Tag Archives: Supreme Court

New York Times and Associated Press look for dirt on Kavanaugh’s wife

They’re coming for you next: The New York Times and the Associated Press have now made broad requests for the email records of Ashley Kavanaugh, wife of the current Supreme Court nominee, while she was town manager for the Village of Chevy Chase Section 5 (that’s only part of the village).

The two news organizations took different approaches to obtain the e-mails. According to the documents, the AP made a sweeping request for “all emails sent or received” by Ashley Kavanaugh’s Village of Chevy Chase email address.

By contrast, The New York Times is currently requesting that The Village of Chevy Chase Section 5 hand over “any emails to or from Ms. Kavanaugh that contain any of the keywords or terms listed below.”

And what a list it is, including words like “liberal,” “abortion,” “gay,” and “federalist,” while also explicitly asking for e-mails containing the names of certain individuals.

It’s a witch hunt, and a perfect illustration of McCarthyism of the left. “Have you ever been a member of the Republican Party, or do you know anyone who has?” As noted at the link,

[I]t’s all but clear that the PIA request from the NYT and the AP isn’t to shine a light on the workings of Chevy Chase local government; it’s to invade Mrs. Kavanaugh’s correspondence to dig up dirt on her husband. The nature of the search parameters from the NYT make that excruciatingly clear, unless the NYT has an ongoing in-depth exposé on the use of “federalist” thought in local governments.

…This is an intimidation tactic designed to discourage the next Supreme Court justice appointed by Donald Trump or any other Republican president, warning everyone that spouses will become fair game not just in electoral politics but in non-electoral politics as well.

This is only the beginning. The witch hunt, having failed against Trump, must continue until it succeeds, even if it means broadening it so that everyone who opposes the left is always guilty, and subject to as much blacklisting and thuggery as possible.

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Trump picks Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

Link here. Kavanaugh’s track record places him no worse than middle-of-the-road Kennedy, whom he replaces, but more likely leaning more to the right. How far will remain for time to decide.

Expect a lot of slander, over-the-top attacks, and vicious opposition from the left, based not on facts but on their insane thirst for power, now certain to shrink significantly.

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First look at Trump’s short list for Supreme Court

Link here. Two different news sources of from opposite sides of the political spectrum come up with the same short list of five names:

  • Brett Kavanaugh, DC Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Amul Thapar, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Amy Coney Barrett, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Thomas Hardiman, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Raymond Kethledge, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

Hardiman and Kethledge were also on Trump’s shortlist from which he picked Neil Gorsuch, and Hardiman’s background then made him, for me, a weak choice.

Kethledge was not given much attention in the previous nomination discussion, but the link above takes a quick look at one of his court decisions that suggests he could be a “wild card.” This is the kind of appointment I fear, because all too often such appointments immediately shift leftward, like Souter and Kennedy, once appointed.

It is clearly early in this process. More information will surely be forthcoming on these, and maybe other candidates.

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Supreme Court justice Kennedy to retire

The leftist losing streak continues: Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy has announced that he is retiring from the court.

In a statement, the Supreme Court said the 81-year-old Kennedy will step down effective July 31. The judge called it “the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years in the Supreme Court.” Kennedy wants to spend more time with his family, even though they were content with him staying on the court.

He also sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday notifying the president of his decision.

Kennedy, though leaning conservative, has often been the court’s swing vote, and has frequently voted with the court’s leftists. He will be replaced with a far more conservative justice, which will likely give the conservatives in the court its first real majority in decades.

Note that while many news reports will scream about an upcoming battle over the new nominee, this will be smoke and mirrors. Democratic opposition to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch forced the Republican leadership to abandon the filibuster for Supreme Court picks. All the Republicans need is a majority to get a confirmation, and they have that.

This article provides Trump’s list of candidates

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Supreme Court rules against goverment unions

The leftist losing streak continues: The Supreme Court today ruled that government employees cannot be forced to pay dues to government unions.

