Time to Remove Justice Ginsburg

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From Mark Steyn:

Justice Ginsburg swung by Cairo last month to help out the lads from the Muslim Brotherhood building the new Egypt: “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she advised them.

That a sitting Supreme Court justice would denigrate the Constitution she’s sworn to uphold in a foreign country deserves the sort of scorn normally reserved for traitors.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be removed from the court and ostracized by every US citizen.

And after that, she can go to hell.


The Supreme Court Votes on Obamacare Today

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We won’t know the result until late June, most likely.  And the results of today’s vote could change by then.


Still, it’s sort of weird that after three years of public, wildly emotional and stupifyingly complex arguments, the fate of the republic comes down to a short meeting in Washington involving nine people in a paneled room.

Mark Sherman of AP describes the cloistered scene:

After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the justices will vote on the fate of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in under an hour Friday morning. They will meet in a wood-paneled conference room on the court’s main floor. No one else will be present.

I’ve already written about the importance of this case. Its significance approaches that of the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, when it voted to declare our independence from Great Britain. That’s because the court will decide whether the government is a creation of its people, or if we are mere subjects to the government’s absolute rule.

I am not optimistic.

I think Justice Kennedy is looking for an excuse to uphold the law, and the brain tends to find what the the brain seeks. If he votes to uphold, Chief Justice Roberts will likely vote with the majority. That’s because the Chief Justice assigns the opinion for the side he’s on. By voting with the majority, he can craft the opinion himself.

In this scenario, the Supreme Court will have ruled, effectively, that Congress can extend government’s powers beyond the limits of the Constitution whenever it deems necessary. (Allahpundit concurs.) At least, it will have done so in the mind of swing voter Anthony Kennedy. That means our government would no longer be limited to the powers we gave it.

And at that point, my friends, we are no longer morally bound to the government in Washington. If Washington breaks its covenant, we are free to create a new government.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

– Declaration of Independence

How monumental is that decision, now?

(For more one the covenant of the Constitution, read Michael Patrick Leahy’s fabulous new book, Covenant of Liberty.)


A Health Insurance Solution that Some Smart State Should Try

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The term “United States” is both plural (many states united) and singular (the United States). The tag line “e pluribus unum” loses its meaning if we cease to be many, if we give up our identities as individual states. As states, we are as different from each other as the United States is from Canada.

The United States are most powerful pursuing opportunities and fixing problems in the plural but defending in the singular.

Justice Louis Brandeis called the states “laboratories” for policy experiments.

It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.

When Massachusetts experimented on itself with RomneyCare, it was behaving in complete accord with the wishes of the founders.  That’s exactly what federalism means.

For the past fifty years, though, most states have looked to Washington to pursue everyMedicine_Case__First_Aid_Case opportunity, solve every problem, and fund every initiative. Missouri wants to change its schools, its Republican legislature begs Arne Duncan for cash—offering our sovereignty in return. (Just one example.)

If some enterprising state would like to experiment with health insurance that actually solves some problems rather than shifting responsibility to the Millennials, try this:

  1. Phase out “Cadillac” plans by setting a deductible floor of $1,250 per person ($2,500 per family) per year.
  2. Create a state-wide Medical Savings Account program that allows people to save unlimited amounts to cover their deductible—or any other medical related costs, including cosmetic medicine—free of state taxes.
  3. Pass meaningful tort reform.

Why This Will Work

High Deductible:  By setting a minimum deductible of $1,250, people become medical consumers. That first $1,250 comes out of their pockets. They can negotiate prices with medical providers.  They can put a Band-Aid® on their own damn finger.  Whatever.  They become totally responsible for the first $1,250 ($3,000).  Plans like this cost about $200 per month with outstanding side benefits like free annual check-ups.  (Find one here.)  Further, an individual’s insurance is now directly tied to the insurance company, not the employer. This makes health insurance portable. 

Medical Savings Account: We used to have something like this nationally, until it started working too well and threatening the whole medical-insurance-Congress money cycle.  This MSA encourages people to pre-pay their medical costs.  It’s convenient and leads toward responsibility for medical costs. And it’s a smart way to save up for elective procedures.

