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JDN
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« Reply #750 on: June 20, 2012, 08:57:58 PM »

In the interest of fairness I think it should be pointed out that Bush claimed Executive Privilege SIX times.
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bigdog
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« Reply #751 on: June 21, 2012, 07:25:23 AM »

And Clinton did it 14 times.  It shouldn't be the number of times executive privilege is used (the fact that EP exists and should exist is not controversial), it should be the scope of the invocation. 

An article about the political use/fallout of FF and the executive privilege claim: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/233995-obama-fits-fight-to-his-november-election-narrative
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JDN
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« Reply #752 on: June 21, 2012, 09:45:33 AM »

One key point of confusion is whether Republicans are now saying that invoking “executive privilege” implies that the White House was involved in the disputed communications with the DOJ. In other words, did the White House get involved with the more recent disputed documents? In a statement, Issa said “executive privilege only applies to materials that directly pertain to communications with the president and his senior advisers.”

Democrats and the Justice Department disagree. They argue that it is “executive branch” privilege, rather than a presidential privilege. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) told The Daily Beast that Republicans have previously agreed the privilege can apply to departments in the executive branch. He cited Michael Mukasey, an attorney general under George W. Bush, who he said had argued that “a president can invoke executive privilege for those in his administration that need to be protected from public disclosure so he can have a full and vigorous debate.”

"With Democrats still in control of the Senate and supporting Obama, there is little more that House Republicans can do beyond next week’s vote to compel Holder or the president to do anything."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/21/democrats-gop-draw-lines-in-eric-holder-fast-and-furious-contempt-battle.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #753 on: June 21, 2012, 01:30:43 PM »

Agreed that EP exists and should exist and that the question presented is based upon the particulars of the case in question.  So BD, what is your take on this so far?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #754 on: June 21, 2012, 02:31:21 PM »

Holder's Many Privileges
Obama invokes the arguments of the Bush Justice Department..
 
The Attorney General is supposed to protect a President from legal and political snares, a part of his job description that Eric Holder seems to have missed. He's now succeeded in drawing President Obama into a brawl with Congress by invoking "executive privilege" to withhold documents.

For weeks, Mr. Holder has resisted Congress's subpoena for documents investigating the botched drug-war operation Fast and Furious. But he expressly stopped short of claiming executive privilege, a power invoked only 24 times since the Reagan era that typically protects communications directly with the President or his senior aides. Mr. Holder instead claimed "deliberative privilege" within a Cabinet Department, a vague and much weaker claim that neither courts nor Congress have honored.

But suddenly on Wednesday, facing the threat of a criminal contempt vote in the House, Mr. Holder asked the President to invoke executive privilege after all. This is no small claim, and it raises a few new questions. Such as:

Did White House officials know and approve Fast and Furious before it went awry, and did they advise the Justice Department on how to respond to Congress's investigation into the operation's failure?

How can the President invoke a privilege to protect documents he and the White House are supposed to have had nothing to do with?

And what is so damaging or embarrassing in those documents that Mr. Obama is now willing to invest his own political capital to protect it from disclosure—at least until after the election?

Keep in mind that this uproar began over an obscure 2009 operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to let some 2,000 illegal weapons get into the hands of a Mexican drug cartel in an effort to track the guns to other traffickers and kingpins. In December 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed during a gunfight, and two of the operation's illegal weapons were linked to the crime.

Congress decided to investigate, and in a February 4, 2011 letter to Congress, the Justice Department flatly denied that the operation existed. Ten months later it admitted that wasn't true and retracted the letter.

Since that modified, limited mea culpa, Mr. Holder has acknowledged that the program was fatally flawed and said he was the one who ended it. But rather than cooperate fully with the investigation, Mr. Holder's department began an epic stonewall to block Congressional attempts to find out what really transpired.

Enlarge Image

CloseGetty Images
 
Attorney General Eric Holder talks to reporters after meeting with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
.Among the facts worth pursuing are wiretap applications leaked to the House Oversight Committee that indicate senior Justice Department officials knew about the program when it was originally denied. In March 2011, former Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson sent an email suggesting the Department should recant its denial based on the wiretap documents. Also curious is that Justice has given at least 80,000 documents to the Department's Inspector General for the internal investigation but only some 7,600 to Congress.

These columns have long defended the ability of executive branch officials to advise Presidents freely, and to protect that advice from Congressional trawling operations. But Congress also has every right to investigate a policy failure, especially one that cost an American law enforcement agent his life.

In this case, Congress has been seeking internal emails and documents not about advice to the President but between Justice officials to see if they misled Congress. Mr. Holder has been around the Beltway long enough to know that these kinds of communications aren't typically protected by executive privilege, and that Congress eventually gets its way.

