health care reform

Sandy Rios Pushes Myth that Health Care Reform Exempts Muslim-Americans

According to the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, the 2010 health care reform law may be “the beginning of dhimmitude.” Rios, who spent much of her Friday radio program defending Michele Bachmann’s remarks on her show about Muslim Brotherhood “deep penetration” of the US government, warned that Muslims intend to “overpopulate and overtake” communities in order to establish “dhimmitude.” After discussing a tax that Christians and Jews could pay to receive protection and religious autonomy under Muslim rule, Rios claimed that the health care reform law “says that Muslims will be exempt from the government mandate to purchase insurance.”

Of course, this is not true.

According to FactCheck.org, the law does include religious exemptions for groups that are “currently considered exempt from Social Security payroll taxes,” such as the Amish, and “no Muslim group, and indeed no non-Christian group, has ever qualified for an exemption under the statue used to define exempt religious groups in the health care law.”

But by pushing such anti-Obama myths, Rios is simply doing what every other AFA radio host does on a daily basis.

Do you know what dhimmitude is? I wish I could see your hands. How many of you know what dhimmitude is? Dhimmitude is the system under Islam where Muslims go into communities and at first operate within a system and then overpopulate and overtake, and when they become the majority they begin to exercise dhimmitude, which means dhimmi, which means that everybody—the other—anybody that’s not Muslim will be subservient to them in terms of taxes that you would have to pay, taxes as non-Muslims in exchange for being allowed to live there with them, so that’s part of dhimmitude. I’ve heard this before but somebody just sent it to me again, on page 107 of the Obama health care bill it says that Muslims will be exempt from the government mandate to purchase insurance because they believe insurance is gambling and risk-taking, so they will not have to buy it but the rest of us will, and the accusation is that this is the beginning of dhimmitude.

Indeed, the only group arguing for a religious tax appears to be…the American Family Association, as AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer endorsed a tax on non-churchgoers:

Kuhner: 'Judas' John Roberts Ushered in 'The End of our Constitutional Republic'

Washington Times columnist and Edmund Burke Institute president Jeffrey Kuhner doesn’t seem too happy with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health care reform law, telling Janet Mefferd yesterday that the ruling “signals the end of our Constitutional republic as we know it” and “the end of traditional America as we know it.” “We are now living in an age of a creeping, soft, socialist tyranny,” Kuhner warned, even alleging that the government can potentially mandate that people stop “using toilet paper because it’s bad for the environment.” He argued that Chief Justice John Roberts “is a Judas” who “did it for his thirty pieces of silver” in the form of favorable reactions from the media:

Kuhner: Today it’s going to be health insurance, tomorrow it’ll be eating broccoli or buying an electric car or not using toilet paper because it’s bad for the environment. There is now no end; there is no limit on the power of the central government. That’s why it’s an ominous precedent, it’s a revolutionary precedent; I believe it signals the end of our Constitutional republic as we know it, we are now living in an age of a creeping, soft, socialist tyranny. This election I believe is the last chance for the American people to now stop Obamacare, stop the government takeover of healthcare, to stop this out of control imperial presidency, and to save our republic. After the next election, Obamacare will be fully implemented, the precedent of the Supreme Court will now be established and it will be the end of traditional America as we know it.

Mefferd: It’s interesting, when Obama has been issuing these executive orders, a lot of people have accused him rightly I believe of being confused of what his branch of government is supposed to do, do you believe that Roberts superseded his branch of government? He’s the judicial branch. Do you think he was doing something beyond the authority of the court to start saying alaw is this and not this regardless of what was argued?

Kuhner: Yes. In fact, I’m going to be very candid with you and I’m not going to mince words, I believe Chief Justice Roberts is a Judas. And I believe like Judas he did it for his thirty pieces of silver. And what were his thirty pieces of silver? It was one puff profile piece after another.

Rep. Tom Price Cites Bogus Study to Attack Health Care Reform, Warns of Government 'Subjugation'

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) appeared on WallBuilders Live today alongside hosts David Barton and Rick Green to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health care reform law. The congressman maintained that the law “removes the very freedom and liberty that our founders fought for at its very core” and if it is implemented then America will no longer be “the America that you and I love” and that “our founders fought for.” Price went on to cite a sham, Tea Party study heralded throughout conservative media, to claim that “around eighty percent of the physicians surveyed would say if this comes to its full conclusion, that is Obamacare becoming fully implemented, they don’t see how they could practice.” He said that doctors following rules under the reform law will be violating their professional oath, representing the “subjugation of a free citizen, a formerly free citizen.”

Green: It’s allowing government to take over these very personal decisions.

Price: It removes the very freedom and liberty that our founders fought for at its very core. Nothing is more personal, as a physician I can tell you when I would treat patients they understood that it was either an insurance company or the state or federal government that were dictating to them what might be available to them in terms of treatment or diagnosis, they’d bristle, as would I. This is just turning that into the system for every single American and that is a system where Washington decides what you can get, what kind of treatment you can get for yourself and for your family. That’s not America, that’s not the America that you and I love, that’s not the America our founders fought for, that’s not the America that recognizes that our liberty and our freedom comes from God almighty and not from the federal government.