The court’s conservative majority scrapped a 41-year-old decision that had allowed states to require that public employees pay some fees to unions that represent them, even if the workers choose not to join.

The 5-4 decision fulfills a longtime wish of conservatives to get rid of the so-called fair share fees that non-members pay to unions in roughly two dozen states. Organized labor is a key Democratic constituency.

The court ruled that the laws violate the First Amendment by compelling workers to support unions they may disagree with. “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees,” Justice Samuel Alito said in his majority opinion in the latest case in which Justice Neil Gorsuch, an appointee of President Donald Trump, provided a key fifth vote for a conservative outcome.

Since government workers tend to be leftist anyway, especially in the federal government, I don’t expect this ruling to impact their fund-raising that much, initially. Over time, however, the unions are going to see their power recede as more and more employees decide they don’t need, or want, the unions.

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Supreme Court upholds Trump travel ban

In a 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court today upheld President Trump’s constitutional powers to enforce immigration law by upholding his travel ban.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, made it clear that the court viewed the ability to regulate immigration as squarely within a president’s powers and he rejected critics’ claims of anti-Muslim bias. “We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Roberts wrote.

Moreover, the court also ruled today that fascist California cannot force pro-life centers to advertise pro-abortion announcements.

“The unlicensed notice imposes a government-scripted, speaker-based disclosure requirement that is wholly disconnected from California’s informational interest,” wrote Justice Thomas. “California has offered no justification that the notice plausibly furthers. It targets speakers, not speech, and imposes an unduly burdensome disclosure requirement that will chill their protected speech.”

Thomas also wrote that the law not only forced pro-life centers to promote abortion, but to do so while diminishing their own message on pregnancy care. “As California conceded at oral argument, a billboard for an unlicensed facility that says ‘Choose Life’ would have to surround that two-word statement with a 29-word statement from the government, in as many as 13 different languages,” continued Thomas.

“In this way, the unlicensed notice drowns out the facility’s own message. More likely, the ‘detail required’ by the unlicensed notice ‘effectively rules out’ the possibility of having such a billboard in the first place.”

The left is on a bad losing streak at the Supreme Court so far this year. And with the strong possibility that at least one of its liberal judges might soon be replaced by Trump, the left’s ability to impose its will through the courts should be further diminished.

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Supreme Court rules warrant required to gather cell phone data

Well duh: The Supreme Court today ruled that the police must get a warrant in order to gather cell phone GPS data from anyone’s phone.

In a 5-4 decision on Friday the justices said that police need warrants to gather phone location data as evidence for trials. That reversed and remanded a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Carpenter v. United States is the first case about phone location data that the Supreme Court has ruled on. That makes it a landmark decision regarding how law enforcement agencies can use technology as they build cases. The court heard arguments in the case on Nov. 29.

The dispute dates back to a 2011 robbery in Detroit, after which police gathered months of phone location data from Timothy Carpenter’s phone provider. They pulled together 12,898 different locations from Carpenter, over 127 days.

The legal and privacy concern was that police gathered the four months’ worth of Carpenter’s digital footprints without a warrant. A Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled that cellphone location data is not protected by the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable search and seizure, and therefore didn’t require a warrant.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the government’s searches of Carpenter’s phone records were considered a Fourth Amendment search.

That the decision was 5-4 is absurd. The language of the fourth amendment is simple and clear. That there is any doubt about the illegality of the police data gathering here speaks badly on the four justices who dissented.

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Gorsuch picked by Trump for Supreme Court

President Trump tonight named Neil Gorsuch as his pick to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

My fear that Trump would go for the more moderate Thomas Hardiman has proven unfounded. Instead, this more conservative choice once again suggests that Trump is shifting increasingly to the right.

