Obama administration

Obama Finally Cuts Regulations . . . On Government

There's little debate that one of the many reasons for the country's stagnant economy and high, chronic unemployment is the massive, relentless and pervasive regulations coming from the Obama administration that affect every aspect of our lives. They are many. They get at every aspect of business and job creation. Worse, they just keep coming at you, non-stop, every time you turn on the news or pick up a paper. Whether it's Obamacare's all encompassing regulations of the medical and insurance industries, and our personal lives, and purchasing and medical decisions, or in EPA regulations destroying jobs in Virginia's coal country, increasing our dependence on foreign energy, President Obama has his finger — make that his thumb — on everything American. The constant pressure on industry and individuals is crushing the standard of living of middle class families and less well off families of every race and creed, in every region of the country.

Then, yesterday, I heard on the radio that the president was announcing a major new initiative to cut "government red tape." I thought that maybe he had come to his senses or at least some desperation had set in and he knew he had to relax some of his ideological rigidity. The realist in me figured it was window dressing, but even then there's usually a bone in there somewhere.

NOT!

The big announcement was that POTUS was cutting regulations on . . . ready? . . . GOVERNMENT! Yes! Government is the one that's been overtaxed and over supervised by government. It is doing so to build more roads more quickly. You know, the roads it doesn't want us driving on because of fossil fuel emissions, the roads that tear up the environment to construct, the roads that were "shovel ready" and were going to create millions of jobs. I thought we'd all be in light rail Nirvana by now. After all, wasn't he supposed to heal the seas and air and  . . .

But the president apparently has figured out why those jobs weren't created — the government is regulating itself too much. Too bad he can't understand that if it's bad for government, it's bad for the private sector, too. Here's from the official White House announcement:

Today, the Administration is releasing a comprehensive plan to accelerate and expand permitting reform government-wide. The Administration’s plan adopts the best practices learned from the initial focus projects and calls on federal agencies to apply those practices going forward. By turning best practice into common practice, we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal permitting and review of all major infrastructure projects.

The "reforms" include: "Improving Interagency Coordination to Increase Decision Making Speed," "Driving Accountability and Transparency through the Online Permitting Dashboard," and "Launching an Interagency Permitting Center to Institutionalize Reform." Did someone say "transparency"? From the same people who brought us Obamacare? Too good to be true.

While this announcement generated little commentary, it is very instructive of the liberal mindset. Government is, and always will be not only the best instrument to accomplish every goal, it is the only instrument. When it fails, it is only because it isn't tweaked just right. In order to make those adjustments, only the elite, the people who believe in government, are qualified to make them. That pretty much rules out conservative thought and policies.

Get conservatives elected, then, you say? Understood. But the more the Left gets America hooked on government for its problems' solutions, the more government is not only the best answer (bad enough) but the only answer, the more people will cast their lot with the Left. Then, as we've seen now, even conservatives get relegated from true reform, to managing the messy maze of vast and counterproductive government.

 

 

Breaking News: White House Announces New Way To Sign Up For Obamacare!

After three years of preparation and 653 million taxpayer dollars outsourced to a Canadian company, the Obama administration couldn't design a web site to accommodate the few Americans who tried to enroll in its so-called healthcare exchange — let's hear the president blame this on his predecessor! — and, by the way, it knew of the SNAFUs and still proceeded with its launch. So, it found an alternative method, a better way . . . . (H/T JD Mullane, of the Bucks County Courieer Times, via Twitter.)

Welcome To Our (The Real) World, Big Labor: Even Unions Threaten Dems Over Obamacare!

You know a policy is horrible when even your staunchest ally threatens a revolt over it, but that's the case now with some major labor unions and Democrats over Obamacare. Welcome to our world — that is to say, the Real Word — Mr. Labor Union Boss. As it turns out, there are several problems with Obamacare union leaders are just now realizing, despite warnings for years. Nothing like an actual hit in the wallet — not liberal Utopian theory — to gobsmack you in the head and kick you in the rear simultaneously. First, union leaders are seeing the real possibility of up to 20 million of their members losing their employer provided health insurance plans.

Second, smaller companies, that partner with unions to provide health insurance already more expensive than traditional employer-only provided insurance, are seeing their premiums balloon because of Obamacare mandates on insurance policies. Unions fear these plans will have to be dropped and force employees into the infamous state exchanges. However, while Obamacare provides for subsidies to some to buy into a plan offered through an exchange, it does not provide such subsidies for union members. (In a case of be care for which you ask, maybe the unions should've read the bill. In a delightful irony, an institution of the left now complains of "unintended consequences.")

The third union concern is, ironically, survival. If members can access health insurance without the union, then why join? It seems the Obama administration has a knack for angering its friends as well as its "enemies."

