Friday, December 26, 2014

Last Call For SCOTUS In 2015

Sam Baker at National Journal (which at this point just exists to scold liberals) is warning that SCOTUS will pretty much destroy Obama's second term.  I've talked about King v. Burwell before:

The justices will hear oral arguments March 4 in a lawsuit that threatens to cripple the health care law, just three years after Chief Justice John Roberts helped save it. This time, the challengers want the Court to invalidate the law's premium subsidies in states that didn't set up their own insurance exchanges. Most states didn't establish their own exchanges, and more than 80 percent of enrollees are getting subsidies—so a win for the challengers here would likely make insurance unaffordable for about 5 million people and could make insurance markets unstable in most of the country.

But there's the Sixth Circuit's decision on upholding same-sex marriage bans as constitutional, which could force the Supremes to act.

When a federal Appeals Court upheld same-sex marriage in several states, the justices declined to hear an appeal. But then the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan and Kentucky, as well as state laws in Ohio and Tennessee. So now the Appeals Courts are divided over the constitutionality of state laws banning same-sex marriage, and almost all of the states in question have asked the Supreme Court to settle the issue for good. Given the patchwork of laws from state to state, many legal observers say it'll be hard for the Court to stay on the sidelines this time.

And there's the fallout from last year's Hobby Lobby case and the next set of questions involving religious freedoms that will be answered:

Religious liberty was the defining issue of 2014's biggest ruling—the Hobby Lobby decision involving Obamacare's contraception mandate—and it's back in a big way this term. The Court has already heard oral arguments in a suit filed by an Arkansas inmate who wants to grow a beard, in accordance with his Muslim faith but in violation of prison rules. During oral arguments, the justices reportedly seemed to be siding with the inmate, questioning whether the prison system could ensure inmates' safety without such strict rules against beards.

The Court has agreed to hear a second, similar case, but hasn't yet scheduled oral arguments. This one concerns a woman who was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store because the head scarf she wore, as a practicing Muslim, wasn't consistent with the company's "Look Policy." The question in the case is whether a business can discriminate against someone's religion if it didn't know that a religious accommodation was needed.

There are also several free speech issues in front of SCOTUS, one involving what constitutes a threat online, one involving Florida's ban on judges personally soliciting campaign contributions, and one involving putting a Confederate flag design on Texas license plates.

A lot on SCOTUS's plate in the next six months, and the decisions could seriously blow a hole in Obama's second term if they are decided by that infamous 5-4 bloc involving Justice Kennedy and the four conservatives.

We'll see.

Jeb Sweeps His Past Under The Rug

Jeb Bush has a number of problems that will prevent him from winning the White House in 2016, but the reality is that he won't even make it past the primaries with his history in profiting from big banks and Obamacare.

Bush is quitting Tenet Healthcare Corp. — a company that has profited from Obamacare — and is ending a consulting contract with Barclays Bank to focus on his political future. Aides say he also has stopped giving highly paid speeches to focus on traveling America, meeting with potential donors and testing what a friend calls a “visionary” brand of campaigning.

But Bush’s business record, enmeshed in international finance and some troubled former ventures in south Florida, could end up complicating his return to politics and his hopes to follow his father, George H.W. Bush, and his older brother, George W. Bush, into the Oval Office.

Last year, he took a step into the rarefied world of private equity and offshore investments, joining with former banking executives and a Chinese airline company to make bets on natural gas exploration and shipping. One of the funds was set up in the United Kingdom, a structure that allows the company to shield overseas investors from U.S. taxes.

His primary opponents are going to eat him alive.

"Jeb Bush made millions from Obamacare and only quit his job as a Washington lobbyist when he decided to run for President.  He's hoping none of us remember."  And fade to black.

Good luck getting past Super Tuesday, Jebbie.


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