What Is True/Slant?
275+ knowledgeable contributors.
Reporting and insight on news of the moment.
Follow them and join the news conversation.

Jul. 1 2010 — 10:12 pm | 3,116 views | 1 recommendations | 31 comments

The judge who could kill Obamacare

U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli took Obamacare to court today in U.S. District Court in Richmond. Judge Henry Hudson, a Bush appointee and former U.S. Attorney in the high-profile ‘Rocket Docket’ in the Eastern District of Virginia is a very solid judge. Many Virginia lawyers, including yours truly and Doug Mataconis, practiced before him when he was a Circuit Court judge in Fairfax County. I agree with Doug that regardless of the outcome of the ruling itself, it will be very well thought out. To put it bluntly, Judge Hudson is no slouch.

David Sherfinski at WaEx has the details from the oral argument today.

A federal judge on Thursday heard opening arguments in Virginia’s lawsuit against the federal government over the high-profile health care law that took effect in March.

Judge Henry E. Hudson said he would likely issue a ruling within 30 days.

The federal government has moved to dismiss the suit brought forth by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on the grounds that it has the authority to enforce the law under the Commerce Clause in the Constitution.

Ian Gershengorn, a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, said health insurance is different from other products because everyone needs medical care at some point. Even a healthy person can get hit by a bus, and “in this country we don’t allow a person to die at the emergency room door,” he said.

But Cuccinelli has maintained the federal government overstepped its bounds in mandating that people buy health insurance.

“The government can’t draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause,” E. Duncan Getchell,Jr., solicitor general of Virginia, argued Thursday.

The ruling will likely be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the most conservative appellate bench in the country. If you opposed Obamacare and got to choose the judge and the Circuit in which to have the case heard, you could do a lot worse than the Virginia federal courts. But of course, Ken Cuccinelli already knew that.


Well, this is a pretty good question.

Hudson, a 2002 appointee of then-President George W. Bush, asked probing questions of both sides, but at times he appeared to express sympathy with Virginia’s case.

“Give me an example. Give me an example,” Hudson demanded of Gershengorn at one point, asking him to cite a time when individuals had been required by the federal government to buy a private product. “Where?”

Gershengorn responded that health care is unlike other products because everyone eventually consumes it. He said Congress was merely trying to regulate how it is paid for.

Which, of course, doesn’t answer the question.

Jun. 28 2010 — 9:35 pm | 147 views | 0 recommendations | 8 comments

New SCOTUS Freedom of Association case may backfire on the Left

The 'tolerant' left, like those who burned this car at the G20 summit, may not like the new SCOTUS opinion

The 'tolerant' left, like those who burned this car at the G20 summit, may not like the new SCOTUS opinion

The Supremes ruled today in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (NRO write-up here and opinion here), that a college Christian group had to admit a gay student despite the fact that it violated basic tenets of the religion. The rule at Hastings was that campus groups had to open their doors to all-comers. As Allah notes, it’s not the case that the Christian group specifically excluded gays per se, it was that they had to take the gay guy, and anybody else that wanted in. It is stupid a rule for religious groups not just because it requires Christian groups to accept gays, but because it will also require them to accept atheists, Muslims, Jews, etc., irrespective of the intent of the new non-Christian members.”

The good thing about the case is that it is probably very narrow in scope as there are few, if any, colleges that have a requirement to accept all-comers.

In other words, student groups could not exclude students from membership or leadership for any reason. This kind of policy is exceedingly rare: At the time of the oral argument, we were aware of no other university with an “all comers” policy.

Despite what you might read in the mainstream media, the court did not rule that the “classic” nondiscrimination policy (which is in force in hundreds of universities) trumped the student group’s right to freedom of association. That issue was left unresolved. Instead, the Court ruled that the all-comers policy (which is in force virtually nowhere) was constitutional — but only if it had been applied equally to all groups on campus.

