July 31, 2012

GOP Holds Together to Block Nominee

Republicans successfully blocked the nomination of Robert E. Bacharach to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during a vote of 56-34 to overcome a filibuster. However, the nomination received three Republican votes: Senators Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Olympia Snowe (Maine). Additionally, Senators James Inhofe (Okla.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), and Orrin Hatch (Utah) all voted "present." Minority Leader McConnell recently explained the basis for the blocked nomination in the context of the Leahy-Thurmond Rule:
"'This practice, known as the Leahy-Thurmond Rule, is a custom they (Democrats) vigorously defended when there was a Republican in the White House... 
"He (McConnell) cited efforts by Republicans in 2004 and 2008 when Democrats invoked the rule to stave off GOP nominations. 
"'In the name of Senate custom and practice — by which I mean the Leahy-Thurmond Rule — they pocket-filibustered several outstanding circuit court nominees in committee.'"


July 30, 2012

The New York Times’ Pro-Murderer Mentality

I have a new article at American Thinker: “Pro-Murderer Mindset of The New York Times.” It critiques a recently posted 7900-word article highly sympathetic to a double-murderer and advocating his early release from prison while still a young man. I discuss the huge gulf in values between murderer advocates and victims of barbaric crimes.
Having long pretended merely to oppose capital punishment, the real goal of those who champion the cause of murderers is to minimize any punishment for murder, period. The Times punctuates one more time what has always been realized by capital punishment supporters: the "life without parole" alternative is a sham. Murderer advocates seek to save not only the lives of their idols, but also their freedom.
The media and courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, have promoted and furthered the minimization of punishment for murder, while unspeakably compounding the torture suffered by victims.
The Times asserts that there is a “national debate over just what is accomplished by sentencing juveniles to long prison sentences." I dispute that and point out:
The public strongly supports severe sentences for severe crimes. The only debate is in the minds of pro-murderer elitists who have a disproportionately dominant influence in the media and with five justices of the Supreme Court, who have defied the public by imposing their own values on everyone else… On June 25, the Court abolished mandatory life sentences for convicted premeditated murderers almost 18 years old, seven years after abolishing the death penalty for them and two years after abolishing life sentences for nearly 18-year-old non-homicide predators.
I conclude that “all too often, the elite media and elite judges eagerly identify with brutal murderers at the expense of their long-dead victims and the tormented souls left behind.” Nevertheless, an overwhelming public majority identifies and sympathizes with victims rather than their tormentors.
Obviously: “The 2012 election will determine whether anti-victim values will be entrenched on the Supreme Court for another generation.”

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Hollywood Much Louder than NRA on the Hill

From the left side of the aisle we often hear about how much power the National Rifle Association has on Congress, but in comparison to Hollywood's lobbying ability the NRA holds little power. Chris Frates of The National Journal compares the NRA’s donations to those generated by Hollywood:
“Time Warner, the parent company of Warner Bros. … has given almost $22 million in campaign contributions since 1989, mostly to Democrats. And that's just one of the six major studios. The NRA, by contrast, has given almost $19 million, mostly to Republicans, over the same amount of time. George Clooney's Hollywood fundraiser raised almost that much in one night for President Obama."

Thurmond Rule Stands: ‘No’ on Bacharach

Heritage Action has issued a key vote alert on the nomination of Robert E. Bacharach to be the United State Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Heritage has declared that Mr. Bacharach’s qualifications or views aren’t the reason for the call to oppose his nomination but rather a violation of the traditions of the Senate. Democrats and Republicans have in the past invoked the “Thurmond/Leahy Rule” which prohibits the confirmation of lifetime judges in the months leading up to a presidential election. Heritage points out the hypocrisy as the Democrats ignore the rule now, but previously invoked the Thurmond rule in 2008:
“In March of 2008, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that ‘the ‘Thurmond Rule’ is a rule that we still follow, and it will take effect very soon here.’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) echoed that sentiment by saying, ‘there is a Thurmond doctrine that says: After June, we will have to take a real close look at judges in a Presidential election year. June is fast approaching, I believe that is the time set forth in the Thurmond doctrine.’”

