Supreme Court upholds Obamacare individual mandate as a tax
In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court decided to uphold his signature health care law’s individual insurance mandate in a 5-4 decision, upending speculation after hostile-seeming oral arguments in March that the justices would overturn the law. The mandate has been upheld as a tax, according to SCOTUSblog, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal wing of the court. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog says Roberts’ vote “saved’ the Affordable Care Act.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, dissented, reading from the bench that he and three conservative justices believe “the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”
Twenty six states sued over the law, arguing that the individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or face a fine starting in 2014, was unconstitutional. Opponents cast the individual mandate as the government forcing Americans to enter a market and buy a product against their will, while the government countered that the law was actually only regulating a market that everyone is already in, since almost everyone will seek health care at some point in his or her life. (more …)
On the eve of the second anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United, which opened the floodgate of unlimited, shadowy corporate spending in public elections, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced H. J. Res. 100, a constitutional amendment to rescue American democracy from corporate money’s corrupting influence. “Because of the decision by the Supreme Court majority in the Citizens United case, more money was spent on campaigns in the 2010 election than has ever been spent in a mid-term election. “Because of the Citizens United case, more money will be spent in the 2012 elections than has ever been spent in an election in the history of our country. “Because of the Citizens United case, American democracy has been put up on the auction block,” said Kucinich.
JACKSON, Ga. (AP) — The Supreme Court late Wednesday rejected an 11th-hour request to block the execution of Troy Davis, who convinced hundreds of thousands of people but not the justice system of his innocence in the murder of an off-duty police officer.
The court did not comment on its order, which came four hours after it received the request. Davis’ execution had been set to begin at 7 p.m., but the high court’s decision was not issued until after 10 p.m.
Though Davis’ attorneys say seven of nine key witnesses against him have disputed all or parts of their testimony, state and federal judges have repeatedly ruled against granting him a new trial. As the court losses piled up Wednesday, his offer to take a polygraph test was rejected and the pardons board refused to give him one more hearing.
Davis’ supporters staged vigils in the U.S. and Europe, declaring “I am Troy Davis” on signs, T-shirts and the Internet. Some tried increasingly frenzied measures, urging prison workers to stay home and even posting a judge’s phone number online, hoping people will press him to put a stop to the lethal injection. President Barack Obama deflected calls for him to get involved. (more…)
According to The New York Times, last year General Electric (GE) made over $14.2 billion in profit, but paid NO federal tax. None. In fact, thanks to the millions GE spent lobbying Congress, we American taxpayers actually owed GE $3.2 billion in tax credits.
Now GE is slashing health benefits and retirement benefits for new employees among non-union workers and is expected to push unions to accept similar cutbacks, while its CEO, Jeff Immelt, gets a 100% pay raise.
What’s worse? Immelt now sits as chair of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council), representing corporate America to the President on matters like job creation and corporate taxation. That’s a slap in the face to every hardworking, tax-paying American—especially GE employees.
Justice Thomas Accused of Possible Ethics Violations
Common Cause Investigation Uncovers Omissions Relating to Wife’s Earnings from Conservative Entities
Source: by AFRO Staff
Common Cause, a watchdog group that monitors government and industry, is raising questions about the ethics of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas over his failure to disclose income data for his wife Virginia, over a six-year period from 2003-2009.
“Common Cause is concerned about omissions in Justice Thomas’s annual financial disclosures,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “… we discovered apparent gaps over seven years in Justice Thomas’s disclosures of his wife’s earnings.”
The day after the group raised questions about the conservative Black jurist’s ties to a right-wing industrial giant, they zeroed in Jan. 21 on compliance with Ethics in Government rules. Common Cause pointed out to the Judicial Conference of the United States, the nation’s court regulator, that Virginia Thomas’ earnings while at the Heritage Foundations, a conservative advocacy organization, were not reported from 2003 to 2007. During that period, Common Cause indicates that Thomas earned $686,589, a salary of $120,000 or greater each year. (more…)
SAVANNAH, Ga. – A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Georgia death row inmate whose case attracted international support failed to prove his innocence after the U.S. Supreme Court gave him a rare chance to clear his name. Troy Anthony Davis has spent nearly 20 years on Georgia’s death row for the 1989 slaying of an off-duty Savannah police officer. Davis has long claimed new evidence would clear his name, if only a court would hear it.
The NAACP, Amnesty International and dignitaries such as former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI have rallied behind Davis. A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Davis a federal hearing to put his innocence claim to the test — a chance afforded no other American in at least 50 years. U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. said the evidence presented by Davis’ attorneys at a June hearing wasn’t nearly strong enough to prove he’s innocent. (more…)
Judge overturns Calif. gay marriage ban
By Associated Press Writer Lisa Leff
SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights.
Supporters argued the ban was necessary to safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing.
California voters passed the ban as Proposition 8 in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples,” the judge wrote in a 136-page ruling that laid out in precise detail why the ban does not pass constitutional muster.(more…)