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Supreme Court had a bad day

Published: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

By now everyone has tired of hearing political pundits on both sides of the aisle offering up their take on the surprise U.S. Supreme Court ruling last Thursday on the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal judges on the court and issued the majority opinion that allowed the huge national health care law to stand pretty much intact.
In doing so, Roberts bypassed the commerce clause of the Constitution and instead ruled that the law was a tax, in fact many taxes, which Congress has a right to levy. This was viewed as strange because the fact that it was a tax was not the issue argued by both sides. The question was could Congress pass a law mandating that all Americans purchase a product, heath care, under the commerce clause of the Constitution.
Roberts chose to go in a different direction and apparently was anxious to write the majority opinion which said the law levied a series of taxes, which Congress has every right to do under the Constitution. President Obama had said all along that his health care legislation contained penalties rather than taxes, but Roberts obviously disagreed.
Now we have to see whether the massive government regulations will stand or if they will be thrown out with a new administration and Congress in November. Chances are the legislation will stand with some fine tuning and changes coming from both sides.
Another surprise Supreme Court ruling came on the same day, but was overshadowed by the health care decision. This one centered on the Stolen Valor Act which was passed by Congress in 2005 and signed by President George W. Bush. It called for a possible one-year prison term for those caught lying about their military service and medals.
The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act saying that the First Amendment “protects the speech we detest as well as the speech we embrace,” according to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that while “contemptible” and worthy of rage and ridicule, the right to lie about medals and military service is protected by the First Amendment.
The decision is based on a case brought by Xavier Alvarez, a former member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District governing board in eastern Los Angeles County. At his first meeting, Alvarez claimed he was a former Marine and recipient of the Medal of Honor. However, he had never served in the military. After being charged, he resigned from the board.
Alvarez pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years probation, a $5,0000 fine and community service. His attorneys appealed and the 9th Circuit of Appeals upheld his appeal. The Department of Justice appealed to the Supreme Court to reinstate the conviction. Defending the law, government attorneys argued that lies about military medals are “false statements (that) have no value and no First Amendment protection.” The majority disagreed and said there is no proof that lying about medals degrades the value and honor of those who have actually earned those medals.
We beg to differ and say the ruling is a slap in the face to all veterans who have honorably served and legitimately earned their medals for valor or service. And, we don’t understand how mandatory national health care can be decided on whether or not it is, or is not, a tax.
Let’s just say the Supreme Court had a bad day last Thursday — along with the American people.   

By now everyone has tired of hearing political pundits on both sides of the aisle offering up their take on the surprise U.S. Supreme Court ruling last Thursday on the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal judges on the court and issued the majority opinion that allowed the huge national health care law to stand pretty much intact.

In doing so, Roberts bypassed the commerce clause of the Constitution and instead ruled that the law was a tax, in fact many taxes, which Congress has a right to levy. This was viewed as strange because the fact that it was a tax was not the issue argued by both sides. The question was could Congress pass a law mandating that all Americans purchase a product, heath care, under the commerce clause of the Constitution.

Roberts chose to go in a different direction and apparently was anxious to write the majority opinion which said the law levied a series of taxes, which Congress has every right to do under the Constitution. President Obama had said all along that his health care legislation contained penalties rather than taxes, but Roberts obviously disagreed.

Now we have to see whether the massive government regulations will stand or if they will be thrown out with a new administration and Congress in November. Chances are the legislation will stand with some fine tuning and changes coming from both sides.

Another surprise Supreme Court ruling came on the same day, but was overshadowed by the health care decision. This one centered on the Stolen Valor Act which was passed by Congress in 2005 and signed by President George W. Bush. It called for a possible one-year prison term for those caught lying about their military service and medals.

The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act saying that the First Amendment “protects the speech we detest as well as the speech we embrace,” according to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that while “contemptible” and worthy of rage and ridicule, the right to lie about medals and military service is protected by the First Amendment.

The decision is based on a case brought by Xavier Alvarez, a former member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District governing board in eastern Los Angeles County. At his first meeting, Alvarez claimed he was a former Marine and recipient of the Medal of Honor. However, he had never served in the military. After being charged, he resigned from the board.

Alvarez pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years probation, a $5,0000 fine and community service. His attorneys appealed and the 9th Circuit of Appeals upheld his appeal. The Department of Justice appealed to the Supreme Court to reinstate the conviction. Defending the law, government attorneys argued that lies about military medals are “false statements (that) have no value and no First Amendment protection.” The majority disagreed and said there is no proof that lying about medals degrades the value and honor of those who have actually earned those medals.

We beg to differ and say the ruling is a slap in the face to all veterans who have honorably served and legitimately earned their medals for valor or service. And, we don’t understand how mandatory national health care can be decided on whether or not it is, or is not, a tax.

Let’s just say the Supreme Court had a bad day last Thursday — along with the American people.   



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