July 27, 2012

White House and Congress Won’t Push New Gun Laws

President Obama spoke out earlier this week and insisted that the nation needs to start talking about tougher gun laws, however, that just might be the beginning and the end of the conversation. Congress hasn't taken any steps to move forward on new gun laws and both Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Boehner reiterated their opposition to new laws. The Wall Street Journal related:
"...The nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked Americans about the issue in April—for the first time in nearly two decades of polling—more people said it was more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns than said it was to control gun ownership, by a score of 49% to 45%. 
"Like other Republicans, presidential challenger Mitt Romney this week rejected the idea that tougher gun laws could have prevented the deadly rampage in Colorado, saying that a legislative remedy wouldn't stop people who want to cause harm."

Justice Scalia Interview Airs on Sunday at 8 p.m.

An interview with Justice Antonin Scalia will air at 8 p.m. on C-Span this Sunday. Justice Scalia answers questions about Citizens United, cameras in the Supreme Court, the Arizona Immigration Case, and discusses the Piers Morgan interview. Watch several short clips of the upcoming interview here.

July 26, 2012

Cybersecurity Bill Forthcoming

Just last night the Senate opened debate on a procedural vote that could lead to a final vote on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. The bill, backed by the Obama Administration, would encourage industries to select voluntary security standards; illuminate and streamline information sharing between government and business; and update federal network security policies. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) remarked:
"‘We're trying to see where we can come up with any kind of a consensus bill that we get 60 votes, now that's the purpose. The process of doing that was not discussed,’ she said. ‘I don't think honestly we would be able to have a complete substitute that we would all sign onto, but we might be able to have amendments that might get 60 votes. It's just unclear right now.’"

A Review of Justice Scalia's Latest Book

Justice Scalia notes in his latest book, "Reading the Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts," that “the main controversy among judges is not conservative vs. liberal. The main controversy is how to approach the application of legal text.” Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal briefly reviews Scalia’s latest book and points out that:
"Justice Scalia long has championed an approach, called originalism or textualism, which seeks to apply the text of a statute or constitutional provision according to its meaning at the time of adoption.
"Co-written with the lexicographer Bryan A. Garner, ‘Reading Law’ presents 57 ‘sound principles of interpretation,’ or canons, for doing so. Reflecting Justice Scalia's occasionally pugnacious style, it also identifies conflicting principles, concluding, as the book puts it, with ‘13 falsities exposed.’ "

July 25, 2012

Ron Paul's Last Hurrah in House

Ron Paul's "Audit the Fed bill" with it's 270 co-sponsors will likely pass in today's House vote. For a Congressman who has often been on the loosing end, sometimes being voted down 414-1, it's a big step forward. Despite the challenges the bill will face in the senate, the bill would allow the Government Accountability Office to audit how the Fed implements its monetary policy, providing more information about how the central bank operates. Politico commented:
“Paul’s movement has always been stronger outside the Capitol than inside it, yet the fact that at least one of his ideas is starting to break through shows that he may still have some clout on the national stage, even if he’s leaving the congressional payroll and ditching his presidential runs.”

Patients Wanting Abortion Must Know Suicide Risk

Doctors in South Dakota must advise patients seeking abortions of the increased risk of suicidal thoughts, declared a federal appellate court on Tuesday. Although there is some “medical and scientific uncertainty” about the link between abortion and suicide, the court explained that the link hasn’t been ruled out and consequently it is relevant to a patient’s decision. The Wall Street Journal expounded on
the recent ruling:
"Planned Parenthood had argued that the South Dakota statute, which requires patients seeking an abortion to be advised of a heightened suicide risk, would 'burden abortion rights' and violate physicians’ First Amendment right to be free from compelled speech. 
"A U.S. District Court in South Dakota originally ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, barring enforcement of the law… (But) has now reversed the South Dakota district court decision."

July 23, 2012

Death Penalty Unlikely for Colorado 'Joker'

Although, the District Attorney handling the 'Batman' movie theater shooting said that the death penalty is being considered for James Holmes—it’s unlikely that such will be the case in a state that has a history of shying away from executing convicted criminals. It is interesting to note that in the last 30 years there has only been one execution in Colorado. The Associated Press has more on the story:
“Holmes is expected to be formally charged next Monday. Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and he could also face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations.”