One of the ironies of Mr. Holder's claim is that, in his letter to Mr. Obama requesting executive privilege, he cites Bush Administration arguments during the battle over the dismissal of several U.S. Attorneys. Readers may recall how Democrats, including a Senator named Obama, denounced the "tendency" of the Bush Administration "to hide behind executive privilege."

Yet compared to Mr. Holder, Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was a model of candor and his department complied with nearly every document request. The Bush White House also turned over piles of documents, and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and White House counsel Harriet Miers eventually both gave interviews to House investigators. You can find them on Democratic Congressman John Conyers's website. The Reagan Justice Department also bent to Congress when Democrats sought documents while probing the EPA in the 1980s.

These document fights are invariably settled politically, and we hope this one is too. A committee voted 23-17 Wednesday to hold Mr. Holder in contempt, and if the entire House follows, the matter will be referred to a U.S. Attorney who works for the AG, who will no doubt tell him not to prosecute. Meanwhile, the American people can reach their own conclusions about Mr. Holder's credibility. His serial privilege claims make him—and now the President who is coming to his rescue—very hard to believe.

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bigdog
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« Reply #755 on: June 21, 2012, 09:55:27 PM »

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today there was no cover-up by the White House in the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking investigation, saying President Barack Obama’s decision to invoke executive privilege to block Congressional access to documents was “entirely about principle.”

http://www.rollcall.com/news/no_fast_and_furious_cover_up_jay_carney_asserts-215580-1.html?ET=rollcall:e13440:80133681a:&st=email&pos=epm

_________________________________________________________________
There is something charmingly futile about House Republicans’ move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

Even if the full House follows the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s vote Wednesday to hold him in contempt, the decision about whether to prosecute him will be left to a Justice Department run by . . . Eric Holder.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-congress-blowing-gunsmoke/2012/06/20/gJQA4eULrV_story.html (this is an especially interesting article with details I hadn't heard)

_________________________________________________________________

Two good articles on executive privilege: history, scope, sources, etc. The first is a short newspaper article, the second FAR longer and more detailed.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2012/06/21/what_is_executive_privilege/

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/RL30319.pdf
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DougMacG
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« Reply #756 on: June 21, 2012, 11:43:38 PM »

Missing in the charming futile analysis is that the shoe is more often on the other foot.

if Executive Privilege is absolute, Cpngressional Oversight is non existent. EP has a specificpurpose. This isn't it.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #757 on: June 22, 2012, 12:21:39 AM »

Putting aside the Holder/OFF issue, generally I would proffer that IMHO there most certainly is such a thing as Congressional meddling that violates the Separation of Powers and even short of that there is the very real and very practical matter that the power to make fishing expedition demands upon a particular agency/bureaucracy can be a very real burden on its manpower and focus.   

"EP has a specific purpose. This isn't it."

My sentiments exactly.   Each side is going to need to sharpen its articulation.  I think Issa has the better of it by far on the merits-- lets see how well he makes the case to full House and to the American people-- the latter including of course the bad faith and/or mental illiteracy of the Pravdas.
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bigdog
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« Reply #758 on: June 22, 2012, 07:52:07 AM »

I spend a fair amount of time discussing the rise of presidential power, and lamenting it (see several posts on the Public Forum).  I do the same here.  I agree with Doug (and Crafty) that this use of EP is, again, expanding the powers of the president... largely just to expand them.  I hope that Obama reconsiders.  And I hope that Congress will assert itself here, and elsewhere.

Worth noting it that, arguably, the SCOTUS has been less deferential to presidents in recent years in areas of EP and the like.  It would be interesting to see if the case goes to Court. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #759 on: June 22, 2012, 03:39:44 PM »



Why Dodd-Frank Is Unconstitutional
The financial regulations signed into law in 2010 do not honor checks and balances. They eliminate them..
By C. BOYDEN GRAY
AND JIM R. PURCELL

When President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law nearly two years ago, he stated that "our financial system only works—our market is only free—when there are clear rules and basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excess, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system."

We completely agree. Which is why we filed a lawsuit on Thursday asking a federal court to declare that two parts of Dodd-Frank violate a bedrock rule of law: the Constitution's separation of powers, which the Founders designed specifically to limit the growth of government.

Dodd-Frank created both the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, giving each agency effectively unlimited power. The FSOC can declare a financial firm "systemically important"—that is, too big to fail—based on "any" "risk-related factors" that it "deems appropriate." And the CFPB can punish even responsible lenders who in good faith offer loans that the bureau later deems to be "unfair," "deceptive" or "abusive."

