#SCOTUS verdicts in Hobby Lobby, union fees cases to be announced Monday


The interior of the United States Supreme Court.

The Associated Press reports that Supreme Court is preparing to release verdicts tomorrow in two more key cases, most notably the one involving Hobby Lobby versus Obamacare:

The Supreme Court is poised to deliver its verdict in a case that weighs the religious rights of employers and the right of women to the birth control of their choice.

The court meets for a final time Monday to release decisions in its two remaining cases before the justices take off for the summer. The cases involve birth control coverage under President Obama’s health law and fees paid to labor unions representing government employees by workers who object to being affiliated with a union.

Two years after Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama’s campaign for re-election, the justices are considering a sliver of the law.

Employers must cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans. Dozens of companies, including the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. The methods and devices at issue before the Supreme Court are those that Hobby Lobby and furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. say can work after conception, the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella, as well as intrauterine devices, which can cost up to $1,000.

The Obama administration says insurance coverage for birth control is important to women’s health and reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies, as well as abortions.


The other unresolved case has been hanging around since late January, often a sign that the outcome is especially contentious.

Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who aren’t union members. The idea behind compulsory fees for nonmembers is that the union negotiates the contract for all workers, so they all should share in the cost of that work.

The court has been hostile to labor unions in recent years. If that trend continues Monday, the justices could confine their ruling to home health workers or they could strike a big blow against unions more generally.

The opinions on these cases should be revealed Monday at 10 a.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to SCOTUSblog’s live blog of proceedings as well as their Twitter feed to stay updated on the latest developments.  

Liberals were not pleased with last week’s verdicts on the issue of Obama’s recess appointments as well as their strike-down of the “buffer zones” law in Massachusetts that essentially limited the free speech of pro-life advocates.  Let’s hope the trend continues.

QOTD: On the many times #SCOTUS has ruled unanimously against the Obama admin


Obama arrogance

John Fund on the Obama administration’s bad track record with respect to the Supreme Court’s many unanimous rulings against them (via):

Did you know the Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least 13 – thirteen — cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012 that were unanimous decisions? It continued its abysmal record before the Supreme Court today with the announcement of two unanimous opinions against arguments the administration had supported. First, the Court rejected the administration’s power grab on recess appointments by making clear it could not decide when the Senate was in recess. Then it unanimously tossed out a law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protests that the Obama administration argued on behalf of before the Court (though the case was led by Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley).

The tenure of both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder has been marked by a dangerous push to legitimize a vast expansion of the power of the federal government that endangers the liberty and freedom of Americans. They have taken such extreme position on key issues that the Court has uncharacteristically slapped them down time and time again. Historically, the Justice Department has won about 70 percent of its cases before the high court. But in each of the last three terms, the Court has ruled against the administration a majority of the time.

So even the liberal justices on the Court, including the two justices appointed by President Barack Obama — Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — have disagreed with the DOJ’s positions. As George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin told the Washington Times last year, “When the administration loses significant cases in unanimous decisions and cannot even hold the votes of its own appointees . . . it is an indication that they adopted such an extreme position on the scope of federal power that even generally sympathetic judges could not even support it.”

Disturbing, but true. Make sure to read the whole thing.

‘Big Gulp ban’ struck down by NY State Court of Appeals

My body, my choice

Heh! Photo via Stan Brooks/1010 WINS, as seen on CBS NY’s website.

Bad news for proponents of the Nanny State – via the New York Times (hat tip):

The Bloomberg big-soda ban is officially dead.

The state’s highest court on Thursday refused to reinstate New York City’s controversial limits on sales of jumbo sugary drinks, exhausting the city’s final appeal and handing a major victory to the American soft-drink industry, which bitterly opposed the plan.

In a 20-page opinion, Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. of the New York State Court of Appeals wrote that the city’s Board of Health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” in enacting the proposal, which was championed by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Two lower courts had already ruled against the city, saying it overreached in trying to prohibit the purchase of sugared drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, about the size of a medium coffee cup. Ruling 4 to 2, the Court of Appeals upheld the earlier rulings.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a frequent critic of Mr. Bloomberg but a supporter of the soda proposal, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the latest decision, saying it was “irrefutable” that sugary drinks has detrimental effects on health. The mayor said he would review other options for the city to combat obesity, but his team did not immediately specify what steps might be taken.

In the ruling, the judges said the City Council was the proper body to enact a policy of such sweep and complexity as the soda limits. The Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, opposes the proposal, and she said on Thursday that she was pleased with the court’s decision.

