This will be “prime-time-TV” for some time to come

This will be “prime-time-TV” for some time to come … this is a game of musical chairs and the various players are all hoping when the music stops they are NOT the one without a chair

 

SCOTUS Day 1 on Affordable Care Act

Posted: 26 Mar 2012 01:14 PM PDT… Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog has a lengthy summary of today’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act, specifically on the issue of whether the Anti-Injunction Act of 1867 is a procedural bar to the Court deciding the case. The Q&A from the Justices on this issue would appear to suggest that they agree with U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., who argued that the Anti-Injunction Act is not a procedural bar to the court deciding this case. Argument recap: Moving on to the mandate (snippets):

When Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., commented at the end of Monday’s first day of hearings on the health care law, “We’ll continue argument on this case tomorrow,” it seemed to have a secondary meaning even if he did not intend it.   The comments and questions of the Justices during the 89-minute exchange left the distinct impression that they are prepared to rule on the constitutionality of the mandate that individuals must buy health insurance, and not push the issue off into the future.  The exact route they would take was a bit uncertain, but their skepticism about taking a pass now was clear.

* * *

[A]n argument that at times seemed almost to bog down in the dense complexity of the tax code pointed toward a refusal to bar the lawsuits that had challenged the mandate and had put its survival before the Court this week.  One of the telltale signs of that sentiment was that not one Justice, and no lawyer at the lectern, said that it would be premature and a contradiction of the Court’s tradition against deciding constitutional issues prematurely for the Court to rule promptly on the mandate’s validity.

* * *

[M]ost of the Court seemed to be leaning toward some version or variation of the argument made by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., speaking for a government that very much wants a final decision soon on the mandate.

Verrilli had to take a bit of a tease that he was arguing on Monday that the mandate was not a tax but would be arguing on Tuesday that it was (a seeming anomaly for which the Solicitor General did have an explanation), but his basic plea to move on to decide what he called “issues of great moment” got a largely sympathetic hearing.

* * *

That mood then set the stage for Solicitor General Verrilli’s argument, and while the straddle he was advocating did not draw an enthusiastic embrace, the basic line of his reasoning seemed to be attractive to the Court — that is, that the Court should proceed to rule on the mandate.

The Court’s next argument on the Affordable Care Act, a two-hour hearing on the individual mandate itself, begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Today’s oral argument audio and transcript are now available from the Court.

Legal experts believe SCOTUS will uphold the Affordable Care Act

Posted: 26 Mar 2012 11:12 AM PDT…Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

A survey of legal experts finds they believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will follow precedent and uphold the Affordable Care Act.

National Journal surveyed former Supreme Court clerks and lawyers who have argued cases before the high court about the health care law, and the Legal Insiders Expect Supreme Court to Uphold Health Care Law:

The survey asked former Supreme Court clerks and lawyers who have argued cases before the Court to assess the probability, on a scale from zero to 100 percent, that the Justices would strike down the law’s mandates on individuals to purchase health insurance or its provisions expanding eligibility for Medicaid to millions of more uninsured adults.

Overall, those surveyed felt there was only a 35 percent probability that the Court would strike down the law’s individual mandate as unconstitutional. Attorneys who had clerked for one of the Court’s four conservative Justices and those who had clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is considered the key swing vote on the issue, forecast a somewhat higher probability that the law would be struck down than those who had clerked for the four liberal justices.

But all three groups of former clerks-even those who had worked for the Court’s conservative block-said the odds that the Justices would uphold the mandate was well above 50 percent. Lawyers who have argued before the Court said there was a 36 percent probability the Justices would strike down the mandate, about the same as the clerks overall.

“I don’t think this case will be nearly as close a case as conventional wisdom now has it,” one respondent noted in an open-ended comment. “I think the Court will uphold the statute by a lopsided majority.”

The survey was sponsored by two centrist groups: American Action Forum, a center-right Republican advocacy group and the Blue Dog Research Forum, a center-left Democratic advocacy group. It was conducted by Purple Insights, the research division of Purple Strategies, a bipartisan political consulting firm.

To conduct the poll, Purple Insights last week directed e-mails, and follow-up phone calls at a group of former clerks and attorneys who have argued before the court. In the end, 43 former clerks and 23 attorneys responded to the on-line poll. “From a methodology standpoint, this was a very hard to population to reach…some of the most elite attorneys in the country,” said Doug Usher, who conducted the survey for Purple Insights. “We were pleased with their participation rate and we think the results will add to the discussion.”

