Tag Archives: Supreme-Court

How I Would Vote on Gay Marriage Cases

I’m not a lawyer. And I’m not particularly smart. But that doesn’t stop me from writing my opinion.

Rather, I’m a libertarian-ish conservative. I like a small central government that protects us from evil people in other countries and delivers mail. And prosecutes people who do great harm across state lines.

The Supreme Court has two big gay marriage cases pending. At issue:

1.  Do the people of California have the right to define marriage in their state?

2.  Does the federal government have the power to define marriage in every state?

If I were a Supreme Court justice (stop laughing), here’s how I’d rule:

1. Yes, the people of California have the right to define marriage in their state. Prop 8 upheld

2. No, the people never gave the federal government the power to define marriage. DOMA unconstitutional.

Now, let’s scale back entitlements and reform the tax code so federal tax burdens apply equally to everyone regardless of marital status, sexual preference, or eye color.

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Let Depression Be Your Guide

Yesterday, I gave you a reason to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision.  But I never said to let go of your anger or depression. That’s because we need creativity, focus, and action, and you get those through emotional distress.

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In his new best-selling book, Jonah Lehrer discusses the link between depression and creativity:

This helps explain why Forgas has found that states of sadness— he induces the downcast mood with a film about death and cancer— also correlate with better writing samples; subjects compose sentences that are clearer and more compelling. Because they were more attentive to what they were writing, they produced more refined prose, the words polished by their misery.

Lehrer, Jonah (2012-03-19). Imagine: How Creativity Works (p. 77). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Wanna feel some depression? Think about this:  since July of 2009, we’ve been fighting against Obamacare. For almost a full year, we spent many hours every week in the streets trying to block Obama’s power grab.

After the Senate crammed through hastily written legislation in March 2010, we looked toward the Supreme Court as our next line defense.  When Richard Verilli, the government’s lawyer, failed miserably in his oral arguments in March, we felt a quiet confidence build inside our guts: Obamacare would be toast.

Then came June. Each Monday and Thursday we waited to hear the news. But the news didn’t come.  “Maybe next week,” we told each other.

On June 28, there was no calendar left before them; the court had to rule.  And it did.

CNN and Fox News both reported “The individual mandate is unconstitutional.”  They forgot to mention: “under the commerce clause.”

As Twitterdom celebrated, I watched the live blog on SCOTUSblog.com.  While others reported the mandate dead, SCOTUSblog posted: “The individual mandate survives as a tax.”

Even after I tweeted this news, hundreds of tweets in my stream continued to celebrate the greatly exaggerated death of the individual mandate.

“Those poor bastards,” I thought.

One by one, the word got out.  “Holy crap!”

To me, the shining city on a hill went dark.

Then I went about my work, ignoring the news for the rest of the day.

At 6:30 pm, I left the office.  I changed clothes in my car on the way to Forest Park.

Depression has a way of churning up weird sediment from the bottom of the mind.  Sweating the 107-degree sun and driving east on I-44, the inside of my car grew dark from the shadow of the I-270 overpass. I saw Ronald Reagan in bed, white sheets over him, his face contorted in agony.

“Where’s the rest of me?” he growled.

The remainder of the movie, Kings Row, played out in my mind.

I was looking for words to say at the rally, and I found them.

My mood lifted.

Creativity emerges from depression, as it turns out.  And so does perseverance:

“Successful writers are like prizefighters who keep on getting hit but won’t go down,” says Nancy Andreasen, a researcher at University of Iowa. “They’ll stick with it until it’s right. And that seems to be what the mood disorders help with.”

Lehrer, Jonah (2012-03-19). Imagine: How Creativity Works (p. 79). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

What’s true of writers and fighters is true of patriots in the battlefield, of crusaders for  justice, and of champions of a cause. The fight is never easy.  Depression sucks.  Agony hurts.  Pain is not happiness, no matter how the Ministry of Truth might spin it.

But the pain also compels action. And pain tells you you’re still alive.

Andreasen says. “If you’re at the cutting edge, then you’re going to bleed.”

