The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has delivered another blow to President Barack Obama, who has had an incredibly rough week due to a series of very serious scandals, by finding a recess appointment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to be unconstitutional:
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday said an appointment President Barack Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board was invalid, becoming the second circuit to question the validity of the labor board’s decisions.
The 102-page opinion, in a case called National Labor Relations Board v. New Vista, focused on the appointment of Craig Becker, a former board member who was appointed by Obama during a two-week Senate break in March 2010. (Becker stepped down from the board in 2012.) These breaks are often referred to as “intrasession” breaks, as opposed to intersessions, when the Senate is between sessions.
“We hold that the ‘recess of the Senate’ means only intersession breaks, and so we conclude that Member Becker’s appointment was invalid,” Judge Brooks Smith of the 3rd Circuit wrote in a 2-1 decision that Judge Franklin Van Antwerpen joined and Judge Joseph Greenaway dissented from.
There were actually three recess appointments made by President Obama to the NLRB in January 2012, but the appellate court only focused on one. In a decision earlier this year, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals found all three to be unconstitutional.
If you’ve been following the story, you know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave extra scrutiny to Tea Party groups, including asking them questions about donors, relationships with candidates and eleced officials, and youth outreach programs.
ABC News notes that American Patriots Against Government Excess, one of the groups singled out by the IRS. was asked for a synopsis of books they read. Instead of sending a synopsis, the group sent a copy of the Constitution:
When Marion Bower decided to start her tea party organization in 2010, she didn’t know that it would take nearly two years for the Internal Revenue Service to approve her request for tax-exempt status.
The Ohio woman also did not expect that providing information about the books her group read would be part of the application process.
“I was trying to be very cordial, but they wanted copies of unbelievable things,” Bower told ABC News today. “They wanted to know what materials we had discussed at any of our book studies.”
She ultimately sent one of the books, “The Five Thousand Year Leap,” promoted frequently by Glenn Beck, to the IRS official handling her tax-exempt request in Cincinnati. She also sent a paperback copy of the Constitution.
“They wanted a synopsis of all the books we read,” Bower said. “I thought, I don’t have time to write a book report. You can read them for yourselves.”
That is awesome.
While White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was hesistant to admit that the IRS did anything wrong during his daily press briefing on Tuesday, a report issued by the agency’s watchdog confirms that Tea Party groups were singled out for additional scrutiny and that the more needs to be done to reassure an already distrusting public:
Lax oversight at the Internal Revenue Service allowed for the singling out of some conservative groups, resulting in lengthy delays in the processing of their applications for federal tax-exempt status, according to a report by the agency’s inspector general released Tuesday.
The report found that for more than 18 months beginning in early 2010 the IRS developed and followed a faulty policy to determine whether the applicants were engaged in political activities, which would disqualify the groups from receiving tax-exempt status.
“The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention,” according to the report.
The list of words that IRS officials were using to flag groups for extra scrutiny is about as blatant as it can get. Obviously, “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” and “9/12” were among them, but they also flagged groups that wanted to “make America a better place to live” or educate about the Constitution and Bill of Rights — our nation’s founding documents.
Not only is the Obama Administration dealing with the Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party groups, they now have another scandal emerging. The Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday that the Justice Department (DOJ) had obtained phone records of journalists who work for the news organization:
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
The Obama Administration has been trying to crackdown on whistleblowers and leaks to the press, and it appears that this exactly what’s going on here. The DOJ is investigating a leak to the AP that stems from a story dealing with a terrorist plot in Yemen that the new organization ran last May.
With another debt ceiling fight potentially brewing, the House of Representatives passed the Full Faith and Credit Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), which would require the Treasury Department to prioritize debt service and Social Security payments to keep the United States’ credit rating intact:
The House on Thursday passed legislation that would allow the government to borrow money above the debt ceiling, but only to service U.S. bondholders and make payments related to the Social Security Trust Fund.
The Full Faith and Credit Act, H.R. 807, was passed in a 221-207 vote that saw all but eight Republicans favor the bill, and every Democrat oppose it.
Republicans said the bill creates a necessary option for the government to extend its borrowing ability in the event that it bumps up against the debt ceiling. Republicans and Democrats are expected to begin talks this month on increasing the debt limit.
You can view the roll call vote here.
President Obama, who has pledged a veto should it pass the Senate, Democrats have attacked the measure because it would take one of their favorite talking points off the table. President Obama has frequently claimed during debt ceiling fights that Social Security checks could be held up if the statutory national debt limit is not raised.
With Vice President Joe Biden making plans for another big push for new gun control measures, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is looking to challenge him to a debate on the issue.
