Far be it from me to question Justice Breyer’s competence

March 29, 2012

But I get the impression he doesn’t do his research:

I was listening to the tape-delayed Obamacare oral arguments in the car Tuesday when I first heard Justice Breyer’s Commerce Clause diatribe, and I meant to post something when I got home. But after making dinner and putting the kids to bed, I forgot.

Until today, that is, when I read Jeffrey Anderson’s account of “Breyer’s Missteps.” I think Jeffrey is far too generous to Breyer. Here is a fuller transcript of Breyer’s outburst…

(…)

Breyer alludes to four Supreme Court cases. And he manages to botch the key facts of the case in every single one of them. Let’s start at the top:

“That’s the national bank, which was created out of nothing to create other commerce out of nothing.”

This is a reference to McCulloch v. Maryland, in which the Court upheld Congress’ ability to create the Second Bank of the United States. But, as Paul Clement pointed out in oral argument, Chief Justice John Marshall found that Congress’ power to create the bank came from the Necessary and Proper Clause, not the Commerce Clause as Breyer suggests. Furthermore, Congress did not compel individuals to deposit money in the bank, only that Congress could create it in order to better manage its financial affairs.

Be sure to read the rest. If that’s the quality of argument coming from the progressive side of the bench, the ObamaCare law is not long for this world.

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A Kinsleyan gaffe is where a politician accidentally tells the truth

March 29, 2012

And Joe Biden, bless his heart, just did it again. He admits the administration’s goal is a global minimum tax.

Now why would the Obama administration want this? Simple. With a minimum tax, revenue-greedy governments would not have to fear tax competition from jurisdictions with lower rates, thus eliminating any pressure for them to control wasteful spending and lower rates to attract businesses and the jobs they create, nor would they have to fear businesses skedaddling for more favorable climes.

You can see how this would be much more appealing to progressive statists than the alternative: lowering rates and giving up the control they give to government officials.

Interestingly, while the administration had rejected the idea of a global taxing power (Why give anyone else a cut of the loot?), Biden’s statement seems to say they’d be open to something along the lines of the OECD’s proposal for “tax harmonization,” essentially a “tax cartel” that fixes the market at the expense of private companies and individuals.

Good thing Joe is here to make sure we know the truth.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Governor Nikki Haley facing indictment?

March 29, 2012

There’s some disturbing news out of South Carolina today: rumors that Governor Nikki Haley, considered a rising star in the Republican Party and a possible vice-presidential nominee, may be facing indictment for tax fraud charges:

A highly ranked federal official has also privately confirmed rumblings of an investigation and possible indictment of the governor, though the official was not aware of the specific timeframe.

Yesterday, Palmetto Public Record exclusively reported that the Internal Revenue Service has been investigating since March of 2011 the Sikh worship center run by Gov. Haley’s father. At least five lawsuits have been filed against the Sikh Society of South Carolina since 2010, alleging that the group bilked contractors out of nearly $130,000 for the construction of a new temple.

The article also points out that Haley was the bookkeeper for the temple until sometime in 2003, and the investigation is centering on what happened to the money she was supposed to be tracking.

I have no comment on the case, itself; after all, we know almost no facts. The Palmetto Public Record promises a more detailed investigative article later.

But, the potential politics of this are very interesting and, well, some could easily “question the timing.”

Look at the background: Haley came out of nowhere as an obscure state representative whose main issue was government transparency to win first the Republican nomination and then the general election in 2010. She had won the endorsements of Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, the latter of which provided a rocket-like boost to her campaign. She was also the victim of a savage smear campaign (accusations of an affair, among other things) by her Republican rivals that garnered her great sympathy around the country. (In fact, the antics of some factions of the SC Republican Party had the rest of the nation asking “What’s wrong with you people?”)

Since her election, Haley’s star within South Carolina seems to have dimmed somewhat, (1) and I know some conservatives nationally were letdown by her endorsement of Mitt Romney. But, still, she remains a popular figure with many and is thought of as a possible running-mate for Governor Romney.

And here’s where my cynicism-alarm starts going off.

MSM propaganda and the advantages of incumbency aside, Barack Obama has a tough road to reelection. And he does have a history of using “hardball means” to knock opponents out of contention. Ask all those he got disqualified from the ballot during his state senate run in Illinois, including his mentor, Alice Palmer. And ask yourself (or maybe David Axelrod) how Jack Ryan’s supposedly sealed divorce records got released during the 2004 US senate race, derailing his campaign and leaving Obama to face… Alan Keyes.

If that’s dismissible as ancient history, consider recent years in which Obama allies have gone after his vocal opponents: the campaign in Alaska against Sarah Palin in 2009, then thought to be his likely rival in 2012, leading her to resign the governor’s office (I’m sure this had at least moral support from Camp Obama); the recent coordinated-by-MMFA campaign to silence Rush Limbaugh (with Palin (again) and Sean Hannity in the crosshairs); or the on-and-off White House war on FOX News in general.

“But that’s different,” you say. “Those all were just dirty politics; this is a possible criminal matter.” Well, it’s not as if presidents haven’t abused the powers of the IRS in the past, and Obama has brought the subject up before

So, doesn’t it seem just a bit convenient that, just as Romney starts to look like he really is going to be the nominee, one of his likely VP picks suddenly faces potential legal troubles? Possibly take a card out of his deck (2), maybe even stain him a bit with her troubles? Keep in mind, Obama earned his chops in the fetid swamp of Illinois politics, the state which Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin called the “Land of Coincidence.” (See also)

Well, maybe there really is a case against Governor Haley. Maybe she was doing something hinky with the books and should be prosecuted. Maybe I should be wearing a tinfoil hat. Maybe this is all another in a long line of Obama-related coincidences.

Maybe. But I question the timing.

via JCinQC

Footnote:
(1)  While I don’t follow the state’s politics much, I’ve had the impression some who supported her are disappointed. Can any SCans reading this confirm or deny this?
(2) I mean, would you want Biden debating someone as telegenic and, well, intelligent as Haley?

Afterthought, 3/30/12: Something else for the cynical — Haley was a loud voice criticizing the NLRB for its role in teh controversy over Boeing’s decision to build a new plant in right-to-work South Carolina. A bit of payback? (via)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)