As I’ve said many times, the ONLY reason a judge or a justice would call themselves and “Originalist” or “Constitutionalist” is because that theory does not respect precedent. Ignoring precedent turns our entire system of laws on its head.
Everything, every law EVER passed by Congress, is up for repeal if the Supreme Court rules that ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion doesn’t comply with the Commerce Clause. They will be re-defining past decisions in order to reverse a Congressional act.
Frankly, that may be the point: Conservative politicians have argued for decades that Social Security and our entire social safety net have critical unconstitutional provisions. Despite their claims, this had been considered “settled law” for decades.
The Federalist Society was one of the original Social Security opponents. Alito, Thomas, Roberts and Scalia have all been members at one point or another. If you think the ruling on ObamaCare will be about healthcare reform alone, you are wildly mistaken.
Adding to what Blumenthal, et al. are saying: I think they understate the case a bit, or at least it could be stated more forcefully and clearly, that SCOTUS would do itself and the country serious damage if it overturned the mandate.
The thing is, as of the time the law was passed, *everyone* across the political spectrum thought this thing was constitutional. The Heritage Foundation started it, the D’s finished it, and the whole way down no one thought it ran afoul of the Constitution (save for people considered fringe at the time).
What this says is that Congress and the entire country were relying on the precedents SCOTUS set to pass the law—and they spent almost two years and untold legislative resources doing it. That’s the whole point of stare decisis, allowing for predictability with respect to what the law allows. Stare decisis is what makes sure the courts don’t act arbitrarily by constraining them to fit within precedent.
Acting in ignorance or with disregard for precedent (and precedent’s practical attendants, like reasonable beliefs in the public about what the law is) undermines rule of law, makes it impossible to pass laws confident of their legality, etc. It is, in a word, arbitrary. It’s the kind of thing they do in developing countries.
If SCOTUS ditches stare decisis here, sure their credibility will take a hit, but more importantly: we, as a polity and individuals, would have no reason to think we could pass any major regulatory legislation (unless, of course, we took the political commitments of the justices as our guide). SCOTUS would be potentially freezing the statutory law in place. What is Congress supposed to do with its time if everything it thought it knew about the law gets chucked out the window? How does it pass legislation? How does it change *existing* legislation? Are only Republican Congresses allowed to pass laws?
Stare decisis and all the reasons we follow precedent command that the mandate passes. I’ve already gotten overly maudlin, but if the mandate is overturned, we’re ruled by men, not laws.
“In my decades of practice as a psychotherapist, this is the insight that has inspired me most:
Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts.
I’ve found that the very qualities we’re most ashamed of, the ones we keep trying to reshape or hide, are in fact the key to finding real love. I call them core gifts.
It’s so easy to get lost in the quest for self-improvement. Every billboard seduces us with the vision of a happier, more successful life. I’m suggesting an opposite road to happiness. If we can name our own awkward, ardent gifts, and extricate them from the shame and wounds that keep them buried, we’ll find ourselves on a bullet train to deep, surprising, life-changing intimacy.
Over the years, I realized that the characteristics of my clients which I found most inspiring, most essentially them, were the ones which frequently caused them the most suffering.
Some clients would complain of feeling like they were “too much”; too intense, too angry, or too demanding. From my therapist’s chair, I would see a passion so powerful that it frightened people away.
Other clients said they felt that they felt like they were “not enough”; too weak, too quiet, too ineffective. I would find a quality of humility and grace in them which would not let them assert themselves as others did.
Clients would describe lives devastated by codependency, and I would see an immense generosity with no healthy limits.
Again and again, where my clients saw their greatest wounds, I also saw their most defining gifts!
Cervantes said that reading a translation is like viewing a tapestry from the back. That’s what it’s like when we try to understand our deepest struggles without honoring the gifts that fuel them.
When we understand our lives through the lens of our gifts it’s as if we step out from behind the tapestry and really see it for the first time. All of a sudden, things make sense. We see the real picture, the moving, human story of what matters most to us. We begin to understand that our biggest mistakes, our most self-sabotaging behaviors were simply convulsive, unskilled attempts to express the deepest parts of ourselves…”
If I were to write this today, instead of a couple weeks ago, I might not use such a minor event as driving on the highway to make my point. Trayvon Williams’ story makes this small point seem almost irrelevant, but I still think it’s important, because it’s about profiling, and how in a small way it benefits some people.