Lehrer, Jonah (2012-03-19). Imagine: How Creativity Works (p. 79). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

If you didn’t buy my Kings Row happy story, that’s fine.  You and I will weave in and out of happiness and depression for the rest of our lives.  It’s the nature of fighting for something bigger than ourseles.  Neither of us can get our arms around it alone, and when we corner it, it manages to escape.

But it can’t run forever.

If you still feel the pain of loss and hurt and fear, then you’re still alive. You still have fight in you.  And you and me and millions of others fighting for liberty should scare the crap out of Barack Obama.

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Here’s What’s Great About the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Decision

In the Ronald Reagan movie Kings Row, Reagan plays Drake McHugh, whose legs are sawn off by a sadistic, class-conscious doctor.

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Everyone remembers the line “Where’s the rest of me?” No remembers what happens after that. I’ll fill you in.

McHugh’s best friend, a psychiatrist, decides to tell McHugh (Reagan) the truth: his legs were perfectly healthy, but the doctor cut them off to keep the lower class McHugh from pursuing the doctor’s debutante daughter.

Instead of sinking into self-pity, McHugh laughs and rallies.

The movie made Reagan a star. Kings Row also gives us the perfect narrative for our response to the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision:  laugh and rally.

The conservative grassroots in the USA was already complacent before the decision.  C’mon, admit it.  You expected the Supremes to strike down the individual mandate, at least. Then you expected everyone to pile on Obama for wasting three years.  Then you expected Romney to waltz into the White House.  And we’d all live happily ever after.

But happily ever after is relative. Yes, you can live happily ever after without your legs, but you can’t imagine it until they’re gone.

In this TED talk, Harvard’s Dan Gilbert explains an amazing phenomenon that Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman describes brilliantly:  Nothing is as bad as we think it is while we’re thinking about it.

So what’s so great about the decision?

The Supreme Court just reminded us that our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness depend solely on us.  A republican form of government—a government of democratically elected representatives—requires constant vigilance from its citizens.  On autopilot, the representatives of the people become oligarchs, until one oligarch emerges as the despot.  That’s the natural order of things: domination by the connected through force.

The Supreme Court ruled that Congress can use the tax code to force us to do anything it wishes—buy a car, sell a car, paint our houses purple.  If you don’t like that, then vote for people who don’t want to decide what color your house should be or how often you should go to the doctor.

You want to live free? Vote for people who want you to live free.

And convince 50% + 1 of the people around you to do likewise.

I’ll leave you with JD Wilson’s photos from our post-Obamacare flash rally in Forest Park on Thrusday.

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Obamacare Ruling Comes Down This Week, and We’re Having a Tea Party

Pack clothes, flags, and signs for an Obamacare Tea Party at Forest Park on Art Hill this week.  The rally will begin at 7:00 PM on the day the Supreme Court rules.

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We don’t know the day, but we do know the time: 7:00 pm in Forest Park on Art Hill (map below). The most likely days are Monday or Thursday, but because of the magnitude of this case, it could be any day of the week.

So be ready.

It’s how we spent the Summer of 2009: fighting a government takeover of healthcare in America.

This week, the Supreme Court issues a historical decision: have we delegated to Congress the power to force people to buy something?

If the Supreme Court answers “yes,” then we need to work on fixing the Constitution.

If the Supreme Court says “no,” then we need to celebrate.

Either way, the ruling is a just cause for demonstrating.

Let’s show LOTS of FLAGS and SIGNS.  Let’s dress in lots of RED, WHITE, and BLUE.  Let’s pray that we’re celebrating our Second Independence Day—this time, independence from the arbitrary rule of other men.

Once again, that 7:00 on Art HIll in Forest Park. Here’s a map with Art Hill circled in red:

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McCaskillPAC

What I find so funny about Claire McCaskill’s war on super pacs is that her husband is a super PAC.

For the record, I have formally endorsed Senator McCaskill in her race to return to private life.

