
Shouldn’t universities be held to a high standard of obeying students’ civil rights? After all, these instutions are shaping future captains of industry. They should respect a person’s civil rights.
I suspect, however, that they aren’t enforcing the Constitution because today’s ‘intellectuals’ don’t agree with the US Constitution. That attitude must stop ASAP. Any institution that doesn’t respect the Constitution deserves getting ridiculed. It’s that simple.
It’s time universities not hire administrators who won’t sign a pledge to live by the Constitution. It’s time that attitudes started changing about the Bill of Rights.
The Democrats must think that they have to push their fake War on Women meme. This week, it’s TakeAction Minnesota’ Dan McGrath’s turn to push that dishonest meme:
The Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn rulings handed down by the Supreme Court’s conservative and male majority lay bare exactly what they value. And it’s not caring for each other. Nor is it a woman’s right to make her own decisions. Instead, these justices value ever-expanding corporate power at the expense of working people and believe that women, and the professions they lead, are worth less than others. In ruling as they did on two very disparate topics, these five men have launched an assault on women in the workplace. But it’s workers and their families who should be concerned.
In the Hobby Lobby ruling, the conservative majority took the absurd notion that corporations are people one step further. In its earlier Citizens’ United ruling, these justices granted corporations the right of free speech, and thus the ability to spend limitless amounts of money in elections. Now, these same justices have established corporate religious freedom, and the right to refuse women contraception. As the power of corporations expands, a woman’s ability to decide what is in her own best interest is diminished. That this ruling applies to “closely held” corporations means that as much as 52 percent of the American workforce may be affected.
First, I’d love hearing where the First Amendment only pertains to individuals. I still haven’t heard a Democrat point to the part of this text that says the First Amendment’s protections only pertain to individuals:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment talks about “the right of people peaceably to assemble.” Otherwise, there’s no hint on whether they thought the First Amendment should apply only to individuals.
What compelling case can Democrats make that the political speech of corporations is less legitimate than the political speech of individuals? Should LLCs with 3 owners be allowed to express their political beliefs but corporations with 50 stockholders be prohibited from expressing their political beliefs? If Democrats think that, why do they think that?
Hobby Lobby simply said that they’d offer insurance that covered 16 forms of contraceptives, not 20. Am I to think that women are incapable of making the right decision in that situation? Further, should I think that women working at Hobby Lobby can’t afford to pay for the other types of contraceptives? After all, they make twice the rate of minimum wage.
What right do women have to have their contraceptives paid for? If I received $10 for each time I’ve heard the left talk about reproductive rights are a woman’s private decision, I’d be wealthy and then some. If it’s that private, then women should bear some of that responsibility.
Finally, why should government tell people that they can’t practice their faith? The First Amendment certainly promises people that government can’t tell them how to practice their faith. That’s one of the biggest reasons why people left Europe.
In Harris v. Quinn the same five justices ruled that workers who provide care to children, the elderly and disabled are only partial government workers and, therefore, can opt out of paying union dues, even if they benefit from workplace protections obtained by a union. While public employee unions are already finding ways to adapt, this is a serious blow to their strength. But it’s an even bigger blow to care providers, 90 percent of whom in Minnesota are women, many of whom are women of color.
In Harris v. Quinn, the Supreme Court said that small business owners have the right to determine who represents them in petitioning the legislature. In fact, the National Labor Relations Act prohibits business owners from belonging to a union. The high court decided that small business owners aren’t public employees, at least in the sense that a PR person for a public agency is a public employee.
This is pure BS:
Homecare is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. But the wages these workers earn are paltry. The average wage of non-union caregivers is $9-11 per hour. In Illinois, whose homecare union was the subject of the court case, wages are $13 per hour. By limiting the power of these workers to bargain for better wages and set higher professional standards workers and those they serve lose out. While anyone who depends on a caregiver knows their work is priceless, these five justices are saying that work in the home is less valuable than other male dominated professions.
That’s a non sequitur argument. Child care provider establish their rates independent of government. If they want to negotiate a raise for themeselves, they negotiate with the parents who get the check. They don’t negotiate with the commissioner of Human Services.
If they think that government should spend more money on this assistance, then they petition for higher assistance rates. When they do that, they’re the ones who determine whether they should hire a lobbyist, a trade organization, join a union or just lobby the legislature themselves. That’s their decision alone.
The unions are dishonest in saying the Supreme Court is anti-women. That’s insulting. They aren’t anti-women. They’re just pro-Constitution. The dirty little secret is that unions don’t care about women. They see unionizing them as their best opportunity to gain more political clout.