As reported by the AP via Breitbart.com:

Some labor unions that enthusiastically backed President Barack Obama's health care overhaul are now frustrated and angry, fearful that it will jeopardize benefits for millions of their members.

Union leaders warn that unless the problem is fixed, there could be consequences for Democrats facing re-election next year.

"It makes an untruth out of what the president said — that if you like your insurance, you could keep it," said Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. "That is not going to be true for millions of workers now." ...

But Obama's Affordable Care Act has added to that cost — for the unions' and other plans — by requiring health plans to cover dependents up to age 26, eliminate annual or lifetime coverage limits and extend coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

"We're concerned that employers will be increasingly tempted to drop coverage through our plans and let our members fend for themselves on the health exchanges," said David Treanor, director of health care initiatives at the Operating Engineers union.

Workers seeking coverage in the state-based marketplaces, known as exchanges, can qualify for subsidies, determined by a sliding scale based on income. By contrast, the new law does not allow workers in the union plans to receive similar subsidies.

Bob Laszewski, a health care industry consultant, said the real fear among unions is that "a lot of these labor contracts are very expensive, and now employers are going to have an alternative to very expensive labor health benefits."

"If the workers can get benefits that are as good through Obamacare in the exchanges, then why do you need the union?" Laszewski said. "In my mind, what the unions are fearing is that workers for the first time can get very good health benefits for a subsidized cost someplace other than the employer."

Now, the chief of the firefighters union says "anxiety" over the law has transformed into "anger" that could spill into the 2014 elections. The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers last month called for "repeal or complete reform" of Obamacare.

The only thing worse than liberalism is incompetent liberalism. In its rush to ram through Obamacare, congressional liberals and the president didn't even look after their friends. No doubt, now, they will look to a fix that they know will be blocked by congressional conservatives and use that for political purposes to placate their union allies. Here's hoping (but not expecting) the unions, fooled once, won't get fooled again.

Parents Rights Bill Clear Both Chambers, Goes To Governor To Be Signed Into Law

Yesterday, after weeks of numerous twists and turns and more edits and amendments than the Declaration of Independence, a simple two sentence bill guaranteeing parental rights cleared both chambers of the General Assembly by large majorities and are on their way to Governor Bob McDonnell to sign into law. Starting July 1, Virginia law will recognize that parents have a "fundamental right" to make "decisions concerning the upbringing, education and care" of their children. Short, simple and powerful.

The legislation, HB 1642 and SB 908, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, James City County) and Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17, Spotsylvania), respectively, elevates the common law understanding of parental rights in place in Virginia for 400 years to that of a fundamental right. What’s in a word? Plenty. While no rights are absolute, courts give special deference to fundamental rights, requiring the state’s "compelling interest" to intervene.

These bills also codify the essence of the L.F. v. Breit Virginia Supreme Court decision in January that upheld parental rights. That’s especially important since 24 other state courts have reduced parental rights to "ordinary" — a standard more easily trumped by government authorities that attempt to interpose themselves in family decisions.

Even as the bills were being debated in recent days, evidence of the need for protecting parental rights came to light when we learned that the Obama administration is arguing in a federal court that parents do not have a fundamental right to home school their children (see TheGospelCoalition.org)!

We thank Delegate Pogge and Senator Reeves for their patience and skillful navigation through the often Byzantine legislative process, while negotiating over several amendments but not giving ground on the goal of reasserting the foundational principle parents by nature have to raise their children. We also appreciate the effort of the Home School Legal Defense Association who brought this bill to the General Assembly and worked tirelessly over the past several weeks to see it to completion.

Thank you for contacting your senators and delegates each time when called upon these last six weeks. In the end, many delegates and senators responded to the common sense of these bills as reflected in their constituents' beliefs.

Click here to thank Delegate Pogge and click here to thank Senator Reeves.

"Compromise"

Language is of utter importance in life. It is how we convey to family, friends, co-workers and everyone else everything from the mundane but necessary to entertaining stories to important tasks at work to essential words of life and love to those special to us. Words do mean things. It is no different in a political and cultural context. How words are conveyed motivate, inspire and convince minds to points of view. But it's a lot different if words that have been understood to mean a thing certain, that have a standard essence can be distorted are redefined. It changes the entire debate, which is exactly what the Left wants, because it can't get what it wants in a straightforward debate. It recognizes that America is a center-right nation and the only way to advance its agenda is to transform the meanings of well understood and traditional terms.

"Marriage" is the most recent and prominent example. It is desperately trying to change what historically and culturally is universally recognized as a union between one man and one woman to devalue the foundation of civilization itself. But not only is the redefinition of words necessary for the adoption of the Left's ideas, it is the precursor to enforcing its intolerance.

