Politics

Constitutional Opinions

The Dred Scotting of Religious Liberty

By 6.30.15

Call it the Dred Scotting of religious liberty.

Writing gay marriage into the Constitution as once there was a Supreme Court decision that attempted to write slavery into the Constitution. Make no mistake. Whatever else the five lawyers in black robes thought they were doing with their ruling on gay marriage, they have opened the door — many think the door was already open — for a full-blown assault on religious liberty. 

Who better to look to for a response to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision than the man who earned his marble statue on the Washington Mall by opposing the idea that the Dred Scott decision should be regarded as “settled law”?

Substitute the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage — which many Americans see as yet another assault on religious liberty — with the hotly controversial issue of the Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision on slavery. Or the Court’s 1819 decision in McCulloch v. Maryland. The latter decision declared the Bank of the United States to be constitutional, the former was a deliberate attempt by Democrats on the bench to make slavery constitutional.

Bobby Jindal Is ‘Tanned, Rested and Ready’

By on 6.29.15 | 5:15PM

At first glance, it seems like Bobby Jindal is taking a page out of Richard Nixon's playbook.

But stare at his official campaign t-shirt design for a few minutes and you'll start to see a very different side of Bobby than his speeches, given in short-sleeved shirts, with an almost bookish demeanor, might demonstrate:

I kind of like it. Jindal doesn't differentiate himself from the pack very well, and a joke like this...it makes a big difference both in demonstrating the personality he's been hiding from the public all these years, and brings to the forefront part of what makes him different from his fellow candidates: his ethnic background.

John Kasich Is Running for President, Too

By on 6.29.15 | 1:11PM

At this point, if you've ever wanted to be President at any point in your life, up to (and including) that time in Kindergarten where you were asked to draw your future career and your teacher forced you to choose President because, it turns out, being a fire truck wasn't a real option, now is the time to declare your intention and file your official paperwork. The clown car still has some room for anyone willing to squeeze into the middle seat (Donald Trump isn't worried about you crushing his hair, anyway, since he says he'll debut a brand new 'do for his inevitable inauguration).

John Kasich, not content to restrict his moderate conservatism and spiceless personality to the boundaries of the state of Ohio, is the latest in a series of unliklies to take the plunge, despite no evidence that anyone knows who he is or cares that he's interested in being the Commander in Chief.

Hillary Clinton Edited, Withheld State Department Emails

By on 6.29.15 | 12:39PM

I'm tired of writing and reading about the Supreme Court, and I've seen so many rainbows this weekend I'm pretty sure I have resultant visual color fatigue issues. So let's move on to more interesting fare than whether or not the very foundations of our republic are crumbling - specifically, whether Hillary Clinton's famed cache of personal emails was as properly sorted, dying ambassadors from yoga schedules, as she claimed at her UN press conference.

It should surprise literally no one that a further investigation into Hillary Clinton's work email seems to demonstrate that the presumptive Democratic frontrunner might have taken some artistic liberties with the "work-related" communications she returned to the State Department after her tenure. By which I mean, she was extremely selective in what she submitted and may or may not have "selectively edited" a few key communications themselves.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same Sex Marriage

By on 6.26.15 | 11:58AM

For once I can legitimately blame Anthony Kennedy for my problems. I mean, I sort of always could, because I had Judge Bork as a professor in law school, and I wouldn’t have had to endure his weird lectures on the right to engage in necrophilia (which came in handy today, weirdly) as being part of the “penumbras and emanations” of the Bill of Rights that ultimately created the “right to privacy,” and his penchant for carrying around fried foods in his suit pocket (true story). But today, Anthony Kennedy has made a generation of lawyers just feel really, really tired. 

Writing for the majority, Kennedy ruled, with the Supreme Court, that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, striking down, specifically, statutes in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, within the Sixth Circuit. States don’t have to be in the marriage business, he said, but where they are, they can’t discriminate. 

SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare Subsidies 6-3

By on 6.25.15 | 12:04PM

I'm not sure if I'm always the contrarian on this or I've just become so cynical that it's almost impossible to surprise me with a "good" result, but today's 6-3 ruling, in favor of maintaining Federal subsidies for state healthcare exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act is hardly shocking. 

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts determined that Congress, while too dumb to put it into words, intended to create a system that provided Federal subsidies to even those who were forced to use state healthcare exchanges to purchase their insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act. The majority of the court agreed with Roberts (except for Scalia, who is basically turning into that guy from Scarface every time he writes a dissent). 

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's majority opinion and was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Knowing What We Know Now

Will Democrats Apologize for Slavery and Segregation?

By 6.25.15

Dear Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz:

I note with interest this statement from you with regard to the controversy over the flying of the Confederate flag on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol. You said:

For decades community leaders in South Carolina — and across the country — have been calling to get rid of this symbol of hatred, and action has been long overdue.

But this is just the beginning of a conversation we as a society need to have about race, bigotry and violence in this country — not the end of one.

Good enough. It’s good to know you wish to begin this conversation and I am happy to oblige. Let me begin with this question:

Will the Democratic Party finally apologize for supporting slavery, segregation, lynching, and the Ku Klux Klan?

Let me recall these lines from some of your party platforms.

From your 1840 platform: 

Obama Admin Will Lift Ban on Negotiating With Terrorists, Replace It With Endless Bureaucracy

By on 6.24.15 | 5:28PM

The Obama Administration is looking to lessen the restrictions on American families who want to communicate directly with terrorists holding their relatives.

Defying the longstanding mantra that we "don't negotiate with terrorists," the White House is maintaining an official distance from any actual transactions involving Americans and certain disreputable stateless organizations, but will decline to prosecute those families who wish to engage in negotiations on their own, or who send American money overseas to terrorist organizations and drug cartels to ensure the safety of their loved ones.

The Obama administration was accused Wednesday of giving terrorists an incentive to kidnap as it unveiled a hostage policy overhaul allowing families of U.S. hostages to pay ransom -- and allowing the U.S. government to help families communicate with captors. 

Chris Christie to Declare Next Week

By on 6.24.15 | 4:14PM

I'm really ready for some good news, guys, like that Nick Offerman has permanently become Ron Swanson and that he's running for President on the "build your own damned American dream" ticket. I can't take any more of these half-considered declarations. 

Chris Christie, who MSNBC has been trying to pin a bridge SNAFU on for close to two years, is looking to take his New Jersey circus on the road, so after much consideration and a few low-fat cupcakes, Chris Christie has decided that he will declare his intention to seek the GOP nomination for President later this week or early next

Chris Christie is in the final stages of preparing his 2016 presidential bid, with a formal announcement possible as soon as next week, according to several sources familiar with the discussions.

WaPo Concerned that Bobby Jindal is Not Really Much of an Indian-American

By on 6.24.15 | 12:57PM

If you ever wonder if a degree in politicial science is a worthwhile endeavor, consider that, while it may be a fast track to a byline on the Washington Post editorial page, it does not guarantee that you'll be viewed as anything resembling "intelligent." 

I say this only because the Post carried an opinion editorial yesterday penned by a well-known professor of political science, on the subject of Bobby Jindal's past. The op-ed was, ostensibly, designed to discuss Bobby Jindal's appeal as the child of immigrants, and whether that could resonate with target demographics in comparison to, say, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, for whom the immigrant experience is tangible in their campaign platforms. The professor's conclusion - and the Posts promotional question: Bobby Jindal is totally not Indian American anymore.

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