April 2nd, 2012
"I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years
what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism, or a lack of judicial restraint," Obama said.
Obama defined activism by saying "an unelected
group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted passed law -- well, here's a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this -- this court will recognize that and not take that step."
The Supreme Court -- which heard three days
of arguments on the law last week -- is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the mandate, and perhaps the entire law itself, in June of this year.
Obama said he's "confident" that the high 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.
During last week's Supreme Court hearings
, some conservative justices had harsh questions about the law's key feature, the requirement that nearly all Americans buy some form of health insurance or pay a fine.
Some critics say that requirement,
as well as most of the health care law itself, is an unconstitutional overreach by the federal government.
Orin Hatch of Utah said he didn't know
what dream land the President was living in. He said that he and many others have been protesting ever since the law was passed that it was unconstitutional and represented government "over-reach".
Hatch has not distinguished himself intellectually
in his time in Congress, and showed here quite clearly why that may be the case. The Supreme Court has upheld the power of Congress to levy taxes and penalties for a variety of reasons and under the auspices of a number of commonly accepted principles and articles of the U.S. Constitution, and Supreme Court itself has set many precedents in affirming the duly constituted authority and power of Congress to deal comprehensively with such matters in the normal course of governing and and in the performance of its legislative responsibilities. To claim Congress cannot do it now, is to ignore a couple hundred years of rulings by distinguished justices who preceded those currently on the court.
Another case of a right wing political hack vehemently
protesting judicial activism and then running out at any and every opportunity and exultantly championing "judicial activism" when it serves his own partisan purpose -- that of of over-turning or thwarting the clear intent of a democratically elected Congress and President and the legislation and laws passed by them.
March 21st, 2012
By Bifford Caulfield -- The first consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizen United
ruling was to corrupt the political process and threaten democracy in America. My first impression was that Republicans, who predominantly represent the interests of the wealthy in Congress, were thrilled by the fantasy of having unlimited sums of unrestricted and undisclosed money to run for office against their more highly principled democratic opponents. Let's face it, if you are a Republican, what ideas and policy platforms are you going to run for office on? So having an unlimited sum of money to distort your opponents positions, fear monger, and lie about your own ideas and intentions must have seemed like a long over- due blessing arriving in the nick-of-time. At a time of great inequality of wealth and the rapid increase of the minorities as a voting force, to represent the 1% interests against the middle classs and to favor legislation and policies which are punitive to or discriminative toward those majority groups would seem to be a rather daunting task.
The result, short-term,
however, was that Republican candidates that would not have been given the time-of-day by the Republican party campaign machine in previous campaigns were able to round up sugar-daddies to fund their runs for President and stay in the race. In the days before Citizens United, the party would have refused to give them money and their campaigns would simply have gone away.
So now the Republican campaign
has become more divisive, lasted longer, and created an ever rightward listing message and policy platform, perhaps weakening the appeal of the Republican Party to the rank-and-file American voter in the general election.
Short term, Republican candidates have simply paid no heed
to the preferences of the mainstream party because the money as stick and carrot power of the party proper has been eroded by the sugar-daddy money permitted by the Citizens United ruling.
Long term, however, the situation may be even more ominous
for politicians. I could see where rich businessmen may have always nurtured a bit of healthy contempt for politicians running around kissing the rings of monied interests to curry favor and glean money for their campaigns, essentially prostituting themselves to the will of their benefactors for the benefit of being their private lackey and celebrity (and having a fairly cushy, high profile position in society at the same time).
Now, rich individuals and corporate chieftains have unlimited money
and unlimited choices as to who they would like to hire to do their bidding. So if the amount of money they can spend is unlimited and they can choose whoever they want to represent their interests in government, why would they choose politicians, who at best are only not fully committed and faithful prostitutes. Why wouldn't they just turn to the lobbyists who are already representing their interests on a daily basis to all facets of government, including members of Congress, and say, "Let's cut out the middle man and just run you for Congress directly. That way there is no question of the loyalty, time commitment, and willingness to do what you are paid to do because you are already doing it." There is no question who you work for, and no annoying legislator constituent considerations to muddy-up the process of good, advantageous legislation.
In the old days lobbyists created the public illusion of respectability
and arms-length influence. With Citizens United, the pretense is no longer necessary, so why bother bribing politicians to do you bidding when you can just have your own employees and lobbyists do it instead. Makes sense to me.
If Citizens United stands, political parties and the traditional politician may be an endangered species.
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By Byronn Glenn • Posted in Supreme Court
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