It isn't only words of immense cultural importance, such as "Marriage." No word is too unimportant for the Left to redefine — it also has it in for such seemingly innocuous words such "compromise." That is the word the Obama administration used when it said it was changing its authoritarian Obamacare mandate that religious institutions provide contraception and abortion insurance coverage for their employees in contravention of their religious beliefs and First Amendment rights, to a new authoritarian mandate, with different wording, that left the slimmest of exceptions to avoid providing for such insurance.

The "compromise" stated that not institutions with a religious-only mission could avoid the mandate — presumably, the churches themselves. But the federal government would be the arbiter of that — religion defined by the government. (Separation of church and state, anyone? The hypocritical Left.) However, institutions administered by churches, such as hospitals and schools, would not be allowed to exempt themselves from the mandate.

Some "compromise." First, there is no compromise. The policy is virtually the same. Secondly, to compromise, it takes more than one party. But the Catholic Church, whose Bishops by and large endorsed Obamacare with what it thought was conscience clause and Hyde Amendment-type protections, and other concerned organizations, nor their Congressional allies, were brought in by the White House for discussions. It was a "compromise" with itself to provide misleading cover for the policy aims it knows are unacceptable.

That's why yesterday, 43 Catholic colleges and organizations, some of which already said they will cease providing health insurance or shut down the vital services they provide, filed a lawsuit against the administration (see Jill Stanek's in-depth report here). (By the way, some of these institutions previously announced they will end health care coverage because they can't afford the exorbitant rate increases affected by Obamacare. Obamacare — if it doesn't get you by increased costs, it will get you by authoritarian mandate.)

There's more information about the lawsuit here, from The Virginia Catholic Conference and here, from the Catholic News Service.

Religious liberty has never been a favorite of the Left. How can it be? The Church stands against moral relativism, the basis for modern liberalism. There are no standards or absolutes according the Left. That is, until, it redefines "standards" and "absolutes."

March Madness

It seems that the Bracketologist in Chief, in between attending NCAA basketball tournament games and denying the religious liberty of Christian churches and institutions by forcing them to pay for abortions and contraception, took time recently to edit more than his tournament bracket sheet. (See him on ESPN making his March Madness tournament picks.)

It's not only religious institutions. The Obama administration is whipping the states into his ideological conformity through fiat and declaration, as well. It is more than enough for nine state attorneys general, including Virginia's Ken Cuccinelli, who recently released a report on the thousands of new regulatory burdens by the administration that do not meet constitutional muster and/or that are outright violations of law. Said Attorney General Cuccinelli at a news conference last week in Washington:

The release of this report — this laundry list of transgressions — confirms that this Administration repeatedly shows disdain for states, for federal laws it finds inconvenient, the Constitution, the courts, and the American people. This has to stop.

This is not about policy. ... (It is about) this administration's disregard for the law. (President Obama and his deputies are) the greatest set of lawbreakers that have run the federal government in our lifetimes. ...

The report has gained national attention. Paul Bedard has more in his "Washington Secrets" column in the Washington Examiner, here, and Neil Munro at The Daily Caller covers it, here.

It's that time of year, again. Time to fill out your brackets or edit your constitution, whichever is giving you more trouble.

Party Down For Free Birth Control With Planned Parenthood!

Now that "free" (i.e., government mandated) birth control will be available through health care coverage from insurance companies, as per the Obama administration through the authoritarian provisions of ObamaCare, Planned Parenthood decided to throw down with a . . . a . . . a . . . well, we're not exactly sure what this is . . . except bizarre and a natural match for the brand that is Planned Parenthood (see Thomas Peters at LiveAction's blog).

A dancing birth control device and a spoof of a popular movie: A strange video for a peculiar bunch. Planned Parenthood celebrates publicly financed "free" birth control.

Pro-Abortion Forces Using More Scare Tactics As Abortion Center Regs Get Closer

The offseason of any professional sports league often is referred to as the "silly season" because there is nothing in the way of competition to report, so reporters, fans, talking heads and online pundits feed their hunger on rumors and speculation on free-agent signings, potential trades and coach firings. Well, there's nothing else to do and you have to keep interest up, right? It's sort of the same thing in politics — when the General Assembly isn't in session (okay, it actually still is in session and Governor Bob McDonnell is none too pleased, but that's another subject) there are some who jusssssst can't resist. Planned Parenthood is one such group. It just has to stir the pot. Maybe it's the summer heat. Maybe it's a way to shake loose some dollars from donors. Who knows? But now that abortion centers finally will have some oversight, the world is coming to an end. It's the same old scare tactics.