Green: Amen. It looks like as the White House begins to spin this it looks like we’ll be where we were in 2009 where both sides are trying to say whether or not this is a good idea as we go into the 2012 elections. It looks like a lot of doctors are actually saying, ‘If this thing goes forward I’m out of here, I can’t even practice medicine under this system.’

Price: You all have been following this very closely and there’s a recent survey that puts it at somewhere around eighty percent of the physicians surveyed would say if this comes to its full conclusion, that is Obamacare becoming fully implemented, they don’t see how they could practice. The reason is, it’s important for people to appreciate the reason for this, it’s not that things just get too difficult it’s that as a profession we take an oath, physicians take an oath, to provide the highest quality care they are capable of for their patients. If the federal government is going to come in and say ‘we know that you believe Mrs. Smith deserves this and needs this for her treatment but we don’t believe that that’s what Mrs. Smith needs and we will tell you what to give Mrs. Smith,’ that’s no longer a profession, that’s a subjugation of a free citizen, a formerly free citizen, that physicians will not tolerate and I think that’s why you’re seeing that kind of response that you’re seeing from doctors across the land.

Ted Nugent: 'I'm Beginning to Wonder if it Would Have Been Best had the South Won the Civil War'

Musician and Mitt Romney backer Ted Nugent took to the Washington Times today to blast the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice John Roberts in particular, for upholding the “un-American, Constitution-violating” health care reform law. “Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt,” Nugent writes, “I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.”

Nugent, who was successfully courted by Mitt Romney in April, goes on to claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling “engineered the ultimate demise of this great experiment in self-government” and ushered in “the smothering era of socialism.”

Yogi Berra said that when you come to a fork in the road, take it. When supposed-conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. came to a judicial conservative-liberal fork in the road, he veered left.

With Chief Justice Roberts‘ vote to save Obamacare, I was reminded of what my dad told me more than 50 years ago: Never trust a man who wears a black robe. He might be naked under there.



The bottom line is that Chief Justice Roberts‘ traitor vote will ensure more monumental spending and wasted taxes and put almost 15 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) under one of the world’s most bureaucratic, ineffective, incompetent and grossly expensive systems ever devised by man: our out-of- control federal government.

Chief Justice Roberts squandered the opportunity to restore judicial, financial and legislative sanity to a government that by any sane person’s standards is insane and addicted to centralized federal control of our lives.

Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt, I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead.



Obamacare will now join Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as another unaffordable, unsustainable, runaway, unaccountable social program.

Our entitlement programs have bankrupted America. We have dug a financial crater so deep that many doubt we can ever climb out. With his vote, Chief Justice Roberts didn’t give Fedzilla an even bigger shovel, he gave Fedzilla an earth mover with which to dig bigger financial holes.

Quite possibly, with his vote, Chief Justice Roberts just engineered the ultimate demise of this great experiment in self- government. If you think we are skating on financial thin ice now, just wait until 2014 when the full financial tsunami of Obamacare comes crashing down.

The president should have Chief Justice Roberts over for dinner, give him a ride on Air Force One and apologize for not voting for him during his confirmation hearings. It’s the least the community-organizer- in-chief can do for the turncoat chief justice who saved the president’s socialist health care program.

Limited government is dead. The smothering era of socialism is here.

Troy Newman Compares Supreme Court Decision on Health Care to 9/11, Nazi Germany

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman reiterated his pledge not to comply with the health care reform law while speaking with Janet Mefferd on Friday, telling Mefferd that like the leaders of the American Revolution who protested British taxation he will not “chip into this ungodly health care system.” While speaking about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Newman said people “experienced this day like we did 9/11” and must now think about how people might have acted under Nazi Germany, warning that “we are all moving down the road toward complete annihilation”:

As an employer, we’re going to be forced to chip into this ungodly health care system and we are not going to pay. I am going on the record; we will not send the federal government a dime. Now, if they send the IRS on us then it’s not a health care issue then it’s simply a failure to pay our tax, as John Roberts said, this is now a tax. Well, what did we have a revolution for: taxation without representation. We went to war and real Christians picked up real guns and defeated a real army. I’m not calling for an insurrection or to take up guns but I’m saying that they thought it was so serious that they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to have a land that we live in, which is three greatest experiment in human liberty based on Christian principles the world has ever known, and all of that is at stake.



You know we always get surprised at what happened in Nazi Germany and we say, ‘if I had been there I wouldn’t do that,’ or we think back and think, ‘that was sixty or seventy years ago, how could that have happened, that was all in the past, all that draconian, totalitarian, socialist actions were in the past.’ Here we have a decision, a landmark ruling which will go down in history and every single person listening to this radio program was alive and experienced this day like we did 9/11. The question is, what will our response be?



