supreme court

Please Plan To Participate In The National Day Of Prayer On May 2

Our nation is in a crucial time and in serious need of prayer. We face grave challenges on every front and most of all, the spiritual front. We're sure you sense the peril that we, as a country, are in as never before. Even as our nation deals with the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Boston, the deep ideological divisions in our nation remain. Faith-based institutions are being forced to fund abortions, our national debt continues to skyrocket while cities are going bankrupt, pornography is running rampant on the Internet and we are potentially one Supreme Court vote away from making same-sex "marriage" the law of the land. But we are not as those who have no hope. Our hope is in the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.

This is a reminder that the National Day of Prayer is coming up on Thursday, May 2. It's a day when Americans will gather together to pray that God will grant us mercy and send us the help we need to turn our nation back to Him. The theme this year is "Pray for America." The Scripture that that the organizers have chosen to highlight this theme is Matthew 12:21:

In His name the nations will put their hope.

While we will continue to work hard to ensure that the Virginia General Assembly passes laws that protect life, marriage and our religious liberty in the commonwealth, we are convinced that only through the Lord will our state and nation be saved. Please consider finding a local gathering and participating this year. For your convenience, click here to visit the National Day of Prayer official website. There, you can find locations of announced events as well as other useful information. Click on the "Events" tab to find a prayer gathering near you.

The National Day of Prayer is an important time for us to stop and recognize our need for the Lord as a nation. We all know what a critical time this is. Let us not neglect the One who can deliver us from the dangers that await us if we fail to act.

Majority Leader Cantor, Lt. Governor Bolling Issue Statements On SCOTUS Obamacare Decision

Two more conservative Virginia leaders have issued statements on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision.  U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor issued the following, which also announces a House floor vote on the law's repeal the week on July 9. Lt. Governor Bill Bolling expressed his disappointment and called on a redoubling of efforts to change the policy through the ballot box this November. Majority Leader Eric Cantor:

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare is a crushing blow to patients throughout the country. Obamacare has failed to keep the President's basic promise of allowing those who like their health care to keep it, while increasing costs and reducing access to quality care for patients. In this tough economy, jobs and economic growth are on the minds of most Americans, but Obamacare has increased uncertainty for small businessmen and women and forced them to put their hiring decisions on hold.

During the week of July 9th, the House will once again repeal Obamacare, clearing the way for patient-centered reforms that lower costs and increase choice. We support an approach that offers simpler, more affordable and more accessible health care that allows people to keep the health care that they like.

The Court’s decision brings into focus the choice the American people have about the direction of our country. The President and his party believe in massive government intrusions that increase costs and take decisions away from patients. In contrast, Republicans believe in patient-centered, affordable care where health care decisions are made by patients, their families and their doctors, not by the federal government.

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling:

I am very disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of Obamacare. It was my belief that the President and Congress overstepped their constitutional authority in requiring American citizens to purchase a product like health insurance, and I am disappointed that the Supreme Court reached a different conclusion. However, the court’s decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is bad policy. Obamacare is too costly and we cannot afford it. In addition, Obamacare increases the cost of doing business and makes it harder for American businesses to hire workers. Finally, Obamacare limits American’s health care choices and intrudes on the doctor-patient relationship.

Now, it is up to the American people to stop Obamacare. We can do that in November by electing Mitt Romney President of the United States, electing George Allen to the United States Senate, and reelecting our Republican majority in the House of Representatives. President Romney and a Republican Congress will act to repeal Obamacare and replace it with more responsible, market based health care reforms.

 

Breaking: McDonnell, Cuccinelli React To SCOTUS Obamacare Decision

UPDATE (1:15 p.m.):  Just returned from Attorney General Cuccinelli's news conference and he's a bit less pessimistic than his initial statement (see below). In fact, he said, if he was told at the beginning of this legal process that this would be the decision, that he would take it. He said the first priority of his lawsuit was to limit the Congress' power under the commerce clause, which the court did with a 5-4 vote. It also limited the federal government's power to coerce states into new programs (in this case, the expansion of Medicaid) by a 7-2 vote. What was held in place was a policy decision that he said should always be left with the legislature, and he's glad to have an election over what is now a tax on the middle class, which the president said he would never do. He said this is the first halt of federal power over states since the New Deal and 100 years from now, under this decision, those restraints on the federal government will remain in place. Still, we know the AG can't be happy. Upholding the power to coerce through a tax (especially a tax that is not a tax) is still the federal government forcing individuals into doing (buying) something, whereas the taxing authority was always meant to be limited to the raising of revenue for the functions of government. What good is protecting the commerce clause when Congress can get around it by taxing inactivity? What's the difference? The entire idea was that the commerce clause was being used in an unprecedented way to force people into an activity. We're finding it difficult to understand any significant difference. Regarding the rumors that Chief Justice John Roberts felt pressure or an obligation to preserve the court from a politically divisive decision, that's why they have lifetime appointments, and there have been numerous decisions more "divisive" than this issue has been and the court has survived quite well.