Presidential Election Supremely Important

“ Four Supreme Court justices enter the next term in their 70s, and any changes during the next presidential term could tip the balance of the court on some of the nation’s hottest social issues, including same-sex marriage, civil rights and abortion.”
The potential to replace Supreme Court Justices remains a key factor in the presidential race. Governor Romney has recognized that the next president will likely appoint new judges to the high court and has subsequently warned, “Our freedoms would be in the hands of an Obama Court, not just for four years, but for the next 40. That must not happen.”

July 20, 2012

President Obama Fumbles on Business

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help… Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
President Obama is being hit hard for the comments he made at a rally In Roanoke, Virginia, last Friday. A week later President Obama is still feeling the backlash, as Gov. Romney has taken the opportunity to capitalize on Obama's unsettling comments about the Government's role in business.

Gunman Kills 12 at ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Screening in Colorado

A gunman wearing a gas mask and a bullet proof vest set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded midnight showing of the latest Batman movie; Police have reported 12 deaths and wounding 38. James Holmes, 24, has been identified as the shooter and was taken into police custody. ABC News has the story:
“The suspected 'lone-wolf' shooter of the Batman movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo. earlier today has been identified as PhD student James Holmes, who recently withdrew from his neuroscience studies at the Univesrity of Colorado before shooting up 'The Dark Knight Rises' screening. 
"Holmes, 24, moved to Aurora to pursue his PhD at the University of Colorado medical center, living just blocks from the hospital in an apartment that is now laced with explosives and being searched by Haz-Mat teams.”

July 19, 2012

Residents of DC Call for Mayor’s Resignation

The residents of the nation’s capitol are not pleased with Governor Gray and according to a recent poll, the majority believe he should resign. The latest Washington Post Poll reveals that the campaign corruption scandal has taken a heavy toll on the governor’s approval rating. Governor Gray is unpopular across all demographics in the city, and according to the recent poll fifty-four percent of D.C. residents say Gray should resign. The Washington Post continues:
"Gray has said the federal investigation into his campaign has not affected how his administration is running the District, but only three in 10 approve of the job he is doing as mayor. Forty-four percent say the city would be better off if he left office. 
"The mayor’s political supporters and other city leaders have rallied behind him, saying calls for his resignation are premature because he has not been accused of wrongdoing. But only 22 percent of residents surveyed say they view Gray as honest and trustworthy.”

Scalia Dismisses Bitter Supreme Court

Justice Antonin Scalia appeared on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" yesterday and downplayed the reports of personal and ideological splits stemming from the recent health care decision. The Supreme Court Justice didn’t specifically address the health care decision or other recent cases involving immigration enforcement, affirmative action or gay marriage. However, Scalia shed light on some of the inter workings of the court:
" 'I don't think any of my colleagues on any cases vote the way they do for political reasons.’  
“… and (Scalia) was dismayed at the criticism of Roberts, suggesting those who may have leaked information were not entirely privy to the internal discussions over the health care decision.”

July 18, 2012

Lawyers Receive Major Cash Out

A proposed deal filed jointly by the plaintiffs and defendants in a Brooklyn federal court last week would settle charges that Mastercard and Visa charged excessive fees. The settlement would include a $6.05 billion cash payment to retailers, as well as a temporary card-fee reduction valued at $1.2 billion. If this deal is approved, it would become the largest antitrust settlement in the United States history. Reuters has the full story:
“The lawyers who brought the case on behalf of dozens of major merchants and trade associations have yet to submit their bill to the court. But using past mega-settlements as a guide, the lawyers could be awarded roughly 10 percent of the cash settlement -- translating to $600 million, said Theodore Eisenberg, a professor at Cornell Law School who has studied class action settlements.”

July 17, 2012

Grassley and Sessions Rejoice

“The Ninth Circuit is still heading to Maui next month. But forget about Monterey, Calif. next year. 
"Under duress from Republicans for spending taxpayer money on conferences at lavish getaways, the court announced it has scrapped its 2013 conference in California's beautiful Central Coast.”
Senators Grassley and Sessions plea was partially granted, as the 9th Circuit announced canceling the 2013 conference in California. The 9th Circuit Chief Judge Kozinski appears to have been influenced by the Republican senators as he recently recognized “the need to conserve financial resources during the present financial crisis” and forgo the 2013 conference.