Given that level of participation, the results are more suggestive than conclusive. But they may reflect a gap between a political community, where the dominant expectation is that the Court’s five Republican-appointed Justices will unify to strike down the law, and a legal community operating on different assumptions.

On another question, those surveyed said there was only a 27 percent probability that even if the Court did strike down the individual mandate, it would overturn the entire bill. The respondents said there was a 36 percent probability that if the Court invalidated the individual mandate, it would rule that it was “completely severable” and thus have no effect on the rest of the legislation; the respondents said the probability was 38 percent that if the court overturned the mandate, it would strike down only some directly related provisions, like the ban on insurers denying coverage based on prior medical conditions.

The attorneys surveyed said the probability was just 19 percent that the Court would accept the argument that the legislation’s efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility amounts to unconstitutional coercion of the states. Even if the Court did accept that argument, those polled said they believed there was a nearly two-thirds probability that the Justices would rule that the Medicaid provisions could be struck down without any effect on the rest of the legislation.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as the chief issue adviser in John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said that if the Court upholds the individual mandate “it takes away the argument that it was an inappropriate use of government power.”

(Repost) Recusal! More than just an ‘appearance’ of impropriety

Posted: 26 Mar 2012 07:24 AM PDT… Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The U.S. Supreme Court today begins oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act. But an issue the mainstream media is largely ignoring is the serious conflict of interest that Justice Clarence Thomas has in this matter. Justice Thomas should have recused himself from participating in these cases, but did not. And this is a serious breach of judicial ethics.

—–

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in three appeals challenging the Affordable Care Act. In all of the reporting I have read on this matter, what I have not seen is any indication that Justice Clarence Thomas recused himself from hearing and deciding the case based upon his wife Virginia "Ginny" Thomas’ extensive poliitcal activities with the Tea Party organization Liberty Central that she founded which very publicly opposed the Affordable Care Act.

I posted about this back when "Ginny" Thomas may have had one glass of wine too many and drunk dialed Anita Hill to ask her to apologize to her husband. Remember that? And the evil billionaire bastard Koch brothers make a cameo appearance as well. What was really going on with the Anita Hill sideshow:

On Tuesday evening, the New York Times published a story about the Billionaire Kock brothers (aka the "Kochtopus"), who are trying to buy themselves a Congress this election thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decsion in Citizens United v. FEC, planning to host a meeting in January for the plutocratic "two percenters" and their newly purchased Congress. Koch Industries and Network of Republican Donors Plan Ahead. 21 paragraphs into this disturbing story of political corruption is this passage:

To encourage new participants, Mr. Koch offers to waive the $1,500 registration fee. And he notes that previous guests have included Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, Gov. Haley Barbour and Gov. Bobby Jindal, Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, and Representatives Mike Pence, Tom Price and Paul D. Ryan.

Would that have been before or after the Citizens United v. FEC decision in January 2010? Was the decision a quid pro quo for Justices Scalia and Thomas patronizing the Koch brothers biannual shindig for the plutocatic "two percenters"? Was the Citizens United ruling and how it could most benefit the Koch brothers and other far-right corporate funded 501(c)(4) non-profit political organizations ever discussed at this meeting? There are some serious ethical questions raised by Supreme Court Justices ruling favorably for their friends and associates who have business before the court, especially on something as controversial as Citizens United.

Justice Thomas’ ethical lapses are not limited to his friends the Koch brothers. As I told you in March of this year, shortly after the Citizens United decision, Thomas’ wife, Virginia "Ginny" Thomas, formed a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political organization. Wife of Justice Clarence Thomas launches a Tea Party organization. (3/15/2010).

Supreme Court Justices and their spouses traditionally are not politically active nor actively involved in anything remotely controversial that could bring disrepute upon the Court or give cause for the public to question the impartiality and fairness of the Justice or the Court.

Apparenlty Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginny are not happy with this longstanding tradition and feel it is appropriate for them to politicize the U.S. Supreme Court. I posted that legal experts were critical of Mrs. Thomas’ ethically challenged decision to establish a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political organization, i.e., Tea Party, at the time. Wife of Justice Clarence Thomas is violating law. (3/19/10).