So with that rather large caveat, why might this cut against lefties more than righties? Because despite the all-you-can-eat diversity buffet we have been force-fed lo these many years, a core belief of lefties is that we are not all Americans first, it is that we are all members of our designated sub-groups, whether that be minorities, gays, feminists, poor, elites, anti-war, environmentalists, homeless, middle-class, union, corporate, whatever. And those sub-groups have to fight each other for rights and government goodies to be won at the expense of the other groups. And I would wager that there are far more college campus groups along the lines of Clean Lesbians Against Dirty Water and Commies for Code Pink than there are conservative groups. We are talking, after all, about college campuses here.

So are the intolerant groups who want to Alinsky their opponents more likely to feel the brunt of the ruling? Aren’t those liberal groups the ones who violently push back against their ideological opponents? After all, it ain’t a bunch of white-shoe conservatives who bash in bank windows and burn cars at the G-20 summit.

There are some good suggestions over in the comments at Allah’s post. If one wanted to cause mischief, there are plenty of opportunities.

Ooh, or how about a Muslim group that a Jewish student wants to join? Surely the group will have funding pulled unless it accepts the Jewish student, right?

Ameripundit has it right. If this is the way the ruling goes, then it’s time to start testing that. Flood the pro-Hamas, Pro-Hezbollah, pro-whatever groups with people that oppose these groups and then either weaken them or get them denied use of school facilities & funding for rejecting Pro-Israeli, etc. students

. . .

Some college guys in here needs to start a “Gay Messianic Jews Who Love Muslim Men” Group at their colleges. Watch the fur fly…

. . .

I think that all Christian groups need to start joining Muslim groups and demand they be elected representatives of the group.

And then hang up pictures of Jesus – the Jew from Nazareth.

. . .

What happens when the local Fraternity has it’s pledges join the Campus Women’s Organization as part of Pledge week?

. . .

So what happens if a white supremacist wants to join a black student group to harass them?

. . .

What about Muslim student groups that bar gays?

What about Muslim student groups that bar woman, or have them segregated, or make them hide themselves?

What about Muslim student groups that bar Jews?

The overriding cure for this, of course is to stop federal funding of the groups altogether. Why do we even do that? What ever happened to fundraising? Hell, every sport my kids play has a fundraising requirement. We either get the team some money selling Entertainment books or give them some money. Any college group that happened to get funding from say a non-federal source, like maybe a church, a political party, etc, could admit or exclude whomever they wanted. Let the kids get the money from like-minded grownups who play on the varsity team.

Isn’t a ruling like this more apt, at the margins, to make people who kinda just want to hang with people who agree with them reject the federal strings that are attached to everything these days? After all, the banks couldn’t wait to give back the bailout money just to get Barack Obama off their backs. Students who want to exercise their freedom of association might want to exclude Uncle Sam from the group.

Jun. 26 2010 — 4:50 pm | 266 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

New Mexico facing flood of illegals from Arizona

When Prince William County in Northern Virginia cracked down on illegals a couple of years ago, like a squeezed tube of toothpaste, the ‘migrants,’ well, migrated in droves across the Potomac to bright blue Maryland. Self-deporting worked like a charm in that case. When a Northern Virginia task force targeted gangs, almost half of which were illegals, they also went over the river.

“Many gang members from Northern Virginia are moving or driving to Prince George’s and other Maryland counties, into the District of Columbia or further south and west into Virginia to avoid dealing with police departments that are unrelenting in their efforts to keep gangs under control,” authorities wrote in the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force report.

The report said the task force’s success is the result of Virginia law enforcement’s use of anti-gang policing measures, including the referring of suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities. Since the task force was created in 2003, it has arrested 952 gang members, more than 40 percent of whom were illegal immigrants, the report said.

Now New Mexico gets to put its money where its mouth is.

The illegals are coming.

The video is not embeddable [Note to the Pooh-bahs in the Mountain Lair - need to work on that], but check it out at Weasel Zippers.

This constant shifting of the problem can be addressed only by the federal government. Until then, the Democrats who talk a great game of tolerance and understanding will have their chance to demonstrate their inherent generosity in the face of increased crime, increased costs of social services, and a loss of jobs to undocumented workers.