Senator DeMint: Law of the Sea Treaty Killed

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) announced that four more senators have signed on to reject the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty, and consequently Republicans doubt that the treaty will be ratified later this year. Senators Johanns (R-NE), Ayotte (R-NH), Portman (R-OH) and Isakson (R-GA) tipped the scales and therefore the treaty will likely stay off the senate floor. However, Democrats claim it’s too early to determine the livelihood of LOST:
"But Mr. Kerry’s office dismissed Mr. DeMint’s tally, saying that vote counts taken months before a proposed vote are ‘just a snapshot of where our politics are in this instant.'" 
"…The senator (John Kerry) decided long ago to delay requesting a vote on the treaty until after the November elections because ‘right now we’re in the middle of a white-hot political campaign season where ideology is running in overdrive.' "

Vote ‘None’ in Nevada

President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney must grapple with the bubble beneath their balloted names in Nevada, which reads “none of these candidates.” Nevada is the only state in the U.S. that offers voters the unique alternative to any statewide candidate. The issue has gained recent attention as Republicans have filed a recent lawsuit to pull “none” off the ballot. The National Journal relays that “None” has impacted even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
“In 1998, now-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid squeaked past Republican John Ensign by barely more than 400 votes in his reelection bid; 'none' tallied more than 8,000 votes that year." 
"'None' has even won some primary elections, albeit not recently. When 'none' wins, the second-place finisher is named the winner, and that is the crux of the GOP lawsuit, which argues that 'none' is disenfranchising Nevada voters.”
Republican Senator Dean Heller and Democrat Rep. Shelley Berkley will also likely keep a keen eye on the lawsuit as it may impact their fight for the Nevada senate seat this November.

July 16, 2012

Republicans: Cancel 9th Circuit Conference in Hawaii

Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to cancel its planned August conference in Hawaii, which is estimated to cost more than $1 million. In the wake of all the controversy associated with the GSA scandal in Las Vegas, the Republican senators hope to halt the extravagant conference. In the second letter to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals chief judge the Senators insist:
"'[S]urely you recognize that the congressional authorization for the Circuit's judges to meet and discuss court business is not an invitation to gather annually at the most expensive and far-flung island paradise within the Circuit.' 
"'Indeed, a member of your staff admitted in a phone conversation with one Senate staff that judges and employees could fly to Maui at the expense of the taxpayer and not participate in any even related to the Conference.'"

Rally for Romney at GOP Convention

“Every national party convention resembles a sprawling family reunion, but a question looming over the Republican conclave next month in Tampa recalls those get-togethers with Uncle Eddie and the rest in one particular way: how to manage the eccentric cousins who want their turn at the mic?”
Politico reports that it may be necessary to sideline some of the popular more “eccentric” Republicans that want to speak at the GOP party convention in Tampa, Florida. The purpose of the national party conference is to formally nominate Mitt Romney, and the Romney campaign is cautiously selecting the appropriate speakers to help unify the Republican Party for the upcoming November elections.

July 12, 2012

Republicans Fight Off Law of Sea Treaty

The Obama administration's push to join the United Nations international maritime treaty is just four votes short of being doomed after two more senators this week added their names to the list of lawmakers who would oppose the Law of Sea Treaty. Both Senators McConnell and Grassley have joined 28 other Republicans in a letter to Senator Majority Leader Reid pleading to keep the treaty off the senate floor. The Hill relates part of their plea:
“We are writing to let you know that we believe this Convention reflects political, economic, and ideological assumptions which are inconsistent with American values and sovereignty.
"By its current terms, the Law of the Sea Convention encompasses economic and technology interests in the deep sea, redistribution of wealth from developed to undeveloped nations, freedom of navigation in the deep sea and exclusive economic zones which may impact maritime security, and environmental regulation over virtually all sources of pollution.”

California Going Bankrupt!

Throughout the state, local governments are cutting services to avoid bankruptcy but for some it's too late. San Bernardino on Tuesday became the third city in the state to seek bankruptcy protection in the last month. Michael Coleman, a fiscal policy advisor for the California League of Cities, insists:
"'There are likely to be more (cities to declare bankruptcy) in the future, but it's hard to know, since a lot of struggling cities may manage to work things out… Some cities may not go into a bankruptcy, but they may dissolve. They may cease to exist.'"

