Tag Archives: Supreme Court of the United States

If SCOTUS Strikes Down the Individual Mandate, there are Many Reasons to Oppose What’s Left

Grace-Marie Turner has written an excellent article at The New York Times that should serve as a reminder that even if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, there are still many reasons to oppose the remainder of ObamaCare. Ms. Turner’s top 10 reasons to still oppose ObamaCare include:

1. Employer Mandate.
2. Conscience Mandate.
3. New and Higher Taxes.
4. The Independent Payment Advisory Board.
5. State Exchanges.
6. Medicare Payment Cuts.
7. Higher Health Costs.
8. Government Control over Doctor Decisions.
9. Huge Deficits.
10. More than 150 New Boards, Agencies and Programs.

Ms. Turner explains each of these issues in more detail and you read her full article here.

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Poll: American Want Court to Strike Down ObamaCare

Last week, a new poll came out from The New York Times that found that 68% of Americans want the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down some or all of ObamaCare. 27% of those polled wanted the court to strike down the mandate and 41% want the court to strike down all of the law.

Read more about the poll here.

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ObamaCare Won’t Work (Even if the Court Upholds the Law)

A new CNNMoney article states:

The Obama administration maintains that its Affordable Care Act is a complex construct that’s endangered if the Supreme Court finds its central feature — the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance — unconstitutional. It’s certainly true that eliminating the “individual mandate” will immediately expose the plan as unworkable. It can only succeed by creating a broad, universal insurance pool that collects big premiums from the young and healthy. If the young and healthy aren’t required to sign on, they won’t. Hence, the pools won’t be remotely large enough to pay for the older, sicker folks who get the best deal, and are bound to flock to the state exchanges.
In reality, the reform plan’s success doesn’t depend on the Supreme Court’s decision at all. Its faulty design virtually guarantees that all the things the administration warns will happen if it loses will happen anyway. Even if it stands, the legislation will spawn insurance plans crowded with high-cost folks, driving premiums higher, hobbling competition as carriers abandon the exchanges, and leaving tens of millions of Americans uninsured.
Read the full article here.

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Mr. President, Do You Really Want to Talk About an “Unelected” Court, Look at the Senate that Passed ObamaCare

Yesterday, the President took an unnecessary and overtly political swipe at the Supreme Court of the United States. (This is not the first case of the President taking such action, recall his comments during his State of the Union about the Citizens United case and Justice Alito’s reaction to the President’s comments).

Here is what the President said:

“Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected Congress. I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we have heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly-constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example and I am pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.” [Emphasis added].

Ignoring the fact that I take issue with the President’s characterization of how conservatives would view or define judicial activism (it is creating “rights” by judicial decree, using a judges personal opinion to expand government’s power over the citizenry, using the judge’s views as a substitute for that of the legislature while simultaneously ignoring the plain reading of the Constitution or statute, and looking to foreign law instead of American law as a basis for ruling on a case), I strongly disagree with the President’s characterization of the make-up of the Congress that passed ObamaCare. The President is misleading the American people on this issue – and he knows it.

The President wants to talk about the “unelected” – let’s talk!  Before passing the United States Senate, the ObamaCare bill had to clear a “cloture vote” which means 60 Senators would have to vote to “cut off debate” and end the amendment process. On December 23, 2009, the Senate held that vote and, by the absolute slimmest of margins, cloture was invoked. (See Roll Call Vote 395). ObamaCare passed the Senate only after 60 Senators voted to invoke cloture but of those 60 Senators who voted for cloture, FIVE, yes five, were unelected Democratic Senators.

