Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Independent Redistricting Commissions Here to Stay

The Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s Redistricting Commission in a 5-4 decision ruling that the use of an independent commission to redraw congressional districts is constitutional. Thus, the current maps will remain for the 2016 election.

In Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the Court considered whether the commission, created by a ballot initiative, fell under the meaning of the work “legislature” in the Elections Clause of the Constitution. The Elections Clause states “the times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof.”

John Ryder, RNC General Counsel and RNLA Vice Chair, notes,

Ginsberg argues that under the Arizona constitution, Initiative and Referendum allow the Legislative Body and the People to share the legislative power.  However, the dissents argue that “Legislature”, as used in the Constitution, means only the state Legislative body, and that fixed meaning does not change through the subsequent adoption of state constitutions, which embrace the Initiative & Referendum process.

Ryder also points out that

Roberts is more of a textualist in this dissent than he has been previously this term. Scalia simply would have avoided the case as a “political question.”  Thomas makes a nice point about the hypocrisy of the majority opinion, which champions state’s rights, coming from the same Justices who trampled on state’s rights in Obergfell.

Ryder highlights the political consequences of the opinion:

He explains all “independent” commissions are here to stay without challenge, such as California’s, and states “it is always the minority in a state that wants a commission. While a commission may not always draft a plan favorable to the minority, it usually can’t be worse for the minority than a legislatively drawn plan.” Other states who may adopt their own commission are Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Also, concerning the majority’s statement, “The Legislature comprises the referendum and the Governor’s veto . . . ,” Ryder highlights that 

This assertion creates implications for the legislature as the repository of the jurisdiction and the basis for further litigation regarding the role of the governor in the legislative process concerning the context of amendment ratification or presidential elector selection.

Finally, the decision affirms maps drawn in other states through the same process. Other states that use commissions to draw lines with some legislature’s involvement include: Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, and Washington.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Republicans Point to the Role of States Post-SCOTUS Ruling

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges strikes down laws in 14 states that ban same-sex marriage. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion as he did in the last three major gay rights cases.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus stated,

The Supreme Court failed to recognize the states’ constitutional role in setting marriage policy, instead finding a federal role where there is none.  In doing so, they have taken power away from the states and from the people to settle the relevant issues for themselves.

Speaker John Boehner reacts to the ruling,

All human beings are created equal by God and thus deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I am, however, disappointed that the Supreme Court disregarded the democratically-enacted will of millions of Americans by forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage. My views are based on my upbringing and my faith. I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs.

Governor Jeb Bush declares,

Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said. “I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.

Governor Scott Walker calls for a constitutional amendment,

I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges “has been with us for millennia.” In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made…

Senator Marco Rubio shifts the focus an says,

This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years…While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

Senator Lindsey Graham notes,

I am a proud defender of traditional marriage and believe the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and I will respect the Court’s decision.

Governor Bobby Jindal states,

The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Republican Leaders React to King v. Burwell Ruling

The Supreme Court released an opinion on King v. Burwell today that caused Republican leaders to express their disappointment in the legislative-like and politically charged ruling.

As Scalia stated,

…The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress “[a]ll legislative Powers” enumerated in the Constitution. Art. I, §1. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them… Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.

House Speaker John Boehner declares,

ObamaCare is fundamentally broken, increasing health care costs for millions of Americans.  Today’s ruling doesn’t change that fact.  Republicans will continue to listen to American families and work to protect them from the consequences of ObamaCare.  And we will continue our efforts to repeal the law and replace it with patient-centered solutions that meet the needs of seniors, small business owners, and middle-class families.

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers notes,

Today’s Supreme Court decision does not change one undeniable fact: Obamacare was broken yesterday, and it is broken today. While I respect the Court, I fundamentally disagree with its decision – one that sets a precarious precedent and jeopardizes Congress’s authority to write and execute our laws. Despite today’s ruling, Republicans will keep fighting. We will not waver in our fight to champion health care reforms that put patients – not Washington, D.C. bureaucrats – first.

Senator Ted Cruz highlighted the Supreme Court’s politically charged decision as Cruz stated today,

Today’s decision in King v. Burwell is judicial activism, plain and simple. For the second time in just a few years, a handful of unelected judges has rewritten the text of Obamacare in order to impose this failed law on millions of Americans. The first time, the Court ignored federal law and magically transformed a statutory ‘penalty’ into a ‘tax.’ Today, these robed Houdinis transmogrified a ‘federal exchange’ into an exchange ‘established by the State.’

Senator Rand Paul said,

This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head. Obamacare raises taxes, harms patients and doctors, and is the wrong fix for America's health care system.

Senator Marco Rubio tweeted,

I disagree with the Court’s ruling and believe they have once again erred in trying to correct the mistakes made by President Obama... and Congress in forcing ObamaCare on the American people. Despite the Court’s decision, ObamaCare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans. I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it... I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it... We need Consumer Care, not ObamaCare.

Senator Lindsey Graham stated,

This case was brought before the Supreme Court because President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress rammed through their hastily and deeply flawed legislation to create Obamacare, apparently without even proofreading their own bill. The result has been a disaster from day one. Today’s decision only reinforces why we need a president who will bring about real reform that repeals Obamacare and replaces it with a plan that expands consumer choice, increases coverage, delivers better value for the dollar, and gives states more control, without stifling job creation.

Governor Scott Walker said,

Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the administration’s implementation of ObamaCare means Republicans in the House and Senate must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law. From the beginning, it was clear that ObamaCare would fail the American people and this has proven to be true across the country and in Wisconsin.

Governor Jeb Bush noted,

I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare. This fatally-flawed law imposes job-killing mandates, causes spending in Washington to skyrocket by $1.7 trillion, raises taxes by $1 trillion and drives up health care costs. Instead of fixing our health care system, it made the problems worse.

Dr. Ben Carson also tweeted,

Deeply disappointed by #SCOTUS ruling. Fundamental increase of govt control. I'm working to ensure next Pres repeals and replaces #Obamacare… We must #Repeal and replace #Obamacare with sensible consumer empowering solutions that remove govt from the patient/doctor relationship.

Carly Fiorina stated,

It is outrageous that the Supreme Court once again rewrote ObamaCare to save this deeply flawed law despite the plain text and in the face of overwhelming evidence that the law is not working for the majority of Americans. ObamaCare has not lived up to what we were promised. Instead of more affordable care, premiums are rising.

Today's King v. Burwell decision, which protects and expands ObamaCare, is an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny. Our Founding Fathers didn't create a "do-over" provision in our Constitution that allows unelected, Supreme Court justices the power to circumvent Congress and rewrite bad laws. The Supreme Court cannot legislate from the bench, ignore the Constitution, and pass a multi-trillion dollar "fix" to ObamaCare simply because Congress misread what the states would actually do. The architects and authors of ObamaCare were intentional in the way they wrote the law.