Those open-ended standards place no limits on the regulators' power. Indeed, in January newly appointed CFPB Director Richard Cordray told Congress that he believes it is "probably not useful" to try to define in advance what an "abusive" lending practice is. Instead, he intends to use his enforcement powers to retroactively punish lenders based on his view of the "facts and circumstances" of each case.

Ordinarily, when regulators wield broad power, their discretion is still limited by checks and balances. The Constitution empowers the president and Congress, as well as our courts, to prevent regulators from running amok with excessive, arbitrary or even partisan regulations.

But Dodd-Frank does not honor checks and balances. It eliminates them. The CFPB is not subject to Congress's "power of the purse," which James Madison knew to be Congress's "most complete and effectual weapon." Instead, Dodd-Frank lets the CFPB claim more than $400 million from the Federal Reserve each year and prohibits Congress from even reviewing that budget. The president's control over the CFPB is limited because by law he can remove the agency's director only under strictly limited circumstances. Finally, Dodd-Frank limits the courts' review of CFPB's legal interpretations.

Moreover, Mr. Obama nullified one of Congress's few remaining limits on the CFPB—namely, Senate review and confirmation of its nominated director—by deeming the Senate to be in "recess" during a short break in early January and unconstitutionally appointing Mr. Cordray director without the Senate's advice and consent.

The FSOC is similarly free from checks and balances. For example, when the Council—a working group of the Treasury secretary, Federal Reserve chairman, comptroller of the currency, and other unelected regulators—anoints a financial institution as too big to fail, the courts are prohibited from even reviewing whether the regulators properly interpreted the applicable laws.

It is one thing for Congress to eliminate just one check or balance, but it is quite another to eliminate virtually all of them at once. As the Supreme Court recognized two years ago in Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB, when you eliminate more and more checks and balances, that "novel structure does not merely add to" the agency's "independence, but transforms it"—that is, transforms it into something that the Constitution does not tolerate.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Financial Stability Oversight Council's constitutional violations are not merely the stuff of law-school debates. They pose a direct threat to economic recovery. Community banks cannot collaborate with borrowers to create workable loans so long as there's the risk that the CFPB might later decide that those loans were "unfair." And community banks won't have much money to lend anyway if the FSOC enjoys free rein to pick which financial institutions are too big to fail, thereby encouraging investors to direct their capital to big, politically connected players at the expense of smaller financial firms.

We speak from experience. One of us is chairman and CEO of a small community bank in Texas that has been investing in its community for over a century. The other is a former White House counsel who has witnessed firsthand how commitment to the rule of law promotes economic growth.

Of course, the government will respond that we are "against consumers" or that we oppose "financial stability." And of course that's false. Along with the other plaintiffs in our case, the 60 Plus Association and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, we are taking a stand because we know that the surest protection for consumers and financial stability is the rule of law, beginning with the Constitution.

Mr. Gray, former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush, is counsel for the plaintiffs in State National Bank of Big Spring v. Geithner. Mr. Purcell is chairman and CEO of the State National Bank of Big Spring, a plaintiff in the case.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #760 on: June 23, 2012, 06:00:44 PM »


Two great clips from John Stewart here on this-- surprisingly hard hitting

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/06/22/bad-news-jon-stewart-not-exactly-buying-the-executive-privilege-claim/

Also this paragraph from the page in question caught my attention

"Actually, there is a key difference … but it doesn’t help Democrats. The issue in 2007 involved the use of non-delegable executive authority specifically granted under Article II to make political appointments — in the event, those of US Attorneys, who like all other political appointees serve at will at the pleasure of the President. As courts have ruled in Nixon and Espy, executive privilege applies in the exercise of non-delegable Article II powers as part of the separation of powers in the government. Operation Fast and Furious was conducted by a federal agency under powers delegated to the DoJ that are shared between Congress and the President. Furthermore, the subpoenas in this case relate to official misconduct and lawbreaking — not just the gunrunning but also false testimony before Congress. Presidents cannot claim executive privilege to shield documents in those circumstances, as the Espy case explicitly states."

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DougMacG
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« Reply #761 on: June 25, 2012, 09:50:48 AM »

3 big things: Obamacare strike down, AZ immigration law upheld?, and .will Breyer and or Ginsburg step down this week  before we head into 16 years of the Romney Rubio surge to limited govt greatness.

ACA: Maybe the ruling will be out before I finish typing into my handheld. I was hoping we could all get our armchair opinions posted first. Procrastination crept in because it is hard to find a constitutional issue. The power isn't authorized. A wise Latina can see that. ?