WHO WERE THE FIVE UNELECTED SENATORS THAT PASSED OBAMACARE?
  1. Sen. Roland Burris (D-Illinois). Burris was appointed by now-convicted former Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after he was elected President. Certainly President Obama knew yesterday that his unelected successor was one of five deciding votes that passed ObamaCare. Burris would retire at the end of the 111th Congress and never face voters for his vote for ObamaCare. This U.S. Senate seat is now held by Republican Mark Kirk who was elected by the people in 2010.
  2. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Delaware). Kaufman was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Vice-President Joe Biden after the 2008 election. Like Burris, Kaufman would retire at the end of the Congress without ever having to face the voters for his vote for ObamaCare.
  3. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado). Bennet was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Ken Salazar resigned to become Obama’s Secretary of the Interior. He was elected in his own right to the Senate in 2010.
  4. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York). Gillibrand was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Hillary Clinton resigned to become Obama’s Secretary of State.  Ironically, the man who appointed Gillibrand to the Senate, Gov. David Paterson (D), was himself never elected Governor (he became governor after Elliot Spitzer resigned from office in disgrace). Gillibrand was elected in her own right to the Senate in 2010.
  5. Sen. Paul Kirk (D-Massachusetts). Kirk was elected to fill the vacancy created by the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D). Like Burris and Kaufman, Kirk would retire at the end of the Congress without ever having to face the voters for his vote for ObamaCare. This Senate seat is now held by Republican Scott Brown who won a special election running against ObamaCare.
  6. Honorable Mention: Sen. Arlen Spector (D-Pennsylvania). Specter was elected to the Senate five times as a Republican. Having never been elected as a Democrat, he switched parties and became a Democrat on April 30, 2009 and switched his positions on a number of health care issues, ultimately voting for ObamaCare. Ironically, Spector gave a lengthy floor speech in 2001 following Senator Jim Jeffords (VT) party switch in which he praised the idea that a Senator should resign if he intends to switch parties and stated he would propose a rules change related to party switches.  Specter lost the 2010 Democratic primary and his seat is now held by Republican Pat Toomey who won the 2010 Senate election for the Senate seat.
It took five unelected Senators to invoke cloture on the ObamaCare bill. It took five unelected Senators – who had never been chosen by the American people – to pass ObamaCare. Three of those Senators never faced the voters to stand for election after their votes and another (Specter) lost his seat in an election.
When the President claims that ObamaCare was passed by a democratically elected Congress, it is up to opponents of ObamaCare to point out that the bill never would have passed Congress but for the votes of five unelected Democratic Senators.
UPDATE: Earlier today, a judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Jerry Smith, asked the Department of Justice to provide a letter to the court stating whether Attorney General Holder believes the court does in fact have the power to strike down a federal law. Judge Smith specifically referenced the President’s comments when requesting the letter from DOJ.  Read more on this developing issue here andhere.

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Justice of the Supreme Court will Cast Initial Votes on ObamaCare Today

According to press reports, the Justices of the Supreme Court will cast their preliminary votes today on the outcome of the ObamaCare litigation. The conference will help determine who will be assigned the responsibility of writing the majority and minority opinions.

For more on the conference process, read here.

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Listen to the Supreme Court Hearing on ObamaCare

Did you know the Supreme Court will be releasing daily audio tapes of the oral arguments over ObamaCare each day? You can find links to the arguments on the Court’s website.

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Senator Sessions Makes the Case for Kagan Recusal in ObamaCare Suit

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has written a powerful piece examining whether Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the ObamaCare lawsuit that the court will hear in March and concluding that she most certainly should recuse herself.  Senator Sessions made the following comments:

“According to Section 455(b)(3) of Title 28 of the U.S. Code, justices must disqualify themselves in cases where they have ‘served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser, or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case or controversy.’ In United States v. Gipson, the Tenth Circuit held that judges must recuse themselves if they have ‘previously taken a part, albeit small, in the investigation, preparation, or prosecution of a case.'” Justice Kagan has certainly met this criteria for recusal.
“Recusal due to previous participation in a case is not an admission of wrongdoing, but rather an expected consequence when a government lawyer accedes to the bench. Indeed, Justice Thurgood Marshall — the last solicitor general to become a justice, and the justice for whom Kagan clerked — recused himself from 98 of the 171 cases decided by the Court in his first year, and most of them were cases in which the federal government was a party.”
“Justice Kagan has recognized that her involvement as solicitor general in the preparation of the government’s challenge to Arizona’s immigration law prohibits her involvement in that case as a judge — even though the lawsuit was not filed until two months after she ceased performing the duties of her office due to her nomination, and even though she testified that she was not asked to express an opinion on the Arizona law. In contrast, Justice Kagan’s involvement in the preparation of the government’s defense of the health-care law began at least as early as January 2010, four months before her nomination and two months before the bill became law. That she would not follow the same course in the health-care case is dubious. These facts require recusal.”
Read Senator Sessions full article at National Review Online, here.

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