Archive for the ‘Supreme Court’ Category

Texas vs. California Update for January 29, 2014

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

To a certain extent, this Texas vs. California roundup is incomplete, since we’re hot and heavy into the new legislative session and I haven’t had a chance to fully digest the proposed budget numbers yet. By the Legislative Budget Boards numbers, they’re only projecting a 1.5% increase in the 2016-2017 biennium budget over 2014-2015. But see the first link…

  • Setting the story straight on the Texas budget. TPPF uses a different baseline…
  • California’s public employee unions would prefer that you not know how well they’re compensated.
  • How California’s public employees use sick leave to spike their pensions.
  • Supreme Court may take on California union mandatory dues case.
  • Though not nearly as bad as California, Texas state and local public employee pensions are also in need of reform.
  • California’s Kern County declares a fiscal emergency over dropping oil prices. “Collapsing crude prices are squeezing the finances of Kern County, home to three-fourths of California’s oil production.” Thankfully, oil and gas extraction is a lot more widespread in Texas.
  • The City of Sacramento’s unfunded liabilities have reached $2.3 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Fresno? No one goes to Fresno anymore!” Except for job growth percentage, that is, where Fresno outpaced Silicon Valley.
  • Remember the Newport Beach police department firing a whistler-blower? Via Dwight comes a followup: “A husband and wife who sued Newport Beach and its police department for alleged retaliation and wrongful termination have settled their lawsuits for $500,000, according to city officials.”
  • “Physician-assisted suicide has returned to California’s political agenda.” Well, why not? California’s ruling Democrats have been attempting fiscal suicide for well over a decade now…
  • Toyota breaks ground on its new Texas headquarters.
  • A public school in California is having a Hijab Day.
  • Court Agrees to Hearing on Obama’s Amnesty

    Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

    The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has agreed to hear a challenge to Obama’s unconstitutional illegal alien amnesty.

    In a ruling that could short-circuit one of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, a federal court has allowed U.S. tech workers to challenge extensions of foreign laborers’ status here.

    The case of Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has “major implications” for the president’s ability to expand the number of work visas and the terms or durations of those visas.

    Here’s the actual text of the decision to hear the case. Basically it affirms that high tech workers do have standing to sue over the executive order.

    Mickey Kaus suggested that the separation of powers issues in Obama’s executive order might prompt the courts to move a lot more quickly than usual on the case. The District Court ruling suggests that he may be right.

    DC Handgun Ban Struck Down; DC Police Chief Capitulates?

    Sunday, July 27th, 2014

    DC gun ban struck down in federal court:

    Judge Frederick Scullin concluded that current prohibitions are an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, in a win for gun rights advocates.

    Based on previous court rulings striking down gun laws in D.C., Chicago and elsewhere, “there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Scullin wrote in his 19-page decision, which was unsealed on Saturday.

    Now, via Ted Cruz staffer Josh Perry, comes two tweets that, if true, smell a whole lot like “Total Victory.”

    Now, via Josh Perry, come two tweets that, if true, small a whole lot like “Total Victory.”

    Still waiting for SMSM confirmation that D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier has issued this order, but if true, this is the final culmination of the second amendment rights that DC vs. Heller confirmed finally being actually fulfilled.

    Breaking: Appeals Court Rules Against Federal ObamaCare Subsidies

    Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

    D.C. Circuit court rules 2-1 against federal ObamaCare subsidies in Halbig vs. Burwell:

    In a case with potential to scramble the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that federal subsidies for health insurance were not properly designed.

    If upheld by the Supreme Court, the ruling could limit subsidies on the federal healthcare.gov exchange currently used by 36 states.

    This is breaking news that doesn’t even appear to be up on the Google News index, and I haven’t seen a direct link to the decision yet.

    Instead of invalidating ObamaCare outright, the federal judicial system seems to have successively gutted it in ways most likely to inflict massive electoral defeats on the Democratic Party while giving them nothing to show for it…

    Update: Here’s Jonathan Adler’s piece on the decision, as well as a link to the decision itself.

    Update 2: But wait! The 4th District Court has ruled in favor of federal ObamaCare subsidies in the King vs. Burwell case.

