Patterico's Pontifications


A Thread on the Supreme Court Allowing Gay Marriage to Go Forward In Several States Across the Country

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:13 pm

I’m a little late to the topic but I feel I owe you guys a thread on it. It’s a bit of a chaotic situation, but basically the Court refused to hear a bunch of cases, and gay marriage was suddenly legal in a handful of states. Then Anthony Kennedy blocked a 9th Circuit decision allowing gay marriage in Idaho and Nevada, and then quickly took it back as to Nevada, saying it was a mistake.

Personally, I like Ted Cruz’s approach:

“It is beyond dispute that when the 14th Amendment was adopted 146 years ago, as a necessary post-Civil War era reform, it was not imagined to also mandate same-sex marriage, but that is what the Supreme Court is implying today. The Court is making the preposterous assumption that the People of the United States somehow silently redefined marriage in 1868 when they ratified the 14th Amendment.

“Nothing in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the 14th Amendment or any other constitutional provision authorizes judges to redefine marriage for the Nation. It is for the elected representatives of the People to make the laws of marriage, acting on the basis of their own constitutional authority, and protecting it, if necessary, from usurpation by the courts.

“Marriage is a question for the States. That is why I have introduced legislation, S. 2024, to protect the authority of state legislatures to define marriage. And that is why, when Congress returns to session, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment to prevent the federal government or the courts from attacking or striking down state marriage laws.

Wouldn’t this be something covered by the 10th Amendment?

A little reminder on the 10th Amendment may be in order. I meant to say something about it after I noted that Congress has far outstripped its authority to regulate commerce, and a troll said I was wrong about this, claiming:

Prove it.
Show me the text of the Constitution that establishes that.
Oh right, you can’t. And we have both courts and politicians going back over a century thinking otherwise.

Oh right, I can. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you . . . the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This is why ObamaCare, or a Department of Education, or any of the numerous other things our federal government does on a daily basis, are all unconstitutional.

Now, to circle back to gay marriage, if the 14th Amendment actually addressed gay marriage, it would trump the 10th Amendment, because it comes later. But as Cruz notes, the 14th Amendment had nothing whatever to do with gay marriage. So let’s leave it to the states.

And it would be nice, as I have always said, if the courts in those states would leave it to the people of those states. Attitudes are changing anyway.

Supreme Court Blocks Enforcement of Wisconsin Voter ID Law

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:01 pm

The problem is that we’re very close to the election, and absentee ballots were already sent off that made no mention of the need for voter ID. So, the ridiculous District Court decision won out after all, for this election. The one-paragraph order, and one-paragraph dissent from Alito, Scalia, and Thomas, can be read here.

Meanwhile, some yahoo Obama appointee in Texas has struck down the voter ID law there, calling it a “poll tax.” They’ll be saying that about registration itself soon enough.

Immigrants Sue Feds for Kicking Them Off ObamaCare Plans Without First Sending Notices In Their Native Languages

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:24 pm

Nothing like a good court battle over the awful discrimination of getting notices in the languages that Americans typically use (I speak here, of course, of both English and Spanish):

Two immigration groups have filed legal complaints against the Obama administration for kicking over one hundred thousand Obamacare customers off their insurance plans without sending notices in their native language, Modern Healthcare reports.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Philadelphia’s Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMACC) have both filed complaints with Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. The groups believe the Obama administration’s move to end the health plans of customers who failed to prove their legal immigration or citizenship status violate customers’ rights as immigrants.

Uh-oh! Sounds like someone’s administration is not being multiculturally sensitive! Not naming any names, of course.

Naturally, the whole thing is a travesty to begin with. Whether a few immigrants get tossed off doesn’t matter much, compared to the abomination that ObamaCare is in its entirety.

The Deepening Divide

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

On the heels of the Affleck/Maher debate (or free-for-all) on Islam, I happened to read about Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas, who is currently the subject of a letter from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) requesting that the Justice Dept. investigate her for violating federal racial and religious discrimination laws. What did Morgan do to warrant an investigation? She has made her shooting range a Muslim-free zone:

I understand that not all muslims are terrorists. I also believe there are as many Muslims who do not know what is in their Koran as there are Christians who do not know what is in their Bible.

Since I have no way of discerning which muslims will or will not kill in the name of their religion and the commands in their koran, I choose to err on the side of caution for the safety of my patrons, just as I would anyone else who aligns himself with an organization that commands him to commit crimes against innocent people.

Morgan has complied a list of the reasons that led her to draw this conclusion, including personal incidents at her place of business. Further, she justifies her ban noting 9/11, Boston Marathon bombing, Fort Hood massacre and the beheading in Oklahoma:

This is more than enough loss of life on my home soil at the hands of Muslims to substantiate my position that Muslims can and may follow the directives in their Koran and kill here at home.

To put it bluntly:

“This is not a coffee and donut shop,” Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Ark., wrote in an online post last month. “This is a live fire indoor shooting range … Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me?”

Morgan, who says she has “read and studied” the Koran thoroughly, found “109 verses commanding hate, murder and terror against all human beings who refuse to submit or convert to Islam.”

“People who shoot at my range come from all religious backgrounds,” she wrote. “I do not care about their religious beliefs until or unless those beliefs command them to commit violent crimes against innocent people and I witness those crimes increasing, as we all have lately.”

