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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Is this reality or fantasy?




Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth
Sat Aug 01, 2015 @12:00AM
Fifth Annual Veterans Summer Celebration & Picnic
Sat Aug 08, 2015 @12:00PM - 04:00PM
9TH ANNUAL VENICE COMMUNITY BBQ & POTLUCK PICNIC


You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles


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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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