Two big rulings from two courts today reigning in the overreach of power at the federal and local levels. More, please!

#SCOTUS: Constitutional scholar President overstepped on recess appointments

King Obama

Image via Salon.com

A HUGE victory for limiting executive powers – via Fox News:

The Supreme Court delivered a blow Thursday to President Obama, ruling that he went too far in making recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

In a unanimous decision, the high court sided with Senate Republicans and limited the president’s power to fill high-level vacancies with temporary appointments. It was the first-ever Supreme Court test involving the long-standing practice of presidents naming appointees when the Senate is on break.

In this case, Obama had argued that the Senate was on an extended holiday break when he filled slots at the NLRB in 2012. He argued the brief sessions it held every three days were a sham that was intended to prevent him from filling the seats.

The justices rejected that argument, though, declaring the Senate was not actually in a formal recess when Obama acted during that three-day window.

Justice Stephen Breyer said in his majority opinion that a congressional break has to last at least 10 days to be considered a recess under the Constitution.

“Three days is too short a time to bring a recess within the scope of the Clause. Thus we conclude that the President lacked the power to make the recess appointments here at issue,” Breyer wrote.

At the same time, the court upheld the general authority of the president to make recess appointments.

This one, like the Citizens United ruling, is gonna sting “the smartest administration evah!!” quite a bit. Good.

In other good news related to SCOTUS: Justices strike down protest buffer zones around Massachusetts abortion clinics.  Planned Parenthood, of course, is not pleased.  What a shame.

Speaker Boehner’s meaningless, craven lawsuit


**Posted by Phineas



Pathetic. Speaker John Boehner announced plans for the House to sue President Obama in court to force him to do his job and enforce the laws. Without being specific about the grounds of the suit, one can safely assume it covers Obama’s non-enforcement of immigration laws along the southwest border and, perhaps, the administration’s unilateral rewrites and illegal waivers of the Affordable Care Act and it’s serial failure to cooperate in the IRS investigations.

Speaking to the press, Boehner added the following:

Boehner strongly brushed aside a question of whether impeachment proceedings could result from the suit. “This is not about impeachment. This is about his (Obama’s) faithfully executing the laws of our country,” he said.

Pardon me a moment; I was rolling my eyes so hard on reading that, I was getting dizzy.

Mr. Speaker, on taking office, every president swears the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The President is Chief Magistrate of the United States, its top federal law-enforcer. “Faithfully execute” means doing that job. If you are suing because the president has broken his oath by not faithfully executing the duties of his office, then you have perforce invoked grounds for impeachment by reason of maladministration.

You’ve said it, so don’t go denying in the next breath what we all know it means. Leave being a weasel to the Democrats.


He also rejected a suggestion that the suit was designed to give traditional Republican voters a reason for going to the polls this fall when control of Congress will be at stake.

“This is about defending the institution in which we serve,” he said. “What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch.”

Argh. The Congress has been surrendering legislative power to the Executive, more under Democrats, less so under Republicans, since the Progressive era. More and more regulatory authority has been given to panels of bureaucrats in the guise of “rule making,” when really it amounts to the power to make law. It’s more accurate to say this process has greatly expanded under Obama, who pushes the bounds like no president has since FDR (or maybe Nixon), but let’s not pretend this hasn’t been going on for a long time. If the Congress were truly interested in “defending its prerogatives,” as Madison intended, it has had plenty of opportunities, but has done so only fitfully.

You want to “defend the institution” in which you serve? Then forget the ridiculous lawsuit (and Senator Paul’s and Senator Johnson’s); you don’t resolve political power struggles between the legislature and the presidency by running crying to the courts (1). You have two powers: cutting off funds and impeachment. The former seems to be ineffective, but you have the latter. As I wrote yesterday:

I’d suggest forming another [House Select Investigating Committee] for the IRS scandal and one for Fast and Furious, both with full subpoena powers and special counsel hired to lead the inquiries. They all should work through the summer and, when done, present their findings to the full House. Forget the Department of Justice; it can’t be trusted with Eric Holder in charge. Instead, the House should impeach whomever is found culpable by the investigations.

While impeaching the President himself isn’t politically practical (yet), his political appointees bear the same responsibility as he: faithful execution of the laws and obedience to the Constitution. If committee investigations find any derelict in their duties, such as top management at the IRS, impeach them, place them on trial before the Senate, and make Harry Reid defend their abuses of power. Fence Obama in by taking away his minions.