I want to understand why the privileges many of us have—the ones we cannot see, that we take for granted—are so unwillingly shared. My theory is that it stems from a fear of vengeance, unfounded, but one this country has clung to for centuries.
“I will know the difference when I start seeing these policemen shoot white boys in the back—because they have keys in their hands that look like guns. Then when you ask me that question, I’ll say: ‘We’ve got there.’ If they can do something THAT outrageous and talk to some white parents and say, ‘Oh! Excuse me. I thought it was a gun.’ And when THAT makes sense, then we’re in good shape.” -”—
Toni Morrison on when she will know that America has made racial progress (via howtobeterrell)
#Trayvon Martin’s murder instantly comes to the fore when I read this quote.
It’s often forgotten that one of the main catalysts for the rise of the Christian Right was not school prayer or abortion but the defense of Southern private schools that were created in response to desegregation. By 1970, 400,000 white children were attending these “segregation academies.” States like Mississippi gave students tuition grants, and until the Nixon administration overturned the practice, the IRS gave the donors to these schools tax exemptions. And it was none other than Richard Viguerie, founder of the New Right and pioneer of its use of direct-mail tactics, who said that the attack on these public subsidies by the Civil Rights Movement and liberal courts “was the spark that ignited the religious right’s involvement in real politics.”
According to historian Joseph Crespino […] the rise of segregation academies “was often timed exactly with the desegregation of formerly all-white public schools.” Even so, their advocates claimed to be defending religious minorities—and religious beliefs—rather than white supremacy. (Initially nonsectarian, most of these schools became evangelical over time.) Their cause, in other words, was freedom, not inequality—not the freedom of whites to associate with other whites (and thereby lord their status and power over blacks), as the previous generation of massive resisters had foolishly and openly admitted, but the freedom of believers to practice their own embattled religion. It was a shrewd transposition. In one fell swoop, the heirs of slaveholders became the descendants of persecuted Baptists, and Jim Crow a heresy the First Amendment was meant to protect.
So it is today. Rather than openly pursue their agenda of restricting the rights of women, the GOP claims to be defending the rights of religious dissenters. Instead of powerful employers—for that is what many of these Catholic hospitals and universities are—we have persecuted sects.
Knowing the history of the rise of the Christian Right doesn’t resolve this debate, but it certainly does make you look twice, doesn’t it?
The idealized conservative family is structured around a strict father who is the natural leader of the family, who is assumed to know right from wrong, whose authority is absolute and unchallengeable, who is masculine, makes decisions about reproduction, and who sets the rules — in short, the Decider. Children must be taught right from wrong through strict discipline, which is required to be moral. This maps onto the nation. To be prosperous in a free market, one must be fiscally disciplined. If you are not prosperous, you must not be disciplined, and if you are not disciplined, you cannot be moral, and so you deserve your poverty.
When this idealized family model is projected onto various governing institutions, we get conservative versions of them: conservative religion with a strict father God; a view of the market as Decider with no external authority over the market from government, unions, or the courts; and strictness in other institutions, like education, prisons, businesses, sports teams, romantic relationships, and the world community. Control over reproduction ought to be in the hands of male authorities.
For conservatives, democracy is about liberty, individual responsibility and self-reliance — the freedom to seek one’s own self-interest with minimal or no commitment to the interests of others. This implies a minimal public and a maximal private.
We can now see why the Santorum Strategy is so concerned with family values. Strict father family values are the model for radical conservative values. Conservative populism — in which poor conservatives vote against their financial interests — depends on those poor conservatives having strict father family values, defining themselves in terms of those values, and voting on the basis of those values, thus selecting strict fathers as their political leaders.
This is a fascinating analysis. I’d like to step back to that family structure:
Every man must, at one point in his life, either confront those fears and accept women as potential equal partners, or remain stunted and immature. For some men, like Santorum, the struggle to maintain control over women is a deliberate choice. For others, like many in the Catholic hierarchy, their choices of lifestyle allow them to avoid ever confronting those fears of inadequacy and irrelevance.
For these men, women that pursue their sexual desires will always be considered promiscuous or sluts. They are more likely to pursue ever-younger or less experienced partners. We see them on the national stage every day. Santorum himself has perhaps been forced to mature to some extent, since that doesn’t describe him and his wife; still, his entire worldview is informed by that need for male dominance and control.