I recently posted about Justice Thomas’ conflict of interest with his wife’s political activities in DNC goes on the offensive against foreign-funded "U.S." Chamber of Commerce:

It turns out Justice Clarence Thomas has a serious conflict of interest as the Citizens United decision directly benefitted his wife’s 501(c)(4) conservative political action committee. Thomas should have recused himself. Activism of Thomas’s Wife Could Raise Judicial Issues:

[Virginia] Thomas is the founder and head of a new nonprofit group, Liberty Central, dedicated to opposing what she characterizes as the leftist “tyranny” of President Obama and Democrats in Congress and to “protecting the core founding principles” of the nation.

It is the most partisan role ever for a spouse of a justice on the nation’s highest court, and Mrs. Thomas is just getting started. “Liberty Central will be bigger than the Tea Party movement,” she told Fox News in April, at a Tea Party rally in Atlanta.

But to some people who study judicial ethics, Mrs. Thomas’s activism is raising knotty questions, in particular about her acceptance of large, unidentified contributions for Liberty Central. She began the group in late 2009 with two gifts of $500,000 and $50,000, and because it is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, named for the applicable section of the federal tax code, she does not have to publicly disclose any contributors. Such tax-exempt groups are supposed to make sure that less than half of their activities are political.

Mrs. Thomas, known as Ginni, declined through a spokeswoman to be interviewed without an agreement not to discuss her husband.

* * *

Nonprofit groups with political agendas like Liberty Central are operating in this election cycle under evolving legal and regulatory standards, most notably the ruling last January by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, which eased restrictions on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. In that case, Justice Thomas, long an advocate of dismantling campaign finance restrictions, was in the 5-to-4 majority. Wealthy individuals and some corporations, emboldened by the ruling, are giving to such groups to influence the election but still hide their tracks.

* * *

This month, Liberty Central began what it called its first ad campaign, but the ads were limited to Web sites for the conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin — suggesting an effort to build membership for Liberty Central, not elect candidates. The ads link to Liberty Central’s Web site and a video of Mrs. Thomas soliciting 100,000 signatures against the “Obama tax increase” — referring to the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts on Dec. 31.

The bigger question for many is how she is financing these activities. Liberty Central reported the initial $550,000 on its 2009 tax return, though the identities of the two donors are redacted.

A federal law requires justices to recuse themselves in a number of circumstances where real or perceived conflicts of interest could arise, including in cases where their spouses could have a financial interest. But the decision to step aside is up to each justice; there is no appeal from the nation’s highest court.

“It’s shocking that you would have a Supreme Court justice sitting on a case that might implicate in a very fundamental way the interests of someone who might have contributed to his wife’s organization,” said Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor and director of the Stanford University Center on the Legal Profession.

Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginny have ‘gone rogue," ignoring judicial ethical canons of conduct longstanding traditions of the Court. They are trying to make it acceptable for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and his spouse to be politically active and politically involved in controversial organizations. This will only bring disrepute upon the Court and give cause for the public to question the impartiality and fairness of the Justice and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court is largely self-policing on matters of ethical conduct. They do not answer to any bar association. But Congress has the power of oversight and could investigate ethical miconduct.

So on the very same day that the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in three appeals challenging the Affordable Care Act, Justice Clarence Thomas and his buddy Justice Antonin Scalia "were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court." Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case – latimes.com:

The occasion was last Thursday, when all nine justices met for a conference to pore over the petitions for review. One of the cases at issue was a suit brought by 26 states challenging the sweeping healthcare overhaul passed by Congress last year, a law that has been a rallying cry for conservative activists nationwide.

* * *

The lawyer who will stand before the court and argue that the law should be thrown out is likely to be Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration.

Clement’s law firm, Bancroft PLLC, was one of almost two dozen firms that helped sponsor the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, a longstanding group dedicated to advocating conservative legal principles. Another firm that sponsored the dinner, Jones Day, represents one of the trade associations that challenged the law, the National Federation of Independent Business.

Another sponsor was pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc, which has an enormous financial stake in the outcome of the litigation. The dinner was held at a Washington hotel hours after the court’s conference over the case. In attendance was, among others, Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican and an avowed opponent of the healthcare law.

The featured guests at the dinner? Scalia and Thomas.

It’s nothing new: The two justices have been attending Federalist Society events for years. And it’s nothing that runs afoul of ethics rules. [Only because] justices are exempt from the Code of Judicial Conduct that governs the actions of lower federal judges. [The classic "do as I say, not as I do" double standard.]