Proponents pretend there was no other way, but there are plenty, such as tax and spend more. They know how to do that. Or fee for service, works for every other industry.

Proponents compare to state car insurance laws, but that is state and you can opt out.

Proponents say it is no different than ths Mass mandate, but that would be true only if 49 states copied them, not a new federal mandate.

Proponents say it is no different than a federally mandated social security retirement plan, but that is very carefully framed in federal law as nothing more than a current account tax and spend law.

Obamacare is an expansion of federal powers that requires a new amendment to implement.  4 justices know  that. 5 will vote to strike down. J. Sotomayer faces the toughest choice of her life. Is she obligated to uphold that old document of limits on government or is she more beholden to symbolically stand with the people who got her there - to uphold the limits on government.

The suspense for me will be to read what utter nonsense on which the dissenters base their dissent.  I plan to read that section first.  What is their view on the limits of government, if not this, then what?

Other views?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 10:54:40 AM by DougMacG » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #762 on: June 25, 2012, 09:56:26 AM »

Update, AZ law partly upheld, partly struck down, healthcare ruling Thurs, resignations Friday. (?)
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #763 on: June 25, 2012, 02:32:06 PM »

Interesting timing for resignation(s)!   I would regard it as quite unlikely that an Obama nominee could get affirmed before January!

I look forward to reading good analysis of the AZ case.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #764 on: June 25, 2012, 03:37:08 PM »

Interesting timing for resignation(s)!   I would regard it as quite unlikely that an Obama nominee could get affirmed before January!

I look forward to reading good analysis of the AZ case.

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/372493/scalia-statement.pdf

I can't open this right now but it should be the Scalia dissent.

Both Gov Brewer and Pres Obama declared victory. Obama ICE not taking AZ cases?

I reserve what I think of this court and these decisions until Thurs.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 03:46:15 PM by DougMacG » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #765 on: June 25, 2012, 04:00:37 PM »

Dem Pres, Dem Senate today, both trailing  in real polls. Breyer 73 and male, Ginsberg 79.  Are ya feelin lucky?

Resigning Friday would look cynically political and pessimistic.

I don't rule it out. 

R's could stop only on cloture. A tough precedent to set just before switching to the majority.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #766 on: June 25, 2012, 04:23:53 PM »

I forget  embarassed  How many votes in the Senate are required to confirm a nomination to SCOTUS?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #767 on: June 25, 2012, 05:14:14 PM »

"Imagine: A Republican president submits to Congress a bill abolishing the capital gains tax. Congress rejects it. The president then orders the IRS to stop collecting capital gains taxes, and declares that anyone refusing to pay them will suffer no fine, no penalty, no sanction whatsoever. (Analogy first suggested by law professor John Yoo.) It would be a scandal, a constitutional crisis, a cause for impeachment. Why? Because unlike, for example, war powers, this is not an area of perpetual executive-legislative territorial contention. Nor is cap-gains, like the judicial status of unlawful enemy combatants, an area where the law is silent or ambiguous. Capital gains is straightforward tax law. Just as Obama's bombshell amnesty-by-fiat is a subversion of straightforward immigration law. It is shameful that Congressional Democrats should be applauding such a brazen end-run. Of course it's smart politics. It divides Republicans, rallies the Hispanic vote and pre-empts Marco Rubio's attempt to hammer out an acceptable legislative compromise. Very clever. But, by Obama's own admission, it is naked lawlessness." --columnist Charles Krauthammer
===========

"There was no Department of Justice for nearly a century after the Constitution was adopted. And while the post of attorney general was established by the first Congress, it was conceived as a part-time position, with no staff, limited to providing legal advice to the president and representing the federal government in civil litigation. There was no thought that there would be a criminal law-enforcement mission for the central government, much less that the feds would regulate firearms (and do so by sending them to murderous foreign drug cartels). The Framers were quite clear that law enforcement would remain the exclusive province of the states. I rehearse all this history because I've always thought it very presumptuous of the Justice Department to claim a power to conceal information from Congress when it is completely dependent on Congress for its existence and its mission. Congress could repeal the Justice Department tomorrow. Congress writes the statutes that the Justice Department enforces, is the master of the Department's jurisdiction, and pays for everything the Department does -- without which budget the Justice Department could do nothing." --columnist Andrew C. McCarthy
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bigdog
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« Reply #768 on: June 25, 2012, 06:23:34 PM »

I forget  embarassed  How many votes in the Senate are required to confirm a nomination to SCOTUS?

Simple majority.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #769 on: June 25, 2012, 07:31:54 PM »

Thank you.