Those of us old enough to recall Richard Nixon’s time in office know that he didn’t respect the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment. That wasn’t the only way he broke the law but it’s certainly the most famous. That being said, this president is the greatest scofflaw-in-chief in American history because he just doesn’t care about the Constitution or the Supreme Court.
Even liberal constitutional law professors like Jonathan Turley are noticing:
The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court late last month that President Obama violated the separation of powers in appointing officials is the type of decision that usually concentrates the mind of a chief executive. Obama, however, appeared to double down on his strategy — stating in a Rose Garden speech on Tuesday that he intended to expand, not reduce, his use of unilateral actions to circumvent Congress. Summing up his position, the President threw down the gauntlet at Congress: “So sue me.”
This is just the latest proof that this president doesn’t give a damn about the rule of law or the Constitution. Apparently, he thinks he’s America’s king. Institutions like the Supreme Court and the Constitution don’t mean much to him.
Those things don’t mean much to Eric Holder, his Attorney General:
On June 26, in National Labor Relations Board v. Canning, all nine Justices ruled that President Obama’s “recess” appointments to the NLRB violated the Constitution.
Not only did Obama’s own judicial appointees vote against him (including his former solicitor general), but the majority opinion was written by Stephen Breyer, a liberal stalwart of the Court.
The Administration also lost United State v. Wurie, in which the Holder Justice Department claimed that the police and federal authorities did not need a search warrant to seize all of the information stored in the cellphone of someone who had been arrested.
Putting this in more schoolyard terms, the Obama administration and Eric Holder have gotten their butts kicked when facing the Supreme Court. The number of unanimous decisions that’ve gone against President Obama’s administration is the highest in history.
Let’s summarize these cases. In NLRB v. Noel Canning, President Obama, the CEO of the executive branch, argued that he, not the Senate Majority Leader, should determine when the Senate was in session. In US v. Wurie, Holder argued that the Fourth Amendment didn’t apply to cell phones. (That rationale escapes me entirely.) In both cases, the Supreme Court justices voted unanimously that “the constitutional scholar in the Oval Office” and his attorney general were wrong.
In fact, there have been 20 such cases during this administration — and even more if you include cases in which the administration filed an amicus brief, such as in McCullen v. Coakley, the free-speech case that was handed down the same day as the recess appointments case.
The Obama administration filed an amicus brief in that case supporting the Massachusetts law in question and helped argue the case before the Supreme Court.
But all nine justices found the Massachusetts law, which created a 35-foot “buffer” zone around abortion clinics, violated the First Amendment by restricting speech in public areas “that have historically been open to the public for speech activities.”
Here’s Dictionary.com’s definition of scofflaw:
a person who flouts the law, especially one who fails to pay fines owed.
a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices.
That definition fits President Obama perfectly. The constitutional law professor at George Washington University disagreed with the “constitutional scholar in the Oval Office”:
In our system, there is no license to go it alone. Rather, the Republic’s democratic architecture requires compromise. The process is designed to moderate legislation and create a broader consensus in support of these laws.
Nor is congressional refusal to act on a particular prescription of how to fix the economy or repair immigration laws an excuse. Sometimes the country (and by extension Congress) is divided.
When that happens, less gets done. The Framers understood such times. They lived in such a time.
Moderation isn’t this president’s hallmark. Apparently, ignoring the Constitution this president’s hallmark.
Technorati: NLRB v. Noel Canning, US v. Wurie, McCullen v. Coakley, Supreme Court, Unanimous Rulings, President Obama, Eric Holder, Richard Nixon, Lawlessness, Fourth Amendment, Constitution, Jonathan Turley
When it comes to presidential arrogance, President Obama sits atop Mount Olympus. After the Supreme Court slapped him down on making recess appointments, DC pundits speculated whether President Obama would display a little humility. I knew that he isn’t given to humility. Further, I know that he doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution. This video shows that he doesn’t respect the greatest governing document devised in the history of mankind:
Here’s part of what President Obama said:
And this obstruction keeps the system rigged for those who are doing fine a the very top. It prevents us from helping more middle class families. And as long as they insist on taking no action whatsoever to help anybody, I’m going to keep taking actions on my own to help the middle class, like the actions I’ve already taken to speed up construction projects, attract new manufacturing jobs and lift workers’ wages. It helps students pay off their student loans. And they criticize me for this. Boehner sued me for this. And I told him I’d rather do things when you pass some laws. Make sure the Highway Trust Fund is funded so we don’t have to lay off hundreds of thousands of workers. It’s not that hard.
