Patterico's Pontifications


Halbig, King, and Federalist No. 78

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:33 pm

In considering the King v. Burwell case that will be argued next month, I had occasion to read once again Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78:

Though I trust the friends of the proposed Constitution will never concur with its enemies, in questioning that fundamental principle of republican government, which admits the right of the people to alter or abolish the established Constitution, whenever they find it inconsistent with their happiness, yet it is not to be inferred from this principle, that the representatives of the people, whenever a momentary inclination happens to lay hold of a majority of their constituents, incompatible with the provisions in the existing Constitution, would, on that account, be justifiable in a violation of those provisions; or that the courts would be under a greater obligation to connive at infractions in this shape, than when they had proceeded wholly from the cabals of the representative body. Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act. But it is easy to see, that it would require an uncommon portion of fortitude in the judges to do their duty as faithful guardians of the Constitution, where legislative invasions of it had been instigated by the major voice of the community.

In other words: even if you happen to know that the people want to deviate from the Constitution, one cannot sanction such a deviation until it is made official, through an amendment.

This applies to statutes as well. I don’t care if you presume or even know the will of the people. Until you change the actual law, the written word governs.

But yes: this does require “an uncommon portion of fortitude in the judges to do their duty.”

Call me naive, but I believe that this time, they will. Or 5 of them, anyway — which is enough.

Roy Harper Acquitted of Sexual Assault of Teenager; Still Facing More Counts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 pm

I just stumbled across this news from today:

Folk-rock musician Roy Harper has been cleared of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl in the 1980s.

Mr Harper, 73, of Rossmore, near Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland, was unanimously acquitted by a jury at Worcester Crown Court.

Jurors are still considering verdicts on six other sexual offences alleged to have been committed against an 11-year-old girl in Herefordshire in the 1970s.

I really like Roy Harper. As I told you in 2010:

Several years ago, Roy came out to Los Angeles and performed several nights at Largo on Fairfax. Around the same time he played McCabe’s in Santa Monica. I saw every show.

So, I don’t want any of this to be true.

That said, it is what it is. We’ll see what happens.

While we wait, let’s listen to one of his best:

Erik Wemple Pulverizes Brian Williams

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:22 pm

[guest post by JVW, who is not adverse to using a click-bait headline]

Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple just put up a post in which he takes Brian Williams and NBC News to task for last night’s revelation regarding Williams’ tall tales. Here are the money paragraphs:

Why did it take pushback from “some brave men and women in the air crews,” however? Do these folks have to fight our wars and fact-check NBC News?

A production crew accompanied Williams on the helicopter outing. The Erik Wemple Blog has asked NBC News who and how many people were on that crew. But where have they been as Williams has gone about misremembering the episode in media appearances in recent years?

Anyone want to place bets on whether Williams is in the anchor chair come March? How about come September (after a “decent” interlude where it doesn’t look like he was forced to quit)?

[edited to fix misspellings]


CNN: Why, Those Jeb Bush Remarks About DREAMers Have Just SHOCKED Conservatives!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 am

CNN: Past Bush immigration remarks shock conservatives.

Shock idiots, more like.

Raise your hand if you were shocked.

I see no hands.

Linda Greenhouse: Still a Partisan Hack

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

Linda Greenhouse has a typically hackish piece about Halbig and King v. Burwell titled The Supreme Court at Stake with the ever-so-alarming deck headline: “Overturning Obamacare Would Change the Nature of the Supreme Court.” It’s the typical self-important finger-wagging lecture you have come to expect from people who are at, or once were at, the New York Times: Justices, you don’t dare rule this way, because if you do, we will say Very Bad Things about you . . . and you won’t survive that, let me tell you!