It’s a familiar conservative position that Lakoff does a good job of articulating how the personal ties directly to the public.
Wealthy people in this country have no problem with hiring people to follow them around all day, to be at their beck and call, often for low wages. It could be a butler, a caddy, a personal driver or even a personal assistant.
I guess that’s why the rich are different. Apparently others seem to think doing that, even if the person that’s hired badly needs the cash, makes you an asshole.
Or maybe it’s just that we don’t want to actually interact with homeless people. Pay them at least the minimum wage and this idea sounds great. It makes the homeless get noticed, and it makes people uncomfortable. We should be uncomfortable by the fact that people are homeless, and even hipsters should see them.
The problem I’m seeing here, in seriousness, is that they called the workers volunteers and suggested they hustle for tips. And that’s a pretty big problem. That really is exploitation, and it’s not legal.
Update: I see they charge $2/15min, which is $8/hr. If four people use their service at once, it’s $32/hr. They keep the money. How is this worse than paying someone to wear a sandwich board, hand out flyers, or drive them somewhere in a taxi? This is an exchange of money for labor, a pretty common thing in a capitalist society. Their t-shirts are demeaning somehow? The big telcos don’t get to charge exorbitant roaming fees?
The homeless are especially vulnerable in lots of ways, but this “controversy” is so paternalistic that it’s nonsensical. This sounds like a good program.\
“It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing.”—Kerouac
“The federal minimum wage of $7.25, adjusted for inflation, is $2.75 lower than it was in 1968 when worker productivity was about half of what it is today. There has been a steady decline in real wages for low-income workers. Meanwhile, corporations such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, whose workforce earns the minimum wage or slightly above it, have enjoyed massive profits. Executive salaries, along with prices, have soared even as worker salaries have stagnated or declined. But the call to raise the minimum wage is not only a matter of economic justice. The infusion of tens of billions of dollars into the hands of the working class would increase tax revenue, open up new jobs and lift consumer spending.”—Chris Hedges (via azspot)
“If you’re going to go your own way, don’t expect anyone to come with you. If you are an artist and you do exactly what you want and not many people appreciate it, that’s just the way it is when you are going for your own. If you are a warrior of the soul in the present climate, then you will always be met with mediocrity and resistance. Do you care? Why should you? Why waste your time being frustrated when you don’t seem to “measure up” to the smirking cowards that line the highways? What did you expect? A parade? Open arms? Maybe you should take a step back and reevaluate yourself. Perhaps this is not the life for you. Perhaps you are not strong enough to live this way. It is only a few who can walk the line and thrive. I am not talking about casualties who are limping through it, looking like hell. I am talking about those who are filled with joy when they see obstacles and pain on the horizon.”—
For example, most of my conservative friends are convinced that they have a biblical mandate to outlaw abortion and gay marriage, even though abortion is only mentioned once in Scripture, and the reference is — oddly — the Prophet Jeremiah cursing the man at his mother’s side for not aborting him! (Jeremiah 20:14-18). And gay marriage was hardly an issue on the radar in biblical times. The Laws of Leviticus prescribe a massive redistribution of wealth every 50 years by canceling people’s debts and restoring property to original owners, yet many Christians are convinced — right or wrong — that justice for the poor is a matter of individual charity alone, and that anyone who suggests otherwise is duped by the devil. And while we’re talking about what’s biblical and what’s not biblical, why isn’t anyone suggesting that America as a nation love its enemies and turn the other cheek?
The following day, I attended a workshop about preventing gender violence, facilitated by Katz. There, he posed a question to all of the men in the room: “Men, what things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?”
Not one man, including myself, could quickly answer the question. Finally, one man raised his hand and said, “Nothing.” Then Katz asked the women, “What things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?” Nearly all of the women in the room raised their hand. One by one, each woman testified:
“I don’t make eye contact with men when I walk down the street,” said one.
“I don’t put my drink down at parties,” said another.
“I use the buddy system when I go to parties.”
“I cross the street when I see a group of guys walking in my direction.”
“I use my keys as a potential weapon.”
The women went on for several minutes, until their side of the blackboard was completely filled with responses. The men’s side of the blackboard was blank. I was stunned. I had never heard a group of women say these things before. I thought about all of the women in my life — including my mother, sister and girlfriend — and realized that I had a lot to learn about gender.