Tort Reform:  Everyone except Trial Lawyers agrees that gold-digger lawsuits drive up the cost of healthcare. A recent Vanderbilt University study showed we waste $2 billion a year on orthopaedic defensive medicine, alone. Tort reform will allow doctors to order necessary tests for diagnosing and correcting the problem, not a thousand unnecessary tests to build a case for the courtroom.

Just Try It

Will this solve all of America’s medical and insurance problems?  No. And there will be some pain early on. People will take time to learn personal medical responsibility.  We’ve been trained to never care for our own medical consumption, and we need to relearn that skill.

But it will reduce the total cost of medicine without drying up availability.  It will do this one state.  If it works, other states are free to experiment.

As more and more states adopt this model, maybe the people the states send to Congress will allow cross-state insurance to increase portability.

If the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare, the person or party with the best solution wins. In the case of medicine—and all other opportunities—federalism offers the best hope. 


It’s Impossible to Exaggerate the Historical Importance of the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare Decision

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When the Supreme Court releases its opinion on the ObamaCare case, America will change fundamentally. This is the most important case to the future of the republic since the Great Depression or the Civil War.

Official ObamaCare Pace Car If the court upholds ObamaCare, it will end the principle of government limited by a written Constitution.  Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia said as much. A vote by Kennedy to uphold the legislation, then, would be a vote for unlimited government power. As Allahpundit puts it:

What they’re [Obama’s lawyers] asking for, in other words, even though they can’t phrase it this way, is a waiver from the Commerce Clause because this boondoggle is that important. And Kennedy, per his “heavy burden of justification” reasoning, just might give it to them.

If, however, the court strikes down ObamaCare, everything that the Tea Party fought for for the past three years will have been vindicated by the highest court in the land. America’s closest brush with totalitarianism will have been averted.

For 100 years, progressives have beaten the American people to the ground and stolen our power. They’ve stored all this power in Washington, DC. From 1942 to about 1982, the courts were allies of progressivism.  Since then, the courts have been relatively neutral, occasionally transferring more power to the government, rarely returning power to the people, mostly maintaining a cumbersome status quo.

This case changes everything. Either we have a Constitution or we don’t.


The State of the GOP

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by Bill Hennessy and Jim Durbin

John Knowles’s classic novel, A Separate Peace, begins memorably:

I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before . . . as if a coat of varnish had been put over everything for better preservation.

I get precisely the opposite feel when I look at the Republican Party.

Republicans Return to Disarray

Less than two years after the Tea Party carried Republicans to historic gains in Congress and state housesTea Party 2009 around the country, the Grand Old Party looks much older than grand. Its skin is coarse and leathery. Pachyderm-ish.Or like the broken, bleeding hands of a North Dakota railroad worker in January. It’s as if a coat of Elmer’s Glue had been put over everything to blister and peel and crack like mud under the burning sun.

Across Missouri, people were driven away by heavy-handed party regulars. The disenchanted were mostly newcomers to politics.

Most infamous of these events was the St. Charles County debacle in which the county chairman ruled with an iron fist, inspiring a rebellion that ended with police riot squads clearing the premises and arresting two caucus-goers. Ready to lead, indeed.

In Illinois, a wealthy young man from a prominent family unleashed a tidal wave of lies—flat out, ridiculous, and cruel lies—against a decent and honest opponent.  Meanwhile, the Illinois GOP insiders threatened and cajoled anyone who dared support the young heir’s opponent. At a Lincoln Days dinner in Madison County, I heard a small business owner explain the sticker on his chest: “I’m not supporting him, but they’ll go after my business if I don’t wear this.”

Liberty my foot. The Illinois GOP is every bit as capable of totalitarian control as the Obama administration. It feels like the Republican Party is more interested in protecting the power and redistributive entitlements of its long-time insiders than in growing its base. The party fears new blood (except their properly schooled off-spring), the way closed country clubs of the 1970s feared blacks, Jews, and Catholics.

Where Does the Money Go?

Did I say “redistributive entitlements?”  Yes, I did. When it comes to government spending, the biggest difference between the Republicans and Democrats is to whom they redistribute our money. Democrats buy votes with tax dollars; Republicans buy donors.