That’s how you defend the institution, Mr. Speaker. If you really want to.

(1) For one thing, the courts rely on the Executive to enforce their orders. If you can’t trust Obama to enforce the laws…

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Nation’s top archivist: #IRS “did not follow the law” after hard drive crash



Via the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service did not follow the law when it failed to report a hard drive crash that destroyed emails belonging to a senior official at the center of a scandal over the agency’s treatment of conservative-leaning political groups, the nation’s top archivist said Tuesday.

“In accordance with the Federal Records Act, when an agency becomes aware of an incident of unauthorized destruction, they must report the incident to us,” said David S. Ferriero, the chief archivist at the National Archives.

Mr. Ferriero made his remarks at a congressional hearing examining the 2011 disappearance of emails sent and received by Lois Lerner, the former I.R.S. official who is accused of politically motivated mistreatment of Tea Party-aligned groups seeking tax exemptions.

Mr. Ferriero would not say that anyone at the I.R.S. committed a crime, only that the agency “did not follow the law.” He said he learned of the missing emails on June 13, when the agency made the disclosure in a filing to Congress.

Gee, ya think?

Politico has more:

The law requires agencies to save official records — defined in a National Archives guidance post as “documentary materials that agencies create and receive while conducting business that provide evidence of the agency’s organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and operations, or that contain information of value.”

At the IRS, employees who send such official correspondences via email are supposed to print them out and file hard copies.

Something else that didn’t happen with regular frequency, obviously…. :-w

Dumb criminals news: Thief checks FB during break-in, forgets to log out

Picard facepalm


Derp! Via WCCO:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man is in jail because he logged on to Facebook.

Police say 26-year-old Nicholas Wig checked his profile from a home he broke into, and then he didn’t log off. It happened June 19 in South St. Paul.

“World’s dumbest criminal,” the homeowner James Wood said. “I don’t know.”

Wood had come home to find his house ransacked. His credit cards, cash and watch were all gone.

In their place, the thief had left a pair of Nike tennis shoes, jeans and a belt, that were all wet.  Wood said it had been raining outside.

“I started to panic,” he said. “But then I noticed he had pulled up his Facebook profile.”

Wood posted to Facebook using Wig’s profile, saying Wig had burglarized his home. He even shared his phone number to see if someone would call with information. Wig texted him later that day.

“I replied you left a few things at my house last night, how can I get them back to you,” Wood said.

Wig agreed to meet with Wood later that night. Wood believes Wig was under the impression he would give him back some of his clothes he had left at his home in exchange for a recycled cell phone Wig had stolen.

Wig was arrested a short time later.

“Hot” mugshot of convicted felon gets thousands of Facebook likes, comments

Convicted felon Jeremy Meeks

Convicted felon Jeremy Meeks

I don’t get it:

A mug shot of a Northern California man arrested on felony weapons charges has gone viral on social media, attracting more than 33,000 “likes” and drawing comments praising his high cheekbones, chiseled face and striking blue eyes.

Jeremy Meeks, 30, a felon, was arrested Wednesday on five weapons charges and one gang charge, according to Officer Joseph Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.

No previous arrest photo has garnered so much positive attention since the department set up the Facebook page in March 2012, Silva told The Associated Press.

“I have not seen that many likes for a photo before,” he said.

By late Thursday, Meeks’ arrest photo had garnered more than 33,000 “likes,” and 10,400 comments, and had been shared more than 3,300 times.

“Wow. That is one good looking mug shot!” one person wrote.

“Momma, I’m in love with a criminal,” another joked.

Some online commentators even said Meeks looked like he belonged in an Abercrombie & Fitch ad or on the show “America’s Next Top Model.”

Still others were disapproving, such as one observer who said, “He may be a tad bit cute, but with six felonies, he ain’t that cute.”

Gee, ya think?  The Washington Post’s “Morning Mix” blog reports on the backlash that has come from news reports of all the gushing:

[Stockton Police Officer Joseph] Silva said Meeks, who is being held on a $900,000 bond, is “one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area,” but declined to speak further about his alleged crimes.

Still, many seem more intrigued by his mug shot than his rap sheet.

Meeks was booked on Wednesday afternoon into the San Joaquin County Jail — and that’s when the ogling started. When police posted the mug shot of the 6-foot-1, 170-pound, baby blue-eyed alleged felon on a Facebook page, boy-watchers went nuts. As of Friday morning, his mug shot had nearly 40,000 likes, 4,500 shares and 13,000 comments. And media all over were reporting about it, using headlines such asLadies love this felon’s mugshot” and writing that Meeks is “arguably the most wanted felon in Northern California … wanted by the ladies, that is.”