The courts are not the answer. There’s checks and balances in this country and there is no check and there is no balance. We are all moving down the road toward complete annihilation. Some people want to go at 100 MPH and some people want to go at 30 or 40 or 50 MPH, but I think this is a wakeup call. The entire Supreme Court should be impeached, the entire Congress should be impeached, we should replace the president in November.

Rick Joyner's Hellish Attack on Chief Justice John Roberts

As Kyle has been documenting, there is no shortage of rhetorical excess from right-wing leaders upset about the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act.  But the response from Rick Joyner, head of MorningStar Ministries and the dominionist Oak Initiative, has to be among the most unhinged. Joyner has a penchant for apocalyptic rhetoric, warning of demonic threats and natural disasters facing an unrepentant America.

Joyner is embraced by other right-wing leaders, appearing at the Awakening conferences organized by the Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation, a Religious Right super-group of which Joyner’s organization is a member.  Sen. Jim DeMint spoke earlier this month at a “Freedom Congress” organized by Joyner.

In a “special bulletin” appropriately titled “Dazed and Confused,” Joyner goes after Chief Justice John Roberts with literally hellish relish.  Roberts’ reasoning, he says, “could potentially open the biggest gate of hell into our nation and culture by the Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade” and “has potentially released the most evil hounds from hell against the American people.”

Joyner even suggests that Roberts is, quite literally, on drugs:

It is understandable that some are now making the assertion that Chief Justice Roberts’ medication used to control his epilepsy has taken a toll on his mental abilities and reasoning. Nothing else has come forward as an adequate explanation for why he would be the one to free Obamacare like he did to become the biggest grab of totalitarian power over America in history.

“This decision,” says Joyner, “has deepened our national crisis, and jeopardized our Constitution at a most inopportune and dangerous time.”

It now seems that the American Republic is under unrelenting attack from every possible direction. Let us not faint, but keep in mind that the greatest victories only come when there are great battles. No doubt this will wake up many more Americans to the battle we are in. Great souls run to the sound of battle, not away from it. America still has many great souls who will fight regardless of the odds against them, and who will stand and never surrender for the sake of the freedom that was their birthright. This Supreme Court Decision has only increased the volume of the alarm and we can expect many more to hear it now.

Joyner had much kinder words for Mitt Romney, quoting the candidate’s response to the ruling and his “resolve” to repeal the health care reform law.

Michele Bachmann Exposes Media Plot to Swing Justice Kennedy's Vote on Health Care Reform

While most readers found the recent Time Magazine profile of Justice Anthony Kennedy to be an innocuous piece about the justice who has emerged as a deciding vote on some of the more divisive Supreme Court decisions, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) sees a surreptitious effort by the media to convince Kennedy to uphold the health care reform law.

While speaking to Sandy Rios of the American Family Association earlier this week, Bachmann warned that if Kennedy is “succumbing to flattery in the media” then “he could potentially be persuaded to go the way of the left,” as liberals “are not above doing anything that they can to influence that one swing voter.” She insisted that if the ruling is upheld, potentially due to media influence, it will mean “the end of our Constitution and the end of our Republic as we know it” in addition to “one of the final so to speak nails in the coffin to our country.”

Listen:

Rios: I’ve been out of the country Michele but when I came back one of the first things I did was spotted TIME Magazine, I don’t know if you saw this, but Anthony Kennedy’s face, they did an entire, many, many, many pages profile of Anthony Kennedy with his picture on the cover, a very flattering profile as you can imagine. I thought at the time, that was just last weekend, I thought, ‘this doesn’t seem appropriate to me.’ They are getting ready to make all these major decisions and they are talking about that he is the main vote on the court because he is the swing vote, this is what they always say, and they do this total puff piece on him, didn’t you think that was a little unseemly?

Bachmann: I think that what we need to recognize is that the left is committed to outcome-based Supreme Court decisions, they want what they want, bottom line, the end justifies the means, they want socialized medicine, they want the government to control it and so they are not above doing anything that they can to influence that one swing voter. By everyone’s estimation, Anthony Kennedy is the justice who will make the decision if we have socialized medicine, which in my opinion will be the end of our Constitution and the end of our Republic as we know it. It will bankrupt us, there is no question Obamacare will do that, and it will change our relationship to government forever. I think it will be one of the final so to speak nails in the coffin to our country. If he makes that decision and if he is succumbing to flattery in the media, and these are human beings we’re talking about, he could potentially be persuaded to go the way of the left, that could be, and I think that’s why it wouldn’t surprise me at all that we are seeing these big, flattery pieces.