Now, I admit, I’d rather live in a nation led by Republicans than one ruled by Democrats. Republicans tolerate more personal liberty and more economic growth. They are more open to learning and to experimenting with better methods than are Democrats. Republicans remain naturally skeptical of experts who’ve never accomplished anything in real life.

But only slightly.

Republicans do not tolerate real competition between businesses. They championed TARP as much the Democrats did, and TARP was the crown jewel of anti-competitive legislation. Nor do they welcome newcomers into the party—at least not newcomers who want an equal say in things.

I realize that people who’ve worked on Township committees for 20 years want to have more influence than some guy who accidentally wanders into his first caucus looking for a public toilet. But rigging the process to produce results that were predetermined by a small cadre of insiders doesn’t help Republicans win or grow the base—it helps launch third parties.

After the Tea Party dragged the GOP across the finish line in 2010, to borrow Mike Leahy’s line, the GOP wanted nothing more to do with us. They’ve quietly toiled to let us know our kind isn’t welcome.  We’re like Irish and Italian immigrants a century and a quarter ago. “We’re going to vote now, dear. Be a good little immigrant and take out the trash.”

If the Republicans don’t wake up and grow up quickly, come November they will find themselves the most exclusive club in America—on their way to joining the Whigs.

Who Held the Line?

The GOP in Missouri wasted the biggest influx of new blood into the political fight in 30 years. Now you understand why so many young people support Ron Paul.  The Democrats are destroying the country, but who has the stomach to work with Republicans?

In 2008 and 2009, Republicans across the country gave up. They let Al Franken steal a seat. They let Arlen Specter slip through their fingers. They embraced the idea of 40 years of Democratic Rule.  Heck, even Roy Blunt was touring the state hoping to stop Robin Carnahan from being the 60th Senator.  They had given up.

  • While the Republican Establishment cut deals with Democrats, The Tea Party stood in the gap and said “No more.”
  • While the Republican Establishment cowered behind city walls, we charged into the streets and parks and hearings and town halls declaring, “we created this government, not the other way around.”
  • While the Republican Establishment ducked its head and buried its wallet and worried about its political future, our flesh and blood held back and reversed the tide to historic victories across the country.

It was the Tea Party that held back Obamacare from fast track implementation in August of 2009.  They were ready to pass it, and we stepped up in the townhalls and said HELL NO!  We were telling them it was costly and unconstitutional long before the CBO and the Supreme Court got involved.  We were right then.  Do you remember?

It was the Tea Party that made a national mission out of Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts. And if the Supreme Court overturns ObamaCare, it will be because the Democrats rushed the bill through the Senate knowing Brown was the 41st vote for freedom.

It wasn’t just healthcare shoved down our throats.  The Republicans couldn’t stop the stimulus. They put up token resistance and then a bunch of them voted for the omnibus budget a few weeks later (allowing Claire McCaskill to vote against it because Kit Bond voted for it). They ducked the debt ceiling fight.  They refused to defund Obamacare or the czars.  They were given a huge majority in the House of Representatives – the power of the purse, and what have they have done with it?  The debt continues to grow as the Senate refuses to even consider a budget.

Now it’s March, 2012. In Missouri, the Tea Party candidates have been driven out and redistricted and co-opted.  What exactly is a Tea Partier supposed to fight for in Missouri?  Where’s our skin in the game?  Who can we stand behind?

The Republicans don’t appreciate what was done for them.  They will.  They will wake up this fall to empty phone banks, small events, and the full attention of a press eager to prove 2010 a historical anomaly.

Come October, the Occupy Crowd will hound them at local events, and the social media will be all leftwing, all the time.  The Republicans will have lost the narrative, and they will once again be playing defense.

And they’ll put a coat of varnish on the state capitol and talk about the ebb and flow of politics, as the debt tsunami approaches.  The Tea Party was willing to fight alongside Republicans.  We never signed up to fight for them.  The danger is not that Tea Party voters sit on their hands and let Obama stay into office.  It’s that across the nation, publicly funded groups like the unions and the new ACORN and Occupy and Color for Change are preparing for 2012.  The Republicans, in their arrogance, have decided to tell a million volunteers and donors to stay home.

