Law & Order
A few minutes ago, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling authored by Chief Justice John Roberts upholding the most controversial portion of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law–an individual mandate requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance or face fines by 2014. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was the president’s signature achievement and top priority in the first part of his term, was signed into law on March 2010. It was intended to provide coverage for 50 million uninsured Americans by allowing anyone under 26 to stay on their parents’ policy, forcing states to provide Medicaid to those under 65 whose incomes are up to 133 percent of the poverty level, barring insurance companies from denying coverage or charging premiums to people with pre-existing conditions and mandating most uninsured Americans purchase insurance or face fines by 2014.
Though the Court upheld the individual mandate, they did limit the scope of the provisions forcing states to provide Medicaid. According to SCOTUSBlog, the Court ruled the individual mandate is constitutional because it can simply be read as the imposition of a tax.
The individual mandate has been the most controversial element of the law and led to 26 states challenging its constitutionality in the courts. Opponents argue the federal government cannot require to people to purchase insurance, while supporters say it is necessary regulation of commerce.
In advance of the ruling, Mitt Romney’s campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul sent out a “campaign update” to reporters this morning summarizing the candidate’s position on the law.
Law & Order
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued a statement reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down three of the four provisions of the state’s controversial immigration law, SB1070, which she signed into law in 2010. Ms. Brewer said she’s glad the Court upheld the provision she called “the heart” of the law, which allows police officers to check someone’s immigration status in the course of investigating other crimes as long as there is “reasonable suspicion” that person is here illegally.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens,” Ms. Brewer said. “After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”
Other supporters of the law, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Congressman Steve King, also responded to today’s Supreme Court ruling.
Law & Order
Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-3 mostly in favor of the federal government and struck down portions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB1070. Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney quickly released statements reacting to the ruling.
Yesterday President Barack Obama said it would be an act of “judicial activism” for the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act after it was passed by Congress.
These comments did not sit well with two of the candidates for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.
“President Obama has declared war on the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Queens/Brooklyn Congressman Bob Turner. “The problem lies not in the Supreme Court, but in Mr. Obama’s blind overreach into areas of our lives he has no Constitutional power to enter. This President ran for office as an ostensible ‘uniter’, but time and again he has shown a zeal to divide us for his own political benefit. The painstaking work of the Founding Fathers is being violated by Mr. Obama’s Administration. This presidency cannot end soon enough.”
Law & Order
Several New York City Council members want to wade into the battle over Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, SB1070. Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Daniel Dromm plan to introduce a bill today urging the Supreme Court to uphold a federal injunction against the law. SB1070, which was originally signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010, mandates immigrants in Arizona to carry their federal registration documents at all times and requires police officers to detain those they suspect are here without authorization and verify their immigration status “when practicable.” Three months after SB1070 was passed, the Department of Justice successfully sued in federal court to stop enforcement of the law before it took effect. Arizona appealed the injunction, and on December 12, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case.
“New York is a town founded by immigrants, built by immigrants and today nearly 40% of our population are immigrants,” Councilman Rodriguez said in a statement announcing the bill. ”So when we in the Council see other parts of the country stripping immigrants of their rights, there is no question that we have to act. As the Supreme Court gets ready to decide on the Justice Deparment’s challenge to SB1070, we want them to know that New York City stands with the immigrants of Arizona in saying that this law has got to go.”
Governor Cuomo’s trip to the North Country included coffee runs and a Price Chopper shopping spree.
Former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich predicts an Obama/Clinton ticket in ’12.
Protesters are setting up camp outside Mayor Bloomberg’s house (again).
During an interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register today, Texas Governor Rick Perry was unable to recall the name of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and incorrectly stated the number of judges in the nation’s highest court. Governor Perry’s pair of Supreme slipups came as he gave his opinions on the separation of church and state.
Governor Cuomo said he might make New York State lawmakers cut their winter vacations short to deal with the projected budget shortfall.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver lost a battle with a pothole.
Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg teamed up to support same sex marriage.
Should Kirsten Gillibrand’s low approval rating make her sweat?
Fox News cameras caught Herman Cain making a joke about Anita Hill, the attorney who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991. Mr. Cain is currently facing a litany of similar accusations of inappropriate conduct.