Verrilli's Victory in Health Care Arguments

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who argued the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court, appeared in a panel discussion yesterday at the Heritage Foundation. The solicitor general did his best not to “lord his Supreme Court wins over conservatives” at the Heritage event, but did make light of the criticism he received in March when many called out his stumbling during his oral arguments. Politico noted Verrilli's comments:
"'Thank you. I'm just going to take a sip of water here,'Verrilli said to considerable laughter from the crowd, evidently aware of reports that he literally choked a bit after taking a quick drink at the beginning of one of the argument sessions."
Verrilli’s in a more serious tone rejected criticism of Obama for having said publicaly that the justices would be departming from historic tradition if they struck down the health care law. He concluded, “I think the right course here is to assume that everybody involved here has acted with integrity because I do believe that to be the case.”

July 11, 2012

TSA Ignoring the Law?

The Transportation Security Administration has failed to comply with the D.C. Circuit Court’s order to make a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its use of the Advanced Imaging Technology (also known as body scanners). Jim Harper explains that the TSA needs to follow the law and has begun a petition to the White House for the TSA to adhere to the D.C. Circuits Court ruling. The petition states:
“Defying the court, the TSA has not satisfied public concerns about privacy, about costs and delays, security weaknesses, and the potential health effects of these machines. If the government is going to ‘body-scan’ Americans at U.S. airports, President Obama should force the TSA to begin the public process the court ordered.”

New York Can’t Scare Smokers

A U.S. appeals court ruled that New York City couldn’t force tobacco retailers to display graphic anti-smoking signs. The opinion of the court affirmed a December 2010 ruling by a US District Judge in Manhattan that the city has overstepped its mandate because only the federal government has the right to impose such conditions on the promotion of cigarettes. Reuters sheds light on the anti-smoking displays:
"The three different signs, developed by the city's Health Department, graphically depicted the harmful effects smoking can have on the body. They bore messages such as 'smoking causes tooth decay' and listed the number of a city help line for assistance on how to quit."
"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made fighting smoking a personal mission. In 2003, he pushed a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants that was met with protests, but has since become widely accepted."

July 10, 2012

DOJ: Stop Voter ID in Texas

The Obama administration Monday admonished a panel of judges to renounce a Texas law that requires photo identification to vote, asserting that it discriminates against Hispanics and Blacks. Justice Department lawyer said that the law could curb 1.4 million voters in Texas who are without photo identification. The Wall Street Journal relays:
"The Justice Department says the act prohibits enactment of the 2011 Texas law requiring that voters show photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport, to cast a ballot at polling places. The department says black and Hispanic voters are more likely than whites to lack such documents."

Justice Roberts on Gay-Marriage

It's likely that both the Defense of Marriage Act and the overturn of California's Proposition 8 will be placed before the Supreme Court this coming term. An article in The New Yorker supposes that with Justice Roberts long career ahead on the Supreme Court, he will not want to be seen as leading "a court of right-wing judicial activists" and consequently vote with the liberal leaning justices in favor of gay marriage. Richard Socarides examines Justice Robert’s potential vote:
“Fundamentally, we see that Roberts thinks of himself not just as another Justice of the Court but as its Chief Justice and, as such, as the primary keeper of its legacy. He is fifty-seven, and could serve on the Court for another twenty years or more. In the context of public opinion on gay rights and same-sex marriage, twenty years is a very long time.”

July 09, 2012

IRS Capable of Policing Health Care and Taxes?

"Under the law, the IRS will provide tax breaks and incentives to help pay for health insurance and impose penalties on some people who don't buy coverage and on some businesses that don't offer it to employees. 
"The changes will require new regulations, forms and publications, new computer programs and a big new outreach program to explain it all to taxpayers and tax professionals. Businesses that don't claim an exemption will have to prove they offer health insurance to employees."
Now that the Affordable Care Act has survived the Supreme Court as a tax, the Associated Press analyzes the difficult challenges that the IRS will face in managing it’s new responsibility to manage the penalties imposed on people who choose not to purchase health insurance. Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press asserts that the IRS will have to “hire thousands of workers to manage it (the new tax law), requiring significant budget increases that already are being targeted by congressional Republicans determined to dismantle the president's signature initiative.”

