Justice Kennedy says:
“Finally, this Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order. ” Duh. Then he ‘found’ it in the 14 Amendment.
Kennedy reaffirmed religious liberty rights, but his words don’t have the force of law as long, as we found out in the ObamaCare decision yesterday, the court can just erase, replace and divine what it wishes in law.
Justice Roberts, who rewrote ObamaCare twice, dissented.
Scalia dissented,writing,“But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law.”
“So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about mar- riage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Consti- tution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected commit- tee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extrav- agant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most im- portant liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”
On the issue of 14th Amendment coverage, Scalia continued:
“When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every State limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. That resolves these cases. When it comes to determining the meaning of a vague constitutional provision—such as “due process of law” or “equal protection of the laws”—it is unquestionable that the People who ratified that provision did not under- stand it to prohibit a practice that remained both univer- sal and uncontroversial in the years after ratification.12 We have no basis for striking down a practice that is not expressly prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, and that bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use dating back to the Amendment’s ratification. Since there is no doubt what- ever that the People never decided to prohibit the limita- tion of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the public debate over same-sex marriage must be allowed to continue.
But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law. Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect.13”
ObamaCare says what it says. That’s what a three judge panel in the DC circuit court of appeals has basically said as much in a ruling today. In a two-to-one ruling, the judges said the ObamaCare subsidy doesn’t apply to people who sign up on the federal health insurance exchanges, only state exchanges because that’s what the law says.
The federal government says it will ask the full first circuit to review the case.
In the meantime, people who signed up with the federal government and qualified for subsidies, including those in the failed state plans in Oregon and Maryland, are wondering what will become of their free money.
Although the president has changed the law multiple times to suit his political aims and the IRS attempted to paper over this obvious issue, the Democrats, when they did the final cram down on ObamaCare, intended for there to be no subsidies paid at the federal level–hoping to force states to do it.
From The Hill:
A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down one of the pillars of ObamaCare, ruling that the law’s premium subsidies are invalid in more than two-dozen states.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 decision that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not permit the IRS to distribute premium subsidies in the federal ObamaCare exchange, meaning those consumers must bear the full cost of their insurance.
“Because we conclude that the ACA unambiguously restricts the section 36B subsidy to insurance purchased on Exchanges ‘established by the State,’ we reverse the district court and vacate the IRS’s regulation,” the court said in its ruling.
As you can see by the ruling, the politically motivated IRS officials decided to take matters into their own hands and create a rule that directly circumvents the Democrats’ own intention and the words in the law. That ruling was vacated by the court.
… [A] separate federal appeals court panel in Richmondunanimously upheld the law and its system of subsidies and tax credits, putting it in opposition to the D.C. appeals court. That could raise the potential of a Supreme Court showdown.
“If there is a split in the circuits, then I think the Supreme Court would have to step in,” said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel at the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center.
As for what these decisions do to the people who are getting subsidized health care? The president’s spokesman says they’ll ignore the ruling for now,
The case goes back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. LiMandri: Cross stays put till then.
The Supreme Court on Monday, June 30, 2014, issued an order denying a petition for expedited review of the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Cross Case (Mt. Soledad Memorial Assn. v. Steve Trunk, et al, USSC NO. 13-061.)
The petition filed by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association requested the Court to grant review, by-passing the appeal pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. The Court declined without an opinion. Justice Alito published a separate statement explaining that denial of the petition does not represent a final decision on whether the Supreme Court will ultimately grant review.
Rather, Justice Alito noted that because the Ninth Circuit has not ruled on the appeal from the U.S. District Court decision ordering the Cross destroyed, there is “no final judgment” on which the Supreme Court to Rule. Further, he pointed out that because the U.S. District Court ordered a stay pending appeal, the Cross will not be destroyed as the appeal process continues in the Ninth Circuit.
Justice Alito, in issuing his statement clarifying that the denial of expedited review is not a final decision on whether to grant Supreme Court review, noted again that the “ ‘Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence is undoubtedly in need of clarity.” Few constitutional law practitioners would disagree.
Justice Alito’s statement is published at 53 U.S. ____(2014), and is below in its entirety for convenience.
San Diego Attorney Charles S. LiMandri, founder and chief legal counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), who is credited with doing more to save the Mt. Soledad Cross than any other single person, said in response to the Supreme Court’s denial of expedited review:
“It is an unfortunate delay. It means going through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal processes. This is what the Supreme Court wants, and what the government wanted. So, instead of a delay of perhaps one year, we may be waiting two or three years. “But it is not ‘bad news.” They are not saying they won’t take the case ultimately; just not now,” LiMandri said. “The good news is that the stay is in effect pending appeal. So the Cross isn’t going anywhere, and we believe we will ultimately prevail based on statements made by the Justices and rulings in other cases,” LiMandri concluded.