In fact, I think the insane and insulting attacks brought against Trump by the left have actually served to make him more conservative. As Rush Limbaugh noted today,

Would you like an illustration of what I mean by Donald Trump not being ideological and how it’s a problem? He understands he has opposition. How could he not? (chuckles) I mean, I’m sure he knows that he’s got opposition. Don’t misunderstand me, now. And I’m sure that he may have had his eyes opened about some of these people. In his mind, they’re Democrats. Liberal, conservative, that’s not in his lexicon, folks. I’m not offering this as a criticism. It’s just a truth. It’s something that, if you want to understand Trump, then there’s no better deconstructor of Trump and explainer of Trump who’s not in the inner circle than me.

All during the campaign I did my best to explain to everybody — leftists, media, conservative, Republicans, Never Trumpers — who Trump is, why Trump is, why Trump was winning, who Trump’s supporters are. And the thing that I kept saying is, “He’s not ideological.” So he knows he’s got opposition, he knows Democrats, and he’s probably had his eyes opened here. I’m sure that over the course of his life some of these people now calling him names trying to destroy him have been his friends. So his eyes are no doubt opened. I don’t doubt that.

When Trump first announced his candidacy, everything he did and said at that time fit with Limbaugh’s analysis, except that at the time I think Trump was much more middle of the road. I think he truly believed his liberal background working closely with Democrats would make them treat him decently. Instead, they have come at him guns blazing, calling him the worst sort of names, making the most vile accusations against him, and even attacking his family and his children.

The result? Trump has, as Limbaugh notes, had “his eyes opened.” He might not be a philosophical conservative, but more and more it appears that he recognizes the corrupt hate coming from the left, and is less and less inclined to give them an inch. Instead, he moves rightward. I also think this is the same pattern we are seeing nationwide among voters.

Right now the Democrats in the Senate look like they are planning to copy the strategy to try to block Trump’s Cabinet appointees used by Texas and Wisconsin Democrats in 2003 and 2011 respectively.

This is not the first time Democrats have blocked a Republican majority from proceeding by refusing to take their seats and thus denying Republicans a quorum. In 2003, 11 Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives literally fled the state for weeks in order to prevent a redistricting plan favored by Republicans. Eventually, one of them returned and the redistricting plan was passed. More recently, in 2011, Wisconsin Democrats fled to Illinois for three weeks to avoid a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill because of provisions that were opposed by Wisconsin unions. However, the GOP-controlled legislature defeated the Democrats’ maneuvers by separating these bills from the budget and passing them separately.

In both cases, the Democrats not only failed to win, but their actions caused the voters to move to the right, voting in more Republicans and significantly reducing Democratic influence in both these states. With Wisconsin the result has been the shift of that state from a blue to a red state.

They say that Einstein called insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I think this nicely defines the Democratic Party these days.

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Trump’s top five picks for Supreme Court

Link here. The author argues, that though some of these individuals have made decisions that some conservatives dislike, their general philosophical and analytical approach to their court decisions make them all strong conservative picks.

I’ve spent the better part of a week researching many of their writings and talking to stalwart constitutionalist leaders about them. All of them are clearly textualist-originalists to a degree Chief Justice Roberts never appeared to be, even when many on the right were applauding Roberts’ 2006 nomination due to his clear sense of one sort of judicial “restraint” and generally conservative political leanings.

Sure, these judges may reach differing conclusions from each other in particular cases, but these will likely be with the infrequency and integrity of, say, the occasional differences between Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia. What’s important is that each one of them is clear and forthright in applying the same basic method of analyzing each case — namely, by hewing closely to the facts at hand, and carefully considering those facts in light of the exact language of the statutes and/or Constitution (whichever applies) relevant to that case.

All of them do so while clearly operating from a legal-philosophical framework/understanding very much in line with the philosophies so well explained in the seminal Federalist Papers that explained how and why our Constitution was designed as it was.