The lovely irony that it doesn't admit to, though, is that for years pro-life groups worked for legislation that would have required only three simple requirements for abortion centers: an annual inspection, a defibrillator and a license — bush league stuff in the progressives' world of all-seeing, all-doing government. But they never went in for these reasonable regs, which are less than puppy mills require, playing the "extreme" card and claiming these simple common sense ideas would shut down abortion centers. The only thing extreme was Planned Parenthood's language. It showed the hypocrisy of the pro-abortion movement. So rote is the Planned Parenthood reaction that one year during committee debate, its lobbyist went through an entire laundry list of things that were in the bill and the dastardly things they would do except that none of those assumed regulations were in it. Read the bill! But by all means, do nothing to protect women's health, never mind the unborn.

Which brings us to yesterday. Planned Parenthood now rails against unknown proposed regulations that are months away from being promulgated, much less implemented (see transcript and video from NBC12's Ryan Nobles). It goes without saying, however, that the world is crashing down around us (economically, sure, but it's so passe to count job losses) and the mean social conservatives are imposing their religion on us. Are you scared yet? Of course, South Carolina has very strict abortion center regulations (which have been ruled constitutional) and that state seems to function quite well (except when the Obama administration tries to stop thousands of jobs from coming there to appease union bosses, see NRTWC Blog), but again, jobs are irrelevant these days, see The Hill). None of that matters. None of it! Because, it's the silly season.

 

 

ObamaCare Explained

A joke going around the Internet is more accurate than most highbrow, elitist, know-better-than-the-rest-of-us explanations, rationalizations and politicalizations of the (twice unconstitutionally-ruled) government takeover of healthcare:

Let's get this straight . . .

We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't, which purportedly covers at least ten million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, rammed through by a Speaker who didn't know what was in it, passed by a Congress that didn't read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury secretary who didn't pay his taxes, for which we'll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke! What the heck could possibly go wrong?

You have to admit . . . it's a lot clearer than those charts the Obama administration and Congressional libs rolled out to explain it.

 

Health Care Lawsuit Appeal Hearing Tomorrow, Complete Coverage Here!

Tomorrow morning at 9:30, in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Obama administration's appeal of Judge Henry Hudson's ruling that the federal health care law is unconstitutional will be heard. As we have been at every step of the way, from the motion to dismiss to Judge Hudson's decision, we will be there to cover it and will have video of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's entire post hearing news conference. We are the only Internet site has posted the entirety of each of his ObamaCare news conferences. Be sure to check back here for coverage of this history-making lawsuit which will play a significant role in the direction of our country.

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Adopts Abstinence Education On 21-20 Vote!

It was a pro-life, pro-family sweep today at the reconvened "Veto" session of the General Assembly tonight. In addition to a dramatic abortion limiting 21-20 vote within the last hour, the Virginia Senate earlier voted by the same margin to concur with Governor McDonnell and the House of Delegates to restore abstinence education funding that former Governor Tim Kaine cut out of the state budget. As with the vote to ban taxpayer dollars from use in elective abortions in the ObamaCare state run health insurance exchanges, all 18 Republicans were joined by pro-life Democrats Phillip Puckett and Chuck Colgan to get to the magic number of 20 votes and a tie in the chamber allowing pro-life Lt. Governor Bill Bolling to break the tie in favor of the amendment. The funding, match money corresponding to a federal grant, was initially presented in the House budget but, in the final days of session, Senate conferees stripped it out in budget negotiations. But today, the House reiterated its position by a 69-29 vote, which sent it to the Senate. Senator Colgan (D-29, Manassas), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced the amendment and urged its passage. Pro-abortion Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31, Arlington) rebutted the argument, parroting Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League, which claim abstinence education is ineffective (despite an Obama administration study that says otherwise).

The Family Foundation thanks Governor McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bolling, and the members of the House and Senate who ensured the success of these two important pieces of legislation that soon will become law, as well as all committed pro-life, pro-family Virginians who answered our call to contact their state legislators this week. More to come tomorrow about today's exciting developments.

Support Abstinence Education Funding In Virginia Budget

In addition to Governor Bob McDonnell's amendment to HB 2434, which would restrict Virginia's health insurance exchanges under ObamaCare from covering abortion services, Governor McDonnell also added an amendment to reinsert abstinence funding in the Virginia budget. This funding was included in the House of Delegates budget, but budget conferees left it out of the final budget which the General Assembly approved and sent to the governor. Such funding was a regular line item in the budget until then-Governor Tim Kaine abruptly stripped it out in November 2007 as a political IOU to Planned Parenthood. Tomorrow, the General Assembly reconvenes for its annual "Veto Session," when it reconsiders gubernatorial vetoes and amendments to bills, and will have the opportunity to include this provision back into the budget. While it is likely the House will accept this amendment, the Senate will be an uphill climb. Please contact your senator today and urge support for Governor McDonnell’s abstinence funding amendment to the budget.

