UPDATE: The opinion is now up. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf
Update: UPHELD. Not under the commerce clause, but under the taxing authority of Congress.
“Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.”
On the Medicaid issue, a majority of the Court holds that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional but that it w/b unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions.
The key comment on salvaging the Medicaid expansion is this (from Roberts): “Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.” (p. 55)
Hmm. This part is not so good. Removes big stick that permits administration to compel states to comply with Medicaid expansion. Republican governors could be really big problem.
Justice Ginsburg makes clear that the vote is 5-4 on sustaining the mandate as a form of tax. Her opinion, for herself and Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan, joins the key section of Roberts opinion on that point. She would go further and uphold the mandate under the Commerce Clause, which Roberts wouldn’t. Her opinion on Commerce does not control.
Justice Ginsburg would uphold Medicaid just as Congress wrote it. That, too, is not controlling.
In opening his statement in dissent, Kennedy says: “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”
Strikes down mandate. Sort of. “Upheld as a tax.”WTF? Looking for details. No, apparently it’s been upheld. CNN was wrong.
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson says fears about climate change, drilling, and energy dependence are overblown.
In a speech Wednesday, Tillerson acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt. The risks of oil and gas drilling are well understood and can be mitigated, he said. And dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain, he said.
Tillerson blamed a public that is “illiterate” in science and math, a “lazy” press, and advocacy groups that “manufacture fear” for energy misconceptions in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Never underestimate the apathy, ignorance or sheer stupidity of young American consumers, especially the “hip” ones:
…There are a few reasonable explanations for why the Urban Outfitters Romney tees exist, actually. For one thing, Urban Outfitters (which also owns Anthropologie and Free People) is owned by a far-right conservative, Richard Hayne. All that youthful, vaguely hippie-feeling merchandise in his stores? That’s just a way to make some dough – dough that Hayne, in turn, gives to right-wing politicians like Rick Santorum. For Hayne, the young people and lefties who shop in his stores are just chumps to whom he can sell $69 peace-sign tank tops while supporting conservative politics.
Now the company is selling shirts that represent Hayne’s political perspective while appealing to hipsters’ penchant for irony, with slogans like “Mitt Is the Shit” and “2 Legit 2 Mitt.” Ironic conservatism: hilarious(ly stupid)! As Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams put it:
What’s revolting about the latest Urban Outfitters gambit is its sneaky ploy of making conservatism seem so uncool it’s cool, all funny and retro and Kelly Kapowski. Which, in turn, is how some doofus winds up using his chest as free advertising for a candidate he’d otherwise never in a million years vote for…
Yeah, I’m gonna go with Reich. I don’t think SCOTUS will overturn the Affordable Care Act. I think they’ll fiddle with it (as in, striking the mandate but letting the test stand), but the last thing the conservative majority wants are the scary words “Medicare for all.” Which is the next step if they get rid of this.
Plus, I do think they’re starting to realize just how bad their reputations are, and their egos won’t want this as the nail in the coffin. We’ll see today if I’m right.
I often wonder how Bernie Sanders’ fellow senators are reacting when he’s on the floor, warning us for the umpteenth time that super-wealthy reactionaries, with much help from the Supreme Court, are snuffing out what was left of our democracy. Maybe they’re too busy conferring with lobbyists to hear the guy. Or they take long bathroom breaks when he gets up to speak. Or simply turn down their hearing aids.
“I sat in traffic. It’s a memory I’ll never forget. I teared up as I scanned the surrounding cars. Everywhere were children, scared and crying, their parents looking deathly afraid and, in my rearview mirror, a view of the gates of hell.”
Author and “zipless fuck” pioneer Erica Jong is seventy years old now, and her brand of feminism looks a bit naive in perspective, but it’s a pleasure to read that her priorities are still in order. Here she is calling out the greedy, ideological shapeshifter Arianna Huffington for refusing to pay all those writers who helped make her online publication such a lucrative venture:
“The idea that everybody’s writing for free is hurting writing as a profession. I wrote many articles for Arianna when she was establishing her aggregator blog and attracting all those eyeballs.
When she got $300m from the AOL acquisition, I said, ‘OK, Arianna, we all helped you get there so now you’re going to pay writers.’ She said, ‘No, I pay my editors.’ I’ve known Arianna for years…