Here are the official statements issued within the last several minutes by Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on the just announced Obamacare ruling by the United States Supreme Court.

Governor Bob McDonnell:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is extremely disappointing for Virginia and for America. The PPACA will create a costly and cumbersome system that will impair our country’s ability to recover from these challenging economic times, infringes on our citizen’s liberties, will harm small businesses, and will impose dramatic unfunded mandates on Virginia and all states. Simply put, this is a blow to freedom. America needs market-based solutions that give patients more choice, not less.

Virginia will evaluate the steps necessary to comply with the law. While we have awaited this decision, planners have been working to identify necessary resources and issues to be addressed to ensure Virginia implements this flawed law in the most effective and least costly and burdensome way possible. In coming months, Virginia’s healthcare leaders will work to develop the best possible system to meet the healthcare needs of our citizens. It remains my hope that we will elect a new President and Senate so that the existing law will be repealed and states will be given the freedom they need to implement healthcare solutions that work best for their citizens. We will evaluate the opinion in detail in the days ahead and determine what policies are proper for the people of Virginia.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli:

This is a dark day for the American people, the Constitution, and the rule of law. This is a dark day for American liberty. 

This decision goes against the very principle that America has a federal government of limited powers; a principle that the Founding Fathers clearly wrote into the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. The Constitution was meant to restrict the power of government precisely for the purpose of protecting your liberty and mine from the overreaching hand of the federal government.

This unprecedented decision says that Congress has the authority to force citizens to buy private goods or face fines - a power it has never had in American history, and a power King George III and Parliament didn't have over us when we were mere subjects of Great Britain. Since the federal government itself could never articulate to the court a constitutional limit to this power, Congress has gained an unlimited power to force citizens to buy anything.

I am disappointed with the court's ruling and with the unprecedented attack on American liberty the president and the previous Congress have created with this law.

We are currently reading the decision and I will have more comment at the news conference at noon.

Let's Have A Referenda On Ten Commandments

Clearly, the Ten Commandments bother people. There are some that Americans seem to be ok with, others not so much. In Giles County, where the Ten Commandments were displayed in the "public" schools for a time, the debate over God's Top 10 is raging once again. Heaven forbid our kids be influenced by "though shalt not steal." The Supreme Court has split the baby, so to speak, on the issue. According to the anointed nine, if the motive for the display of the Commandments (on "public property") is secular, it's constitutional. If, however, the motive is "religious," cue the wreaking ball. It is up to judges to determine the motive. (Clearly that's what the Founders were shooting for).

Enter federal Judge Michael Urbanski. He's trying to get to the bottom of Giles County's motive, and has indicated that he's very, very worried that the display of the Ten Commandments might be motivated by, gasp, religion. So, he's come up with a unique suggestion.

Just display the six "non-religious" Commandments. Seriously.

If only Moses had thought of that first, imagine the trouble we could have avoided.

But then again, we're not doing so well with the "bottom six" are we? It seems that lots of Americans are pretty offended by the whole "don't commit adultery" thing. So here's my suggestion:

Let's put the Ten Commandments to a vote. Put all ten on the ballot, but you only get to keep five. The top five vote-getters stay, the bottom five, well, too bad. After all God, we know better than You about these things. Times have changed. We're, well, progressive. Your silly rules are just so oppressive.

Besides, we don't want some activist federal judge to decide which of the Commandments are still useful. That simply goes too far. We're Americans. We live in a democracy. Let's do what we do — put it to a vote.

May the best five win!

Hey, it's no worse an idea than Judge Urbanski's.

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.

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.

Update: Senate Passes Property Rights Constitutional Amendment!