Zimmerman Update

Having declared George Zimmerman guilty of first degree, racially motivated murder, the MSM are now investigating the case.

What they’re finding:

The George Zimmerman that Francescani describes is quite different from the “delusional racist vigilante” that many have made him out to be.

Read more on Business Insider.  But BI’s headline is wrong.

George Zimmerman Before The Trayvon Martin Shooting - Business Insider

Conservatives didn’t pre-judge Zimmerman the way liberals did.  Maybe because studies show we are

better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.

Read more on The Daily Caller

(BTW, narrow-minded liberals hate it when you remind them that they’re narrow-minded, uninformed, and less receptive to criticism. So don’t do that.)

So, to mayor. Or Sotomayor

Being the eternal optimist, I’m holding out hope that Sonia Sotomayor could flip right one day.  On Wednesday, my silly dream got a bump.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in Obama vs. The People of Arizona.  (I know that’s not the actual caption, but it should be.) Justice Sotomayor “shredded” the U.S. government’s crappy case, in Business Insider’s view.  Quoting Sotomayor:

Putting aside your argument that this — that a systematic cooperation is wrong — you can see it’s not selling very well — why don’t you try to come up with something else? [emphasis original].


On her first day on the court, she questioned whether corporations really should have the same rights as humans who never die.  For many libertarians, that’s a question worth exploring.   (But that’s a huge conversation for another day.)

Exit question:  has Donald Verrilli argued his last case before the Supreme Court?   I can’t imagine that Obama will accept the blame for giving Verrilli impossible assignments in this and Obamacare cases.

Maybe the real reason Obama wants more illegals in the U.S. is to stuff ballot boxes in November.

Don’t miss yesterday’s Top Story on Mitt Romney.

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The Supreme Court Votes on Obamacare Today

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

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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.)

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

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.

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The Supreme Court Will Also Decide the Election

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

Balance

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.

PublicDefender

Why People Are Being Unfair to Donald Verrilli

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: http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-vericilli-coughing-supreme-court-obamacare-meltdown-2012-3#ixzz1qNaaVfJL

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.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s Crappy Argument In Support of ObamaCare

I’m often amazed at the weakness of arguments before the Supreme Court. Today, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, attempting to help out the Obama Administration’s fumbling solicitor-general, made the weakest argument I’veRuth Bader Ginsberg ever heard.

First, Ginsberg’s statement:

Mr. Verrilli, I thought that your main point is that, unlike food or any other   market, when you made the choice not to buy insurance, even though you have every intent in the world to self-insure, to save for it, when disaster strikes, you may not have the money.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/ginsburg-and-kennedy-questions-on-obamacare-2012-3#ixzz1qLDgvyX0

Ginsberg accurately described the government’s case. But in so doing, she made the plaintiffs’ case. 

Food is at least as important as medical care.

  • Food is a vital necessity.
  • Food can be provided from a variety of sources.
  • People can honestly intend to provide for their own food and fail.
  • When people are unable to feed themselves—when their crops fail, the goat dies, etc.—other people feel compelled to help them.  (Thank God, literally.)

Ginsberg and Solicitor-General Verilli insult our intelligence in their arguments.  They seem to say that medical care is more necessary to life than food. Yet, without food, we die.

I can fully intend to feed myself. I buy chickens for eggs and meat, goats for milk. I plant a huge, beautiful garden with heirloom seeds. I dig a well. Then someone steals my goats, the chickens die of some communicable chicken disease, and a hail storm destroys my garden.

On the other hand, maybe the Obama Administration and Ginsberg aren’t arguing this case—maybe they’re arguing the next one, when HHS and FDA order us to buy certain foods.

The argument that medical care—or, more accurately, medical insurance—is unique holds no water. If it’s unfair to burden the insured with the medical costs of the uninsured, it’s unfair to burden the well fed with the food costs of the unfed. Fairness is independent of government’s involvement.

But that simple truth—like most truths in life–is too much for totalitarian worldview shared by Ginsberg, Verilli, and Obama.