Please refresh my memory on cluture too. 
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bigdog
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« Reply #770 on: June 26, 2012, 06:21:10 AM »

Thank you.

Please refresh my memory on cluture too. 

I should also add that the Judiciary committee hears the testimony first, and like in a piece of legislation, will vote to move the nomination vote to the Senate floor. The Judiciary committee never has voted to not move it to the floor (if that makes sense; though the C. Thomas nomination almost failed in committee), but in theory it IS possible.

Cloture requires 60 votes.

I think Doug is right when he says "R's could stop only on cloture. A tough precedent to set just before switching to the majority." when discussing a SC confirmation battle. The GOP might loathe a potential nominee, but it would be awefully tough to live this down, and to live with it when they take the Senate.   OTOH, I think he is participating in some wishful thinking when he states that there will be "16 years of the Romney Rubio surge to limited govt greatness."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #771 on: June 26, 2012, 08:40:18 AM »

So, if there is a resignation, BO will get to appoint another Justice? shocked shocked shocked
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bigdog
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« Reply #772 on: June 26, 2012, 09:28:28 AM »

So, if there is a resignation, BO will get to appoint another Justice? shocked shocked shocked

Likely. I also disagree with Doug that there will be retirements. I thought that it would happen last year, but they all seem so ensconsced on the Court now I would be somewhat surprised to see a retirement. I think the lesson of Thurgood Marshall's retirement would also ring too true for the libs to retire. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #773 on: June 26, 2012, 09:40:04 AM »

And , , , what was that lesson?
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bigdog
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« Reply #774 on: June 26, 2012, 10:01:55 AM »

Oh, sorry. He retired at the height of GHW Bush's popularity, when it seemed that he would be reelected with no problem. Then, well, he didn't. But, this allowed C. Thomas to sit on the Court. 

So, no matter how bad it looks for Obama at the moment, there is at least a 50/50 chance of reelection. I doubt the any of the Supremes would retire this far out from an entirely winnable election.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #775 on: June 26, 2012, 11:41:08 AM »

But if he loses, a Justice could retire and Baraq could jam his nominee through the lame duck session?
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bigdog
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« Reply #776 on: June 26, 2012, 12:37:57 PM »

Did you see the way recess appointments have been used? USSC justices can be appointed in such a manner. A "real" appointment would likely take more time than 2 months, but if it looked dire in September, say, there might be a "surprise" retirement.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #777 on: June 26, 2012, 12:43:44 PM »

During a lame duck sessiom I think not. There would no political ptessure to close debate and allow a vote.   Right now is the timing. If.there is a timely resignation and a timely and qualified nominee, then there is pressure on the minority to allow the Senate to perform it's constitutonal function before the fall term of the Court.

The reasons for a retirement would need to be personal and 16 years of limited government greatness is beyond wishful, but there actually could be a long stretch coming where a far left replacement would not be in the cards.

Strangely, I hope both those justices stay on.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #778 on: June 26, 2012, 01:30:11 PM »

A USSC Justice could be a recess appointment?!?!?!?  shocked shocked shocked
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bigdog
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« Reply #779 on: June 26, 2012, 02:54:22 PM »

A USSC Justice could be a recess appointment?!?!?!?  shocked shocked shocked



Presidents since George Washington have made recess appointments. Washington appointed South Carolina judge John Rutledge as Chief Justice of the United States during a congressional recess in 1795. Because of Rutledge's political views and occasional mental illness, however, the Senate rejected his nomination, and Rutledge subsequently attempted suicide and then resigned.
 
New Jersey judge William J. Brennan was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 through a recess appointment. This was done in part with an eye on the presidential campaign that year; Eisenhower was running for reelection, and his advisors thought it would be politically advantageous to place a northeastern Catholic on the court. Brennan was promptly confirmed when the Senate came back into session. President Eisenhower, in a recess appointment, designated Charles W. Yost as United States ambassador to Syria.[6] Eisenhower made two other recess appointments, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Potter Stewart.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recess_appointment
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #780 on: June 26, 2012, 08:13:10 PM »

So, just to be extra clear, recess appointments can be undone by the next session?

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bigdog
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« Reply #781 on: June 26, 2012, 09:22:14 PM »

Yes. But, how that would play out is anyone's guess. Politics are a bitch sometimes.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #782 on: June 26, 2012, 10:43:07 PM »

We live in interesting times , , ,
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bigdog
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« Reply #783 on: June 27, 2012, 10:07:26 AM »

http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/?hpt=hp_t2

In the annals of impossible assignments, Dave Voth's ranked high. In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promoted Voth to lead Phoenix Group VII, one of seven new ATF groups along the Southwest border tasked with stopping guns from being trafficked into Mexico's vicious drug war.
 
Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.


http://nationaljournal.com/congress-legacy/first-democratic-lawmaker-says-holder-should-be-held-in-contempt-20120627

The first Democratic member of Congress has said that he will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for withholding documents related to the “Fast and Furious” investigation that has plagued the Justice Department, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
 
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, joined House Republicans on Tuesday with his announcement. Most Democratic members are expected to support Holder.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/hoyer-challenges-issa-to-show-e-mails/?smid=fb-share

With the House just days away from a vote on holding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt, Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, appeared on national television on Sunday to say he had e-mails showing that the architects of a federal gun-smuggling investigation intended to use the operation to build a case for reinstating the lapsed ban on assault-weapons sales.
 
“We have e-mail from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons ban or greater reporting,” Mr. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
 
On Tuesday, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the House minority whip, challenged Mr. Issa to prove it.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #784 on: June 27, 2012, 10:34:00 AM »

BD:

We're looking here at a somewhat tricky question of thread coherency.  Lets use this thread for the Executive Privilege claim, and the rest of it goes in the Gun Rights thread.  Yes?

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bigdog
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« Reply #785 on: June 27, 2012, 12:22:36 PM »

BD:

We're looking here at a somewhat tricky question of thread coherency.  Lets use this thread for the Executive Privilege claim, and the rest of it goes in the Gun Rights thread.  Yes?



Yes, sir. Sorry. While I attempt thread coherency, sometimes the issues are very complex. I'll delete and shift.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #786 on: June 27, 2012, 12:57:38 PM »

Woof BD:

Understood, no worries.  What with OFF being such a large matter in its own right, I worried about it muddling up the Constitutional issues orientation of this thread so my thought is to bifurcate, with the EP issues here and the rest of it there.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #787 on: June 27, 2012, 10:01:29 PM »

"Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules. That these rules shall be as equal as prudential considerations will admit, will certainly be the aim of our legislatures, general and particular." --Thomas Jefferson
Editorial Exegesis
 
"Arizona and other states suffering from out-of-control illegal immigration won an important if partial victory in the Supreme Court [Monday]. In a rebuke of the Obama administration, all eight justices (Elena Kagan recused herself) upheld Arizona's requirement that police officers determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain, or arrest if a 'reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien unlawfully present in the United States.' ... The Court threw out three other provisions of SB 1070, including one that made it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek work in Arizona. But taken in perspective, these aren't critical to the effectiveness of Arizona's law. ... But as noted, this is only a partial victory. For example, in upholding the core provision of the law, the justices read it narrowly and left the door open to challenges to the way it is enforced. Also, Justices Scalia and Thomas got it right when they argued in their dissents that all four provisions of SB 1070 should have been upheld. There is no conflict between federal immigration law and SB 1070. As Scalia notes, Arizona has 'moved to protect its sovereignty -- not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it.' Arizona's laws do 'not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively.' As Scalia scathingly concludes, 'If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.' There is a reason we have 50 states instead of one, and the states are not mere administrative subdivisions of the federal government. Each has its own powers and its own interests, a fact that is of particularly acute interest when the federal government is failing to meet one of its fundamental responsibilities, which is precisely what is happening with illegal immigration. ...
  • n the issue of immigration the states remain dependent upon a federal government that is not to be depended on." --National Review
Share your thoughts on the Court's ruling.
Essential Liberty
"Arizona and other states are fighting the Obama doctrine of cherry-picking which legal requirements the chief executive will enforce. This was the basis of the policy announced June 15 that the government would give large numbers of illegal immigrants de-facto amnesty by suspending deportation proceedings against them and allowing them to work in the country legally. The Department of Homeland Security added fuel to the fire Monday by announcing it was suspending agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws. These and other actions call into question President Obama's commitment to his sworn executive duty under Article 2, Section 3, Clause 4 of the Constitution to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed.' ... The framers of the Constitution didn't envision a president preventing states from upholding the law. ... When the federal government abrogates its constitutional duty to protect the states, the states must protect themselves. A statute on the books is useless when the occupant of the White House calculates that it's in his political interest not to enforce it." --The Washington Times
Upright
"The whole federal conflict with Arizona has come about not because Arizona wanted to make its own laws contradicting federal law, but because it wanted to enforce federal laws itself. What does it say about the Obama administration's priorities that it effectively scraps its sworn pledge to uphold the law, usurps the legislative function by ignoring federal laws, punishes those who comply and puts its own re-election first?" --Investor's Business Daily
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DougMacG
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« Reply #788 on: June 28, 2012, 09:41:27 AM »

There are no limits on government.
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JDN
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« Reply #789 on: June 28, 2012, 09:53:03 AM »

Constitutional?  YES!