A couple of hours ago, the Virginia Senate passed by a 35-5 vote, a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would protect private property rights and curb the government's power of eminent domain. Don't be deceived by the vote. Often, at the General Assembly, legislation with the largest vote margins were the most difficult to pass, with twists and turns, near-deaths, deaths and resurrections. All could be said of this resolution. While it does not have the iron clad language on just compensation as it did coming out of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, ironically, it still goes beyond the House version and does guarantee just compensation for "lost profits" and "lost access" — but it leaves it to the General Assembly to legislate those definitions (which means more work to be done next session!).

Now the resolution goes back to the House of Delegates since it was changed from its version. Acceptance of the Senate's amendments is almost a certainty, with House members openly eager and excited about the opportunity to vote on something given little chance in the hostile Senate when session started, and stronger than when it left the House! (No need to risk going to a conference committee, especially after the Senate has killed attempts for years, including earlier this year.) Just goes to show . . . anything can happen at the General Assembly and nothing should surprise anyone.

Opponents will say they got what they wanted out of it but the truth is they wanted none of this. They lost. Liberty and limited government won today! Never underestimate the influence of an election year. This played out similarly to the eminent domain reform statute the last time the Senate was up for election, in 2007.

Next steps: The resolution must be passed again by the new General Assembly next session — with no changes. That done, it will go to Virginians to ratify at the polls in November 2012.

More to come later. However, we cannot go any further without a bit of thanks — a bit, only, because it is impossible to adequately thank him — to the resolution's patron, Delegate Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth). Without his determination, legislative skills and persuasive public oratory (we will have video later), we would very likely have to wait another three years (for a total of nine) without the possibility of property rights protection since the infamous and deplorable Supreme Court Kelo decision.

Breaking: Cuccinelli Formally Seeks Expedited Health Care Hearing To Supreme Court

Within the last hour, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced that he has formally petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for an expedited hearing on Virginia's challenge to the new federal health care law. This is the news release from his office:

RICHMOND (February 3, 2011) — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that Virginia will file a petition to ask the United States Supreme Court to take Virginia's health care lawsuit now, as opposed to waiting for the case to first be decided by the court of appeals. The Petition for Certiorari Before Judgment in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Commonwealth v. Sebelius will be filed pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules of the United States Supreme Court.

"Given the uncertainty caused by the divergent rulings of the various district courts on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we feel that it is necessary to seek resolution of this issue as quickly as possible,” said Cuccinelli. “Currently, state governments and private businesses are being forced to expend enormous amounts of resources to prepare to implement a law that, in the end, may be declared unconstitutional. Regardless of whether you believe the law is constitutional or not, we should all agree that a prompt resolution of this issue is in everyone’s best interest."

Normally, appeals of decisions of United States district courts are first heard in the federal courts of appeals. But Rule 11 provides that an immediate review in the U.S. Supreme Court is permissible "upon a showing that the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in" the Supreme Court.

Cuccinelli noted, "Rule 11 is the exception to the general rule, but this case and the other cases challenging the constitutionality of PPACA are truly exceptional in their own right. There are a number of suits pending throughout the country challenging the constitutionality of PPACA. Presently, 28 states have filed suits challenging the authority of Congress to enact this law. That, in and of itself, is exceptional and makes the cases excellent candidates for immediate review in the Supreme Court.

"We did not make this decision lightly. Given his unique responsibilities to fund and implement PPACA as Governor of Virginia, Governor McDonnell is particularly concerned about the possibility of wasting precious and strained taxpayer dollars preparing for a law that may well be struck down. Recognizing the tremendous amount of time and resources that are and will be expended to implement a law that two federal judges have ruled contains unconstitutional provisions, Lieutenant Governor Bolling and Speaker Howell have joined the governor in requesting that my office seek expedited review. Additionally, I have been encouraged to attempt to expedite this case by Democrats as well as Republicans in Virginia's General Assembly, and of course, the bipartisan passage of Virginia's Health Care Freedom Act last year was the very first step in this entire process here in the commonwealth.

"Despite the fact that the Department of Justice has not agreed to join in a Rule 11 motion, in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to set an expedited schedule for its appeal of Virginia's district court victory, the Justice Department stated, 'The constitutionality of [PPACA] has public policy implications of the highest magnitude.' In other words, according to the Justice Department itself, a case cannot have public policy implications that are more important than this case. We agree and feel that reinforces the fitting nature of our request for immediate review in the Supreme Court," Cuccinelli said.