Soros Encourages UN Gun Control

George Soros of Media Matters is heavily promoting the United Nation's Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which would give the United Nations control of your guns. The UN has claimed that the treaty will not infringe on Americans’ “freedom to own” a gun. However, Joe Wolverton of Info Wars argues otherwise:
“The current draft of the ATT mandates that the governments of member states petition the United Nations for approval of any contract to sell weapons to any nation where there exists a ‘substantial risk of a serious violation’ of human rights. 
"While the end of reducing the abuse of human rights is laudable, the means to achieve that cannot lawfully include the requirement that the Congress of the United States ask for permission from the UN overlords before it passes a law, including one authorizing the sale of arms to another country. That is a direct assault on American legislative sovereignty, and an indirect attack on the sovereignty of the American people who elect the members of Congress who vote on such measures.”

July 08, 2012

The Chief Justice’s Assault on Democracy

I have substantially revised and expanded my prior post regarding the Chief Justice. It is now a full-length American Thinker article entitled “What Hath Roberts Wrought? In it, I critique a particularly disingenuous line from Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion: 
                              It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices. 

Although the line has been accepted and even praised by many conservatives, in my view, it is very misleading at best, and slander of “the people” at worst. Roberts’ unpersuasive attempt to have his cake and eat it too, by both denying and asserting that the ACA imposed a tax, is worse than mere internal incoherence. It is, in reality, a debasement of political choice.
If, as is now well known, Roberts calls a tax what all those who imposed the law denied was a tax (and still do), both in repeated public statements and in the express language of the legislation, he is in no position to condemn “the people” for their choices. Roberts has validated misinforming the very people he expects to make informed choices. It borders on outright slander to blame the people for a monstrosity they were never told they were voting for and a majority of whom vehemently opposed from day one.
Even worse, Roberts has committed a frontal assault on the democratic process. If politicians can deliberately mislead the people with the assurance that the Supreme Court will declare they did not mean what they said, voting becomes meaningless. My article expands upon this:  
In protecting deceit, Roberts smashes to smithereens his grandiloquent bromide disavowing Court vigilance regarding supposed political choices of the people. How can the people be held responsible if they have no idea what they are choosing...? If the likes of John Roberts are not going to hold elected legislators accountable for their actual words, the people should not be lectured about "consequences of their political choices."

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July 06, 2012

Romney Sets GOP Fundraising Record

The Romney campaign raised $100 million in June, crushing the campaign's goal and one-month record for any Republican campaign. Additionally, the Romney campaign outraised President Obama in May by $17 million-- $77 million to $60 million. Mike Allen of Politico reported:
“The Romney campaign says much of the June haul came from new donors, with states from coast to coast out-performing their targets. New York was a gold mine for Romney, and Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio all dramatically exceeded expectations.”

Tennessee Complains of $395K to Planned Parenthood

Pro-life groups say that the Obama administration is circumventing Tennessee’s 2011 decision to defund Planned Parenthood. The Susan B. Anthony List explained that this is the second time the administration has bypassed the state's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood-- the first example being a $1 million contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, despite New Hampshire’s original decision to reject a contract with the group. President of Tennessee’s Right to Life Brian Harris made this statement:
"'While we are disappointed that any tax funding would be directed to private organizations promoting and profiting from the killing of unborn children, this end run around the people of Tennessee will serve to underscore the urgent need to elect a pro-life president, Senate and Congress in November.’”

June Report: 8.2% of Americans Remain Unemployed

U.S. job growth remains stagnant, the latest sign that the U.S. economy growth has slowed. The economy remains to be a determining factor for voters in the presidential election and it’s fair to assume that President Obama’s popularity with many Americans out of work is declining. An economist pointed out in an AEI study:
“The good news is that employment growth is not slowing further but there is no sign of it picking up either. At this pace, job creation is not fast enough to lower the unemployment rate with the labor force growing at close to 150,000 per month on average.”
The AEI report asserts that this continues to be the longest streak (41 months) of unemployment of 8% or higher since the Great depression. In 2009, President Obama predicted that if the Congress passed its $800 billion stimulus plan, the employment rate would be about 5.6% today.