That’s just part of the speech. Frankly, I couldn’t take more of President Obama’s imperial tone. First, that minute of his speech is riddled with lies, starting with him saying that Speaker Boehner having sued him. It’s true that Speaker Boehner announced that he’ll sue President Obama but it wasn’t because President Obama took action to “speed up construction projects.”
Frankly, the legislative branch doesn’t have the authority to “speed up construction projects.” Only the executive branch can speed up the bid-letting process.
Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit will be focused on President Obama’s insistence that he be able to rewrite laws that he’s signed without working with Congress. That’s what I’d expect of Third World dictators, not the president of the United States.
That’s before talking about President Obama’s supposed actions that “help the middle class.” Mr. President, where’s the proof that your policies have helped the middle class? Economic growth was weak for 5 years before tanking the last quarter. Longterm unemployment is the highest it’s been since the Carter administration. Most of the jobs being created are part-time jobs.
That’s before talking about President Obama’s war on coal, oil and natural gas, not to mention the war he’s waging against states like Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. That’s before talking about how higher electricity prices are hurting states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and the Rust Belt states.
Mr. President, where’s the proof that you’ve done anything that’s helped the middle class?
President Obama’s policies aren’t great policies. If he was smart like Bill Clinton, which he isn’t, he’d co-opt the Republicans’ ideas. Instead, he insists that his ideas are the only legitimate ideas being offered. That’s laughable. He’s offering more of the same ideas that’ve failed the middle class for the past 6 years.
The only short-term option left for the American people is to elect a Republican majority in the Senate so things can get done. We’ve seen how obstructionist Harry Reid’s been in the Senate. That recipe has failed. Let’s see if changing the dynamics changes the results.
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We’ve been stuck in the Democrats’ obstructionist rut for the last 4 years. It’s time to change directions. That’s the only way we’ll break out of this stagnation.
Technorati: President Obama, Presidential Overreach, Recess Appointments, Supreme Court Rulings, Third World Dictators, Imperial Presidency, Democrats, John Boehner, Legislative Branch, Constitution, GOP, Election 2014
When George Stephanopoulos interviewed President Obama, President Obama’s arrogance was on full display:
BARACK OBAMA: You notice that he didn’t specifically say what exactly he was objecting to. I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something while they’re doing nothing.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if you get sued?
OBAMA: You know…the suit is a stunt. What I’ve told Speaker Boehner directly is: if you’re really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don’t you try getting something done through Congress? The majority of the American people want to see immigration reform done. We had a bipartisan bill through the Senate, and you’re going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority, while you are not doing anything.
First, President Obama got slapped around yesterday in the NLRB vs. Noel Canning decision. That’s because he insisted that the executive branch had the authority to tell the legislative branch when the legislative branch was in session. (Apparently, he didn’t pay attention to the constitutional concept of co-equal branches of government.)
Second, getting things done is a two-way street. There are literally dozens of bills waiting for a Senate vote that’ve been passed by the House of Representatives. President Obama and Sen. Reid are pretending they don’t exist because they don’t want to admit that Republicans have constructive, substantive solutions to America’s problems.
In their minds, they think they’re the only people with solutions. In President Obama’s mind, his ideas are the only legitimate ideas worthy of consideration. In President Obama’s mind, anything that Republicans propose isn’t worthy of consideration.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the federal government is based on checks and balances. That’s what the Constitution mandates. President Obama thinks the presidency is really a kingdom, a place where he has the authority to unilaterally rewrite laws that he’s signed. Yesterday, the Supreme Court slapped him down again. Their ruling in the NLRB v. Noel Canning case marked the thirteenth straight time that the Supreme Court told him he’d overstepped his authority.
If President Obama were to speak honestly in his response to Stephanopoulos, here’s what he would’ve said:
BARACK OBAMA: I’m not going to apologize for acting like an autocrat. It isn’t my fault that the Founding Fathers didn’t choose a monarchy. It’s time it became a monarchy.
President Obama is a despicable person who doesn’t care about laws he’s signed or the Constitution he’s sworn to uphold.
The end of his term can’t come soon enough. Ditto with the repeal of his policies. President Obama’s lawlessness can’t come soon enough.