But there were plenty of people who found it-and him-not so hot, especially in light of the memorial on the same page to fallen officer Scott Hewell. Hewell died June 11 of injuries suffered in a crash while he was on his way to aid another officer who had stopped a man involved in an earlier shooting.

By early Friday morning, there was a backlash.

I find it incredibly sad that an alleged felon on this page gets so much more attention on Facebook than a fallen officer, ” one man wrote on the police department’s Facebook page.

It’s pretty sad that a criminal has overshadowed the death of a police officer while on duty!” wrote a woman.”

Good to see a little bit of sanity prevail.

Officer Hewell’s memorial service was yesterday.  The Stockton PD posted pictures from it here. My prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.

Federal govt essentially attempting to force Washington Redskins to change name

Washington Redskins

Should they keep it or change it?

It was only a matter of time:

The Washington Redskins’ logo is disparaging and its trademark must be cancelled, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office wrote in a ruling Wednesday. [READ THE RULING.]

The Redskins will continue to be able to use the name, but the team will not have all the legal benefits afforded to it when it is registered with the federal government.

“Based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” read a ruling from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

“We lack statutory authority to issue rulings concerning the right to use trademarks,” the ruling continued.

The team can appeal the decision in court as it did in the past, and the trademarks will remain registered until after the review. The office made a similar ruling in 1992, but the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia reversed the board’s decision after a lengthy litigation process in 2003.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cheered the decision, going to the Senate floor to call for the team and its owner, Daniel Snyder, to end its use of the “racist” name.

“Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he’s forced to do the right thing and change the name,” Reid said.

Reid has led a public charge against the Redskins name, most recently organizing a letter calling for the team to drop the name.The letter was signed by 50 Democratic senators.


The petition was brought by five Native Americans in the case Blackhorse V. Pro Football, Inc.

More from the left wing peanut gallery:

“Today’s actions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are in line with longstanding rules on the treatment of disparaging or offensive names,” Pelosi said in a statement. “While we respect the right to free speech, slurs have no right to trademark protections.

“The team that represents our nation’s capital should be a source of pride to all Americans. It’s long past time for the Washington football team to choose a new name.”

Frankly, it’s none of Congresses’ freaking business what the Washington Redskins call themselves, but because it’s the politically correct thing to do – and because apparently Democrats don’t have any issues more pressing than this (/sarc) to deal with, they threw their weight behind this case and are using every trick in the book short of political blackmail (and that’s debatable) to force the team to change their name.

No matter what side of the argument a person is on on this issue, the bullying and threats by Democratic members of the United States House and Senate should appall everyone, as should any attempts at mandating by force of law a private dispute over a non-life or death issue between two groups that could have been settled without government interference .  It’s a sad day in America when a issues like these that can and should be resolved or compromised on in the private sector by the two disagreeing factions is forcibly decided by the federal government – aided and abetted by Congressional bullies.   The death of common sense, and the demise of right and wrong, continues.

(Via Memeorandum)

SCOTUS: SBA List can sue Ohio over “False Statement Law”



Via The Politico:

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with an anti-abortion group, opening the door for a broad challenge against the government’s right to police falsehoods in political advertising.

A unanimous Supreme Court agreed that Susan B. Anthony List had standing to sue over an Ohio false statements law, reversing two lower court decisions that the group could not bring a lawsuit because it had not suffered any injury.

“Denying prompt judicial review would impose a substantial hardship on petitioners, forcing them to choose between refraining from core political speech on the one hand, or engaging in that speech and risking costly Commission proceedings and criminal prosecution on the other,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the decision.

The case arose in Ohio in 2010, when SBA List sought to run a billboard against Ohio Democrat Steve Driehaus, who was then a member of Congress. The billboard accusing Driehaus of voting for taxpayer-funds abortion by supporting the Affordable Care Act.

Driehaus complained to Ohio election regulators, alleging the billboard would have violated the Ohio False Statement Law.

That law makes it illegal to “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard for whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”

Seems to  me that this law is unquestionably blatantly unconstitutional – something apparently even the left AND right agree on in this case, but then again the courts have been known to make what seem like clear cut cases of what’s Constitutional or not out to be the most complicated of matters.

You can read the Supreme Court’s full opinion here.