The Petition for Certiorari and Appendix are currently being assembled by the legal printer for the attorney general and will be filed with the court as soon as is practicable.

Obamacare Unconstitutional! AG Cuccinelli's Follow-Up From Court's Decision

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli just sent this e-mail to supporters:

As I told you earlier today, Virginia won the first round of the constitutional fight over the federal health care law. I also told you I'd get back to you with more details later in the day, and I'm keeping my promise.

I will tell you up front that I will also go into still more detail later this week — when time allows.

Arguments and Outcomes

There were two basic arguments in this case.

First, Virginia argued that the individual mandate was beyond the power of Congress and the President to impose under the Constitution. Specifically, Congress claimed that their regulatory power under the Commerce Clause allowed them to order you to buy their government-approved health insurance, even if you decide not to buy health insurance.

The judge ruled that the federal government does not have the power to compel you to buy health insurance as part of its attempt to regulate the entire field of health care and health insurance. Thus, Virginia won this argument.

Second, the federal government advanced a 'fallback' argument in case it lost on its commerce clause argument. The feds' fallback argument was that the financial penalty you have to pay if you don't buy the government mandated health insurance is a tax.

This may sound like an odd argument from a political standpoint — usually they say everything is NOT a tax (in fact, they argued the penalty was not a tax while they were trying to get the bill passed); however, they changed position after the bill became law to try and save the bill. What they were trying to do was to get the courts to agree that because the penalty would presumably raise some revenue, it was therefore a 'tax' under the taxing and spending for the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution.

No judge in the country has bought this argument, and Judge Hudson was no exception. He ruled that the taxing power of Congress does not save the bill, because the penalty for not buying the mandated health insurance is not a tax.

The federal government only had to win on either of these two arguments, while Virginia needed to win both to prevail, and we won both!

What's Next?

Certainly the federal government will appeal their loss in the district court to the 4th circuit court of appeals within the next 30 days. And whichever side loses in the 4th circuit will certainly appeal to the Supreme Court. And no one has any serious doubts that ultimately the constitutionality of the individual mandate will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That could take approximately (very rough approximation) two years. We are discussing with the Department of Justice accelerating the case, and those discussions have been very cordial thus far. More on that later.

Conclusion

Today is a great day for the Constitution. Today the Constitution has been protected from the federal government, and remember, an important reason for the constitution in the first place was to limit the power of the federal government.

Today is also a day of a small degree of vindication. When we first filed suit, the screeching of the liberals was deafening. Everything from accusing us of playing politics instead of practicing law, to filing what they called a 'frivolous' lawsuit.

I want you to know, that our team makes decisions based on the Constitution and the laws. Period. We deal with the consequences of our decisions separately, but first and foremost we have been and will continue to be true to the Constitution and laws of the United States and Virginia, regardless of whether it's easy or hard in any particular case.

Breaking: Virginia Wins Round One In HC Legal Challenge!

Federal District Court Judge Henry Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, ruled within the last few minutes that the individual mandate provision of the new federal health care law is unconstitutional. News leaked out at noon, when Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a tweet that claimed:

HC ruling is in. Va won this round.

He followed that up with an e-mail about 17 minutes later:

Today, a federal judge in Richmond ruled the individual mandate of the federal health care law UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

In other words — we won!

This won't be the final round, as this will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, but today is a critical milestone in the protection of the Constitution.

I am still fully digesting the court's ruling, so I'll get back to you again later with more details, but I wanted you to hear the good news right away.

Thank so many of you for your support to become the Attorney General of Virginia, and your support since then. Today is a day to celebrate those same first principles that our founding fathers articulated over 200 years ago.

We are proud to defend their work and the same first principles today in the 21st century.

Stay tuned — and thank you for your support.

To Judge Hudson's decision. Here are pertinent quotes from his 42 page opinion (see here):

Page 24:

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. ...

Page 37-38:

The absence of a constitutionally viable exercise of this enumerated power is fatal to the accompanying sanction for noncompliance. ...

A thorough survey of pertinent constitutional case law has yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme. The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimal Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers (emphasis added). At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it's about an individual's right to choose to participate.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution confers upon Congress only discrete enumerated governmental powers. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.

On careful review, this Court must conclude that section 1501 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — specifically the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision — exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.