She also cites the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as having told her:

[I]f we feel ANY reason for concern about selling someone a firearm, even sense that something is not right about an individual, or if we are concerned about that [person’s] mental state, even if they pass a background check, we do not have to sell that person a gun. Two different ATF agents stressed that it is better to err on the side of caution. In other words, a federal agency has given [gun shops] discretion on firearms deals.

CAIR believes that Morgan “appears to be misinterpreting the advice given to her and refusing service to all Muslims, which cannot be a correct interpretation of compliance with federal gun laws and the U.S. Constitution.” They are also concerned about the impact on the Arkansas Muslim community:

Given the recent spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric, including Islamophobic statements by government officials, community leaders, and media outlets, death threats, and other bias incidents targeting Muslims, I urge you to investigate this matter soon. CAIR believes that systematically banning Muslims from a place of business is a violation of federal laws prohibiting racial and religious discrimination and will inevitably result in a hostile environment for ordinary Muslims in Arkansas.

Morgan, for her part, isn’t backing down:

It’s easy for CAIR to bully and threaten average American citizens like me who have a business to lose and a life to destroy. It’s what they do. We are the easy targets. I’ve been a target of Islamist threats for five years … fully expecting at any time one of them to follow through with the threat. I may go down for speaking the truth about Islam … I may lose everything I have, (which isn’t much) but they can’t take my integrity … This is a mountain I’m willing to die on.

On a side note, so far the president has not weighed in on the matter.


“Wait ‘Till It’s Free” — An Excellent Documentary About Health Care

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

A couple of days ago I watched Wait Till It’s Free, an excellent documentary about the state of our health care system. The filmmaker, Colin Gunn, has a clear point of view: he believes in allowing the free market to solve our problems with health care.

The film opens with stories that could be an ad for ObamaCare: interviews with real people who lacked health insurance and had their lives turned upside down by outrageous medical bills. The problem is real, and Gunn humanizes it. You feel for these people who, through no fault of their own, developed a serious medical disorder that ended up with them getting hit with tens or even hundreds of thousands in medical bills.

But Gunn doesn’t accept the lazy line that, because being uninsured in this country sucks, therefore we need ObamaCare — or, worse, a single payer system. Gunn is Scottish, and therefore has the perspective of someone who has been in the UK’s National Health Service. He tells some stories I never heard of before, that directly address the question of whether government-controlled health care leads to rationing and even the dreaded “death panels.”

If I heard the stories about the “Liverpool Care Pathway” when they first emerged, they didn’t make an impression — but they did as related in Gunn’s film. Essentially, a doctor named Patrick Pullicino left his patient one day thinking that he was in poor health from pneumonia and epilepsy, but was in no way terminal. He came back after the weekend to find that the patient had been heavily sedated and was on the “Liverpool Care Pathway” — a program designed to replicate the hospice experience for patients thought to be terminal. The problem was, the patient hadn’t asked for it, his regular doctor had not been consulted . . . and the hospital was getting a financial incentive to put him on it.

Yes: when the doctor looked into it, he found — and this has been confirmed — that hospitals get financial incentives from the British government to put elderly patients on the Pathway:

Hospitals are paid millions to hit targets for the number of patients who die on the Liverpool Care Pathway, the Mail can reveal.

The incentives have been paid to hospitals that ensure a set percentage of patients who die on their wards have been put on the controversial regime.

In some cases, hospitals have been set targets that between a third and two thirds of all the deaths should be on the LCP, which critics say is a way of hastening the deaths of terminally ill patients.

At least £30million in extra money from taxpayers is estimated to have been handed to hospitals over the past three years to achieve these goals.

Pullicino took the patient off the Pathway the second he learned about it, and the patient was treated successfully. Pullicino looked into the program further, and found that 130,000 patients per year are put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. After the scandal went public, a number of families came forward to say that their loved ones had unnecessarily been placed on this Pathway without their knowledge.

Government health care means rationing. The first to go will be the old people. Why do you think one of the ObamaCare architects wrote about the joys of dying at 75?

The film advocates bringing the free market back into the picture, and Gunn talks to doctors who have successfully done so, thus beating the oppressive bureaucracy and skyrocketing costs associated with government-dominated health care. One of the doctors describes the scam that is “uncompensated” health care. What happens is that “non-profit” hospitals jack up their prices to multiples of the actual cost. They give steep discounts — maybe 80% — to insurance companies, with the ultimate cost still being multiples of what they could charge. (The undiscounted costs are what the uninsured suckers interviewed for the film were stuck with.) Now the insurance company can tout the savings to their customers, and when the hospital does “uncompensated” care, it can recoup the hyper-inflated costs from taxpayer programs designed to recompense hospitals for the “uncompensated” care. It’s an instructive analysis that I didn’t know about before. You can read more about it here.

The film also interviews the maddeningly (to the left) pro-free-market John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. Mackey is anti-union, anti-ObamaCare, and pro-free-market. The left can’t stand his views. DRJ spotlighted Mackey’s proposed health care solutions years ago, here. They still make sense today.

My thanks to Colin Gunn for opening my eyes on some of these issues. You can buy his film for twenty bucks here if you’re so inclined.

Oh, and Mr. Gunn? Get your receipts in order. The IRS may come a’callin’ some day soon.

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