Planned Parenthood, and its ally NARAL, have made it their national agenda to stop abstinence education. Both groups consistently assail abstinence programs as being ineffective. One legislator, who works closely with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, said, "The reality is with teenagers, their hormones come into play, and abstinence-only doesn't always work." Work for who? The more teens postpone sexual activity, the less profit the abortion industry makes.

The pro-abortion lobby also asserts that "abstinence education doesn’t work," "parents don't support abstinence education," and "it's naive to think that teenagers can be abstinent." None of those arguments, though, are correct according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, an October 2010 study paid for by the federal Department of Heath and Human Services found that abstinence education is highly effective and it is widely supported by parents and teenagers.

The HHS survey found that 70 percent of parents agreed that it is "against [their] values for [their] adolescents to have sexual intercourse before marriage" and that "having sexual intercourse is something only married people should do." Adolescent beliefs, according to the survey, were similar. In fact, there are federal abstinence education funds that Governor McDonnell has applied for that Mr. Kaine refused. So, even the Obama administration realizes it works.

Clearly, abstinence education is not only effective, but it is widely supported among both parents and teens. So, please contact your senator today and urge support of the governor's amendment to reinstate abstinence funding in the budget.

Click here if you know your senator and need his or her phone number.

Click here if you don't know who your senator is.

Governor McDonnell Gives Republican Response Today: Targets ObamaCare

Governor Bob McDonnell today gave the national Republican response to the weekly presidential radio/Internet address. After thanking our military personnel for its bravery in Libya and humanitarian assistance in Japan, as well as its ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, he went after Washington for its unsustainable spending and debt, and the increasing costs of Medicaid, which is rapidly accounting for as much as a fifth to a quarter of states' budgets. He then cited Virginia as an example of balancing budgets through spending reductions. He also keenly noted that while Washington liberals were in a tremendous hurry to push through ObamaCare (it became law one year ago this week), which will add more to the national debt and state obligations, it is dragging its feet in determining its legality by blocking, stalling and delaying the legal process, costing us yet more millions of tax dollars. Governor McDonnell concluded by enumerating proposals by Republican governors that actually would reform health care without the new mammoth and oppressive bureaucracy that is ObamaCare.

"It's also unconstitutional. ... But now, the very same administration that was in such a rush to pass the bill is in no hurry to find out if it's legal. ... Shockingly, the Obama administration opposes an expedited appeal to the Supreme Court."

Okay. Maybe not so shockingly.

Healthcare Lawsuit Update From Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Yesterday, we published the official statement of Governor Bob McDonnell regarding the one year anniversary of the federal healthcare law. In it, he mentions that more than half the nation's governors support Virginia's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case directly (although the 20-plus states that won in Florida Federal District Court are, for now, content to resume battle with the feds in Appeals Court). Today, we post a mildly abbreviated version of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's update of the case's status, as sent to supporters earlier today.

Virginia is on a 'dual track' in the case at the moment. We have a motion to expedite the case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court and at the same time we are briefing the case for presentation to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — the appellate court that covers Virginia.

We have asked the Supreme Court to expedite the case under its Rule 11. They only do this for one or two cases per decade, so don't bet a lot of money on this one; however, the nature and cost of the healthcare law is the type that they have expedited in the past, so we'll see what they do.

We submitted the final brief on expediting this week. The Supreme Court will consider our request on April 15th. We could see a decision by the Supreme Court as soon as April 18th. ...

Under Rule 11 of the Supreme Court, Virginia has requested that the Supreme Court pull the case out of the Court of Appeals and hear it directly. This could cut almost a year off of the case, resulting in ENORMOUS savings to both state governments and the private sector if the law is found unconstitutional and stricken. And why go through all the hoops of getting ready to implement a law that may be stricken anyway? Oh, I'm sorry, there I go thinking logically again . . . naturally the Obama administration is opposing this effort . . . I know you're shocked.

You might ask yourself, "Won't the Supreme Court want to hear from Appellate Court judges?" And the answer is "maybe." Remember this case is pure legal argument. There are no documents or other discovery to consider, no trial witnesses, in fact there was no trial at all. So, we are re-arguing the same pure legal arguments from the district court again in the Court of Appeals. Also, five different judges have addressed the merits of the case, with more to come. So, there are going to be an unusual number of judges' opinions to look at — should the Supremes so choose — without even getting to the appeals courts.