5-4 decision affirms Obamacare! 

Here are the big main points out of the ruling:

Court rules 5-4 to uphold individual mandate
Court says the requirement to have insurance is a tax, and is constitutional.
Court says on Medicaid that the federal government may not take Medicaid from states that refuse to take part. (That is a limited ruling, without striking it down. In the ruling the court offered the government a way to remedy this potential problem.)
Court vindicates, affirms Presidential and congressional power in an important issue like health care.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #790 on: June 28, 2012, 10:05:25 AM »

Court affirms that you have no Individual rights on healthcare, not a right to choose fee for service, not even a right of privacy.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #791 on: June 28, 2012, 10:09:30 AM »

Ugh.

I'm having a hard time following the logic.  What's the holding here?

Behavior that constitutionally cannot be compelled can be used to define who is taxed?
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 02:00:20 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #792 on: June 28, 2012, 11:11:15 AM »

Just reading headlines so far, looks like J Roberts agreed the mandate is a tax, even though it specifically could not have passed as a tax and our two faced Pres famously said it was not a tax.  They overturn our language, not just our constotution.

We cant require citizenship papers, but they can stop you for healthcare papers.

The first step in lowering healthcare costs in America was to hire more IRS agents.  George Orwell could not write a creepier script.
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bigdog
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« Reply #793 on: June 28, 2012, 11:40:59 AM »

In case you are interested, here is the decision. Only 193 pages: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf.

The syllabus, pages 1-6, has the "Cliffs Notes" version of the holding.

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bigdog
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« Reply #794 on: June 28, 2012, 11:44:37 AM »

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/06/us/scotus.healthcare/?hpt=hp_t1
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #795 on: June 28, 2012, 02:26:02 PM »

Chris Edwards of Cato predicts (tongue in cheek) that Congress will use its new taxing power to produce the following new laws:

Federal Broccoli Act of 2013: Eat your broccoli, else pay the IRS $1,000.
Federal Recycling Act of 2014: Fill your blue box and put on the curb, else pay the IRS $2,000.
Federal Green Car Act of 2015: Make your next car battery powered, else pay the IRS $3,000.
Federal Domestic Jobs Act of 2016: Don’t exceed 25 percent foreign content on family consumer purchases, else pay the IRS $4,000.
Federal Obesity Act of 2017: Achieve listed BMI on your mandated annual physical, else pay the IRS $5,000.
Federal National Service Act of 2018: Serve two years in the military or the local soup kitchen, else pay the IRS $6,000.
Federal Housing Efficiency Act of 2019: Don’t exceed 1,000 square feet of living space per person in your household, else pay the IRS $7,000.
Federal Population Growth Act of 2020: Don’t exceed two children per couple, else pay the IRS $8,000.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #796 on: June 28, 2012, 03:32:51 PM »

By JAMES FREEMAN
Barack Obama's constant complaint that the nation's problems are all George W. Bush's fault has grown tiresome. But today even many Republicans may wonder if Mr. Obama has a point. In a presidency marked by an explosion of federal spending culminating in gigantic taxpayer bailouts, Mr. Bush's additions to the Supreme Court represented his one unmitigated triumph. Until today.

Bush-nominated Chief Justice John Roberts earned himself years of favorable coverage in the New York Times by casting the deciding vote in favor of ObamaCare. After the world witnessed the obliteration of the government's case during oral argument, Mr. Roberts handed the White House a victory anyway. In joining the liberal Justices to declare that a federal mandate to buy insurance is permissible because the bill included a monetary penalty and is therefore a tax, Mr. Roberts helped to stretch the definition of Congress's ability to tax, even as he enabled America's next great entitlement. Did the Framers not understand the taxing power as one given to the federal government to enact general levies in order to fund itself? Now "taxing" seems to be approved as a behavioral tool even if it raises no revenue.

Mr. Roberts' apologists are saying that the chief has now set appropriate limits on the Commerce Clause, but in return he has helped expand the definition of Washington's ability to tax. Judging by this case, there's no limit to what the federal government can order us to do as long as they attach a monetary penalty for disobedience. And when the politicians are assembling the votes to issue a new order to us, they can also deny that the penalty is a tax but count on the Court to define it that way after the fact and legitimize it. Does Mr. Roberts really believe that the Framers intended that the feds enjoy a general police power as long as they attach financial punishments to each directive from Washington?