If they were, they arguably fell under code’s Canon 4C, which states, “A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event.“

* * *

“This stunning breach of ethics and indifference to the code belies claims by several justices that the court abides by the same rules that apply to all other federal judges,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause. “The justices were wining and dining at a black-tie fundraiser with attorneys who have pending cases before the court. Their appearance and assistance in fundraising for this event undercuts any claims of impartiality, and is unacceptable.”

Now, the right-wing noise machine has been ginning up a recusal controversy of its own. Justice Elena Kagan served as solicitor general in the Obama administration when the first legal challenges to the law were brought at the trial court level. Her critics have pushed for Kagan to recuse herself from hearing the case, saying that she was too invested in defending the law then to be impartial now.

I would agree that Justice Kagan, if she actively participated as legal counsel in any of the cases now before the Court on appeal should recuse herself, as she has done previously. [Kagan did not argue the cases.]

Having represented the U.S. government as counsel in a case, however, is not unethical behavior.

What are bad boys Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginny are doing is, in fact, unethical behavior for any federal judge under the Code of Judicial Conduct. As Justices of the Supreme Court, they have exempted themselves from the Code. They clearly do not care about their appearances of impropriety and lack of objectivity and impartiality to which they would hold other federal judges accountable. They see themselves above the law, accountable to no one.

This could subject our bad boys to congressional hearings and even impeachment under the U.S. Constitution. This Tea-Publican Congress is never going to permit this. The only option is intense public scrutiny and public pressure brought to bear on these Justices to recuse themselves from hearing and deciding these cases. Six Justices can decide the case.

 

 

 

  • Robert Reich: Health Care Jujitsu  With a bit of political jujitsu, the president could turn any defeat handed to him by the Supreme Court in the Affordable Care Act case into a victory for a single-payer healthcare system — Medicare for all. Here’s how.

 

 

hold its finger in the wind

This court will now hold its finger in the wind testing the direction and intensity of prevailing wind$ … This  decision which if rendered before our election in November will be 5 to 4 and will at best just tweak portions of the law never addressing the heart of the issue

 Supreme Court begins review of health-care law

 

The Supreme Court opened its historic review of the national health-care overhaul Monday with an indication that it will be able to decide the constitutional question of whether Congress exceeded its powers, despite arguments that the challenge was brought too soon.


» Read full article

this BP find will provide about 3 months

…OK … I did the math and at our current rate of consumption of approx  10 million barrels of oil per day … this BP find will provide about 3 months worth at what environmental cost…

 

Liberty Project, Alaska, United States of America

03-26-2012  •  www.offshore-technology.com 

British Petroleum’s (BP) Liberty offshore oilfield is located four miles off the northern coast of Alaska in Foggy Island Bay in the Beaufort Sea. The estimated recoverable reserves of the oilfield are approximately 100 million barrels of oil and. . .

is this really the face of someone you trust …?

is this really the face of someone you trust …?

 

 

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… And what you think he really cares about happens to you …?

I know I am damn sure I do NOT want the 90 nincompoops

 

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State lawmakers demanding feds handover land

 

Associated Press    PHOENIX (AP) — Another "sagebrush rebellion" is brewing with Arizona possibly laying claim to 25 million acres of federal land. Supporters of the modern day land grab say federal agencies have mismanaged the land and blocked access to natural resources while depriving the state of jobs and revenue from businesses ready to develop those resources.


The state says if the feds fail to do so by 2014, the state will begin sending the federal government property tax bills.


With the state in control, backers say, loggers could return to forests where endangered species halted work decades ago and miners could regain access to ore outside the Grand Canyon.

 

While I am not absolutely in favor of the US Dept of Interior controlling and adjudicating who and what happens on land “we” (the people) own …

 

I know I am damn sure I do NOT WANT the 90 nincompoops currently in the Arizona State Legislature having anything to do with how our public land is utilized …

You’re familiar with the IRS fair-share department

… You’re familiar with the IRS fair-share department it’s the one contracted to Goldman Sachs managed by America’s wealthiest

 

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1% … and you know how that is working out … don’t you …?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actions speak louder than words and

 

 

… Actions speak louder than words and

 

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the action of our Arizona State Legislators most assuredly send a clear, concise and understandable message they have absolutely no intention of being held accountable to disclose a damn thing to us …  As I recall they serve us … we do not serve them …