This morning begins three days of arguments in the most significant Supreme Court case in decades. The central question: Will the Affordable Care Act stand?
Solicitor General warns of ‘grave’ consequences if Supreme Court overturns health reform – Q:) What is at stake in this hearing? A:) If the Supreme Court struck this down, I think that it wouldn’t just be about health care. It would be the Supreme Court saying: ‘Look, we’ve got the power to really take decisions, move them off of the table of the American people, even in a democracy. And so it could imperil a number of reforms in the New Deal that are designed to help people against big corporations and against, indeed, big governments. The challengers are saying that this law is unconstitutional, which means even if 95 percent of Americans want this law, they can’t have it. And that’s a really profound thing for an unelected court to say. Q:) What are the possible outcomes? A:) The two main outcomes that one can predict — the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate as unconstitutional because it’s unprecedented or it upholds it and says it is part of Congress power over commerce and over taxation. The latter is far more likely because it is such a grave thing for unelected judges to take a decision of such a magnitude for American people. I expect the Supreme Court’s ruling at the end of its current term, June 30. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone else was surprised in this case, and the court didn’t reach a standard 5-to-4 judgment with the five Republican justices — those nominated by Republican presidents on one side, and the four nominated by Democratic presidents on the other.
Tea Party to rally against health care law: “‘We want our freedom back,’ former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain told hundreds of ralliers standing in the rain in Upper Senate Park, a few hundred yards from the steps of the Supreme Court. … The rally largely marks the big return to Washington for the Tea Party, a loose organization of grassroots groups that helped conservative Republicans take over the House in the 2010 wave election.” [Fox News]
And just when the East Coast needs government the most — the earthquake in Virginia yesterday combined with the approach of Hurricane Irene. From Think Progress:
Last week, Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), warned that federal budget cuts will force the agency to go without building a satellite that helps detect extreme weather events five years from now:
Without money to build a new satellite, the federal government will no longer be able to forecast severe weather events far enough in advance for communities to take life-saving action five years from now. That was the message that Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, delivered on Wednesday at a town-hall-style meeting in Denver. […] “Whether the gap is longer than that depends on whether we get the money”— $1 billion — “in the next budget,” warned Dr. Lubchenco, an environmental scientist. “I would argue that these satellites are critically important to saving lives and property and to enabling homeland security.”
Unfortunately, some of the nation’s budget cuts are already hurting the ability of local communities to respond to the incoming Irene. In Palm Beach County, Florida, budget cuts have forced a cutback in the emergency management budget by 16 percent. In South Carolina, another state likely to be battered by Irene, budget cuts have led to a third of the emergency management divisions’ staff being lost. “We’re going to do what we can with less and we think we can be effective in that regard,” said Joe Farmer of the division.
As the far-right continues to demonize government and demand even more austerity, it is important to remember that government spending on things like disaster preparedness not only keeps important employees working but is crucial to saving lives.
But according to Teaparty Republicans, feds who don’t carry guns are just the unnecessary, nonessential, paper-pushers who basically suck at the federal teat anyway. It’s also more important to get those tax cuts for the wealthy extended by cutting some waste, like the government responding to extreme weather emergencies. Heaven forbid we take in more revenue so we can cut less to balance the deficit.
Congressional Republicans have made a big deal about slashing funds for Planned Parenthood and other family planning programs, claiming that these cuts are necessary to address the federal deficit. But one of those lawmakers has been pushing his own measure to provide additional federal funds to so-called crisis pregnancy centers—unregulated and uncertified clinics that try to deter women from seeking abortions.
Republican – Teaparty politicians want less tax and regulation on business, but more control over the wombs of American women.
So ultimately, where does that end — covering our hair in public? Walking 5 steps behind our husbands?