Bachmann says the 'Lord had Called Me' to Run for President to criticize Obamacare

Michele Bachmann yesterday sat down with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, two days before delivering the commencement address at Regent University (formerly CBN University), where she reiterated her claim that God called her to run for president. Bachmann, who ended her campaign following a sixth place finish in the Iowa Caucus with just 5% of the vote, told Brody that her purpose in the race was to drive the push to repeal the health care reform law, and also agreed with Brody’s analysis that she ran an “impeccable” and “mistake-free campaign.” “We were extremely careful,” Bachmann said, “and we were almost mistake free, but for those two points, Elvis Presley’s birthday and John Wayne’s birthplace.” Many might beg to differ, as she misplaced the first battle of the Revolutionary War, said the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation, called John Quincy Adams a Founding Father to back up her claim that the Founders actually opposed slavery and linked the Swine Flu to Democratic presidents, among countless others.

Barber: Failure to Overturn 'Obamacare' is Judicial Activism Through Omission

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber and Shawn Akers were positively incensed by President Obama's "shameless attack on U.S. Supreme Court Justices," by which they meant his remarks from a few weeks ago that it would be "unprecedented" for the Supreme Court to  strike down health care reform legislation.

Despite the fact that President Bush made a very similar point during his presidency, Barber was particularly outraged at the idea that Obama would dare to call it "judicial activism" because, as he explained, not striking down health care reform would be judicial activism by omission:

Any judge that is not an Originalist is acting in a counter-constitutional manner. We have four Justices currently sitting, at least, on the bench of the United States Supreme Court that buy into this living, breathing model of the Constitution, that it is whatever we say it is whenever we say it is. So clearly this was a disingenuous portrayal of what is or what is not judicial activism on the part of this president. If the United States Supreme Court fails to overturn Obamacare, that would be judicial activism through an act of omission.

Stripped of Dignity by the Roberts Court

The Supreme Court's five conservatives allow degrading strip searches of people arrested for minor infractions.
PFAW Foundation

Linda Harvey Decries Obama's 'Insulting Rebellion in the Face of God'

Mission America president Linda Harvey today lambasted the Obama administration’s support for gay rights and recent move to require contraceptives coverage by insurance plans, urging listeners to pray for President Obama to repent “because his insulting rebellion in the face of God is breathtaking.” She warned that while “a godless dictator and his minions do not rule this country yet,” Obama is attacking liberty and religion in order to promote “abortion and homosexuality.”

Far from apologizing or changing his mind or respecting both our faith and our First Amendment rights, no, our President has doubled down, he now says this [contraception] mandate stands and will extend even to students, so Christian college insurance plans will now be required to pay for abortion-inducing drugs without any copay for both employees and students. How does a sitting president get away this this? I don’t know and we need to pray for him because his insulting rebellion in the face of God is breathtaking. Pray for his repentance. But just as we have to call out to God for help on these issues, we Christens also need to ask—within lawful means, of course—we have the God-given freedom to make changes in America which not all oppressed people in this world do. A godless dictator and his minions do not rule this country yet, we the people do.



It is clear where this administration stands on respecting liberty, they don’t, or respecting faith, they don’t. We know they’re so committed to abortion and homosexuality that they’re willing to support late term abortion, to undermine national marriage law and to sanction open homosexual behavior in our military. Should we trust this administration? Not with our lives and our faith, and that’s really sad.

Steve King Warns that Health Care Reform will 'Nationalize our Soul'

Appearing on the Family Research Council’s webcast On Trial: Freedom vs. Government Healthcare, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) called on the Supreme Court to overturn the 2010 health care reform law, which he referred to as an attempt by the government to “nationalize our soul.” King told FRC president Tony Perkins that the government intends to “take over our skin and everything inside it.” He also knocked the tax on tanning beds in the health care overhaul.

Watch:

King: You know when I look at this and this whole picture of you seeing the expansion of the nanny state here in America and the administration reaching into every aspect of our lives, the Obamacare piece addresses about 1/6 of our economy and a great big chunk of our American freedom and liberty. I define it this way, the sovereign thing that we have is our own soul, and the federal government hasn’t yet figured out how to nationalize our soul. They did figure out how to nationalize some investment banks, some insurance companies, some car companies and our skin and everything inside it. That’s Obamacare—it’s a nationalization—it’s a government takeover of our sovereign responsibility to manage our own health. Not only do they take over our skin and everything inside it, but they put a ten percent tax on the outside if you go to a tanning salon, Tony.

Sekulow Feigns Outrage at Challenge to Conservative Justices

PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin went on Fox News last night to discuss the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act with Sean Hannity and the American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Raskin didn’t get much time to make his case before he was hit with a wave of faux outrage from Sekulow and Hannity.

The subject of the outrage? Sen. Raskin had called some of the conservative justices’ questions “weak” – which somehow for Sekulow turned into “attacking the integrity of justices of the United States.”

The conversation starts about five minutes into this clip:

Sekulow’s attempt at outrage is rather stunning, since his organization, the ACLJ, exists in a large part to rail against the motivations – or, if you will, the “integrity” -- of judges and justices with whom he disagrees. When the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of marriage equality, he slammed it as “another example of an activist judiciary that overreached.” When the Senate was considering then-appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor for her seat on the Supreme Court, Sekulow said, "To call her a judicial activist is an insult to judicial activists."

