“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequence of their political choices.”

So argues Chief Justice John Roberts in his majority opinion. So, the joke’s on us, is that it? I’m having a hard time deciding if Roberts intended this to be the equivalent of Obama’s snide “above my paygrade” retort.

Other bits and pieces as my due date flies by and the thermometer climbs above 100. (Note to self: future pjBabies must be born in winter. Lots of snow preferable. Will deal with the loss of ski season.)

Via Hot Air:

What say you? Will Obama survive the largest tax increase in history during the middle of a recession?

I’m leaning toward not.

Pyrric victory and all. Oremus.

A little Mark Levin for your listening enjoyment here.

I’m intrigued more than anything about the possibility that Roberts changed his mind. The dissents written by Scalia and Thomas lefthints.

Waiting UPDATED: SCOTUS upholds Obamacare as a TAX?!

With millions of other Americans to hear the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare this morning. Praying it’s overrulled. Wondering what will happen if it’s not.

Heading to Legal Insurrection. Fox News on. (pjKid was sorely disappointed. We came downstairs to “turn on the tv,” an unusual occurance at best. “To watch NEWS?” she asked, incredulous.)

UPDATE: I’m in shock. My stomach hurts. And I’m not sure if it’s labor pains or the sinking feeling that the newest addition to the pjFamilia will live under a regime where oppressive taxation (as long as it’s called taxation) is the norm.

I need a dose of Rush. It will be a long 90 minutes.

UPDATE 2: A needed dose of pep talk from Professor Jacobson at LI:

Consider this Pep Talk IV.

Was it over when Harry Reid pushed Obamacare through at Christmas time in December 2009?

Not when voters took to the booth and elected Scott Brown.

Was it over when Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats were forced to accept the Senate version so that reconciliation could be used, as she marched to the Capitol with large gavel in hand?

Not when the nation rose up and threw the Democrats out of power in the House in 2010.

Is it over now that the Supreme Court has upheld the mandate on the basis of a taxing power which Democrats expressly disavowed while passing Obamacare?

Not unless we allow Barack Obama to be reelected and the Democrats to hold the Senate.

You know what you have to do.

Damn skippy I do.

UPDATE 3: Still waiting on my Rush. Played Candy Land. Read “Bread and Jam for Frances.” And just snuck back on the computer to read this from Ed Morrissey:

 The Supreme Court has signed off on what is, in very practical terms, a tax levied by the insurance industry on Americans simply for existing.  It’s an amazing, and fearsome, decision that really should have both Right and Left horrified.

Nevertheless, this is the law of the land.  We can now look forward to taxes levied by the auto industry for not having bought a new car in the last seven years, the liquor industry for buying too few bottles of wine to maintain your health, and by the agricultural industry for not buying that damned broccoli after all. We might even have Obama attempt to impose a tax for not buying enough contraception; we can call that the Trojan tax.

Now I need my dose of Rush more than ever. Lesson learned: I’d rather play another round of Candy Land than get depressed. Or unpack a few more boxes for fun. Anything.

4: See also Pundette. The shock of Roberts being the “savior” of Obamacare when Kennedy sided with the dissent  rankles. And will for quite some time.

Liberals nonchalant over problems with Obama’s illegal fundraising apoplectic over anonymous (legal) donors against Obama

Heh. Turn about is fair play, y’all.

Via Doug Ross who points out the vast majority of Obama’s haul in 2008 was collected from illegal sources:

So two-thirds of Obama’s record haul derives from a website that intentionally disabled all the default security checks that prevent basic fraud like fake addresses and no-name matches ….Here’s the bottom line: Two-thirds of the record-breaking haul Obama raised for the final stretch of the campaign comes from a racket set up to facilitate fake names, phony addresses and untraceable cards

The Bamster’s online donations this go-round have also disabled credit card security codes. Ho, hum, nothing to see here. The WaPo, which buried the stories in 2008 of Obama’s credit card scammery, can barely contain the indignation now:

An anonymous donor gave $10 million late last year to run ads attacking President Obama and Democratic policies, escalating the money race that is defining the 2012 presidential campaign. And in the new, free-wheeling environment of independent political giving, the identity of this donor, like many others, is likely to remain a permanent mystery.

The donation went to Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit group founded with the support of political strategist Karl Rove. Another donor gave $10 million in the 2010 midterm elections, according to draft tax returns that provide the first detailed look at its finances.

[...]