    Confused? You won’t be, after this episode of Soap the Supreme Court takes up the case…

    Texas vs. California Update for July 16, 2014

    Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

    Some other stuff bubbling up, so here’s a Texas vs. California update to tide you over for a while:

  • Former Calpers CEO Pleads Guilty to Corruption Conspiracy.
  • As part of his plea, Fred Buenrostro also agreed to testify to testify against his friend and former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos. Sing, canary, sing!
  • How CalPERs corrupts California politics.
  • Jobs are leaving California and coming to Texas.
  • Texas’ low-tax, low-regulation approach favors job creation.
  • How Texas compares to both California and New York.
  • Why California’s high speed rail boondoggle is still doomed.
  • Stockton’s bankruptcy judge may declare that CalPERS is just another creditor.
  • Bell City Councilman sentenced.
  • Liberal Rage Continues Over Hobby Lobby Decision

    Monday, July 7th, 2014

    Despite musical advice from that big hit from The Princess Factory, liberals just can’t Let It Go. They’re still in a rage over the Hobby Lobby decision, or at least pretending to be in order to gin up their shrinking base in order to keep Democrats from being slaughtered in November.

    Jeffrey Tobin: “What we are witnessing is a liberal meltdown in which they have come to believe the First Amendment is a technicality that should brushed aside when it comes into conflict with the ‘right’ to free contraception.”

    For the political left, the concept of religious liberty has been re-interpreted as to only mean the right to be allowed to pray and not to live one’s faith in the public square. When faith conflicts with policy initiatives such as the free contraception mandate, they assume that religion must always lose. However, the court majority has rightly reminded us that the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment cannot be trashed simply because a lot of Americans want not only access to contraception but also think their employers ought to be compelled to pay for it.

    But to liberals, a decision that reaffirms the primacy of religious freedom is just the latest iteration of a Republican “war on women.” As a political slogan, that meme has been political gold for Democrats who believe its use guarantees their stranglehold on the votes of unmarried women. But as infuriating and wrongheaded the war on women arguments may be, what is really troubling about them is that they reflect a utilitarian approach to the Constitution that regards any of its protections as expendable if they are obstacles to a liberal policy goal.

    Clarice Feldman: “No, the sputtering, venomous and hateful hyperbole is attributable to one thing, and one thing only: the Court did not allow the state to bend Hobby Lobby to its will on their behalf. And that is what matters most to them.”

    All this rage is especially hypocritical since:

    Some 204 outfits favored by Democrats were granted waivers by the president from ObamaCare, which means their employees do not have the right to employer provided birth control. These include upscale restaurant, nightclubs, and hotels in then-Speaker Pelosi’s district; labor union chapters; large corporations, financial firms, and local governments.

    Women did not march through the streets to complain on behalf of their downtrodden sisters at Boboquivari in San Francisco which sells porterhouse steaks at $59 a pop and such. Apparently they are up with laws written on Etch-a-Sketch boards which the president can rewrite at whim. And their moral outrage is dependent on whether or not the employer is a Democrat crony.

    The whole “War on Women” is “shameless, baseless propaganda:

    In other Hobby Lobby-related news, Jonathan Adler debunks the idea that the Hobby lobby ruling was “anti-science.”

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    The Rank Dishonesty of Liberal Reactions to the Hobby Lobby Decision

    Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

    The liberal outrage machine was working overtime yesterday to see who could issue the most hysterical denunciation of the Hobby Lobby decision. Without actually, you know, addressing the language of the decision.

    First an foremost are the idiots who scream that the Supreme Court is “banning contraception.”

    In fact, the decision doesn’t “ban” any form of birth control, it merely invalidates the Obama Administration mandate to provide abortifacients against their own religious beliefs. Or, to put it another way:

    Second, it is amazing how few (if any) liberals mention how closely tied the decision is to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby was a statutory decision based on that act, not a First Amendment case.

    [Facepalm]

    Yeah, the Hobby Lobby ruling doesn’t involve the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, except for the tiny detail of basing the entire decision on the language of the act. Which it announces in the very first paragraph of the decision:

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability” unless the Government “demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

    Finally, there’s the amazing ignorance of comparing not forcing a company to buy four specific types of birth control for their employees to a legal regime where a woman can be stoned to death for the crime of being raped:

    The stupid. It burns.

    Supreme Court Strikes ObamaCare Abortifacient Mandate in Hobby Lobby Case

    Monday, June 30th, 2014

    The Supreme Court handed the Obama Administration yet another defeat today:

    1. For-profit corporations are persons protected under RFRA. (Pp. 16-20.)

    2. Closely held for-profit corporations are capable of engaging in an exercise of religion protected by RFRA. (It “seems unlikely” that publicly traded corporations would “often” assert RFRA claims, but no need to decide whether they can.) (Pp. 20-31.)

