On April Fool’ Day of this year I wrote a piece entitled, “The Best Supreme Court Money Can Buy Will Support Corporate Oligarchs on Health Care.” I opined that the fine hands of the corporate power boys would help to mold the final decision in the case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
It’s a complex decision drawing on 70 years of ‘commerce’ precedent. The core question is whether the feds can compel a person to engage in commerce (individual mandates) or simply regulate the mandate after the individual decision has been made. Westlaw assesses the case through the rubric of individual mandates being constitutional or unconstitutional and if it’s the latter, can the mandate decision be separated from the rest of the act, thereby sparing the remainder of ACA?
LA Times Online queried a number of scholars in the legal, academic and journalistic fields and asked for their predictions of the outcome. Most believed the entire act would be upheld, mostly because any court action would be premature, given that ACA doesn’t go into full effect until 2014. The respondents conceded that individual mandates could be struck down, but that the rest of ACA would remain intact. It’s also interesting that overall consensus had not only Justice Kennedy joining the ‘liberal’ majority, but Chief Justice John Roberts as well. There was even some support for Antonin Scalia crossing over. Dare I, a mere mortal, vehemently disagree with so distinguished a panel on their Scalia read?
Bear in mind, these opinions were rendered a couple of weeks prior to the three-day, late March hearings. Hearings that purportedly did not go well for the pro-ACA side. In any event, the decision has been made and only the Justices and in all likelihood Karl Rove and the Koch brothers know the outcome. The rest of us will have to wait until late June according to court-watchers. I think the Supremes will try to tinker with the mandates, but may decide that the Anti-Injunction Act will serve as a moat to even get to the constitutionality question. And there are the politics of the impact of an unpopular decision on the Republican Party in a presidential election year.
In the same April 1st article I referenced Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, wife of Clarence “what the hell does he do up there?” Thomas. I talked a bit about ‘Liberty Central’, an organization founded by Mrs. Thomas that was dedicated to defeating any candidate who favored Obamacare. Just after the passage of ACA, Mrs. Thomas characterized it on the Liberty Central website as unconstitutional. Health care was the core issue of the organization.
I felt strongly that Thomas should have recused himself from the ACA case because of a giant dose of pillow talk from an incredibly strong and high-profile advocate for one side of the question. There was also the minor detail as reported by the Huffington Post of Thomas and fellow justice Scalia being feted at a dinner sponsored by the very law firm that would be opposing the act before the court. And attendance at other anti-ACA organizations by right-wing justices has already been well documented.
But back to Ginni and Liberty Central from which she’s long since cut ties. In a manner of speaking. She’s still hung on to the name ‘Liberty’ and can now interact even more politically with the power boys and girls of congress. The name Liberty Central, has now morphed into Liberty Consulting, a lobbying firm for hire for all manner of right-wing corporate clients, especially those opposing Obamacare. Her departure from Liberty Central may have been prompted by the silly voicemail she left for Anita Hill demanding an apology for Hill’s truthful testimony exposing Clarence’s sexual harassment proclivities when in the company of the opposite sex. A spokesperson for Liberty Central described Ginni’s continued involvement as a ‘distraction’.
So we have a Tea Party propaganda arm, Liberty Central, founded by Ginni, followed by Ginni’s new undertaking, Liberty Consulting, with it’s consummate insider’s access to congressmen and women.
No question, Ginni is a poster child for all of that beltway insiderism the right pretends to abhor. And those morals and ethics the hyper-holy right pretends to worship and live 24/7? Virtually non-existent in the case of Justice Thomas and spouse. In case you missed it, a number of groups, Velvet Revolution, Protect Our Elections, the NY Times and the Huffington Post among others, uncovered and/or reported on some real dirt on Justice Thomas who appears to not only be a sexist pig, but also someone who possesses virtually no ethics. In June of 2011, the story broke that not only should have disqualified Thomas from hearing the Citizens United case, it should have greased a one-way trip out of the Supreme court and directly into the nearest lower court with Thomas as defendant.
During the Thomas confirmation hearings of 1991, the ultra-right outfit for which the Citizens United case was named, raised $100,000 for the purchase of ads savaging senators who hinted they might vote against the confirmation. Citizens United was later handsomely rewarded for their pro-Thomas efforts with his vote that determined the final outcome in their favor. Let’s see, a bunch of extremists spends a hundred grand to get you OK’d for the Supreme Court. You later vote in their favor in a landmark case named after this bunch. And recusal was not an option?
The perjury stems from Thomas’ failure to disclose years of his wife’s handsome income from the Heritage Foundation which, when counting Liberty Central pay, neared $1 million. “O, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive.” Don’t change what appear to be misspellings; the lines are exactly as written. That wonderfully applicable line should be credited to Sir Walter Scott (not the bard) from the 1808 epic (meaning loooong) poem, Marmion; Canto 6, stanza 17, to save you a LOT of time.
Thomas said his lying bullshit was merely a ‘misunderstanding’ of filing instructions. Instructions that read, “Are you married? If married, does your spouse have any non-investment income?” He was allowed to amend 20 years of deceptions that should have removed him from the bench.
I’ll close with one more Marmion line for supporters of Justice and Mrs. Thomas. “Ah! Dastard fool, to reason lost!”