The tax returns show that Crossroads GPS has collected the vast majority of its donations from the super-rich. The forms show that nearly 90 percent of its contributions through the end of 2011 had come from as few as two dozen donors, each giving $1 million or more. Overall, the nonprofit group raised more than $76 million since it was founded in May 2010 through the end of 2011.

“That’s certainly not a grass-roots movement,” said Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for transparency in government and politics.“These donors can have a very disproportionate effect on politics, and the fact that we don’t know who they are and what kind of favors they will ask for is very troubling.”

Emphasis mine. Apparently donations from the “super rich” whomever they may be raise red flags for libs because we don’t know what favors they’ll ask in return.  Like enabling illegal campaign donations from foreign nationals like Obama did in 2008? Or disabling credit card security so Pablo can use Ronaldo’s card with a phony address?

Don’t want to hear it. No wonder the Obami were so concerned in the wake of the Citizens United decision: their knowing and willful violations of law didn’t matter in 2008, but the playing field has been leveled.

Cartoon of the day

Cartoon: I Can’t Believe You Taught Constitutional Law

Just add the whole row of conservative Supremes to the list.

H/t: M.

“The greater good”

That’s how Bruce McQuain describes the tendency of liberals to excuse any and all behavior if it’s in pursuit of “the greater good.”

Case in point: Darragh McManus praises the blood on Che Guevara’s hands. He writes [emphasis mine]:

Yes, Che was ruthless and fanatical and sometimes murderous. But was he a murderer? No, not in the sense of a serial killer or gangland assassin. He was one of those rare people who are prepared to push past ethical constraints, even their own conscience, and bring about a greater good by doing terrible things.

Whether morally justifiable or not, there is something admirable in that — pure principle in a world of shabby compromise. Maybe this is why Che remains such an icon, both in image and idea.

Yes, Che is an icon, even though he was a murderous thug. He wasn’t concerned by those trifling things like, oh, morals, because he had a vision. So did Charlie Manson, but I digress.

Obama, too, is one of those “rare” people who is prepared to push boundaries by thuggery and abuse of power. Attempting to intimidate the Supreme Court counts as thuggery. It’s the Chicago way. Bryan Preston writes:

President Barack Obama used his press time today to launch a frontal assault on the judicial branch of the US government. Speaking to press in the Rose Garden, the president said “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

That “strong majority” came entirely from the Democratic Party, which was defeated in the 2010 mid-terms over dissatisfaction with the ObamaCare law. The majority of American voters did not support ObamaCare’s passage and still want the law repealed. So, the president’s call amounts to an appeal to keep an unpopular law intact just because his party passed it and he signed it.

That “strong majority” consisted of fewer than a dozen votes out of over 400. Overwhelming strength, no? Obama appealed the SCOTUS to consider the “human element.” Dear Mr. Former Constitutional Law Professor (what a joke!): there is no “human element” in deciding whether or not the law is Constitutional. But that’s what “the greater good” is all about, isn’t it?

Why such a thin skin, Ben Nelson?

Oooh, they’re getting testy after a bad week at the SCOTUS:

Scalia also joked that the task of having to review the complex bill violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?” he quipped. “Is this not totally unrealistic, that we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?”

The comments did not sit well with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), a member of the Gang of 14, which in 2005 established guidelines for considering judicial nominees.

“I am concerned that Justice Scalia’s comments call into question his impartiality and instead suggest judicial activism,” Nelson said.

Nelson was taken aback by Scalia’s suggestion that reading the law was too much to expect of justices ruling on its constitutionality.

Want to talk impartiality, eh? Let’s do. How about that new Justice who should have recused herself because she wrote the arguments to defend Obamacare as the last Solicitor General.  Just sayin’.

What seems to have Nelson’s knickers in a twist is the mention of the “Cornhusker Kickback.”

Traitors take so much abuse, poor things.

And get this:

Democrats are not inclined to give Scalia any slack because they think his mind is closed against the healthcare law and his judgment clouded by partisan politics

Seriously. As if Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan or Ginsberg aren’t “closed” in favor of Obamacare (with the latter even assisting the SG in his weak arguments) or their judgement clouded by partisan politics.

I guess it isn’t partisan if it’s the side you’re on, eh?

