Wed05272015

Last updateMon, 25 May 2015 2pm

LOS ANGELES Wednesday, May 27th 2015 8:46

WAGE RAISE RAGE

  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Roberts Court Is Born

SUPREMES AND HEALTHCARE - Today's Supreme Court is often referred to as Anthony Kennedy's Court. Although Kennedy is the swing justice who usually casts the deciding vote in close cases, the landmark ruling this week in the healthcare cases clearly marks the maturation of the "Roberts Court." Chief Justice John Roberts was the surprising swing vote in today's Obamacare decision. Although he agreed with the four conservative justices, including Kennedy, that the individual mandate was not a regulation of interstate commerce, he voted with the Court's moderates to hold that it was justified as a tax.

Because people who don't obtain insurance pay a tax to the IRS, the mandate was within Congress's power to raise taxes for the general welfare. As a result, the Affordable Care Act was upheld.

With this deft ruling, Roberts avoided what was certain to be a cascade of criticism of the high court. No Supreme Court has struck down a president's signature piece of legislation in over 75 years. Had Obamacare been voided, it would have inevitably led to charges of aggressive judicial activism. Roberts peered over the abyss and decided he didn't want to go there.

Roberts' decision was consistent with his confirmation hearings pledge to respect the co-equal branches of government, push for consensus, and reach narrow rulings designed to build broad coalitions on the Court. He promised to respect precedent. His jurisprudence, he said, would be marked by "modesty and humility" and protection of the precious institutional legitimacy of the Court.

Today, the institutional legitimacy of the Court was buttressed. President Obama wasn't the only winner at the Supreme Court today. So was the Supreme Court itself.

Roberts' humble move was a surprise only because his oft-stated concern for protecting the Court by avoiding bold rulings doesn't always hold. Despite today's decision, the Roberts Court is hardly conservative in the sense of cautious or avoiding bold rulings. In contrast to an older conservatism that emphasized judicial restraint, the Roberts Court is not hesitant to forcefully asserts its power.

Since John Roberts became Chief Justice in 2005, the Court has issued one landmark ruling after another. The Roberts Court gave us Citizens United, which struck down longstanding limits on corporate political spending.

This Court also allowed new restrictions on women's right to choose; became the first Supreme Court in American history to strike down a gun control law as a violation of the Second Amendment; effectively outlawed voluntary efforts by public schools to racially integrate; and curtailed the reach of environmental protections.

In many of these decisions, the Roberts Court overturned or ignored precedent, including Rehnquist Court decisions less than a decade old. Prior to Citizens United, the Supreme Court had explicitly held in two cases that corporate political expenditures could be limited -- the most recent of which was handed down in 2003.

Six years before the Roberts Court upheld  the federal ban on "partial birth" abortion, the Rehnquist Court, which wasn't known for its liberal leanings, had overturned a nearly identical law.

Of course, the Roberts Court isn't the first to overturn precedents and issue major rulings. Yet this Court has been uniquely willing to do so by sharply divided 5-4 majorities. The Warren Court's Brown decision was famously 9-0. New York Times v. Sullivan, which freed up the media to discuss public figures, was decided by the same margin. Gideon v. Wainwright, on the constitutional right to counsel, and Loving v. Virginia, invaliding bans on interracial marriage, were also unanimous. Even Roe v. Wade was decided by an overwhelming 7-2 vote.

Perhaps as a result of the Roberts' Court's controversial 5-4 rulings, public opinion of the Court is at an historic low. Even after controversial rulings like Roe and Bush v. Gore, the Court still maintained high levels of public respect.

But unlike the Warren Court, whose landmark rulings, though classified as "liberal," didn't match up with the platform of the Democratic Party -- southern Democrats were the biggest opponents of Brown -- its hard to ignore the usual fit between the Roberts Court's rulings and the Republican agenda.

Maybe that's why recent polls show the Court's public approval rating has dropped from 80 percent in the 1990s to only 44 percent today. Three in four Americans now believe the justices' votes are based on politics. Nothing could be worse for the Court's institutional legitimacy.

Roberts may have voted to save healthcare because he wants to preserve the Court's capital to take on other big issues heading toward the Court. Legal experts predict the Roberts Court will invalidate a key provision of one of the most important laws in American history, the Voting Rights Act, next term.

And the Court is set to end affirmative action in public education. Both policies have been centerpieces of America's commitment to civil rights for over 40 years.

The Roberts Court has only just begun.

(Adam Winkler is Professor of Law at UCLA and an expert on constitutional law. His book Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, will be published by W. W. Norton in September 2011.  This column was posted most recently at huffingtonpost.com)
-cw

Tags: Adam Winkler, Supreme Court, healthcare, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, John Roberts, Justice Roberts, Chief Justice






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 52
Pub: June 29, 2012

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