Sekulow has every right to criticize justices and judges with whom he disagrees. But he doesn’t exactly have the high ground for slamming those who offer mild criticism of questions conservative justices ask in oral arguments.

For more on Jamie Raskin’s analysis of the health care case, read his piece in the Huffington Post yesterday.

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PFAW

PFAW’s Jamie Raskin Discusses Health Care Arguments on MSNBC

PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin joined Ed Schultz to discuss the much-watched Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
PFAW

The Roberts Court's 2011-12 Term: Is the Roberts Court Really a Court?

This piece originally appeared on Huffington Post.

Eric Segall, a professor of constitutional law at Georgia State University, has just written a provocative book called Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court Is Not a Court and Its Justices Are Not Judges. The thesis is that the Supreme Court, unbound by any court above it, unfastened by the vagueness of constitutional text, and uninhibited by the gift of life tenure, operates like a freewheeling political "veto council" and not like any court that we would recognize as doing judicial work. Professor Segall challenges the legitimacy of the Court's decisions and essentially mounts an attack on the whole institution of constitutional judicial review except where the text of the Constitution is perfectly plain and clear.

It is easy to share Professor Segall's exasperation these days, but his argument is not wholly convincing. It understates how often our other courts--federal appeals and district courts and state courts--operate in a political vein and how often they too find themselves in deep ideological conflict. It also understates how clear, coherent, and logical the Warren Court was when it interpreted even vague constitutional language, like "equal protection" or "freedom of speech." Yet, Segall's clarion call to roll back judicial review today will be read by conservative judges as an invitation to negate and undo essential lines of doctrinal development that began in the Warren Court, especially the "right to privacy" decisions under Due Process, like Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade, which Professor Segall in no uncertain terms asserts were wrongly decided.

The claim that the Supreme Court is "not a court" distracts us from what is truly at issue today. The Supreme Court is a court alright--indeed, it is the most powerful court in America, perhaps the world, and there's not much getting around that. It takes cases and controversies, writes opinions that refer to precedents and principles, and operates with the full panoply of constitutional powers reserved to the judiciary. The problem is that it is not a court committed to the rights of the people or to strong democracy unencumbered by corporate power. Indeed, it acts with most energy vindicating the rights of the powerful and the unjust. Alas, this hardly makes it an outlier in American history.

With its 2010 decision in Citizens United, the Roberts-led Court essentially cemented the institution's return to a class-bound right-wing judicial activism. Just as the Supreme Court went to war against social reform and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s, just as it nullified the meaning of Equal Protection in sanctifying "separate but equal" in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, just as it expressed the Supreme Court's pro-slavery and racist jurisprudence in the Dred Scott decision in 1857, the Citizens United decision secured the contemporary Court's unfolding legacy as the unabashed champion of corporate power and class privilege.

The 2011-2012 Supreme Court Term

Several cases currently on the Court's docket will tell us whether the Roberts Court will accelerate its assault on public policies that advance the rights and welfare of the vast majority of "natural persons" in the country. Consider:

Legal War on "Obamacare": Health Care Reform and the Contractible Commerce Clause: Of course, the blockbuster of the Term is the cluster of cases that the Court is hearing on the constitutionality of Obamacare. There are two principal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The first, and certainly the one with the most political traction on the GOP campaign trail, is the claim that Congress has exceeded its Commerce Clause powers by compelling taxpayers to buy themselves health insurance or else pay a penalty in the program. However, the political ubiquity of this claim contrasts sharply with its feather-like legal force. Commerce Clause jurisprudence is replete with cases of Congress regulating national economic policy by compelling individuals to take actions that they would prefer not to take, such as serving customers in their restaurant that they don't want to serve or recognizing a union in their factory and reinstating workers who they fired for organizing it (see my Report for PFAW Foundation, The True Spirit of the Union: How the Commerce Clause Helped Build America and why the Corporate Right Wants to Shrink It Today, for a detailed accounting).

The ACA comes well within Congress's broad authority to address issues of national importance that affect the lives of millions of people moving and working in the streams of interstate commerce. Despite recent efforts by conservative Justices to constrict Congress's powers under the Commerce Clause, the vast majority of lawyers still believe that such powers are expansive and will be upheld even by the Roberts Court. An ABA poll of legal academics, journalists, and lawyers that allowed respondents to remain anonymous showed that fully 85% believe that the Court will uphold the ACA in full, and with a 6-3 vote seen as the most likely outcome. While the Supreme Court in the Citizens United era has been ready and willing to ignore precedent and defy logic in order to achieve its political goals, this law is so mainstream that even they are not expected to do so in this case.