As patriots with families and businesses, we have choices on how to use the limited time God has granted us.  We are forced to choose where to apply our time and attention.  Is that focus to be placed on working with candidates and fighting the mainstream media?  Or is it shoring up our homes, finances, families, and communities for whatever comes next?


The Supreme Court Will Also Decide the Election

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When the Supreme Court rules on ObamaCare, it will define Barack Obama as either a winner or loser.


James Carville says overturning ObamaCare would be the best thing that could happen to Democrats. I think he’s wrong.

ObamaCare is the centerpiece of Obama’s term in office. He put all of America’s business on hold for a year to pass it. He coerced, lied, intimidated, and threatened to get the law passed.  It consumed him.

If Barack Obama’s only major accomplishment turns out to be a very divisive, very expensive, very distracting assault on the Constitution, the only word that will fit him is “loser.”

But if Anthony Kennedy can be persuaded to break the Constitution, Obama will be, more or less, our dictator. If the law is upheld, people will see him as a winner because people flock to power.

The republic hangs in the balance.

SCOTUS Reality Tour

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By now you’ve seen the sensational headlines:

And so it goes.

Before we start dancing in the streets, let’s face a little reality. One man, it seems, holds the fate of ObamaCare in his hands.  And that man does not necessarily believe the Constitution to be law, but guiding principle. 

That one justice, Anthony Kennedy, seems to be looking for a reason to uphold ObamaCare and the individual mandate. Here’s what Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy observed:Anthony Kennedy

Reading the tea leaves, it sounds like Justice Kennedy accepts the basic framework of the challengers that mandates are different and especially troubling. Instead of saying that mandates are therefore banned, however, Justice Kennedy would require the government to show some special circumstances justifying the mandate in each case. The answered question in this case is whether the special economics of the health care market justifies the mandate here.

What’s disturbing to me and other written-constitution types, is this: If the Constitution means anything, “special circumstances” don’t exist.  If we are a nation of laws, heavy justification goes out the window. 

I hope I’m wrong—not about what Kennedy’s looking for, but what Kennedy believes.  Earlier in today’s arguments, Kennedy seemed to put the Constitution’s plain language before the “special circumstances” he considered later:

I understand that we must presume laws are constitutional, but, even so, when you are changing the relation of the individual to the government in this, what we can stipulate is, I think, a unique way, do you not have a heavy burden of justification to show authorization under the Constitution? [emphasis mine] 

Key here is that Kennedy’s demanding that the government show “authorization under the Constitution.” Later, he seemed to be demanding only a good argument for circumventing the Constitution.

If Kennedy believes, as any reasonable person would, that the Constitution prohibits the Federal government from forcing citizens to engage in commerce, then he must vote to strike down the individual mandate. 

But I’m not convinced he will.


Why People Are Being Unfair to Donald Verrilli

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Everyone (including me) is cracking on Donald Verrilli, Obama’s Solicitor General. He figuratively died on the biggest legal stage in the world today. Here’s a sample of the left’s reaction to Verrilli’s performance:

Mother Jones:

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. should be grateful to the Supreme Court for refusing to allow cameras in the courtroom, because his defense of Obamacare on Tuesday may go down as one of the most spectacular flameouts in the history of the court. via Mother Jones

The New Republic:

Solicitor General Don Verrilli seemed to struggle more than Paul Clement, attorney for the states. via The New Republic

Business Insider:

In an audio of the hearing, Verrilli, who is arguing the Obama administration’s side in the case over healthcare reform, seems like a nervous wreck. Delivering the first remarks of the day, Verrilli clearly loses his composure when he starts to cough, and then appears to take a sip of water and get on with his statement, sounding a little rattled.
Read more:

Look, Daniel Webster would not have fared any better today.  The President sent General Verrilli to defend the indefensible, to argue nonsense, to convince the Supreme Court that what is is not.

The Constitution prohibits the federal government from doing anything that’s not enumerated in the Constitution (Tenth Amendment). But ObamaCare says you must buy a product solely because the government says so. The power to compel commerce is nowhere in the Constitution.

So give Donald Verrilli some slack. He had the impossible task of rewriting the Constitution before the Supreme Court’s prying eyes.  And we all know, rewriting the Constitution is the exclusive domain of the Supreme Court.

Still, you have to watch this video:

Sorry.  Couldn’t resist.