July 05, 2012

Presidential Election Game Changers

Politico published this timely article on the heels of the Supreme Court's health care decision, which analyzes some of the critical issues that will influence the close race between Barack Obma and Mitt Romney. The following 7 points are predicted to tip the election:
  1. The monthly jobs and growth reports.   
  2. Credit issues 
  3. A European calamity 
  4. The debates 
  5. The convention speeches 
  6. Romney's VP pick and overseas trip 
  7. A Mideast or North Korean Military Strike

Same-Sex Marriage Bound for Supreme Court

Awaiting the Supreme Court at the end of summer will be the constitutionality of Defense Against Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defines marriage for all federal purposes (benefits included) as only the union of a man and a woman. Even though DOMA has been struck down several times in the lower courts, none of the provisions have been put into effect-- which likely won't change till the SCOTUS makes a decision on the case. Lyle Denniston expands on the issue in The Constitution Daily:
“In fact, the House GOP leaders – who have assumed the defense of DOMA in the government’s place – complained to the Supreme Court as part of their new appeal that the administration has shirked its duty to come to the defense of a federal law passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate. 
"Perhaps the only thing that might diminish the political intensity of this new controversy as it unfolds in the court is that the timetable for the Justices to issue a decision is likely to be after the November election.”

July 03, 2012

CFJ at Heritage Blogger's Briefing

Tune in now to hear Committee for Justice's Curt Levey speak at Heritage Foundation Blogger's Briefing. Click the link here: Heritage Foundation Live Stream
"The Bloggers Briefing will also be joined by former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins and Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, to discuss the threats to public companies’ involvement in public policy formation and the future of political speech after Citizens United. 
"...Levey points to outright intimidation and the use of government force by groups interested only in shutting down their opposition. Levey cites three of the most prominent methods used recently against conservative and free market organizations—'lawfare,' bureaucratic harassment through repeated complaint filings with government agencies, and the criminal and potentially deadly practice of 'SWAT-ting.'"

McConnell Readies ObamaCare Repeal

“‘If you thought it was a good idea for the federal government to go in this direction, I'd say the odds are still on your side. Because it's a lot harder to undo something than it is to stop it in the first place.’"
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s an uphill battle in the fight to repeal the health care law fronted by President Obama. Nonetheless, McConnell has mentioned he would support using budget reconciliation rules to repeal it, which would prohibit Senate filibusters and require only 51 votes to succeed.

Holder Avoids Criminal Prosecution, Yet NRA Influences Democrat Votes

“The White House and the Justice Department made clear Friday what had been expected all along: Attorney General Eric Holder will not face criminal prosecution under the contempt of Congress citation passed by the U.S. House.”
Despite the recent contempt vote conducted by the House, President Obama's assertion of executive privilege will prevent a criminal prosecution from going any further. It’s interesting to note, however, that of the 21 Democrats who voted with Republicans to put Holder in civil contempt of Congress, 19 received campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association during the last two election cycles. It's apparent that many of these Democrats voted out of their own interest to maintain good standing with the NRA and survive their election cycles.

July 02, 2012

Matthew J. Franck Is Out of Line

             The following comment is completely mine. Curt Levey did not ask me to write it, see it in advance or give his approval. I am sure he does not need me to speak for him. But, as one of many shocked by Chief Justice Roberts, I strongly believe the following should be said.