If that honest decision-making process sometimes leads to individual case results that do not comport to the policy preferences of a subset of conservatives, so be it. The real safeguard for our liberties lies in that analytical process undertaken by those well steeped in a Federalist-paper worldview. The reality is that in the vast majority of cases, the right constitutional approach will lend aid to the right policy results, because the Constitution and conservative policies both tend toward limited government, maximum liberty under straightforward law, and a respect for the realms in which traditional institutions of family and faith are honored and cherished. For every policy disappointment that might result from such an approach to constitutional jurisprudence, surely 15 or 20 policy triumphs will occur. [emphasis in original]

While I agree with the author in general, his discussion of one particular candidate, Thomas Hardiman, did nothing for me. Based on what I read, Hardiman is now my least favored choice among the names Trump is considering.

Regardless, read it all. The article indicates once again that while Trump might have once been a liberal Democrat, his leanings now are increasingly in a conservative direction.

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Handicapping Trump’s Supreme Court pick

Link here. The analysis is not only thoughtful, it is very entertaining. He also provides a lot of information about the people on Trump’s shortlist, while also admitting quite heartily that his prediction is worth nothing, based on the events of the last year.

Nonetheless, the data here once again suggests that, despite Trump’s past history as a moderate liberal Democrat, he is going to rule from a conservative perspective. At least, that is what it looks like, based on his list of possible Supreme Court nominees. We have of course no guarantee at this time whether he will stick with that shortlist.

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Congress is now in recess until February 22

If President Obama wants to bypass the Senate approval process for getting a new Supreme Court judge approved, at least for the rest of his term, he has the opportunity right now.

Both bodies of have adjourned until later this month for the President’s Day recess. The Senate last met on Thursday. When doing so, it approved a “conditional adjournment resolution” for the Senate not to meet again until Monday, Feb. 22. The House met on Friday and at the close of business adopted the same adjournment resolution to get in sync with the Senate. The House is out until Tuesday, Feb. 23.

So, the House and Senate will not be meeting in the coming days. This is an adjournment and is not challengeable in court the way the NLRB recess appointments were because both bodies have agreed with each other to adjourn. This is a true recess and an opportunity for the president should he elect to take it — considering the political realities of the Senate and the position of its majority leader to potentially make a recess appointment.

In other words, unless the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) decides to end its recess early, Obama has until February 22 to make an appointment to the Supreme Court that will be in effect through the end of his term.

The article assumes that once this recess ends in February, the Senate will not give Obama another chance. Based on Mitch McConnell’s past history however, I would not be so confident.

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The future roadmap of religious persecution in America

The article describes the inevitable legal consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. Some key quotes:

The first attacks will be on small churches that don’t have the wherewithal to mount a legal defense against the IRS and against civil lawsuits. They will be confronted with a loss of their tax exempt status and the personal bankruptcy of their corporate officers if they do not allow homosexual weddings. The effect this will have on small congregations will be profound. Some will become “house churches”, much like what you see in Communist China. Many, however, will fall in line. The larger Protestant denominations will toe the line. Some, like the Episcopalians, are only nominally Christian as is. The Lutherans (ELCA variety) have had actively homosexual clergy for some time as have the Methodists. The two big targets for the government will be the Southern Baptist Convention — which is a voluntary association of independent churches — and the Roman Catholic Church. The pressure will ratchet up on them until they are confronted with confiscation of property or “discovering” hidden meanings in Scripture that reveal homosexual marriage has always been allowed.

Churches won’t disappear but the churches that you will see on Main Street will be peddling a warmed over and watered down version of Christianity that is a combination soup kitchen and twelve step program sans belief in a higher power. Real Christian churches will go underground but it will be a rearguard action. Christianity that chooses to ignore the very Word of God is not a religion, it is a cultural artifact.