There is also a possibility of legislative action to preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial “where it is, as it is,” with the Cross intact.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a combat veteran and former Marine, has a bill pending to preserve all veterans memorials.
Further, the legislative solution reached which saved the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial may be a precedent for saving the Mt. Soledad National Memorial.
That is, the ACLU sued for ten years to destroy the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross, established in the remote desert in 1934 by WWI Veterans of Foreign Wars members to honor their fallen WWI comrades. When the ACLU obtained an order from the U.S. District Court in Riverside, CA, to destroy the Cross in 2002, then-Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) sponsored legislation in which Congress authorized a land swap in which the one-acre Mojave memorial site was exchanged for five acres of land donated by private citizens, Henry and Wanda Sanchez.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that that land exchange did not violate the Constitution. Although the ACLU continued to sue for two more years, claiming that the Act of Congress was itself unconstitutional, the ACLU ultimately surrendered in 2012.
The Mt. Soledad Cross was established in 1954 to honor Korean War Veterans. Later, it became a memorial honoring all veterans. There are now more than 3,000 plaques, many bearing crosses or Stars of David, on the walls of the memorial beneath the 29-foot Cross honoring all veterans.
The extremists of the ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism, have been suing to destroy the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross for 25 years now.
In 2006, a U.S. District Judge in San Diego ordered the City of San Diego to tear down the Cross in 90 days or he would impose a fine of $5,000 per day. Congress responded by passing the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial Act, which transferred the memorial from the City of San Diego to the federal Department of Defense. Because the ACLU had sued to destroy the Cross in federal Court but under the California Constitution, that transfer nullified the cross destruction order.
ACLU sued to destroy the Cross again, this time under the U.S. Constitution. A different U.S. District Judge in San Diego ruled that the Mt. Soledad Cross was constitutional as a reasonable person would understand that the Cross was part of a war memorial intended to honor veterans, not to advance religion or any particular religion. The Ninth Circuit overruled the District Court and remanded the case for a remedy to be ordered. The District Court stated it continued to believe the Mt. Soledad Cross is constitutional, but had no choice but to order it destroyed due to the Ninth Circuit ruling. The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and petitioned the Supreme Court to expedite resolution by granting immediate review. That was declined. Many believe the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Cross Case is the most important pending Establishment of Religion Clause case. Final decision by the Supreme Court will set a precedent affecting this and future generations of Americans.
What is at stake is whether 300-million Americans will continue to be able to honor their war dead and other veterans as they choose, using symbols of our American history and heritage, including the cross and other symbols with a religious aspect; or whether atheists, agnostics, and intolerant secular extremists epitomized by the ACLU will have a veto power over those decisions because they are “offended” by the sight of the cross. For now, the Mt. Soledad Cross will remain protected due to the stay order until the appeals process is complete. A legislative solution could be enacted in the meantime.
However, experience has shown that in order for effective action to be taken by Congress, or the White House, veterans and other American patriots have to rise up and fight for it, or little or nothing will be done.
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY FOREVER; SURRENDER TO THE ACLU—NEVER. (Rees Lloyd, a longtime California civil rights lawyer and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.) ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Cite as: 573 U. S. ____ (2014) Statement of ALITO, J.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES MOUNT SOLEDAD MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION v. STEVE TRUNK, ET AL. ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI BEFORE JUDGMENT TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT No. 13–1061. Decided June 30, 2014 The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment isdenied. Statement of JUSTICE ALITO respecting the denial of the petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment. This case came before us two years ago, see 567 U. S.___ (2012), and at that time I issued a statement respecting the denial of certiorari. I noted that although the“Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence is undoubtedly in need of clarity,” certiorari was not yet warranted inthis case “[b]ecause no final judgment has been rendered and it remains unclear precisely what action the FederalGovernment will be required to take.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 2, 3). Since that time, the District Court has issued an order requiring the memorial to be removed, but it has stayed that order pending appeal. The Court of Appeals has not yet reviewed that order on appeal. Seeking to bypass that step, petitioner seeks certiorari before judgment. In my view, it has not met the very demanding standard werequire in order to grant certiorari at that stage. In lightof the stay, any review by this Court can await the decision of the Court of Appeals. I therefore agree with the Court’s decision to deny the petition.
The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously today making recess appointments when the Congress is not in recess is, uh, unconstitutional. But that’s only the latest ruling slapping down the Obama Administration’s attempt to expand its powers.