Why We Have Hearings

Elena Kagan reminds me of Norm Peterson’s (Cheers) meltdown in front the brewery president just before he landed his dream job as a beer taster. Poor Elena can’t remember the simplest things—like her own handwriting

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Today, Democrat Arlen Specter warned that he may have to vote “no.” 

She might not be the infanticidal maniac some claim.  Instead, she seems to be devoid of any substantial legal thought whatsoever. 

The few opinions she does have are horrible.  She believes it’s okay for the government to ban books.  She believes it’s okay to submit false documents to official inquiries.  She believed judicial nominees (like her) could be compelled to answer questions about prior court opinions . . . before she decided nominees should be required to say nothing.

In short, Elena Kagan is a run-of-the-mill, academic leftist who specializes in kissing up to the boss.  Hardly the stuff of judicial legend, but possibly a disaster for freedom if she makes it onto the court. 

Let’s make a litmus test: no book burners on the Supreme Court.

The Story of the Tenth Amendment

**Note: Please read the entire store by clicking on the title or the Continue Reading link below. **

Those of us whose conservative conversions occured in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I think, are particularly fascinated by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. We also mourn over its senseless destruction by Congress, courts, and citizens.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.

How simple. How refreshing. How freedom-loving. For those whose civics classes centered around Native-American rights and women’s sufferage lectures, the straightforward concept of this amendment may be too simple to grasp. Try this:

The Constitution speaking to the new members of the 110th Congress, introducing herself:

“I am the Constitution of the United States of America. I was born September 17, 1787 and baptized by the several states in 1789. My husbands have all died, leaving me to fend for myself. I see you have their portraits and statues adourning your walls and this great city. Thank you. I miss them, too.

“I’d like you to meet my 10th son, born in a litter of 10, in 1791. Being the runt of the litter, he is, of course, my favorite. (Please don’t tell the others, though; I love them, too. Even the 14th, who is so shamefully misunderstood by everyone.)”

“The Tenth, as we call him, speaks directly to you and to that court a few blocks from here. But do they listen? Do you hear what he tells you?

“When I see the way you ignore him, I think of Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Future. Remember the little boy and little girl huddled under the robe of the grim reaper? Remember what Scrooge’s guide told him about them?

‘This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.’

“My Tenth, poor little fellow, warns you the same. You ignore the boy at your own peril. You ignore the writing on his brow–a concept so simple, so easy for you to disregard in your sophistication and achievement and fame. But listen, please, while you still can.

“My Tenth is telling you what his Fathers believed, what you claim in you campaign speeches to believe. He’s talking about me, his mother. He’s telling you, ‘Listen to my mother!’

“He speaks so softly that you’ll need to turn off your iPods and stop the side conversations to hear him. But what he says is, perhaps, more profound than anything ever written. He says, ‘If my mother, the Constitution, doesn’t tell you, Congress, to do something, it’s the same as her telling that you must not do it. Unlike God, Mother doesn’t have time to list the things you’re not permitted to do–and there are so many. After all, you aren’t a creature of God, but of Man. Man is free to do all but a short list of things, but you are permitted to do only that stated in the Constitution, and no more. You are constrained–the people are merely guided.'”

The Congress sat in nervous silence. A few throats cleared. Some people, mostly on the left side of the aisle, looked down at the blue carpet and seemed restless, even angry. They seemed wishing to be adjourned. Others, mostly on the right, seemed to want to hear more, as if they recognized a favorite lullaby their mothers used to sing them. A tiny group, too small to count, really, all on the Right, wept quietly. They loved the Tenth and saw its mother’s pain and wondered what its Fathers would say about this and previous Congresses. They knew the Fathers’ thoughts would not be kind.

Ed Morrissey’s piece on Captain’s Quarters inpsired this story. I hope, like Ed, that our candidates understand the simple little sentence at the end of the Bill of Rights. I wonder, sometimes, weather anyone does. Mark Trapscott’s piece on the 10th Amendment through Fred Thompson’s eyes seems to have inspired Ed. Please read them all. More from Instapundit.