The real price will be paid by those of us who are not actually employed by our churches. Organizing to resist homosexual marriage will bring down the FBI upon you as surely as if you were organizing a KKK chapter and with more alacrity than if you were an al Qaeda cell or blocking a polling station in Philadelphia. If you work for a large corporation or are in the military you can look forward to having your affirmatively support of homosexual marriage becoming an item on your performance appraisal. [emphasis mine]

And then there’s this:

Rather consistently local judges and others have said that religious liberty does not prevail for individuals who own businesses or engage in commerce. In effect, you can have religious liberty, so long as you don’t own a business. Here too there are legal nuances, but the fundamental trajectory is clear: Anyone who opposes the celebration of same-sex unions and lifestyle are going to be increasingly entangled in the courts and face more and more charges. [emphasis mine]

Read it all. If you don’t believe it will happen you are living in a fool’s paradise. Either Americans stand up now and defy the tyrannical strain that is beginning to dominate our society, or we will find all of our remaining but shrinking freedoms gone.

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Cruz proposes requiring judges to face voters periodically

In response to this week’s decisions by the Supreme Court, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today proposed several laws and constitutional amendments, one of which would require judges to face the voters periodically and be removed if rejected.

Cruz’s analysis here is interesting in that he recognizes the right of Congress to impeach and remove judges, but also recognizes that this Congress, under this Republican leadership, just won’t do it. As he notes,

A Senate that cannot muster 51 votes to block an attorney-general nominee openly committed to continue an unprecedented course of executive-branch lawlessness can hardly be expected to muster the 67 votes needed to impeach an Anthony Kennedy.

He also correctly notes that if something isn’t done, the movement to amendment the Constitution using Article V convention of the states will likely gain momentum, something that we all know carries its own risks, including changing the Constitution in ways that are not beneficial.

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The foolish petty Republican response to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court rules that it has the right to ignore the actual words written in a law so it can provide support to a particular political position. The Republican response? Let’s force the judges to enroll in Obamacare!

The Supreme Court rules that the will of the electorate, which has rejected same-sex marriage in more than thirty elections, should be ignored because it wishes to support a particular political position. The Republican response? So far, a lot of bluster and toothless proposals.

What should they do to answer both rulings? They control Congress. The Constitution gives them the right and the power to impeach and remove judges. It is time for them to show they really oppose these decisions and move to fire the justices who ruled on these two cases.

Any other action will show us that they really do not have the courage to defend the will of the electorate.

I should add that I really do not expect the Republicans in Congress to do what I suggest. They are cowards, and have repeatedly shown that they will not stand up to leftwing attacks. They will fold here as well.

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“Words no longer have meaning.”

Working for the Democratic Party: The Supreme Court today upheld the Obama administration’s decision to award subsidies under Obamacare to individuals in states lacking a health exchange, even though the law expressly excludes such subsidies.

Justice Antonin Scalia summed up the situation quite nicely in his dissent:

“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,’ Scalia wrote. “That is of course quite absurd, and the court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”

He also complained that, “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’ … Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”

Once again Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the liberal side, indicating again that he is willing to “evolve” to the left, as it seems so many Republican appointees have done in the past.

In the end, the ruling only leaves us where we were before, which means, to get rid of Obamacare, we as citizens are going to have to elect more legislators willing to repeal it, and then get it repealed. Doing that will also help heal the court, which today is very clearly willing to ignore the law to prop up the political positions of the Democratic Party.

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Supreme Court rules government cannot confisicate farmer crops

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 today that a 66 year old program that allowed the federal government to confiscate the crops of farmers in order to manage the supply and demand was unconstitutional.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government must pay “just compensation” when it takes personal goods just as when it takes land away. He rejected the government’s argument that the Hornes voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin market and have the option of selling different crops if they don’t like it. “‘Let them sell wine’ is probably not much more comforting to the raisin growers than similar retorts have been to others throughout history,” Roberts said. “Property rights cannot be so easily manipulated.”

The Constitution on property rights is very clear. The government has to pay for any property it takes. That it required a Supreme Court decision to enforce this plain language should distress us all.