Judge Hudson, however, did not do two things the Commonwealth asked: He did not place an injunction on the law, stating the individual mandate won't take affect for three more years while acknowledging his decision will be appealed. However, he cited precedent stating that "declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction," and noted the Commonwealth conceded the administration is duty-bound to honor the decision. 

He also did not invalidate the entire law, saying there were more than 400 provisions unrelated to the specific provision challenged. That, however, gives an idea as to how obnoxiously crafted the legislation was.

Virginia News Stand: April 20, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Travel Plans, Conservative Media And Scary Sonia

The buzz around Capitol Square today is all about Europe — as in stranded travellers there trying to get back here. Among them, one Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who is to preside over the Virginia Senate in tomorrow's reconvened General Assembly session (aka, "Veto Session"). There may very well be several tie votes and, at this point, it looks like he won't be there to break them. Ties kill bills or amendments. It's always something when it comes to the General Assembly, although no one seems to remember anything like this.

Nationally, a new conservative television network is about to launch and there are implications for NBC and its propaganda News Division and its whining, scratching ugly step child MSNBC. See Carl Franzen of AOLNews in Analysis. However, the big news was yesterday's hearing at the Supreme Court in the Christian Legal Society case. I especially point that out to you because, if reading is believing, maybe you can see why Justice Sonia Sotomayor is every bit the unqualified jurist her critics portrayed her. It's more than just a little bit scary. Of course, never miss our all-stars: Among them today, Thomas Sowell, Michael Barone and Debra Saunders.

News

Fight brewing over McDonnell health care cuts (Washington Post)

Bolling grounded in Italy by volcano ash (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Bolling stranded in Italy, likely to miss Wednesday's reconvene legislative session (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Virginia State Police told to back governor's plans (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Chesterfield optometrist to run for Nixon’s seat in House of Delegates (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Right-Wing RightNetwork Already Causing a Stir (Carl Franzen/AOLNews.com)

National

Court splits sharply on campus Christian argument (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Divorce dilemma: Texas says gays can’t get divorce (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obama says Boxer could lose if Dems don't work (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin set to take stand in Tenn. hacking trial (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Ignoring DC pressure, Crist mulls independent run (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Using the Oklahoma City Bombing (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

The Limits of Power (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Tea Partiers Fight Obama's Culture of Dependence (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Two Views in Conflict (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: March 23, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Suits And Budgets

The news is all about Virginia, as it always seems to be, as it has been for some years now. Must mean we're an important state. But Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's law suit against the federal government for its forced mandates on individuals is making headlines and he's making the rounds — on cable news — frequently: Fox News Channel multiple times, a viewer call-in on C-SPAN and even an appearance on DNC-TV, er, MSNBC.

The Wall Street Journal even says great things about Virginia, although the focus of the piece below is on our budget. By comparison the article notes, if Congress had just kept to its 2006 levels of spending, as the General Assembly did recently, the budget would be nearly in balance. Hmmm. 2006? Who's been running the show since then?

In Commentary, it's all about health care, with one of our generation's giants, Thomas Sowell, asking if we've reached a point of no return. We pray not. Michael Barrone, David Limbaugh and Debra Saunders also look at the dark side of the legislation. But it's not just "right wingers." The AP reports the the government is going to count our calories. Oh, how grand! Meanwhile, the Cornhusker Kid, Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) now says he'll vote against the "reconciliation" bill. Also from the AP: The Supreme Court says it's fine for schools to ban music and that the Tea Party is just getting going. Watch out, liberals.

News

McDonnell backs Cuccinelli on challenge to health-care bill (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia attorney general ready to challenge health-care law (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

South Carolina, Florida AGs say they'll join Cuccinelli in challenging health-care bill (The Daily Press)

Attorneys general in 14 states sue to block healthcare reform law (Christian Science Monitor)

Liberty Counsel, attorney general challenge health care bill (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Virginia Democrats say Cuccinelli suit wastes taxpayer money (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Will lower taxes create school crisis? (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Analysis

States of Progress: Two new Governors tackle deficits without tax increases (Wall Street Journal)

National News

It's not over for Tea Party activists (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health overhaul: Immediate change, long term steps (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Your government will count your calories (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Axelrod, Steele tangle on health care overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Court: Student can't sue over 'Ave Marie' ban (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Ben Nelson plans to vote against health care bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

A Point of No Return? (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

The Beginning of the End or a Rebirth of Freedom? (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Leadership for a New Generation (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