Jun. 26 2010 — 3:33 pm | 554 views | 0 recommendations | 6 comments

DISCLOSE Act dead in the Senate?

The phrase most hated by Lefties in the Age of Obama is: Dead in the Senate. And it appears that the flagrantly anti-free speech DISCLOSE Act may suffer a similar fate.

From The Hill.

Despite a hard-fought victory in the House, supporters of the Democratic campaign finance bill are now confronting a more dispiriting reality: the dwindling chances the legislation will affect the fall elections.

Advocates of the Disclose Act have long pointed to July 4 as a deadline for enacting the law so that its provisions could be implemented and enforceable during the hotly-contested midterm congressional campaign. But with the Senate bogged down in fights over tax legislation, a Supreme Court nomination and energy proposals, that marker will almost surely pass without action on campaign finance. . . .

The political lift will be daunting. It requires the famously deliberative Senate to act faster than the House, typically the speedier of the two chambers. In a letter to House leaders last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and sponsoring Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) committed “to working tirelessly for Senate consideration of the House-passed bill so it can be signed by the president in time to take effect for the 2010 elections.”

Advocates say Reid wants to bypass the committee process and bring the bill directly to the floor in the hopes of quicker passage.

But the required 60 votes have yet to materialize. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) have criticized exemptions inserted to secure House passage, and key Republican swing votes, Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine), have registered their disapproval. Brown said it would be “inappropriate” to rush the legislation into law during an election season.

The Citizen’s United case held that Congress had violated corporations’ First Amendment free speech rights with the campaign finance laws. The Democrats, not content with allowing Americans to advocate against them, want to muzzle their political opponents with the DISCLOSE Act.

The bill has come under fire recently for carve-outs. In response to pressure from the NRA, House Democrats made an amendment last week to exempt organizations that have over 1 million members, have been in existence for at least a decade, and receive less than 15 percent of their funding from corporations.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a statement, “This bill would muzzle small businesses but protect labor unions…This is a backroom deal to shred our Constitution for raw, ugly, partisan gain.”

The Chamber of Commerce, which has been avidly opposing the legislation, said the “Democratic majority in the House has jammed through a piece of legislation that clearly violates the Constitution, as well as basic principles of fairness and equity.”

The carve-out exemption for the NRA will apply to the NRA. But by design, few, if any, corporations will be able to meet the requirements. The description of the carve-out, longstanding groups with lots of members who don’t take corporate money, is the very definition of a union. So the unions can spend their warchests for Democrats but corporations cannot spend for Republicans. More pointedly, Ford’s UAW unions can spend cash on their candidates, but Ford cannot.

The fact that we have actual American members of congress who revile free speech as much as the Democrats is alarming. There is no problem with any American, union, or corporation spending whatever they want on elections. It is a free country, unless you happen to be something other than a Democrat.

Jun. 26 2010 — 11:58 am | 688 views | 1 recommendations | 10 comments

Video: Brewer blasts Obama: We will not surrender any part of Arizona

Ouch. Talk about not sugar-coating it. The ad once again demonstrates that the GOP girls have more testicular gravitas than many of the boys. It also drives home at a visceral level the difference between talking about border security in Washington and living without it in a border state. The frustration is palpable.

Via Weasel Zippers.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is calling a new border security initiative an outrage.

In a campaign video posted on YouTube Friday, Brewer stood in front of what she called newly posted signs by President Obama’s administration about the Arizona desert being an active drug and human smuggling area.

“Washington says our border is as safe as it has ever been,” Brewer said. “Does this look safe to you? What is our country coming to…we need to stand up and demand action. Washington is broken, Mr. President. Do your job. Secure our borders.”

It is rather shocking that it is so dangerous a full 80 miles into Arizona, the federal government, which is responsible for making it not dangerous there and everywhere else, posts signs that tell Americans it is a no-man’s land. Brewer is right: The signs are mea culpas, not solutions.

My T/S Activity Feed


    About Me

    I am a lawyer afflicted with a consuming desire to analyze and debate politics.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 55
    Contributor Since: September 2009