H/t: HA headlines

“It won’t cause the government to have a complete cardiac arrest”

So says Tom Golstein in regards to the government’s “bad day” at the SCOTUS. Please someone, issue a DNR; that’s our best hope for salvaging the country and eliminating debt. More:

“‘The government had in my view as bad a day as it reasonably could have,’ said Tom Goldstein, founder of SCOTUSblog and a regular litigator at the high court. ‘It won’t cause the government to have a complete cardiac arrest — they’ll just be nauseous for months. … The only people coming out of that building optimistic today were the plaintiffs.’…

What, pray tell, could cause such a bad case of heartburn for the federal government? Oh, Justice Anthony Kennedy eviscerating the Solicitor General Donald Verilli in charge of presenting the government’s case as to why Obamacare should survive. But I’m getting ahead of myself. More from Politico:

“In the orgy of panel discussions, interviews and feature articles previewing this week’s arguments, law professors, Supreme Court litigators and journalists confidently predicted that the justices would uphold the individual mandate as a logical extension of the federal government’s well-established ability to regulate the health insurance market…

“Within the first few minutes of Tuesday’s arguments, that bravado seemed to go out the window.

Chief Justice John Roberts brought up the cellphone mandate: if the government can force you to buy health insurance because it’s “good for you,” then what else can you be forced to purchase that’s also “good for you.” Vegetables in every cart? A cellphone for emergencies?

“I thought that was an important part of your argument,” Roberts told Verrilli. “That when you need health care, the government will make sure you get it. Well, when you need police assistance or fire assistance or ambulance assistance, the government is going to make sure to the best extent it can that you get it — get it.”

But Roberts asked whether the same assurance that the government will provide emergency services could lead to a requirement that everyone buy a cellphone to help facilitate communication in an emergency.

Where does it stop? Gym memberships? Newer, safer Government Motors vehicles?

It doesn’t.

Verelli caused much angst and anguish on the left for his “trainwreck” performance. Brian Bolduc at NRO writes:

CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called the arguments “a train wreck for the Obama administration.” “This law looks like it’s going to be struck down,” Toobin said. “I’m telling you, all of the predictions including mine that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong.”

Jamie Dupree, reporter for Cox Radio, tweeted, “One thing was clear, the Solicitor General [Donald B. Verrilli Jr.] (arguing for the Obama Administration) had a bad day in court.” Justice Kennedy asked him the seemingly skeptical question, “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?”

“Essentially, the Solicitor General’s performance was so abysmal that it fell to the [Democratic] appointees to make his argument for him,” says Adam Serwer, reporter for Mother Jones.

Of course they did. At one point Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg apparently interrupted Verelli to try to clarify his argument for him. Heh.

Scalia unleashed:

I shouldn’t get too excited. Ed Whelan makes a valid point:

I’m always leery of inferring much from oral argument. Now that I’ve listened to the audio and reviewed the transcript (both available here) of today’s argument, I don’t claim to have any meaningful read on which side has the advantage.

I will, though, repeat what I’ve been saying all along: Opponents of Obamacare will be making a terrible blunder if they count on the Supreme Court to deliver the death blow to Obamacare. We need to work to elect this November a Congress that will repeal and replace the monstrosity and a president who will sign that legislation

True enough.

H/t to Allahpundit here and here. He’s on fire. Read the rest of both and this one, where he confronts the notion that the SCOTUS striking down Obamacare could help Obama win reelection. (Perish the thought).

Instructive: liberal admits liberalism a dud

If the battle of ideals were played out truthfully in front of the public, liberals would lose.

From the NYT, a key player in the destruction of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork speaks truth to power [emphasis mine]:

It is, to be sure, completely understandable that the Democrats wanted to keep Bork off the court. Lewis Powell, the great moderate, was stepping down, which would be leaving the court evenly divided between conservatives and liberals. There was tremendous fear that if Bork were confirmed, he would swing the court to the conservatives and important liberal victories would be overturned — starting with Roe v. Wade.

But liberals couldn’t just come out and say that. “If this were carried out as an internal Senate debate,” Ann Lewis, the Democratic activist, would later acknowledge, “we would have deep and thoughtful discussions about the Constitution, and then we would lose.” So, instead, the Democrats sought to portray Bork as “a right-wing loony,” to use a phrase in a memo written by the Advocacy Institute, a liberal lobby group.

And so began the take-no-prisoners politics of destruction we’re left with today. Can’t have a truthful conversation, so let’s make that Republican out to be as mean and loony as can be. More:

Conservatives were stunned by the relentlessness — and the essential unfairness — of the attacks. But the truth is that many of the liberals fighting the nomination also knew they were unfair. That same Advocacy Institute memo noted that, “Like it or not, Bork falls (perhaps barely) at the borderline of respectability.” It didn’t matter. He had to be portrayed “as an extreme ideological activist.” The ends were used to justify some truly despicable means.