Thus far, we are the only state requesting that the Supreme Court exercise its discretion to expedite the case. Whether or not the Supreme Court decides to expedite the case is entirely within their discretion, so it's hard to tell what may happen. ...

At the same time, we are about to submit our first of two briefs in the appellate court. In their opening brief, the feds made essentially the same arguments that they made in the district court. And while we adjust our presentation to include elements of other cases, our arguments will be the same as in the district court.

We will argue our case on May 10th before a three judge panel of the 4th Circuit (assuming the Supreme Court does NOT expedite the case, thereby taking it out of the appeals court). We will not know who those three judges are until the day of the argument.

Following our hearing, it would then be reasonable to look for a ruling around mid-July. I expect each side to react differently depending on who wins.

If Virginia wins in the 4th Circuit, I expect the federal government to ask the full 4th Circuit to rehear the case en banc (i.e., with all 14 judges of the 4th Circuit participating). This would be consistent with their efforts to drag the case out, as that may add several more months in the 4th Circuit, at which point, whichever side loses en banc will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the feds win in the 4th Circuit, I expect that we will immediately appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Once we get to the Supreme Court, I would expect to brief and argue the case during the next term of the Court. The next term of the Court will run from the beginning of October 2011 through the end of June 2012.

I would then expect that a final decision in our case will most likely be made (best guess) toward the end of June 2012. I think it will be very hard for the Obama administration to drag the case beyond June of 2012.

Obviously, that is very interesting timing in light of the Presidential race. And it further baffles me as to why the President would want to drag the case as close to Election Day as possible. ...

Happy Birthday ObamaCare, ObamaCare Lawsuit!

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the Obamacare bill becoming the Obamacare law, as President Barack Obama added his signature to the legislation. It also marks the one year anniversary of Virginia's lawsuit contesting the bill's constitutionality (and defending the Virginia Health Freedom Act), as lawyers from the Office of Attorney General moments after the signing ceremony memorably walked the petition a few blocks north in downtown Richmond to the new Federal District Courthouse that now dominates Broad Street. Ever since, the issue has dominated the news. Virginia won rounds one (beating back the feds' motion to dismiss) and two (the ruling that the law is unconstitutional). Now the Obama Justice Department is appealing to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which maintains a modest residence on Main Street in a building the Confederacy used as its administrative offices, just next door to the OAG. The appeal will be heard in May. More symbolism: Richmond's unfancied VCU soundly defeated Washington's big, bad, sophisticated Georgetown in the NCAA Basketball Tournament last weekend, the second of its three upset wins last week. A sign that Richmond does things better than D.C.? That the third time also will be a charm? That the righteous and smaller underdog, the scoffed at state capital will defeat the unjust behemoth federal city? We'll see.

In the meantime, below is a statement issued today by Governor Bob McDonnell on the twin anniversaries:

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s signing of the hastily passed 2,700 page federal healthcare bill that creates an unprecedented intrusion on America’s strong free enterprise system and places enormous unfunded mandates on the states. It was also one year ago that Virginia became the first state to file suit against the federal government over the constitutionality of this law. Today, lawmakers, state leaders, and our citizens remain as concerned about the provisions of the law as they were on the day the bill was signed.

It is estimated that implementation of the federal healthcare bill will cost Virginia $2 billion between now and 2022. While we all agree that we must make healthcare more affordable, accessible and accountable, it cannot occur in a manner that infringes on our constitutional rights, makes it harder for private-sector employers to hire new workers, creates major new government bureaucracies, raises taxes and places unfunded mandates on states that we simply cannot afford. We need to improve healthcare in our nation with common sense, free market solutions, not a federal government controlled plan.

A majority of governors across the county strongly support our call for an expedited review by the Supreme Court of the pending health care lawsuits. This will permit us to obtain certainty and finality on the law promptly, and the Obama Administration’s opposition to this request is extremely disappointing and not in the best interest of the American people. As we move past this one year anniversary, we must get clarity on a law that will have a huge impact on states, business and individuals in the years ahead, should it be implemented. We need to improve our healthcare system, but this is the wrong way to do it. It must be replaced with improvements to our excellent medical care system in a way that improves access and reduces costs, while not stifling innovation and creating unsustainable burdens on the states.

Think The Governor Is Maybe Just A Little Perturbed By The Obama Administration?