    3. The HHS mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion by the Hahns, the Greens, and their companies

    Given the ferocity with which Nancy Pelosi fought for the ObamaCare language that enabled Obama’s HHS to impose the abortion mandate, I think this really is a stinging defeat for the left. No, you can’t have an abortion mandate. Not yours.

    Note that the text of the ruling “is based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and not the First Amendment. (In other words, this is a statutory decision, not a constitutional one.)”

    Here’s the decision itself.

    And for the Obama Administration:

    LinkSwarm for June 27, 2014

    Friday, June 27th, 2014

    A small LinkSwarm for a busy Friday:

  • Evidently Obama wants $500 million to arm the Syrian rebels that we’re supposedly trying to fight in Iraq. Oh, the article says he wants to arm “moderate” rebels. Has anyone seen these moderate rebels? Who are they? Kurds? Oppressed Christians? The problem isn’t that they don’t exist, the problem is that the actual moderates seem to have forces too small to affect the outcome of the fight, and I don’t trust this administration on, well, anything, but especially on their ability to discern the difference between “moderate” rebels and radical Islamic militias from 6,000 miles away….
  • Welcome to the ObamaCare Death Spiral.
  • The War Nerd suggests that Putin is mucking around in eastern Ukraine less to take it outright than to keep it at a simmer so he gets to keep the Crimea without a fight. Also include this epic quote: “Tom Friedman, the Michael Jordan of wrong.”
  • Obama gets unanimous beatdown from the Supreme Court. For the 13th time.
  • Even liberals are turned off by Hillary’s poor, poor pitiful me act.

  • As Hillary Clinton gears up for a Presidential run in 2016, ABC decides to make one of Bill Clinton’s chief aides a network anchor. Lovely.
  • Hillary’s book sells more than 100,000 copies, but woefully short of what it would need to earn back it’s whopping $14 million advance…
  • Did Obama Fail Black America?” Obviously the question mark is unnecessary, as the only question is whether that headline is one or two words too long.

  • Feminism: The Tiny Elite: “You don’t have to look far to realize that victimhood is the flavor of the moment in America. Deeming oneself a victim delivers an afforded reverence, especially if said victimhood is biologically based.” Today feminism is “a group working largely for the interests of elite white women.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How the media discriminates against stories than indict big government.
  • Phil Collins donates his extensive collection of Alamo relics to the state. In fact, Collins is donating not only his existing collection, but stuff he continues to acquire. Three cheers for him.
  • Much like obeying the law, word problems are not Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings’ strong suit.
  • Texas man told to remove American flag from his balcony because it was “a threat to Muslims.” Get a rope…
  • Far-left cartoonist Ted Rall gets the axe. I’m not sure there’s a violin tiny enough…
  • Finally, you too can own the screenplay to Manos: The Hands of Fate.
  • I hope to have a longer post of the kangaroo court trying Michael Quinn Sullivan next week…

    Fallout from the Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision

    Thursday, April 24th, 2014

    The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of Michigan voters in banning Affirmative Action (i.e, discrimination based on race) in college admissions

    Conservatives and libertarians have a very simple position on racial discrimination:

  • “All men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.”
  • Individuals should “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” (I’m going to assume that you recognize theses first two, slightly paraphrased quotes on their own.)
  • “Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” — Justice John Harlan, dissenting in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896
  • “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” — Chief Justice John Roberts, in Ricci v. DeStefano, 2009
  • The liberal position can be paraphrased thus: “Racism requires racism, because racism.”

    What, you think that’s a bit reductio ad absurdum? Fine. How about:

    “Because the lingering effects of institutional racism continue to hold back historically disadvantaged groups*, the federal government must continue to impose preferential treatment for members of those groups.”

    “*Historically disadvantaged groups” are those that in pre-PC speak were referred to as “minorities.” Except of course, the Democratic Party’s current formulation excludes Asians from preferential treatment, resulting in systematic discrimination against them by colleges that practice Affirmative Action compared to less qualified black and Hispanic candidates.

    Left unsaid is when do we stop discriminating against people based on their race due to the “lingering effects” of racism? Why should someone born in 1996 (as those entering college this fall) be discriminated against due to laws scrapped three decades before they were born?

    It is also obvious that Affirmative Action sets up minorities to fail by mismatching them with institutions desperate for “diversity” where they will be at a disadvantage compared to brighter students. So someone who could have been in the middle of their class at, say, Texas Tech, is instead at the very bottom of the class at Harvard or Yale.

    Affirmative Action is a racist relic of bygone days and should be eliminated from a free, colorblind society.