During the National Rifle Association’s annual convention is past weekend in Houston, Texas, Cruz, who has been an outspoken advocate of civil liberties and conservative causes, poked some fun at Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and defended the Constitution before challenging Biden to a debate on gun control.
“The senior Senator from California explained to me that she is not a sixth-grader,” Cruz said to a humored crowd. “Well, you know, I’m not a sixth-grader either. And it seems to me that when the Constitution says the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” it means that right shall not be infringed.”
Cruz spoke about the disregard that the Left has for various civil liberties. He explained that the “Constitution matters — all of the Constitution.”
“It’s not pick and choose. It’s not take what part you like and get rid of the parts you don’t like. For some reason Obama liberals want to disregard the First Amendment and take away our right to speak and political speech,” said Cruz. “For some reason they want to disregard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. And, for some reason the Obama liberals want to disregard the Tenth Amendment and implement Obamacare and take away our liberties. Every word of the Constitution matters. It is our fundamental protection of our liberties against the government.”
Last year, the Supreme Court issued a decision that was devastating to ObamaCare’s opponents. In a ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the High Court decided that the individual mandate, the very heart of the law, was constitutional under the taxing authority of Congress.
Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution — known as the Origination Clause — says, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” Therein lies the rub. The Affordable Care Act — also known as ObamaCare — originated in the Senate, which is unconstitutional.
With the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation, Matt Sissel, an Iraq War veteran, is challenging the constitutonality of ObamaCare on this basis. Over at the American Spectator, David Catron gives some details abut the case:
The Senate moved closer to passing the Internet sales tax on Thursday. The chamber had already started debate on the measure, dubbed the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” but the vote last week bypassed any hope of a filibuster. Some conservative groups are increasing their efforts in opposition to the tax.
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), headed by Grover Norquist, presented the constitutional case against the Internet sales tax. The case is in response to recent comments by David French, a lobbyist for the National Retail Federation, who said, “The industry is evolving very rapidly, and the law today is a 20th-century interpretation of an 18th-century document that is holding back the entire retail industry as it adapts to 21st-century consumer preferences and demand.”
“The Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution affirms that states cannot tax across their borders. Physical presence within a state’s boundaries is required for a state to be able to tax a business, a consumer, or a sale,” John Kartch wrote at ATR’s blog in response to French. “The Constitution is clear: a person or business must be physically present within a state’s borders in order to be taxed. By suggesting the Constitution is outdated, Internet tax pushers align themselves with the rhetoric of far-left judicial activists.”
A blogger by the name of Allen Clifton over at “Forward Progressives” has put out a list of “facts” that annoy conservatives and Republicans, supposedly for fun. Allen writes:
I highly encourage all liberals to share this with their conservative friends. Then watch as they haplessly try and argue against each comment.
It’s irresistible. And, as I expected, it doesn’t actually make us look bad. It just shows that progressives like Mr. Clifton haven’t thought their argument the full way through. I’ll leave the points Mr. Clifton makes in bold and my responses below.
1. Nowhere in our Constitution does it say we’re a Christian nation.
2. In fact, no where in our Constitution does the word “Christian” appear even once.
These points are actually true, and I cannot argue with Mr. Clifton. The Constitution does not mention the word “god,” and while many of the Founders were religious, it is questionable whether they were hardcore Christians or rather deists (or, in Mr. Jefferson’s case and the case of others, Christian Deists.) There are mentions to God in the Declaration of Independence, but again, are these references to the Christian conception? The Declaration refers to “Nature’s God”—a deist term, not a Christian one. The only time the Constitution mentions God is in the dating: “ the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”
That’s hardly grounds for making the Constitution a Christian document. That’s just how you told the date back then. These days, we replaced “Lord” with “Common Era.”
The good news is that for ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is that nearly everyone in the country has heard of her. The bad news is the current House Minority Leader is the least liked leader in Congress, according to a new poll from Gallup:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the most well-known but least-favored of the four congressional leaders, according to a new poll.
The Gallup poll released Wednesday found that only 11 percent of those surveyed said they had never heard of Pelosi, making her the best known of the four top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate. But Pelosi also topped the list in unpopularity. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said they have an unfavorable opinion of her while 31 percent have a favorable opinion.
The big four in congressional leadership — Pelosi, Senator Majority Harry Reid (D-NV), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — have a deficit to overcome with Americans. But as Gallup explains, Pelosi is the most polarizing. In fact, she’s the only congressional leader that a majority of independents view unfavorably. Hey, but at least 62% of Democrats have a favorable opinion of her.