Capitol Notebook's blog

Supporters of religious freedom win one in top court

Christian Coalition of America has fought for years to keep a large cross in a war memorial in the Mojave National Preserve in California.  The God-hating groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the People for the "American Way", and the truly atheistic Freedom from Religion group  --  along with many other malcontents in the Democrat Party and in the "mainstream media"  --  have been trying for years to expunge religion from the public square.  

However, the God-haters were delt a huge blow in the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday.  In a 5-4 decision, the majority ruled that the lower federal court was wrong in ruling that the cross must be removed.  The usual swing vote on the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote the plurality opinion in the Salazar v. Buono case.   

The Supreme Court basically ruled that the federal district court was wrong in barring the federal government from implementing the land transfer under the cross.  Incredibly, the cross at the war memorial has been covered with plywood for the past several years because the God-haters in these left-wing groups were offended by the sight of it (in a desert, mind you).  The Veterans of Foreign Wars had constructed the 7 to 8 foot cross in the Mojave National Preserve some 75 years ago.   

Obama administration hid health care report until after ObamaCare vote

There's more news from the "We need to pass it so you'll know what's in it" file.  In this case, it's more to do with the consequences of ObamaCare, as determined in a report by Obama's own Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The report was compiled by the actuaries for Medicare and Medicaid.  The findings project that the costs of health care would go up by almost $400 billion by the end of the decade, 14 million Americans would lose their employer based insurance (thus INCREASING the number of people without insurance, which would move millions more Americans onto Medicaid), and that approximately four million Americans would be hit with the insurance tax penalty that the law would create.

These are all things that the supporters of ObamaCare said would NOT happen.  In fact, they campaigned on the rationale that it would reduce health care costs, costs less money to the government, and provide insurance coverage to more people.

The report was given to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (AND the White House) about a week BEFORE the passage of ObamaCare.  And, of course, Sebelius was all over television and in the media supporting passage of the bill by denying that the type of things would happen that her department's own report said would happen.

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Georgia NAACP shows being liberal is more important than being prolife

The Georgia chapter of the NAACP has just provided the country with an example of what most people have known all along: that's it's more important for liberal groups to adhere to the liberal orthodoxy - especially on abortion - than it is for them to look out for the best interests of the community that they supposedly represent.

This example comes as a result of their move to withdraw their support for a bill moving in the Georgia House of Representatives that would ban abortions conducted for the purpose of racial selection.

Edward DuBose, chapter president, issued a statement withdrawing the support, saying, "Earlier this month, the Georgia NAACP submitted a letter to support Senate Bill 529. We now fully understand the intention of this legislation and wish to retract our support for it."

"At the time, we were of the understanding that this bill would work to benefit the women in our community. However, after many conversations with membership and constituents, we now realize that this is nothing more than using women's health as a political tool," he said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper. "Women of color in Georgia need more than divisive messages and deserve better access to health care."

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Most people think government is "broken"

There's a new poll out by Fox News/Opinion Dynamics which, if you're an elected official, probably won't give you warm, fuzzy feelings.  If you're an average American however, it will probably seem all too familiar.

The bottom line?  A majority of Americans have lost faith in government.  In fact, it's a pretty large majority.  The poll finds that 58% of voters say that the government is "broken".  Only 9% say it's working "pretty well", while 30% believe that government functions "just okay".  Of course, the differences are more pronounced when you take party ID into account, as 75% of Republicans see the government as "broken", but only 37% of Democrats would agree.

But what's more interesting is how the all important "independents" see things.  And, given that independents are usually the balance of power in most elections, the news isn't good for politicians.  The results show an incredible 69% of independents agreeing with the notion that government is "broken".  Better still one out of ever six voters consider themselves to be a part of the Tea Party movement.

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ObamaCare still unpopular - despite Obama's sales pitches

A full month after the vote by the US House to push their own version of health care "reform" through despite the opposition of the American people, and after more speeches and sales pitches by Obama and various members of Congress, ObamaCare is, well, STILL unpopular with a majority of Americans.

It's so unpopular that the latest Rasmussen poll shows that 56% of Americans think it should be repealed.

Support for repeal of the recently-passed national health care plan is
proving to be just as consistent as opposition to the plan before it
was passed.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone
survey finds that 56% of likely voters nationwide favor repeal, while
41% are opposed.
Those figures include 48% who Strongly Favor repeal
and 29% who Strongly Oppose it. ...

Just 35% of voters believe the new health care law will be good for the
country, while 52% believe it will be bad
. These numbers have changed
little since the March 21 House vote to pass the health care bill.

