Last week a severe blow was dealt to the long-term prospects of ObamaCare. U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision (commonly referred to as the “individual mandate”) is unconstitutional. ObamaCare required weeks of arm-twisting and bribes, along with a labyrinthine process of obscure parliamentary procedures, to get the bill passed without a final vote. Even then it required Nancy Pelosi keeping her caucus in Washington (and away from the growing number of voters back home vehemently and vocally opposed to the bill) until nearly midnight on Christmas Eve in order to get the bill to pass by a hair.
There are a number of constitutional issues with the health care “reform” legislation, but none may be more important to implementing it than maintaining the individual mandate. There is no doubt that this is not the end of the issue. The Obama administration will appeal the ruling and eventually it will end up in the Supreme Court. However, that may not be a hospitable venue for the arguments that Obama will make before the court to protect this provision.
As you know, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for the eventual Republican nominee. Unfortunately, Rubio has taken hits from the media, most of them blatantly dishonest.
Back in October, the Washington Post ran a “gotcha” story for what they saw as inconsistancies in the story of why his parents came to the United States. The story was promptly debunked by the Miami Herald and conservatives who saw it as unfair and incredibly misleading.
Given that his inclusion on a ticket could help Republicans reach out to certain segments of voters, namely minorities, Rubio is getting a closer look by the media. Reuters ran a story yesterday alleging that Rubio has some financial problems that could cause him to be skipped over in the vetting process:
Despite his reputation as a watchdog over federal spending, Rubio, 40, has had significant financial problems that could keep him from passing any vetting process as a potential vice presidential choice, Republican and Democratic strategists say.
In some ways, the story of Rubio’s finances is similar to those of hundreds of thousands of his constituents in a state where more than 40 percent of homeowners are “underwater,” owing more on their homes than the homes are worth.
It is a crisis driven by falling property values and ill-advised home equity loans that drove up homeowners’ debts.
Rubio owes far more on his $384,000 Miami home than it is worth, and at times has had difficulty paying his mortgage.
He bought the home in 2005 for $550,000 with a $495,000 mortgage. He soon had it appraised for $735,000 and took out a home equity line of credit for $135,000.
Republicans are readying themselves for a fight over the upcoming Supreme Court nomination hearings, but appear to have already taken the filibuster option off the table:
Conservative judicial activists say they won’t ask their Republican allies to go to the mat over President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens by pressing for the ultimate weapon in a court fight – a filibuster.
Instead, they say the nomination of a Democrat to the court will be an opportunity to cement the support of the tea party movement, broaden their base, and motivate supporters to turn out to support Republicans in the mid-term elections in November.
Taking the filibuster off the table is a smart idea. To put it bluntly, it’s unlikely that the 41 Republicans in the Senate will be able to stick together to filibuster the kind of “liberal but not controversial” nominee that we’re likely to see from Obama. At the very least, I would expect to see most if not all of the nine Republicans who ended up voting for Sonia Sotomayor to walk across the aisle to vote to invoke cloture should there be any attempt to filibuster. Moreover, unless Obama does surprise everyone and select someone with a controversial record, which I find unlikely, Senate Republicans would likely lose the public relations war over the nomination. Not a smart thing to do only months before a crucial mid-term election.
WASHINGTON – Sonia Sotomayor is poised to make history as the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic justice despite staunch opposition from Republicans who call her ill-suited for the bench, a pending victory for Democrats who believe her confirmation will pay off politically.
The Senate is ready to vote Thursday to confirm President Barack Obama’s high court nominee, a 55-year-old appeals court judge of Puerto Rican descent who was raised in a New York City housing project, educated in the Ivy League and served 17 years on the federal bench.
With the exception of Lindsey Graham’s “yes” votes, the vote to send Sonia Sotomayor’s SCOTUS nomination to the full Senate was strictly partisan:
The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning endorsed Sonia Sotomayor to become an associate justice of the Supreme Court on a largely partisan vote that sends her historic nomination to the full Senate for a final decision on her confirmation.
The 13 to 6 vote came nearly two weeks after the committee’s members grilled Sotomayor for 2 ½ days, eliciting answers that betrayed little indication of how the nominee, an appellate judge for the past 11 years, would rule on the most significant issues that come before the nation’s highest court.
By and large, the Sotomayor confirmation hearings have been alarming dull. However, I thought that one interesting exchange occurred yesterday between Lindsey Graham and the nominee while talking about what makes a fundamental right, specifically gun rights:
GRAHAM: So what binds you when it comes to a fundamental right?
SOTOMAYOR: The rule of law. And…
GRAHAM: Isn’t the rule of law, when it comes to what you consider to be a fundamental right, your opinion as to what is fundamental among all of us?
SOTOMAYOR: No. In fact the question that you raise is it fundamental in the sense of the law.
SOTOMAYOR: That’s a legal term. It’s very different. And it is important to remember that the Supreme Court’s precedent on the Second Amendment predated its…
President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee went to her first set of confirmation hearings yesterday. You can watch them live on the best network ever, C-SPAN! I am wary of some of the things I’ve heard about her, namely the most popular quote used to justify a “no” vote for her.
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,”
Congressman Poe gave a principled four minute speech about the qualifications of who should be nominated to the SCOTUS two months ago.