The second challenge, a bit of a sleeper that saw little success in lower courts but now fascinates conservative lawyers, is that Congress has exceeded its powers under the Spending Clause and violated federalism by tying too many strings to federal Medicaid funding and thereby "coercing" states into accepting federal policies. The idea is that Medicaid has grown so big and pervasive that any conditions attached to it constitute a kind of Godfather offer that the states simply cannot refuse. From a doctrinal standpoint, the claim is somewhere between unlikely and silly, which is why no federal law or program has ever been found to unconstitutionally coerce the states under the Spending Clause . Experts in the ABA poll mentioned above predict that this outlandish argument will be rejected in an 8-1 split. A decision to strike down the ACA on this basis would be a stunning development indeed. As with the Commerce Clause issue, a decision to strike down the Medicaid expansion as unconstitutionally coercive would be recognized instantly as an exercise of political will rather than legal judgment.

Of course, should the Court uphold the ACA, as expected by most lawyers, that should not distract anyone from the damage it is doing in other ways, from the constitutional glorification of corporate political power to the continuing erosion of public health, environmental and workplace standards.

Immigration Law: the Arizona Case: Arizona v. United States addresses Arizona's efforts to develop and enforce an immigration law all its own. The statute in question provides law enforcement officers with the power to arrest someone without a warrant based on probable cause to believe that the person committed a deportable act. It also makes it a criminal offense for an undocumented immigrant to apply for a job without valid immigration papers. This presents a clear case of a law that is preempted by federal laws governing and defining U.S. immigration policy, which is committed by the Naturalization Clause of the Constitution to Congress. This case should offer no dilemma for conservatives on the Court, who almost always side with the Executive branch in preemption controversies relating to national security, police enforcement and immigration law. However, underlying all of the debate is legislation hostile to one of America's most scapegoated populations, the undocumented, and that political reality may change the legal calculus.

Attack on Labor Unions: From the repressive "labor injunctions" of the late-19th and early 20th-centuries to the Supreme Court's decisions undermining the right to organize during the New Deal, periods of judicial reaction have always included judicial assaults on the rights of labor to organize unions and fight for their interests. This period is no different, and the Supreme Court has given itself an opportunity, probably irresistible to the five conservative Justices, to take another whack at labor this Term. The case is Knox v. SEIU. It poses the question whether public sector unions must notify members of the union's political expenditures every time they happen so that employees who pay union agency fees to the union for purposes of collective bargaining only may demand a proportional rebate in advance for political expenditures. Or, alternatively, does it suffice to give an annual budgetary statement with notice of political expenditures and invite the "objectors" to seek a rebate at that point? The case, fairly frivolous on its face, but deadly serious in its political mission and reception on the Roberts Court, is obviously designed to further hobble unions and render them ineffectual political actors. The irony is that, through decisions like Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) and Communication Workers of America v. Beck (1988), the Court has granted muscular rights and powers to dissenting union members that are totally undreamed-of when it comes to dissenting corporate shareholders. Company shareholders who object to corporate political expenditures have no right to a proportional rebate of their corporate shares, much less that they must be told of such corporate treasury political expenditures in advance. While defenders of the Court's decision in the Citizens United case love to observe that the decision opened the floodgates not just on corporate treasury money but on union treasury money too (as if the two were comparable!), they never follow through and make the obvious point that corporate shareholders should, therefore, enjoy the same rebate rights against "compelled speech" as union members presently enjoy. In any event, the war on unions continues and accelerates, with the Supreme Court poised again to undercut the political effectiveness of public sector labor unions, the last meaningful bulwark of labor solidarity in America.

The Surprising Early Return of College Affirmative Action to the Court:
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Supreme Court has, surprisingly, decided to review its holding in Grutter v. Bollinger and explore dismantling what remains of affirmative action in the next Term. The 2003 Grutter decision preserved a soft form of affirmative action at the college and university level for young people who belong to racial and ethnic minority groups, but only for a period that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested would be 25 years. Now, just nine years later, the ruling bloc is ominously poised to wipe out affirmative action entirely, a prospect we must judge a rather likely prospect given the Court's express loathing of progressive race-conscious measures and its brazen disregard for the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose framers clearly contemplated such measures. Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts insist that the Equal Protection Clause compels government to be "color-blind" even if seeks to remedy the effects of historical and continuing racism. This rhetorical gloss is a fundamental distortion of the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose framers clearly championed race-conscious measures, like the Freedmen's Bureau, to assist the historical victims of racism. The current project of using the Equal Protection Clause against racial and ethnic minorities seeks to deny any relationship between historical and present-day discrimination and continuing inequalities of opportunity.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court is, of course, still a court, no matter how much certain Justices behave like partisans. Yet, the Court's ideological politics are in full swing these days as the 5-4 conservative majority fleshes out one-sided doctrines in areas from corporate political rights to corporate commercial speech rights to affirmative action to Congressional power to union rights. This is a Court that almost always chooses corporate power over democratic politics and popular freedoms. In a Court of logic and precedent, a Court without aversion to the channels of popular democracy, the challenge to Obamacare would be a total non-starter. But here we are again, waiting to see whether the Court will follow the path of justice or the path of power.