When the Supreme Court reverses King — which I believe it will, by a 5-4 vote — that act will not signify that the Court is “overturning ObamaCare” . . . and Greenhouse knows it. What’s more, remember how, before the Halbig decision even came down, I told you that the panel was going to rule against Obama, and it would be a very big deal? (You do remember that, right?) Well, I also told you in that very same post that there would thereafter be tremendous political pressure on Republicans for a fix — not just in the House, but in the states as well (something Greenhouse doesn’t address):

The most important point I heard Griffith make during the whole argument was this: the states can still set up exchanges after this ruling. The states will have to explain to their citizens that the subsidies they thought they were going to get, they actually won’t get — only because the state declined to establish an exchange. That will put tremendous pressure, not just on Congress to amend the statute (which likely won’t happen), but also on individual states to establish their own exchanges (which probably will happen in several of the 34 states that have to date failed to establish an exchange).

(Emphasis in original.)

The Brian Beutlers and Greg Sargents of the world eventually woke up to that fact — and after the decision in June, I predict that a number of pundits (including Greenhouse) will repeat it endlessly, as if it were some sort of revelation that they just came up with. But I have said it all along. And in June, I’ll be reminding you of that fact once again.

Anyway. Just a reminder that Linda Greenhouse is still a hack. Nothing much to see here; move along.

Senior Democrats: The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:04 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s amazing how much power Benjamin Netanyahu has over Democrats: Crying the sky is falling, the sky is falling, Senior Democrats are fretting about whether they should attend his speech before Congress next month. It’s an amusing but not surprising conundrum. After the outrage over Boehner extending the invitation and Netanyahu’s subsequent acceptance, it was inevitable that Democrats would find themselves in a pickle. You can fairly hear the frantic wheels collectively churning: If we don’t attend the speech, it will look like we have turned our backs on Israel and certainly look like we’re still pouting along with you-know-who… But if we do attend, then it will look like we aren’t standing with the president, and then we will all be in trouble. Of course, the president, who is still nursing a grudge against Boehner for having the audacity to find his backbone, will not be meeting with Netanyahu. And Joe Biden is aimlessly wandering around the Observatory waiting for a decision regarding his attendance. Yes, the Democrats are in a pickle because of what one man’s presence and what he might say:

High-ranking Democrats are weighing a boycott of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next month, complaining that it’s a politicized event meant to embarrass President Obama and boost Netanyahu back home before a March 17 election.

Senators are railing against both Boehner and Netanyahu’s upcoming visit even as they try to plan their next move with regard to his scheduled speech:

The group, including long-standing backers of Israel such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), is outraged that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) maneuvered to invite Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress without consulting Obama, White House officials or Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

“My concern is that it’s obviously political, and it uses the backdrop of the United States House of Representatives, and the Senate and the House, two weeks before a political campaign, and violates all the protocol that’s always existed in terms of working this out with the president,” Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in Senate leadership, said that many rank-and-file Democrats want to skip the address to show their support for Obama and to oppose what they consider a blatantly political move by Republicans and Netanyahu. Durbin said Democrats are discussing how they would behave during the address so that they would not be viewed by an international audience as overtly supporting Netanyahu’s election or undercutting talks with Iran.

“They’ve been talking to me about what is the right way to react to what could turn out to be a divisive event,” Durbin said, indicating that even as a member of leadership he has not decided whether to attend. “I haven’t made up my mind.”

Of course, Durbin doesn’t see a boycott of the event as a divisive action….

Further, Feinstein may be outraged that Netanyahu is coming a month before Israel’s election, but why didn’t it bother her when President Obama went to India to meet with political leaders there during a heated 10 days prior to the Delhi election? And, what about President Clinton hosting Shimon Peres at the White House just one month before the election he faced with… Benjamin Netanyahu? Where was the outrage from Democrats then? The company line from the White House steering clear of elections in other countries, especially Israel, is weak soup at best.

Of course, with the sensitive negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program currently taking place and Obama desperate for a deal – any deal – and Republicans wanting stronger sanctions, the last thing Democrats need is for Netanyahu to upset the fragile balancing act. Heaven forbid he describe the country that wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth as something less than honorable in the negotiations or calls them flat-out liars. Further, given the massacre in France, the recent beheadings and the fate of the Jordanian pilot, there is also the risk that Netanyahu will discuss the need to directly address the issue of terrorism and the need to Kill The Enemy. And worst of all, what if he uses the “I” word to describe said terrorists! And you think the Democrats are stressed now


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