Do you think Governor Bob McDonnell is perhaps just slightly perturbed at the Obama administration's Department of Justice today? Here's the entirety of his statement, released in the last hour, opposing DOJ's brief opposing an expedited appeal of the health care lawsuit directly to the U.S. Supreme Court (and skip over the two U.S. Courts of Appeals that will hear the feds' appeals in the Virginia and Florida cases). It's terse and Hh doesn't sound too happy:

I am extremely disappointed by the Obama Administration’s brief opposing Virginia’s request for an expedited review of pending federal healthcare lawsuits. The request for expedited review is one strongly supported by the majority of our nation’s governors. It is a common sense request to provide critically needed certainty and finality to this ongoing issue. The petition to oppose expedited review is detrimental to the federal government, the states, employers and families. The Administration’s opposition to this request is irresponsible and indefensible. A litigation process potentially taking years to resolve is bad for America, and will potentially cost the states tens of millions of dollars. To say to medical providers, business people, insurers, governors and ordinary citizens that costly litigation and delay is preferred over prompt finality is an affront to the common sense of the American people. Everyone knows that the case involves clear issues of constitutional law, which will be settled only in the U.S. Supreme Court. After a huge Democratic party rush to pass the bill on Christmas Eve, there now appears to be no sense of urgency from the Obama Administration to find out if the measure is constitutional. It is our continued hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider and grant expedited review as permitted by the rules of court for cases of such historic national importance.

With more than half the states now in court seeking relief from a law that two federal judges have ruled unconstitutional, and governors of said states asking for an expedited appeal because no new arguments or evidence will be submitted to the Appeals Courts, one might think the Obama administration might be willing to cooperate for its own good, if not the good of the people it represents. No doubt it wants to stall and keep the case out of the ultimate arbiters' hands until after the 2012 election so as to not have to run on a single accomplishment that ultimately may be struck down as illegal. Of course, it's only the DOJ's brief. The Supreme Court may still decide to take the case straightaway, but the odds of such a rare occurrence are enhanced if both parties agree to the motion.

Fourth Circuit Agrees To Take Obamacare Appeal Early

In a bit of breaking news, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to an expedited hearing of the federal government's appeal of Virginia's legal challenge to the federal health care law. Here's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's news release:

RICHMOND (January 26, 2011) — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today granted a joint motion from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the federal government to expedite the hearing of Virginia’s suit against the federal health care law. The case is tentatively scheduled for hearing sometime between May 10 and 13. This replaces a briefing order previously issued by the court.

"Right now, there is a great deal of uncertainty for states, individuals, and businesses. Major decisions are already being made and money is already being spent to comply with a law that may not be around two years from now. We need this suit resolved as quickly as possible, for the good of our citizens and our economy," said Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli is still weighing whether or not to request that the U.S. Supreme Court take the case directly and skip the Fourth Circuit altogether.

The court ordered the following briefing schedule:

Opening briefs due February 28

Response briefs due March 28

Reply briefs due April 11

More information on the health care lawsuit can be found at the attorney general's health care archive, here. Virginia won round one late last year when Federal Judge Henry Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia declared the statute unconstitutional. The Obama administration's appeal is of that decision.

Exceeding Commerce Clause Powers

Although it is the first of many court decisions he faces, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli this week became the first person to successfully challenge President Obama's federal health insurance scheme. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson ruled a key component of the plan — the "individual mandate" — unconstitutional. In his opinion, Judge Hudson concluded:

Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter a stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I.

He added that the individual mandate "is neither within the letter nor the spirit of the U.S. Constitution." That letter meaning this: "Regulate" during the days of the constitution's adoption meant, "to make regular." Far from taking over entire industries, the federal government instead was to ensure that states didn't discriminate against businesses from one state to the advantage of one from another.

The Obama administration argued that the constitution's Commerce Clause gives the government broad authority to order Americans to purchase health insurance because not doing so adversely affects commerce. Of course, this unprecedented attempt to force Americans to purchase a product was predicated on labeling inactivity (not buying insurance) "interstate commerce." Stranger than fiction, we know.

While the Obama administration will appeal Monday's decision to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Attorney General Cuccinelli would prefer an expedited appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was in talks with the Department of Justice about a joint motion to that affect, but it now appears DOJ wants no part of it (better to delay until more and more parts of the law go into affect). However, Mr. Cuccinelli told Fox New Channel's Greta Van Susteren Monday night he may go forward on that by himself and also may appeal Judge Hudson's refusal to place an injunction on the health care law (see video). He has 30 days from last Monday to make that appeal. Regardless of how or when, ultimately Obamacare's fate will be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

While there are dozens of reasons to oppose Obamacare (see Obamacare411), the provision that requires otherwise free Americans to purchase health insurance or face penalties is the most egregious — but it is also the financial linchpin of the entire law. Without the mandate, much of the rest of the law is untenable.

