Archive for June 28, 2012

Conservative analysts and politicians across the country were appalled when they learned on Thursday that Chief Justice John Roberts voted to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

“Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments,” Roberts wrote in his opinion (page six).

“Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices [emphasis added],” he added.

Among those who believe Justice Roberts failed in his duty to defend the constitution is Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), one of the foremost critics of the president’s healthcare overhaul. In an exclusive interview with The Blaze, Sen. Coburn had some harsh words for the chief justice.

“Do you think that the Chief Justice fell on the right side in this argument?” The Blaze asked

“No, I don’t,” the senator responded.

“It is the Supreme Court’s obligation and duty to enforce the constitution so that when the Congress gets outside of the enumerated powers, that they slap them back,” he added, implying that by voting to uphold the controversial “individual mandate,” Justice Roberts had failed in his duty.

“What I would tell you is that you can’t find anywhere in reading the constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or the Federalist Papers, any intent that was ever thought about that the federal government would be putting forth this type of legislation and this type of control over everybody’s life,” he added, explaining that the mandate includes a “fine” and “not a tax.”

“You no longer, in this country, have the right to decide that you won’t buy health insurance,” the senator continued, “and I think the Chief Justice came down on the wrong side of this.”

Listen to our exclusive interview with him here.

In the wake of today’s historic Supreme Court ruling upholding the key provision in President Obama’s health care act, opponents are spending little time lamenting their loss, vowing to repeal the massive law and help channel a “revolutionary fervor” among voters that will sweep Democrats from office in November.

The head of the Republican Attorney’s General Association declared “the battle isn’t over,” and a veteran conservative activist says that if America thought tea party anger over Obamacare was reflected in the 2010 polls, wait until this fall.

“The 2010 Tea Party wave election was all about the average American’s anger over the individual mandate and the oppressive big government that it represents,” explained Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com.

“The Supreme Court’s narrow decision upholding the individual mandate has raised that anger to a revolutionary fervor that will sweep President Obama and many other Democrats from office,” he asserted.

Viguerie said Democrats “have now been put in the position of doubling down on the Big Brother mandates and oppressive big government policies that led to their historic defeat in the 2010 congressional elections.”

“The more Democrats defend the individual mandate, the more seats in Congress Democrats will lose,” he said.

Viguerie said it’s worth noting that Obama and the Democrats lost today on the heart of the mandate, the argument that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause could force Americans to buy health insurance.

“But the mandate was upheld on the issue the Democrats were trying to hide: It is a massive tax increase on the American people,” he said.

Viguerie vowed the 63 seats Democrats lost in the House in 2010 “are just the beginning.”

Michael A. Needham, CEO of the nonprofit Heritage Action for America, said in a letter to supporters that the nation’s “system of checks and balances ensures the Supreme Court’s misguided decision will not be the final word on President Obama’s government takeover of healthcare.”

“We still oppose Obamacare,” he wrote, “and conservatives are still united around fully repealing President Obama’s government takeover of our health care system. Today’s decision is not the end of the fight, it is the beginning!”

Read more here.

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted 255-67 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress over the failed federal gunrunning Operation “Fast and Furious,” largely voting along party lines though 17 Democrats joined Republicans in the measure. A sitting attorney general never has been held in contempt by Congress.

Many Democrats walked out in protest and did not vote.

Lawmakers passed a criminal contempt resolution and are currently considering a civil contempt resolution.

The criminal contempt resolution will now go to the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., who is a subordinate of Holder. The civil contempt resolution, if it passes, will allow the House to go to court in an effort to force Holder to turn over documents the Oversight Committee wants.

In past cases, courts have been hesitant to settle disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government. Further, the House is unlikely to get the documents anytime soon anyway, because Obama has invoked a broad form of executive privilege, which protects from disclosure internal documents from executive branch agencies.

In a memorable call-to-arms before the vote, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — practically screaming — asked Democrats who stood in opposition to the contempt measure, “What percentage of the truth will you settle for?”

“If you have ever sat on the other side of the table from parents who have lost a loved one: is 50 percent enough? Is that enough of the documents? 75 percent? A third?” Gowdy cotinued. “The truth, the whole truth, so help me God. That’s what we ask witnesses to do, thats what we ask jurors to do and that’s not too much for us to ask the Attorney General of the United States of America to do.”

But he didn’t get it all out of his system.

Read more here.

In a momentous ruling touching virtually every American, the Supreme Court narrowly upheld President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul Thursday with the unlikely help of conservative Chief Justice John Roberts.

But the decision also gave Republicans unexpected ammunition to energize supporters in the battle for the White House and to fight “Obamacare” as a new tax on people who don’t obtain health insurance.

Roberts’ vote, along with those of the court’s four liberal justices, preserved the largest expansion of the nation’s social safety net in more than 45 years, including the hotly debated core requirement that nearly everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty. The aim is to extend coverage to more than 30 million people who now are uninsured

The 5-4 decision meant the huge overhaul, still taking effect, could proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, with an impact on the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

The ruling handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in approving the plan. However, Republicans quickly indicated they would try to use the decision against him.

At the White House, Obama declared, “Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country.” Blocks away, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney renewed his criticism of the overhaul, calling it “bad law” and promising to work to repeal it if elected in November.

Demonstrators for and against the law crowded the grounds outside the Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill as Roberts, sitting at the center of the nine black-robed justices inside, announced the decision to a packed courtroom.

Breaking with the other conservative justices, Roberts read the judgment that allows the law to go forward. He explained at length the court’s view of the insurance mandate as a valid exercise of Congress’ authority to “lay and collect taxes.” The administration estimates that roughly 4 million people will pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.

Congress called the payment a penalty, not a tax, but Roberts said the court would not get hung up on labels. Among other indications it is a tax, Roberts said, “the payment is collected solely by the IRS through the normal means of taxation.”

“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.

Many Republicans oppose the law, arguing that it marks a government takeover of health care at the same time it curtails Medicare spending and raises taxes. They also point to studies that predict private employers will be forced to reduce or eliminate coverage and that the legislation will wind up costing far more than estimated, raising federal deficits as a result.

Stocks of hospital companies rose and some insurance companies fell after the ruling.

The decision should help hospitals by adding millions of people to the rolls of the insured, expanding the pool of health care consumers. But by the same reasoning, insurance companies will also gain millions of premium-paying customers.

The court found problems with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, but even there it said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor joined Roberts in the outcome.

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Read more here.