Did you know the Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least 13 – thirteen — cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012 that were unanimous decisions? It continued its abysmal record before the Supreme Court today with the announcement of two unanimous opinions against arguments the administration had supported. First, the Court rejected the administration’s power grab on recess appointments by making clear it could not decide when the Senate was in recess. Then it unanimously tossed out a law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protests that the Obama administration argued on behalf of before the Court (though the case was led by Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley).
And Fund is especially galled at the attempt by the Obama Administration to steal away even more civil liberties–all of which have been slapped down by SCOTUS. These decisions include the ruling preventing police from looking at your cell phone without a warrant, stopping the Obama-Holder justice department from putting GPS units on cars at will without a warrant and telling protesters they can be put in a special free speech zones near abortion clinics.
It’s not a penalty, it’s a tax. It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty. John Roberts’ ObamaCare decision draws laughs in the US Supreme Court on Monday. Hint: it’s not funny.
We all remember the 2012 ObamaCare decision in which Chief Justice John Roberts pulled a dipsy doodle and saved ObamaCare by rewriting the law to say the individual mandate was a tax. “Such legislation is within Congress’ power to tax.”
Roberts made sure the issue of the ObamaCare individual mandate penalties was argued as a tax even though the Obama Administration argued it was not. After initially believing the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional as it was written, Roberts contrived to turn it into a tax and –voila!–part of the president’s cornerstone program was upheld.
On the upside, the Chief Justice limited the Congress’ ability to abuse the Commerce Clause in the future, but Constitutional originalists may never forgive him for allowing ObamaCare’s forced insurance purchase to be viewed as a tax instead of penalty.
The subject came up in the oral arguments of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialities on Monday. ObamaCare covers abortion drugs. These companies did not want to have anything to do with them. The issue is should companies owned by sincerely religious people be forced to denounce their religious beliefs to accommodate a government program? Hobby Lobby’s insurance pays for all kinds of birth control but wanted nothing to do with abortion drugs.
On pages 23-24 of the oral arguments Hobby Lobby’s attorney, Paul Clement, was asked by the liberal (and female) faction of the court about why the company doesn’t just drop insurance altogether and pay the penalty! Isn’t that nice of them? They’re just looking out for the financial well being of Hobby Lobby and by simply paying the extortion, they get to retain their religious rights!
Some choice. Heads: the government wins, tails: the companies lose.
11 JUSTICE KAGAN: No, I don’t think that
12 that’s the same thing, Mr. Clement. There’s one penalty
13 that is if the employer continues to provide health
14 insurance without this part of the coverage, but Hobby
15 Lobby could choose not to provide health insurance at
16 all. And in that case Hobby Lobby would pay $2,000 per
17 employee, which is less than Hobby Lobby probably pays
18 to provide insurance to its employees.
19 So there is a choice here. It’s not even a
20 penalty by in the language of the statute. It’s a
21 payment or a tax. There’s a choice. And so the
22 question is, why is there a substantial burden at all?
23 MR. CLEMENT: Well, just to be clear, we
24 were talking about the same thing. So the option, the
25 choice, is between paying a $475 million a year penalty
Alderson Reporting Company 23
Official Subject to Final Review
1 and a $26 million a year penalty. That’s what Hobby
2 Lobby faces. So $2,000 per person
3 JUSTICE KAGAN: No, between paying $2,000
4 per employee per year if Hobby Lobby does not provide
5 MR. CLEMENT: That’s $26 million.
6 JUSTICE KAGAN: You know, Hobby Lobby is
7 paying something right now for the for the coverage.
8 It’s less than what Hobby Lobby is paying for the
9 coverage. There are employers all over the United
10 States that are doing this voluntarily because they
11 think that it’s less.
12 CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I thought I
13 thought that part of the religious commitment of the
14 owners was to provide health care for its employees.
15 MR. CLEMENT: That is true, Mr. Chief
16 Justice. It is also true that this
17 JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Well, if they want to do
18 that, they can just pay a greater salary and let the
19 employees go in on the exchange.
20 MR. CLEMENT: Exactly, which is, by the way,
21 why comparing the $2,000 penalty to the cost of the
22 health care is a false it’s a false comparison.
23 JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: It’s not called a
24 penalty. It’s called a tax. And it’s calibrated and
25 it’s calibrated
Alderson Reporting Company 24
Official Subject to Final Review
1 CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: She’s right about
4 MR. CLEMENT: And it has been treated for
5 some purposes as a penalty. And I think for this
6 purposes, it certainly feels punitive.
It certainly does feel punitive. And that’s not funny.
The Twitterverse weighs in before the arguments on the Hobby Lobby religious liberty case before the Supreme Court.
Washington State Senator Patty Murray thinks women’s right to birth control pills and abortion pills trumps your religious beliefs: