clarence thomas

Can ObamaCare Survive the Constitutional Challenge

Last week a severe blow was dealt to the long-term prospects of ObamaCare. U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision (commonly referred to as the “individual mandate”) is unconstitutional. ObamaCare required weeks of arm-twisting and bribes, along with a labyrinthine process of obscure parliamentary procedures, to get the bill passed without a final vote. Even then it required Nancy Pelosi keeping her caucus in Washington (and away from the growing number of voters back home vehemently and vocally opposed to the bill) until nearly midnight on Christmas Eve in order to get the bill to pass by a hair.

There are a number of constitutional issues with the health care “reform” legislation, but none may be more important to implementing it than maintaining the individual mandate. There is no doubt that this is not the end of the issue. The Obama administration will appeal the ruling and eventually it will end up in the Supreme Court. However, that may not be a hospitable venue for the arguments that Obama will make before the court to protect this provision.

Opinion: Gun Control Negatively Effects Minorities


Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post has a nearly unblemished track record of offering up hard-hitting, powerful, emotional editorials which assess America’s most pressing issues and are almost always…wrong. Last week’s anti-gun, anti-police commentary, “In America, gun rights are for whites only” was no exception.

Robinson starts off by regurgitating the inflammatory leftist narrative of a police-driven war on young black men, claiming “If you are a black man in America, exercising your constitutional right to keep and bear arms can be fatal. You might think that the National Rifle Association and its amen chorus would be outraged, but apparently they believe Second Amendment rights are for whites only.”

And that is where he goes off the rails. He is reflexively programmed to see everything through the prism of race, even when race has little or no bearing on an issue or incident.

Regarding the supposed apathy of the NRA towards gun-owning minorities, he is just flat wrong. It was a black man, Otis McDonald, who was aided by the NRA as he sued the City of Chicago for unlawful infringements of his 2nd Amendment rights. McDonald, 76 (in 2010, when the case was decided by the Supreme Court) was refused permission to own a handgun for self-defense, despite living in a neighborhood infested with drug dealers and gangbangers. His home had been robbed five times, but he was denied the ability to defend himself. The NRA helped McDonald win a landmark case for individual gun rights.

No Country for Old (White) Men


At least within the ranks of the Democrat Party, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is officially dead.

On August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, civil rights icon Martin Luther King declared “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Today, the absolute last thing liberal Democrats want is for anyone to be judged by the content of their character, instead demanding everyone be judged by the color of their skin.

Then again, that is not entirely true. To the modern Democrat Party, the color of your skin must also be aligned with political ideology. That is why conservative blacks and Hispanics are not considered “authentic” blacks and Hispanics; because they are not also liberal/progressive, meaning they are open game for the most vicious, slanderous attacks.

A recent example of this comes in the form of the nomination by Obama of the milquetoast, boring old white guy, Garland Merrick, to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the passing of revered originalist Justice Antonin Scalia.

Harry Reid has apparently forgotten that Clarence Thomas is an African-American

During a press conference yesterday in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) criticized the “five white men” who voted to extend religious freedom protections to owners of held businesses in the Hobby Lobby case.

“The one thing we are going to do during this work period — sooner rather than later — is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” said Reid. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous and we are going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote. And if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to be treated unfavorably come November for the elections.”

Reid and Democrats are trying to play up the Hobby Lobby decision as a wedge issue in the election to get their base out to the polls this fall. Whatever. That’s one of the few cards they have to play while everything else is burning down around them.

First Amendment wins big at the Supreme Court

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down aggregate limits on how much an individual can give to candidates and committees in an election cycle.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the plurality-backed opinion, noted that the “case does not involve any challenge to the base limits,” meaning that individual-to-candidate contribution limits still apply. Those limits were upheld in Buckley v. Valeo (1976), which, the opinion states, “serv[e] the permissible objective of combatting corruption.”

“We conclude, however, that the aggregate limits do little, if anything, to address that concern, while seriously restricting participation in the democratic process,” wrote Roberts. “The aggregate limits are therefore invalid under the First Amendment.”

Before McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, an individual could give up to $48,600 to candidates and another $74,600 to political action committees and/or political parties in each election cycle. Shaun McCutcheon, a businessman from Alabama, challenged the caps on political giving, arguing that the limitations were a violation of his free speech rights.

Roberts concedes that the federal government has a “strong interest” to combat corruption, but he goes on to explain that “this interest must be limited to…quid pro quo corruption.”

SCOTUS shoots down California’s ban on violent video games

In a common sense ruling announced yesterday, the Supreme Court shot down California’s nanny-statist ban on sales of violent video games to kids:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down on First Amendment grounds a California law that barred the sale of violent video games to children. The 7-to-2 decision was the latest in a series of rulings protecting free speech, joining ones on funeral protests, videos showing cruelty to animals and political speech by corporations.
Justice Antonin Scalia., writing for five justices in the majority in the video games decision, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, No. 08-1448, said video games were protected by the First Amendment.

“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world),” Justice Scalia wrote. “That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

Depictions of violence, Justice Scalia added, have never been subject to government regulation. “Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed,” he wrote, recounting the gory plots of Snow White, Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel. High school reading lists and Saturday morning cartoons, too, he said, are riddled with violence.

Apparently, these guys didn’t get the “new tone” memo

While protesting the Koch brothers for their involvement in financing the tea party movement, some of these progressives said that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be sent “back to the fields” or lynched and called for the deaths of other conservative figures. Classy, huh?

Here’s the video:

Parting question. If it’s so bad for Charles and David Koch to spend the money they earned - a strange concept to the left, why haven’t they protested George Soros for doing the same thing?

H/T: Hot Air

Judicial philosophy and the differences between libertarians and conservatives

In a new Reason TV video, Damon Root discusses the differences between libertarians and conservatives on judicial philosophy, a topic he wrote about in the current issue of Reason. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Barr weighs in on McDonald v. Chicago decision

Bob Barr, a former Congressman and NRA Board Member, weighed in yesterday on the McDonald v. Chicago decision, which was handed down from the Supreme Court last week:

By a five to four majority last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that neither a state nor a city acting under a grant of authority from the state, can deny a person the right to possess a firearm as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  Interestingly, of that slim, five-member majority, only one justice had the constitutional backbone to rule the right way for the right reason.  It was not Chief Justice Roberts, and it was not Antonin Scalia, considered by many as the most conservative of the tribunal’s nine members.

SCOTUS incorporates the Second Amendment

The Supreme Court ruled today in a 5 to 4 decision that the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, applies to the states and remanded McDonald v. Chicago back to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals instead of declaring it to be unconstitutional:

In another dramatic victory for firearm owners, the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional Chicago, Illinois’ 28-year-old strict ban on handgun ownership, a potentially far-reaching case over the ability of state and local governments to enforce limits on weapons.

A 5-4 conservative majority of justices on Monday reiterated its two-year-old conclusion the Constitution gives individuals equal or greater power than states on the issue of possession of certain firearms for self-protection.

“It cannot be doubted that the right to bear arms was regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as states legislated in an evenhanded manner,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito.

The court grounded that right in the due process section of the 14th Amendment. The justices, however, said local jurisdictions still retain the flexibility to preserve some “reasonable” gun-control measures currently in place nationwide.

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer predicated far-reaching implications. “Incorporating the right,” he wrote, “may change the law in many of the 50 states. Read in the majority’s favor, the historical evidence” for the decision “is at most ambiguous.”

You can read the opinion here.

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