Technorati: President Obama, George Stephanopoulos, Recess Appointments, NLRB v. Noel Canning, Supreme Court Ruling, Affordable Care Act, Imperial Presidency, Failed Policies, Iraq Crisis, National Security, Islamic Caliphate, Democrats
President Obama is still convinced that he can bamboozle the American people. To a certain extent, he’s right. What’s discouraging, though, is that he still thinks he’s America’s king, not America’s president. President Obama’s press team is doing its best to sell him as a man who cares about the middle class. Meanwhile, Al Franken didn’t want anything to do with President Obama’s visit to Minnesota.
I can’t blame Sen. Franken for not associating with President Obama, especially a day after the Commerce Department admitted that the Obama-Franken economy shrunk by 2.9% in Q1 of 2014. If I were Sen. Franken’s campaign manager, I’d tell him to distance myself from President Obama, especially after the Supreme Court issued its 13th straight 9-0 rebuke of an unconstitutional presidential power grab.
I’d especially want to distance myself from the arrogant man that insisted that the IRS scandal is just Washington being Washington. How dare that arrogant SOB tell us that Lois Lerner’s targeting of TEA Party organizations is just Washington being Washington. How dare that arrogant SOB tell us that Lois Lerner’s targeting of a sitting US senator is Washington being Washington.
President Obama is the most corrupt president in US history. Whereas President Nixon told the FBI that they didn’t need search warrants, President Obama thinks that obeying the Constitution is optional. Further, President Obama thinks he’s king of the United States, rewriting the law he signed over 30 times.
That isn’t a public servant. That’s the profile of a narcissist. If I had a $10 bill for every time President Obama said that he had a pen and he had a phone and that that’s all he needed to govern, I’d be wealthy. That’s what autocrats say, not presidents. At least, presidents prior to President Obama never said they’d ignore the legislative branch.
President Obama’s arrogance is displayed another way. RNC spokesman Michael Short issued this statement criticizing President Obama and Sen. Franken:
“While President Obama is out surveying the economy his policies have failed to rejuvenate, hopefully he will take the opportunity to consider a different approach. Instead of pushing for more policies that make it even harder to create jobs, the President ought to call on Harry Reid and Al Franken to take up the dozens of House-passed jobs bills languishing in the Democrat-controlled Senate. As we saw with yesterday’s news that the economy shrank more than originally thought during the first three months of 2014, it’s clear President Obama’s policies still aren’t working and the country needs a new direction.”
President Obama has made it clear that he thinks his failed policies will provide the solutions families need. He couldn’t be more wrong about that. The sooner his policies are repealed, the sooner the economy will start doing what it’s always done, which is grow at incredible rates.
I’ll borrow a Reagan line to illustrate my perspective. A recession is when your neighbor is unemployed. A depression is when you’re unemployed. The recovery will start when President Obama is unemployed and his policies are dismantled.
It isn’t surprising that Sen. Franken hid during President Obama’s visit. I’d hide from President Obama’s track record of lawlessness, corruption and incompetence, too. That’s the last thing I’d want to be associated with.
Technorati: Al Franken, President Obama, Unemployment, IRS Scandal, Lois Lerner, Autocratic Rule, NLRB vs. Noel Canning, SCOTUS, Corruption, Democrats, Chuck Grassley, Sitting Senator, IRS Audit, Republicans, Election 2014
If there’s anything that progressives hate, it’s the fact that the Constitution limits what government has the authority to do. They especially hate the fact that there’s an order laid out for passing revenue bills. George Will’s column in this morning’s Washington Post explains how the Constitution might lead to Obamacare’s demise:
The ACA passed the Senate on a party-line vote, and without a Democratic vote to spare, after a series of unsavory transactions that purchased the assent of several shrewdly extortionate Democrats. What will be argued on Thursday is that what was voted on, the ACA, was indisputably a revenue measure and unquestionably did not originate in the House, which later passed the ACA on another party-line vote.
The regular process wasn’t followed:
The “exaction”, Roberts’s word, “looks,” he laconically said, “like a tax in many respects.” It is collected by the IRS, and the proceeds go to the Treasury for the general operations of the federal government, not to fund a particular program. This surely makes the ACA a revenue measure.
Did it, however, originate in the House? Of course not.
In October 2009, the House passed a bill that would have modified a tax credit for members of the armed forces and some other federal employees who were first-time home buyers, a bill that had nothing to do with health care. Two months later, the Senate “amended” this bill by obliterating it. The Senate renamed it and completely erased its contents, replacing them with the ACA’s contents.