Jamin Raskin is an American University Law Professor, Maryland State Senator and People For the American Way Senior Fellow.

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Mat Staver Accuses Obama of Backing 'Forced Abortion Funding' and 'Forced Homosexuality'

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver joined Jim Schneider on VCY America’s Crosstalk on Friday where Staver derided the Obama administration as “the most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history” in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraception mandate. Staver accused the administration of having a “very radical agenda that is very anti-life and anti-liberty” which he said is putting reproductive and gay rights ahead of the economy and even national security. “It is in-your-face forced abortion funding, in-your-face forced homosexuality,” Staver lamented, “and in-your-face a deconstruction of moral principles.”

Schneider: Last Friday the Obama administration announced some new rules that now would require colleges and universities to provide their student health care plans covering female students in the US, that they would have to include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery and then also said that further women of college age who don’t attend college, don’t attend school, they also would get this free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, some form of government subsidized plan. Mat, how much further is this going to go?

Staver: What we have is a president and an administration that he has gathered that is the most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history and the ideology is very much pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights and that trumps everything, it seems to trump the economy, it trumps national security. Of all the myriad of things that the president and the administration could be working on to make America a better place, to bring more jobs and so forth, they are working on these kinds of micromanagement things to push a very radical agenda that is anti-life and anti-liberty. It’s to not just satisfy the radical fringe that supports this administration but it is to satisfy the ideology that comes with this administration, it is part and parcel of what they believe and who they are. In terms of where the end is, nothing should shock anybody at this stage in terms of where this will be going. It is in-your-face forced abortion funding, in-your-face forced homosexuality and in-your-face a deconstruction of moral principles.

Religious Right Prays for the Supreme Court to Overturn Health Care Reform

With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.”

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity”:

Over the next three days, the ObamaCare oral arguments will be heard before the Supreme Court.

Roe v. Wade made it a "right" to end the life of an unborn child; ObamaCare forces every taxpayer to help pay to end the life of an unborn child.

We are fighting this atrocity, and we need your voice now.



As we have said since the beginning, ObamaCare uses taxpayer dollars to dramatically grow the abortion business. Now we know that President Obama is also forcing citizens to directly pay an abortion surcharge with health insurance plans.

Forcing us to pay for abortion is not only a moral outrage, it is a violation of our constitutional rights.

The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President's Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional”:

The groups will also lay 3,300 flowers around the court as a "prophetic witness" to the Justices, reminding them of the 3,300 children who die every day from abortion and the 3,300 women who are diminished through abortion.



Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and one of the organizers of "Encircle the Court in Prayer", states;

"We are calling people from all America to come to Supreme Court and 'encircle it with prayer' from March 25 as we cry out to God for justice, human rights and religious freedom.

"Sadly, the President's Health Care legislation crushes religious freedom and liberty with unjust mandates on faith institutions and forces taxpayers to subsidize abortions.

"We will be praying that the President's Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional so Congress can put forward health care legislation that will respect religious freedom, protect human life and honor the principles of our Constitution.

"When Roe v. Wade was decided, the Christian community was detached and uninvolved. We want to make sure that is not the case this time as we challenge people of faith to publicly pray and speak out with boldness and passion."

Undoing the Affordable Health Care Act Would Be Unhealthy

On the second anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Health Care Act, the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments against its constitutionality, even though legal experts from across the ideological spectrum have concluded the Act is constitutional. Now, Americans who have been helped by the health care reform are speaking out in favor of the law.

The Affordable Health Care Act most effectively addressed three major systemic problems in American healthcare: frequent, unjustified rate hikes, discrimination against Americans suffering from pre-existing conditions, and young Americans losing coverage once they become ineligible for their parents’ insurance plan.

Prior to the Affordable Health Care Act: insured Americans spent around $1,000 caring for uninsured Americans, and paid skyrocketing premiums; insurance companies were allowed to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, including children; young adults, the group most unlikely to have health coverage, was ineligible to stay on their parents’ insurance plan.

And after Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act? Up to $1.4 million in rebates could be distributed to as many as 9 million Americans, upwards of 17 million children suffering from pre-existing medical conditions could not be denied coverage, and 2.5 million young adults became eligible to remain on their parents’ health care plan until age 26.

By 2014, every American will access health care regardless of their employment status. Fast forward to 2019, and middle-class Americans are expected to save $2,000 dollars based on the Affordable Health Care Act’s provisions. The budget deficit is supposed to decrease by $127 billion between now and 2021

As long as the Affordable Health Care Act remains law.

If the Supreme Court does not strike down “Obamacare,” small businesses can receive tax credits to insure employees, 45 million women can easily access basic preventative care such as contraception and mammograms, and incentives for annual physician visits increase. And that’s just icing on top of the reform cake.