The other silver lining some see is that all the liberal Justices have now agreed that President Obama was wrong when he claimed that the penalty wasn't a tax. That may be worth some debating points for Mitt Romney but in return limited government has suffered a blow.

=================

Wesbury

Step Two – Going Backward – Election More Important Than Ever

In one of the least likely outcomes in Supreme Court history, Chief Justice Roberts, who was widely considered a conservative voice on the Court, proved to be the swing vote in one of the largest expansions of US government involvement in the economy ever.

Justice Kennedy, who many feared would be the swing vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), joined Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito in dissenting against the new law. In his oral statement today at the Supreme Court, Kennedy said, "In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety." In other words, if Roberts would have joined these four, the entire law would probably have been struck down.

Instead, the Chief Justice “threaded the needle,” or “cut the baby in half” and said that while the Commerce Clause would not allow Obamacare, the power of Congress to tax and spend does allow it. In other words, you can be taxed if you don’t buy health insurance. As far as we know, this is the only tax in American history that can be levied for not doing something. In other words, you can live in the back of your brother’s property, grow your own food, build your own house out of lumber you cut down, but still be forced to pay a tax just because you’re a breathing citizen of the United States

The tax is 2.5% of income with a ceiling linked to the average cost of insurance and a floor of $695 no matter what your income. The ACA described this as a “penalty,” which Roberts said was not constitutional under the Commerce Clause. Nonetheless, he argued that “It is not our [the Supreme Court’s] job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

As a result, he found a way to make Obamacare constitutional, by using the argument that it is a “tax” not a “penalty.” And since Congress has the power to tax, the law will stand. We do not agree with this argument and find it interesting given that Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing that “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules, they apply them. Nobody ever went to a game to see the umpire.” It certainly seems he found a way to be at the center of the game.

At the same time, the Supreme Court ruled that the new Medicaid mandates on states cannot be enforced by too heavily penalizing the states. In other words, states either opt in or opt out of the expansion in Medicaid envisioned under Obamacare, but cannot be penalized by taking away monies that have nothing to do with the new expansion of Medicaid.

Some conservative commentators are taking solace in the fact that Roberts’ decisions plus the four conservative dissents created a working majority for the most limited interpretation of the Commerce Clause since the 1930s. We agree. However, if the federal government is free to use its taxing authority as expansively as the Court now allows, we don’t see the gain for those who support limited government.

A Step Backward

What all of this means is that the US is facing the prospect of looking much more like Europe. Government’s size and scope is expanding, taxes are rising, and a single-payer healthcare system is not that far off as long as citizens can be “penalized” for not buying health insurance. Long-term growth prospects are now reduced and the Plow Horse Economy has lost some of its forward momentum.

We do not believe the ruling, in and of itself, will cause a recession. However, it will continue to hold down price-earnings ratios and push off a new high in the stock market until after the election in November, an election that has suddenly become “one of the most important in our lifetimes.”

The silver lining in Roberts’ decision is that if the “penalty” is now a “tax,” it can be repealed with just a simple majority in the US Senate via the budget reconciliation process, with no filibuster allowed. If it had been upheld and still considered a “penalty” it would have needed a 60-vote, filibuster proof majority to turn back. As a result, even more so than yesterday, the direction of the US economy hinges on the election in November. Will the US become more like Europe, with lackluster growth, high unemployment, higher tax rates, and eventually major debt problems, or not?

The bottom-line: we stand by our Plow Horse Economy, but one that will grow at a 2.5% to 3% growth rate for the rest of this year – we had been forecasting 3% to 3.5% growth in the second half – and an 8% or above unemployment rate by November – we had been forecasting a rate at 7.8% or slightly below.

Interest rates will remain at record low levels, while stocks will face a more difficult road. Downside policy risks have increased, but stocks remain seriously undervalued already and could get a lift as the economy improves going into the second half. All of this could change quickly following the elections in November, but the US has now taken a step backward. Taxing “inactivity” is a new chapter in American History. Justice Roberts has made his mark.


« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 04:54:23 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
bigdog
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« Reply #797 on: June 28, 2012, 05:32:09 PM »

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/235475-house-votes-holder-in-contempt-of-congress
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ccp
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« Reply #798 on: June 28, 2012, 07:50:10 PM »

"Judging by this case, there's no limit to what the federal government can order us to do as long as they attach a monetary penalty for disobedience"

*And* if the Democrat party bribes just enough voters with that tax revenue to maintain power - the sky is the limit.

Could the framers have imagined this?
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ccp
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« Reply #799 on: June 28, 2012, 08:15:13 PM »

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/06/28/mark_levin_on_obamacare_decision_absolutely_lawless.html
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