Case law establishes that for a Senate action to qualify as a genuine “amendment” to a House-passed revenue bill, it must be “germane to the subject matter of the [House] bill.” The Senate’s shell game, gutting and replacing the House bill, created the ACA from scratch. The ACA obviously flunks the germaneness test, without which the House’s constitutional power of originating revenue bills would be nullified.
Case law establishes that the origination clause does not apply to two kinds of bills. One creates “a particular governmental program and…raises revenue to support only that program.” The second creates taxes that are “analogous to fines” in that they are designed to enforce compliance with a statute passed under one of the Constitution’s enumerated powers of Congress other than the taxing power. The ACA’s tax, which the Supreme Court repeatedly said is not an enforcement penalty, and hence is not analogous to a fine, fits neither exception to the origination clause.
I’m still skeptical that this will kill the ACA. Still, if the Constitution is followed, there’s no questioning the fact that the Senate didn’t simply pass a bill that the House originated. It gutted a bill that started in the House, then created the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act.
Two years ago, the Supreme Court saved the ACA by declaring its penalty to be a tax. It thereby doomed the ACA as an unconstitutional violation of the origination clause.
Let’s hope so, quickly.
Hans Spakovsky’s post at NRO’s Corner exposes the left’s hypocrisy when it comes to campaign finance reform. This article by the Hill’s Alexander Bolton talks about the Democrats’ strategy for election success:
Democratic leaders on Wednesday unveiled a plan to vote on a constitutional amendment “very soon” to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC, which have empowered wealthy donors such as Charles and David Koch.
The amendment has virtually no chance of passing this year because it must garner two-thirds support from both chambers of Congress and receive ratification from three-quarters of the states. Democrats believe it will help them preserve their Senate majority, however.
Here’s Chuck Schumer explanation for why he’s pushing this proposal:
“The constitutional amendment we know requires two-thirds, it’s a long hard road. But given the McCutcheon decision we have to begin it,” he said. “Most Americans don’t believe the system works in their favor. We are showing whose side you’re on.”
It’s amazing how often Democrats whine about the Koch brothers but don’t say a word about how Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg spend their billions to elect Democrats. A strong case can be made that the Koch brothers, Steyer and Bloomberg are simply spending their money to express their opinions. The last I looked, the First Amendment protected political speech.
What isn’t allowed is what’s happening at the FEC. Here’s what Spakovsky wrote about the FEC:
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which investigates illegal political activity by federal employees, has made news again. This latest case involves an employee of the Federal Election Commission, where I served for two years as a commissioner.
Recent revelations of Hatch Act violations at the IRS shocked no one familiar with that agency’s targeting of tea-party and other conservative organizations. But this time, OSC settled a case with an unidentified lawyer at the FEC who agreed to resign and forsake any executive-branch employment for two years.
According to OSC, this lawyer “posted dozens of partisan political tweets, including many soliciting campaign contributions to President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign,” despite Hatch Act prohibitions on such fundraising. The lawyer also “participated in a Huffington Post Live internet broadcast via webcam from an FEC facility, criticizing the Republican Party and then-Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”
In short, a liberal hack violated the Hatch Act, which has been law since 1939:
The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials of that branch, from engaging in partisan political activity.
This political hack has an interesting history:
Although neither the OSC nor the Public Affairs office of the FEC would reveal the employee’s identity, my former colleague at the Justice Department, Christian Adams, has identified the Huffington Post Live broadcast (which can be viewed here) and the name of the employee, a lawyer no less: April Sands.
According to this document from a 2000 FEC case, Sands actually worked for Lois Lerner when Lerner was the associate general counsel of the FEC. Quite a “coincidence” that an FEC lawyer who was illegally using government facilities to try to get Barack Obama reelected used to work for the lawyer who headed the IRS office that apparently tried to stomp on conservative organizations critical of the same president’s policies.
The same Democrats that whine about the Koch brothers for using the rights given them by the First Amendment are shamefully silent when a federal employee breaks a law that’s been on the books for 75 years.
It’s totally fair to ask Sen. Schumer whose side he’s on. Whining about individuals exercising their constitutional rights is bad enough. Ignoring a political hack who broke the Hatch Act to get President Obama re-elected shows whose side Sen. Schumer and most of the Democratic leadership team is on.
Americans have a choice to make. Does they want to elect politicians who want to take away the rights the Constitution gives us? Or would they like to elect people who would enforce existing laws?
Technorati: FEC, April Sands, Hatch Act, Electioneering, Chuck Schumer, Lois Lerner, IRS, Corruption, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, Democrats, Koch Brothers, Pollitical Speech, First Amendment, Conservatism