Earlier this year, The Family Foundation supported the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, the basis for the Commonwealth's lawsuit against the federal government. It protects Virginia citizens from being compelled to buy insurance against their will. We applaud the Attorney General and his staff for their commitment to protecting the freedom of Virginians. For a great perspective on the hearing and Judge Hudson's ruling, view Mr. Cuccinelli's post-decision news conference (click here). We are the only news or Internet site that recorded and posted the entire news conference.

Judge On Embryonic Stem Cell Research: “Parade Of Horribles” Untrue

Today, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia lifted a ban on federal taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research pending further review (FoxNews.com). The ban was in effect from an injunction issued a couple of weeks ago by a federal district court judge in advance of his final (official) ruling in the case. However, the Appeals Court prohibited the injunction, saying it must accompany an official ruling. When he issues his ruling, expected in the very near future, and if he decides that funding embryonic stem cell research violates federal law, he then can re-issue the injunction.     Supporters of this failed research, which destroys human embryos, have been up in arms since the injunction — which blocks the new federal funding approved by the Obama administration — was issued by the judge, U.S. Chief District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District of Columbia (Washington Post). Because of the injunction, the National Institutes of Health suspended consideration of new grants for the research.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Judge Lamberth's . . .

opinion noted that "ESC research necessarily depends upon the destruction of a human embryo," and the plain language of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, passed by Congress every year since 1996, says that no federal funds shall be used for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed."

Separately, when ruling on an appeal to stay his injunction (before the appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals), Judge Lamberth correctly noted that his decision was pretty simple to come by, especially since Congress was explicit in passing the law:

In this Court's view, a stay [of the injunction] would flout the will of Congress, as this Court understands what Congress has enacted in the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. Congress remains perfectly free to amend or revise the statute. This Court is not free to do so. ... defendants are incorrect about much of their "parade of horribles" that will supposedly result from this Court's preliminary injunction.

This new legal battle has ripped open the debate over taxpayer funding of research that is unethical, illegal and a complete failure. Rhetoric from researchers who benefit financially from the grants, as well as the politicians and organizations bent on making sure human embryos are not recognized as having any intrinsic value, continues unchanged. They again claim that the use of embryonic stem cells is the only hope for those who suffer from disease and paint those opposed to embryonic stem cell research as "anti-science."

The truth is, as usual, much different (see StemCellResearchFacts.org). Those who oppose continued funding of failed ESC research instead point to the multitude of successful treatments and cures from adult stem cell research. Dozens of effective and lifesaving treatments are not simply a pipe dream but a reality with adult stem cells which can be manipulated to act in much the same way as embryonic stem cells. If we want to be pro-science and pro-hope for sufferers of disease, shouldn't we instead fund and support the science that actually is working and actually produces cures? (Even Dr. Oz agrees!)

That's the message The Family Foundation takes to the General Assembly every year. If Virginia's taxpayers are going to be forced to pay for research, it should be research that is not only ethical but also successful. While much of the rest of the world has rejected embryonic stem cell research as a hopeless waste of money, in the United States our politicians continue to try to raid ever diminishing public coffers to prop up failure. It's another bailout that simply must stop.

What Planet Is She On?

President Obama's top economic adviser, Christina Romer, said in her final speech in that capacity yesterday that "there is widespread agreement that the act (so-called stimulus bill) is broadly on track." Another Orwellian attempt to make true what is not by saying it is despite the instinctive knowledge by almost all not in denial that it is false. Truly galling, especially to the millions suffering from unemployment or underemployment. They are the ones from personal experience, not the ivory tower and its theoretical exercises — from whence Dr. Romer came and to where she returns (UC-Berkeley) — who truly know how off track the president's policies are. Here's how Americans For Prosperity President Tim Phillips expressed his anger in an e-mail today (the president in recent weeks has singled out AFP with vicious attacks): 

Today, the news media reported on the final speech of President Obama's outgoing economic advisor. What Ms. Romer said helps explain why our economy is so bad. Defending the failed $814 billion stimulus boondoggle, she actually said, "there is widespread agreement that the act (Stimulus bill) is broadly on track."

What planet is this lady on? Jobless claims are through the roof, unemployment is still almost 10% with 500,000 initial jobless claims, the stock market is plunging again, existing home sales fell 27% in August and new home sales fell 12% (always a key economic indicator), automobile sales fell 25% in August (we knew government run "cash for clunkers" was not genuine prosperity). I could go on.

Is the President's top economist leaving to go back to business in the private sector? Uh, no. She's going back to her academic perch at the University of California-Berkley. At least we just figured out the planet.

Reminds me of a famous quote that goes something like this: There are no experts in government. If there were, the private sector would've hired them by now. Ms. Romer and the Keystone Cops who comprise the Obama administration — most of whom have never worked in the private sector (Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog) — are, sadly,  fitting that bill.