It’s worked for 24 years. Liberals pander lies about conservatives through their willing accomplice, the media. And once conservatives do speak truth–Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright–they’re immediately branded kooks, liars and racists.

It’s time to fight back.

Read the rest.

Clarence Thomas the Frodo Baggins of the right?

So suggests Walter Russell Mead after reading Jeffery Toobin’s profile of Clarence Thomas in the New Yorker. He writes of Thomas:

his lonely and obscure struggle has led him to the point from which he may be able to overthrow the entire edifice of the modern progressive state

Few things have made me smile as broadly as I am now after reading this:

There are few articles of faith as firmly fixed in the liberal canon as the belief that Clarence Thomas is, to put it as bluntly as many liberals do, a dunce and a worm.  Twenty years of married life have not erased the conventional liberal view of his character etched by Anita Hill’s testimony at his confirmation hearings.  Not only does the liberal mind perceive him as a disgusting lump of ungoverned sexual impulse; he is seen as an intellectual cipher.  Thomas’ silence during oral argument before the Supreme Court is taken as obvious evidence that he has nothing to say and is perhaps a bit intimidated by the verbal fireworks exchanged by the high profile lawyers and his more, ahem, ‘qualified’ colleagues.

At most liberals have long seen Thomas as the Sancho Panza to Justice Antonin Scalia’s Don Quixote, Tonto to his Lone Ranger.  No, says Toobin: the intellectual influence runs the other way.  Thomas is the consistently clear and purposeful theorist that history will remember as an intellectual pioneer; Scalia the less clear-minded colleague who is gradually following in Thomas’ tracks.

If Toobin’s revionist take is correct, (and I defer to his knowledge of the direction of modern constitutional thought) it means that liberal America has spent a generation mocking a Black man as an ignorant fool, even as constitutional scholars stand in growing amazement at the intellectual audacity, philosophical coherence and historical reflection embedded in his judicial work.

I have long been a fan of Clarence Thomas. pjHusband and I read his autobiography in awe. Rarely in life will you find someone whose character has been so supremely shaped by the real adversity he faced growing up. Rarely in life will you see someone so completely caricatured and vilified, ironically with the very stereotypes the left claims to fight.

Read the rest of Walter Russel Mead’s piece, the New Blue Nightmare: Clarence Thomas and the Amendment of Doom. It might eke a smile out of you, too.

“Does a fallen soldier deserve more respect than an abortionist?”

So asks Phil Lawler discussing the recent SCOTUS Westboro decision. He writes:

The Westboro Baptist Church is a nasty little bunch of fanatics, who gain publicity for their fundamentalist views in a particularly loathsome way: by picketing the funerals of fallen American soldiers. But 8 members of the US Supreme Court have agreed that even this repellent form of public speech is protected by the First Amendment.

Perhaps so. After all it is when people say unpopular things, and/or say them in unpopular ways, that they need constitutional protection. Those who express polite, conventional views are never in much danger of being silenced. But I have not read the briefs in this case, and I do not propose to examine the constitutional issues. Instead, I want to comment on the way one media outlet (CNN) described the central issue

The justices were being asked to address how far states and private entities such as cemeteries and churches can go to justify picket-free zones and the use of “floating buffers” to silence or restrict the speech or movements of demonstrators exercising their constitutional rights in a funeral setting.

The mention of picket-free zones, and buffer zones, immediately made me think of the laws preventing pro-lifers from coming near the doors of abortion clinics. In my own home state of Massachusetts, the “buffer zone” legislation makes it technically illegal for a pro-life activist even to walk down the sidewalk in front of an abortuary—although any other citizen is free to do so. Somehow this legislation has, to date, survived legal challenges. I don’t understand. 

Read the rest. Chris Wysoci’s comment on this post made the same point:

If there is no “jackass exception” to the First Amendment, why is there an “Abortion Clinic Protester” exemption? It’s illegal to stand in front of an abortion clinic and do what Fred Phelps does at these funerals.

Perhaps the legal eagles who agree with this decision can explain to me why abortion clinics deserve more protection than the grieving family of a hero who gave all in service to his nation.

2011: Dying in service to one’s country while protecting the First Amendment rights of others denies one the same protections afforded to abortionists. What a recruitment poster, eh? Call me a bitter military wife clinger.

H/t: Pundette.

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