Take a good look at the LM-2 financial disclosure form for the Illinois-Indiana health care affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. That’s what Jennifer Parrish, a Minnesota child care worker, did a few days prior to today’s Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn. The LM-2 form is divided into three categories: representation activities, political activities, and general overhead. There’s also a gifts/grants section that shows the SEIU donates money to certain organizations that return the favor with their own contributions back to the union.
The Supreme Court this morning struck down the Obamacare contraception mandate and ruled in favor of craft supply store Hobby Lobby. In a 5-4 decision, the Court decided that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to closely held for-profit corporations just as it applies to non-profit organizations that object to providing contraceptive coverage. This is the first time SCOTUS has ruled that for-profit corporations can hold religious views, and is sure to spark debates about both religious freedom and corporate personhood. The Court said that the mandate wasn't the least restrictive means for the government to advance its goal of covered birth control. Justice Alito wrote the opinion of the Court, with Justice Kennedy concurring, and two separate dissenting opinions were filed by the liberal justices.
The Court also ruled in favor of Illinois home care workers who don't want to be forced to pay union dues, though it didn't apply the principle to all public-sector workers. If it had, the result would have been something close to a national right-to-work law. This decision, Harris v. Quinn, was also 5-4.
New York City and immigration go together. Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, cab drivers, and ethnic neighborhoods all point to the city’s role as a leader in immigration. As Democrats pressure Republicans to act on immigration reform, threatening executive action if legislation is not passed soon, over 180,000 illegal immigrants, many of them children from Central America, have poured over the Texas border, overwhelming facilities there.
After a brutal month of fighting between the Tea Party and the establishment in the hotly contested Mississippi Senate race, tragedy has struck. According to the Clarion-Ledger, sources have confirmed that Mark Mayfield, a Mississippi Tea Party leader, has taken his own life. The paper reports:
Mayfield is vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, and is one of the three men charged with conspiring with Clayton Kelly to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home and create a political video against Cochran.
It’s hard being dictator of North Korea. You’re a god, but you aren’t allowed any time to yourself. Everything you do is scrutinized by your adoring and dependent public. The rest of the world privately admires you and publicly envies you.
But some of them even dare to mock you. In 2002, James Bond fought against the Korean people in Die Another Day, a movie that parodies all that is good and moral. Only those blinded by imperialism failed to recognize that the movie was “dirty and cursed,” as the government of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il explained.
Worse, two years later the great and wonderful Dear Leader was mercilessly lampooned by the movie Team America: World Police. Kim Jong-il remained focused on the noble goal of building nuclear weapons, bravely refusing foreign aid to feed his starving people. America resented his determination and strength of will. Seeking revenge, it turned loose the most fearsome of weapons against the movie-loving Kim: Hollywood.
So what’s with John Boehner’s newfound love of litigation? The speaker announced yesterday that he will ask the House to initiate a lawsuit against the president over his refusal to enforce the laws Congress has passed. That’s something the Wall Street Journal and George Will have both suggested, and it’s not a crazy idea.
First, the House likely has standing to bring an action. In 1990 a federal court held that a group of congressmen could not bring an action over George H.W. Bush’s failure to comply with the 1974 War Powers Resolution, but left open whether the House as a whole had standing. More recently, the House litigated the Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama administration declined to defend — and it would almost certainly have standing to litigate the president’s right to disregard litigation.
By now you've probably seen the reaction to Tuesday night’s Mississippi Republican Senate primary election, in which shaky incumbent Thad Cochran eked out a victory over Tea Party insurgent Chris McDaniel by making use of some rather unconventional electoral tactics.
Cochran dedicated most of his efforts to pursuing Democrats, and specifically the black community. He went so far as to threaten his new voting base by saying McDaniel would cut food stamps, and made conspicuous charges of racism against both McDaniel and the Tea Party. There were further allegations, substantiated in news reports, of “street money” paid to Democratic fixers to turn out the votes of, shall we say, “new” Republican voters crossing over to vote for Cochran on a one-time basis.
Besides the United States' loss to Germany in the World Cup, today was a good day for liberty. The Supreme Court ruled to restrict the power of government in three recent Supreme Court cases.
In the first case, Riley v. California, the petitioner Riley was charged in connection with a shooting after officers stopped him for a traffic violation and then seized and searched his cell phone. The Court ruled that “the police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.”
In a large-scale document dump, the IRS handed over thousands of emails from Lois Lerner, the key figure in the ongoing investigation of the IRS’s targeting of conservative Tea Party groups. The documents, obtained by multiple news organizations and the committees investigating the matter, appeared to show that Lerner intended to target Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In a statement released by Republican Congressman David Camp, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee:
NASA is becoming just another tool in President Obama’s climate agenda.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s climate change speech in which he raged against greenhouse gas emissions. He proposed a series of executive actions on climate change and blamed Congress for failing to act on his fearmongering agenda. The executive actions sidestepped Congress by invoking the Clean Air Act, a broad-based law that gives the EPA the power to regulate carbon emissions on a commercial scale.
The budget for Obama’s seventy-five-point climate action plan includes $909 million to the State Department for clean energy and $1.8 billion to NASA for earth-oriented satellite and research efforts, among other expenditures involving twelve of the fifteen other departments and agencies.