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Supreme Court rejects Obama’s contraceptive mandate again

The law is such an inconvenient thing: The Supreme Court has thrown out another lower court decision that had favored the Obama administrations’ Obamacare contraceptive mandate imposed on Catholic businesses.

What is telling about this is that the Obama administration keeps fighting these cases, even though it is very clear from all its rulings that the Supreme Court has rejected the mandate as hostile to religious freedom. What they should do is sue the court for dismissal and stop trying to impose the mandate in all cases. But they don’t. This is not only a waste of resources, it indicates that Obama and his administration really don’t wish to follow the court rulings, and instead want to impose their will regardless. By fighting this case by case, they are hoping to wear down the religious.

In essence, the Obama administration is thus reveals itself hostile to the law itself.

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Supreme Court rejects abortion clinic free speech buffer zone.

In another victory against government overreach, the Supreme Court today ruled that a buffer zone protecting abortion clincs from protests violates the first amendment.

While the court was unanimous in the outcome, Roberts joined with the four liberal justices to strike down the buffer zone on narrow grounds. In a separate opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Roberts’ opinion for carrying forward “this court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents.”

I am once again gratified that the entire court recognized the unconstitutionality of this buffer zone. However, Scalia is right. That a majority of the court rejected the buffer on narrow grounds is unfortunate.

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Supreme Court rejects Obama’s recess appointments

The law is such an inconvenient thing: In a 9-0 ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that Barack Obama’s fake recess appointments were unconstitutional.

Two and one-half years ago in 2012, Obama tried to slip-in appointments to the National Labor Relations Board without the constitutionally required Senate approval, claiming he had the right to do so because the Senate was in recess. There’s only one problem. The Senate was not in formal recess when Obama made the dictatorial appointments.

Now the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in a unanimous 9-0 decision that Obama doesn’t get to define when the U.S. Senate is in recess, the Senate does.

I am gratified that all the Democratic appointees to the court ruled against Obama, refusing to allow their partisan tendencies to overrule the plain language of the Constitution. More information about the ruling and its history here.

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The Supreme Court has decided to rule on the Obamacare contraceptive mandate.

The Supreme Court has decided to rule on the Obamacare contraceptive mandate.

Remember, Obamacare does not have what lawyers call a severability clause. If they rule any part of the law unconstitutional, without this clause they are required to rule the entire law unconstitutional.

Of course, these rules existed when we followed rules. Nowadays, who knows?

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“It’s all up to the voters now.”

“It’s all up to the voters now.”

It always has been up to the voters. Sadly, my baby-boom generation has too often turned to the courts to absolve themselves from responsibility for making tough decisions as voters. With Obamacare, that is no longer possible. If the public wants to get rid of this turkey of a law, which every poll says they do, the public had better come out to the polls in November and vote for candidates who are in favor of its repeal.

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“They evidently spent two years putting their fingers in their ears and singing, ‘La la la, I’m not listening’ whenever the conservative argument was being advanced.”

“They evidently spent two years putting their fingers in their ears and singing, ‘La la la, I’m not listening’ whenever the conservative argument was being advanced.”

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“a train wreck for the Obama administration.”

“A train wreck for the Obama administration.”

Trying to determine what the Supreme Court will rule on any issue by analyzing the questions they ask beforehand has generally been a poor predictor of their final decision. Sadly, we really won’t know what the Supreme Court will do until they do it.

Moreover, from my perspective it would be far better for Congress to repeal the law rather than have the court rule it unconstitutional. In the former it will be done by legislative action, backed by the voters. In the latter it would be the decision of nine unelected individuals, essentially expressing their personal opinions. In a true democracy the former is definitely preferred.

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The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of the landowners whose property was essentially stolen by the EPA because the agency had declared it contained a wetland.

A small victory against the EPA: The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of the landowners whose property was essentially stolen by the EPA because the agency had unilaterally declared it contained a wetland.

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