Bottom line?  The majority of public opinion, and the strength of that opinion, is STILL with those who oppose ObamaCare.  Which might have something to do with why Obama and the Democrats are eager to move on to other subjects and get it out of the news.

 

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Abortion groups pressure Obama for a pro-abortion Supreme Court nominee

The ink is barely dry on retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' letter of resignation and the pro-abortion crowd is already haranguing for a "pro-Roe" replacement.

This week, both the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and the National Organization of Women (NOW) issued statements calling on President Obama to nominate another pro-abortion Justice...

"Given the current composition of the court, we will assess the eventual
nominee's complete record on privacy and other relevant issues in
the same way we did during Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation
process," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said.

"One thing is certain: opponents of women's freedom and privacy
will use this vacancy on the court as an opportunity to further their
attacks on nominees who have taken pro-choice positions," Keenan
added.

The National Organization for Women also weighed in on Stevens' retirement
and called on Obama to ignore qualified male jurists and only pick
a woman for the high court. ...

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National Day of Prayer ruled "unconstitutional"

Here we go again...  In what would surely be a surprise to the Founding Fathers who gave us our Constitution, a federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled that the National Day of Prayer is "unconstitutional".

Officially, the day has been recognized by the federal government since 1952 when it was established by Congress.  And each year, on the 1st Thursday in May, Presidents have issued a National Day of Prayer proclamation encouraging Americans to pray.  So how did we end up with this court ruling?  The usual; more atheists.  In this case, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, complaining that it violates the separation of church and state.

In her decision, the judge stated:

"It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context,"... "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."

Members of Congress to lose insurance due to ObamaCare?

In what is probably one of the funniest and most deliciously ironic side-effects of ObamaCare, the New York Times reports that, buried deep in the 2,700 plus pages of the bill, there is language that would appear to kick members of Congress off of their current government insurance plans and put them into the new "exchanges" that the bill created.

The problem?  Well, the exchanges don't exist...but the bill is now the law of the land.

From the Times:

The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

But the research service found that this provision was written in an imprecise, confusing way, so it is not clear when it takes effect.

The new exchanges do not have to be in operation until 2014. But because of a possible “drafting error,” the report says, Congress did not specify an effective date for the section excluding lawmakers from the existing program.

Under well-established canons of statutory interpretation, the report said, “a law takes effect on the date of its enactment” unless Congress clearly specifies otherwise. And Congress did not specify any other effective date for this part of the health care law. The law was enacted when President Obama signed it three weeks ago.

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More Hidden (Tax) Gems in ObamaCare

Another day, another find within the massive, 2,700-plus page ObamaCare legislation.  This one concerns a new program, snuck in the Senate reconciliation bill just two days before the vote, concerning home health care.

Via the Washington Times:

The health care bill signed into law by President Obama is full of
hidden time bombs. One costly provision buried in the lengthy
reconciliation bill at the last minute has taxpayers covering long-term
at-home care for the elderly. Through the so-called Community Living
Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act), Americans will find
between $150 and $250 taken out of their paychecks each month to cover
this program nobody knew about.

Democrats claim this isn't a controversial program, but if they
really believed that, they wouldn't have had to sneak the provision
into the reconciliation bill. But it was snuck in the reconciliation
bill only two days before the House vote.

All of which proves Nancy Pelosi was right when she said that they needed to "pass the bill, so that you can find out what's in it".

 

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Speculation and Fallout on President Obama's Supreme Court Pick

Now that Justice Stevens has made it official that he will be resigning at the end of the current term, Barack Obama gets his second opportunity to make a lifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court.  And the speculation is as rampant as the implications are huge.

Most of the early suggestions seem to point to Obama going back to his "short list" from his pick last year, which resulted in Sotomayor's nomination.  The high profile names on that list are Solicitor General Elen Kagan and Court of Appeals judge Diane Wood.

Of course the timing couldn't be worse for Senate Democrats, who are
already weary of political combat in the aftermath of ObamaCare...which
came in the aftermath of the fight over the stimulus, etc.,
etc....which means that the Democrats in red/purple states that are up for re-election this year aren't too keen on having Obama pick anyone
deemed "too radical".  They see it as adding one more log to the fire of increasing conservative opposition and activism.

But from Obama's standpoint, he's surely considering that the Republicans are likely to make some pretty big gains in the Senate this November, meaning that, if he really wants another radical liberal (of course), now's the time to nominate them, rather than go with a moderate now to satisfy some Democrat senators.

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