Monthly Archives: June 2012

Why did Roberts do it?

Featured image I wasn’t surprised that the challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare didn’t command five votes at the Supreme Court. But it did surprise me that the hold-out, so to speak, was Chief Justice Roberts rather than Justice Kennedy. Why didn’t Roberts pull the trigger? Charles Krauthammer attributes his decision to the fact that, as Chief Justice, Roberts sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the court’s legitimacy, reputation »

Today’s Big News Story: Eric Holder Cited For Contempt

Featured image On nearly any other day, that would have been the headline. And who knows? Years from now, history may record that today’s most important event was the House of Representatives’ voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt by a stunning 255-67 vote. Among those voting “Yea” were 17 Democrats, so the contempt citation was bipartisan to a meaningful degree. The contempt resolution was, in my view, entirely »

Today’s Obamacare Decision: A Dissent (joined in part by Paul)

Featured image My view of today’s decision is somewhat different from that of most of my fellow conservatives. I found Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion quite persuasive, based on current law and the familiar principle that a statute should be interpreted, if at all possible, in a manner that makes it constitutional. The reality is that the Constitution imposes no practical limits on the power of the federal government (beyond any specific »

In big Supreme Court cases, it’s all about winning

Featured image A number of good conservative legal commentators have taken solace in the fact that the Supreme Court found that the Obamacare mandate cannot be upheld under the Commerce Clause. For example, Michael James Barton writes: The mandate is upheld as a tax, using the coercive — but not unlimited — power that Congress has always possessed. This is a distinction with a very big difference. Had Obamacare been upheld under »

A Defeat—But It’s Not Over, Or, Roberts’ Rules of Disorder

Featured image Finally back in Ashland, Ohio, after my turn this morning at Bill Bennett’s radio mic, which is always fun.  Dinner tonight with Mike Huckabee.  Wonder what will be on his mind? I wont’s sugarcoat this: today’s Supreme Court decision was a significant defeat for the cause of constitutionally limited government, made all the more galling by the fact that Justice Kennedy—the usual wobbler—was on board for striking down the whole »

How many fouls are basketball players allowed to commit?

Featured image We used to argue this question in law school. I took the position that NBA players were allowed to commit six fouls, and college players five. My argument was that, while you would pay a significant price for committing the sixth foul (or the fifth in college), namely having to sit out the rest of the game, the rules did not bar you from committing it. If you were on »

A message from “Law World” — What Chief Justice Roberts said about the individual mandate

Featured image Like Scott, I was skeptical that the Supreme Court would save us from Obamacare, although in light of the oral argument, I thought the chance of such “salvation” was close to 50 percent. In late April, at 15 to 20 person dinner organized by the Federalist Society, there was a show of hands of those who thought the Obamacare mandate would be upheld. My hand went up. I’m pretty sure »

Take this tax…

Featured image Has the Supreme Court ever served as a bulwark of constitutional liberty when the chips were down? Contrary to popular belief, and the Supreme Court’s own conception of itself, I think the answer is largely negative. There is a multitude of examples that supports the negative answer. Think of the Court’s First Amendment decision extending First Amendment protection to flag burning while (mostly) tying itself in knots on campaign finance »

Liberals Can’t Help Themselves

Featured image Last night I wrote about the hysteria with which the left treated the approaching Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. I concluded with this prediction: Here is a firm prediction, however: if the Court goes the other way and upholds Obamacare, conservatives will not become hysterical, will not proclaim the death of democracy, and will not accuse the liberal justices of racism, or whatever. Notwithstanding the high stakes involved, conservatives will »

The opinions in the Obamacare case

Featured image Here they are. I’m trying to decide whether to read them, or to start focusing on the Germany-Italy Euro 2012 match and tonight’s NBA draft. »

The bottom line for the Supreme Court

Featured image Reportedly, the bottom line in the opinion upholding the individual mandate is this: “Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.” Apparently, then, in the view of the majority this turns out not to be a Commerce Clause »

Obamacare upheld

Featured image According to SCOTUSblog, the entire Act is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read. As Tom Goldstein puts it, “Chief Justice Roberts joins the left of the Court.” »

Obamacare Upheld; Roberts joins left; discuss in PL Live

Featured image We tried this first on Monday, but the Court put us off for a few days. Now, the day of reckoning is at hand: the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision will be issued tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., Eastern time. Whatever the Court does, there will be lots to discuss. Whether your mood is mourning or exultation, Power Line Live will be open for you to discuss the Court’s opinions with fellow »

Spain prevails in lackluster match

Featured image After two hours of goalless soccer, Spain defeated Portugal today 4-2 on penalty kicks to advance to the finals of Euro 2012. The match was quite disappointing. I never imagined that two teams this good could produce such a poor contest. Portugal deployed superstar Ronaldo in basically a free lance attacking position, apparently not asking him to do much defensively. But Spain gained little advantage from this decision because, fearful »

Eve of Destruction

Featured image Fellow Boomers will recognize the reference: “Eve of Destruction,” by Barry McGuire, was one of the big hits of 1965. Its chorus sticks in one’s head after all these years: But you tell me Over and over and over again, my friend Ah, you don’t believe We’re on the eve of destruction. That’s the way liberals are feeling tonight. Tomorrow has the potential to be the worst day for the »

The politics of the Obamacare decision

Featured image Josh Gerstein, a fine reporter for Politico, considers the best- and worst-case results of tomorrow’s Obamacare decision for key players. Oddly, Gerstein concludes that a decision upholding the law in full is the best case scenario for both President Obama and Mitt Romney. According to Gerstein, Obama wins if his law is upheld because it represents the signature legislative achievement of his presidency and his most consequential legacy. And, although »

The McCaskill miasma

Featured image While I was writing about Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill’s low opinion of the intelligence of Missouri voters this morning, McCaskill was taking advantage of the partisan credulity of her hosts at MSNBC’s Morning Joe. McCaskill explained her decision to skip the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte that will renominate President Obama to the top of the Democratic ticket. McCaskill asserted that it’s standard practice for her to stay in »