            John Roberts apologist Matthew J. Franck has a remarkable attack on Curt Levey: No One Ever Turns On You Quite Like Your Friends. This suggests that Levey turned on Roberts rather than Roberts turning on  his own friends, those who enthusiastically and actively supported his nomination – figuratively stabbing them in the back and literally leaving them in shock.
Levey’s comment on the ObamaCare decision stated, in part: “Obama and company’s attempt to cow the Supreme Court succeeded … the pressure apparently got to Roberts,” who, many have argued, changed his vote as a result of the pressure. Franck labels this the “nadir for commentary on Roberts.” Franck prefers to take seriously what he calls the “bravo” possibility that Roberts acted out of principle.
At least these points should be considered in response to Franck. As even he bluntly makes clear, there are only two “possibilities”: Roberts is a dishonest and corrupt coward, or he courageously and sincerely acted on principle.  To accept the latter, this brilliant lawyer had to actually believe:
·        Congress improperly but properly imposed the individual mandate   it had no power to enact the mandate per se, but it properly exercised its tax power as a bludgeon to compel acceptance of the mandate anyway, even though it explicitly denied doing so.
·        The Act was simultaneously not a tax and a tax – as stated by the dissent, “the very same textual indications that show this is not a tax under the Anti-Injunction Act show that it is a tax under the Constitution. That carries verbal wizardry too far, deep into the forbidden land of the sophists. 
·        It is not the Court’s “job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices,” except of course when it is the Court’s job, which is not to “abdicat[e] in matters of law.”
These points reveal precisely Roberts’ penchant for the have-it-both-ways sloganeering characteristic of politicians responding to political pressures. As to the third point, can Roberts have forgotten by Thursday that, on Monday, the court (1) invalidated the sentencing policy choices of 29 jurisdictions for the benefit of convicted murderers, while simultaneously sentencing innocent, law-abiding citizens to death; and (2) as characterized by Justice Scalia’s dissent, substantially invalidated Arizona’s attempt to protect its “citizens under siege,” by holding the state “contradicts federal law by enforcing” federal law?
Of course, Roberts knows as well as anyone that the Court, with far less justification than in the ObamaCare case and often with no justification at all other than the “raw judicial power” of five votes, has invalidated close to 200 federal laws and hundreds of state laws. Earlier I wrote about how the court, resorting to interpretation abuse, has rewritten the Constitution. Roberts’ opinion will likely go down as a classic example of such abuse, especially given the historic stakes of the case. 
One final point. For decades, double-standard leftist partisans have wielded the weapon of “appearance of impropriety” against their opponents who have done nothing wrong. In the case of judges, this standard is actually codified in 28 U.S.C. §455(a). Although there is not – yet – 100% proof that Roberts acted improperly, the evidence continues to mount. At a minimum, an abundance of evidence already indicates that the appearance of impropriety standard applies to Roberts, whose “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”


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Gallup Poll: Americans Divided Over Affordable Care Act

It's an even split, with 46 percent agreeing and 46 percent disagreeing with the Supreme Court’s recent decision on health care. The results highlight the partisan lines-- 79 percent of Democrats applaud the ruling while 83 percent of Republicans are against it. The Gallup poll surveyed 1,012 adults on June 28 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points. Additionally, Politico reports that one in five voters “say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on health care.” The report also provided interesting insight into the public’s perception of the Supreme Court:
 "'Nearly two-thirds of Americans see politics as having a heavy hand in the ruling, possibly reflecting a knee-jerk belief among Americans that politics is always a factor,' Gallup wrote. 'Alternatively, it could specifically reflect the fact that eight of the nine justices voted in politically predictable ways. Or it could reflect a belief on the part of some Americans that Chief Justice John Roberts’s decision to side with the four liberal justices may have been influenced by the substantial political implications of the case.'"

Storm Devastates the East Coast

With little warning a storm invaded the Washington Metropolitan area Friday night. The storm has reportedly taken the lives of at least 17 people (most from trees falling on homes and cars); meanwhile 3 million people are battling the heat and damage of the dreadful storm. Coping with the aftermath of the storm, many are being relieved from work as the power outages could last for as long as a week:
“On Sunday night, federal and state officials in the mid-Atlantic region gave many workers the option of staying home Monday to ease congestion on the roads. Federal agencies will be open in Washington, but non-emergency employees have the option of taking leave or working from home. Maryland’s governor also gave state workers wide leeway for staying out of the office.”

ObamaCare Rulings Victory for the Left?

Supporters of President Obama’s health care law may be incorrectly reading the Supreme Court’s ruling as a full-fledged victory. Although, the individual mandate was upheld—it was only upheld on the premise that it is a tax and consequently may be vulnerable to legal challenge in the near future. Michael F. Cannon of CATO further alleges:
“…The ruling severely limited the Obama health law’s Medicaid expansion, effectively giving states the green light to refuse to expand their Medicaid programs. Coupled with the fact that the statute already enables states to block the other half-trillion dollars of new entitlement spending, the law is in a very precarious position. 
"Second, the Court ruled 5-4 that the individual mandate is not a legitimate use of the Commerce Power. That too is a defeat for the government, even if it is of no immediate consequence.”