Or, the Supreme Court could declare the Act unconstitutional (an extremely unlikely, but nonetheless concerning possibility). In Massachusetts, Gale’s son with cystic fibrosis is not necessarily eligible for his parents’ health care plan anymore. Alice from Colorado has to start travelling to Mexico to fill her monthly insulin prescription again. And in Florida, Terry’s daughter might not survive a disease that attacks the arteries branching from her Aorta, so she most likely won’t become an elementary school teacher.

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Whatever It Is, They're Against It: Health Care, the Courts and the Anti-Obama Agenda

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in one of the most closely-watched cases in its history: the challenge to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But in the weeks leading up to those arguments, another fight will be taking place in the U.S. Senate on an issue that in many ways parallels the health care debate, and offers an even clearer view of what have become the policy priorities of the Republican Party.

Since Obama became president, Republicans in Congress have made a clear and conscious choice to kill any attempts to cooperate with him to create solutions for the American people. They have chosen instead to devote themselves to be the party of opposing President Obama - on every issue, big and small. In doing so, they have thrown out not only the trust of the people who elected them, but many of their own formerly held principles.

Even ideas that originally came from Republicans, once adopted by the president become grounds for all-out partisan attacks. One such Republican idea was the individual mandate, which is now at the center of the legal and political challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

Ironically, the judicial branch - to which Republicans are turning with hopes that the policy they came up with is declared unconstitutional - is also at the heart of another stunning turnaround. Republicans used to talk about the importance of bipartisan cooperation in ensuring a fair and functioning judiciary. But that changed abruptly in January 2009, when the political party of the president changed.

When it comes to health care reform, Republicans have chosen to ignore their previous positions in an effort to stick it to the president.

When it comes to the functioning of the federal courts, they have so far chosen to do the same.

This week, Republicans in the Senate, after three years of obstructing nominees to the U.S. courts -- contributing to a historic vacancy crisis that affects over 160 million Americans -- will have to make the same choice. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced he will file petitions to end the filibusters of 17 nominees to district courts around the country, most long-stalled and unopposed. These, plus the two Obama nominees who have already been filibustered, represent nearly ten times the number of district court nominees who were filibustered under the last two presidents combined. The cumbersome process to end these filibusters will, if Republicans don't relent, tie up the Senate through early April.

During George W. Bush's presidency, Senate Republicans were near-universal in their condemnation of the filibusters of some of Bush's most extreme judicial nominees. Many went so far as to claim that filibustering judicial nominees was unconstitutional.

Once President Obama moved into the White House, it was remarkable how fast they changed their tune. They went overnight from decrying judicial filibusters, to using them wantonly -- not just to stall nominees to whom they found objections, but to stall all nominees , even those whom they favor. At this point in Bush's presidency, the average district court nominee waited 22 days between approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee and a vote from the full Senate. Under President Obama, the average wait has been more than four times longer - over three months.

This is gridlock for gridlock's sake: once Republicans allow them to come to a vote, the vast majority of the president's nominees have been confirmed with overwhelming bipartisan support, demonstrating that the opposition to these nominees was never about their qualifications.

This is more than an inside the beltway partisan game -- it has helped to create a historic vacancy crisis in the federal courts. Approximately one in ten federal courtrooms today sits empty because of Senate inaction. These vacancies create unmanageable workloads for sitting judges, which in turn cause unacceptable delays for Americans seeking their day in court. The Republican Party has been so intent on obstructing President Obama's agenda that they've been willing to sacrifice the smooth functioning of America's courts

. The health care debate highlights the importance of appointing judges who place their duty to the Constitution over a partisan agenda. But it also crystallizes the agenda of opposition that has caused the Republican Party to go off the deep end. When a party's only principle is to be opposed to the other party's agenda, it's the American people who end up paying the price.

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Senate to Vote This Week on Extremist Health Care Amendment

The Senate will reportedly vote this week on the Blunt amendment, an addition to the transportation bill from Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt that would, if it became law, throw the American health care system into chaos.

Blunt’s amendment, part of the right-wing overreaction to President Obama’s mandate that health insurance policies cover contraception, would allow any employer to refuse any employee insurance for any treatment on religious grounds. So not only could any boss refuse his female employees access to birth control, but any employer could refuse coverage for any procedure or medication he or she found morally offensive – including things like blood transfusions, vaccinations, or even treatment from a doctor of the opposite sex.

Not only would the Blunt amendment mean that comprehensive health insurance wouldn’t necessarily provide comprehensive health insurance – it would throw the country’s health care system into chaos, as each employer and each insurer carved out their own sets of rules.

The plan is bad public policy and antithetical to religious freedom, but it will probably get the votes of most Republican senators. In fact, the basic idea behind the plan is something that’s already been embraced by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

A large majority of Americans think that insurance policies should be required to cover basic reproductive care – including contraception – for women. The Blunt amendment would not only deny that care to women, it would go even further in denying health care to all American workers for any number of reasons totally beyond their control.

This is straight-up extremism: and American voters know that.
 

UPDATE: The Democratic Policy and Communications Center estimates that the Blunt amendment could put preventative care for 20 million women at risk.

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