The New Electorate (Jon N. Hall/GOPUSA.com)

ObamaCare Means: Don't Look Behind the Curtain (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Stupak's 'Hans Brinker — Unmasked (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

Health Plan Means Bigger Deficits and Higher Taxes (Michael Barrone/GOPUSA.com)

Family Foundation Advisory Council Scores Virginia's Top Four For Annual Briefing

We've staged a coup. Unfortunately, to the liberal collective's the sigh of relief, we didn't stack the Supreme Court with Matt and Victoria Cobb. However, the four top ranking members of Virginia government, conservatives all — certainly to the chagrin of the liberal collective — Governor Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill BollingAttorney General Ken Cuccinelli and House Speaker Bill Howell, all will speak at this year’s Family Foundation Advisory Council Legislative Briefing on Wednesday, February 17.

This is an exclusive annual event for our Advisory Council members. However, it shows how important Virginia's top officials view The Family Foundation and its most generous donors (click here for the complete benefits of Advisory Council membership).

Our Advisory Council is more than just perks; its instrumental partnership significantly funds the work of the organization during the General Assembly session and year round: The legislative call to action and subsequent victories, The Truth Project training, Pastors For Family Values, local grassroots networks, your voice in the mainstream media, and much more.

For more information about The Family Foundation Advisory Council, The Advisory Council Legislative Briefing, or any of our development activities, contact Dan Thompson at 804-343-0010 or at dan@familyfoundation.org. To donate to The Family Foundation at any level, you may click here.

This Just In . . . Planned Parenthood Celebrates Roe V. Wade With Lies About Abortion Center Safety Bill

We just received an e-mail from Planned Parenthood. It's oh, so heartwarming (not!) to see the abortion industry celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as millions of people in Washington, D.C., today, and elsewhere, mourn the deplorable decision. This is how they celebrate: They send an e-mail alert that lies about the content of HB 393, a bill passed on a bipartisan 16-6 vote yesterday in the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. It would add three simple, common sense provisions to unregulated abortion centers. The bill, patroned by Delegate Matt Lohr (R-26, Harrisonburg) goes to the House floor for an up or down vote Monday (contact your delegate).

Just as during their committee testimony yesterday, the e-mail is full of lies about the bill. It's a standard liberal tactic: The truth is whatever you say it is, no matter if what you say is no where to be found in the bill. For example, PP makes claims about "the architectural, procedural, staffing and equipment requirements of ambulatory surgery centers" which are not in the bill.

The bill mandates three simple things: licensure, an annual inspection and keeping defibrillators on premises. (There are three defibrillators in the General Assembly Building!) Nothing about building codes or staffing. In fact, in 2008, when this same bill came before the Senate Education and Health Committee, and Delegate Lohr offered the committee a substitute in full view of the committee room that specifically limited the bill to those three elements, the PP lobbyist read from her script, not deviating one second, using rote talking points about a bill 10 years old. It was the same yesterday in committee.  

So, thank you PP, for putting lies ahead of women's safety. Below is the e-mail (apparently sent to non-Virginians as well) in which PP tells its followers how and what to say to lawmakers, word for word.

Dear xxxxx,

Today marks the 37th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. Since this time, there have been numerous attempts to chip away at Roe on the local, state, and federal levels. One of the biggest threats to Roe today is decreased access to providers of first trimester abortions. In fact, 87% of counties in the United States do not have abortion providers.

Ironically, members of the Virginia House of Delegates will be voting on HB 393, Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers, on Monday, January 25. This bill is a thinly disguised attempt to impose burdensome and unnecessary regulations on abortion providers so that the provision of services would become prohibitively expensive and thus out of reach for many women in Virginia. 

Please contact your legislator and ask him or her to OPPOSE HB 393.

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):

Your Delegate (if you live in Virginia)

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: Please OPPOSE HB 393, Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers

Dear [decision maker],

I am writing to ask that you OPPOSE HB 393, Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers. This legislation has little to do with patient safety and is instead intended to decrease access to safe abortion services in Virginia. Abortion care is already provided safely in accordance with state and federal regulatory agencies. Furthermore, the architectural, procedural, staffing and equipment requirements of ambulatory surgery centers are unrelated to the safety of first trimester abortion procedures provided in medical offices.

Compliance with these unnecessary requirements would make abortion services prohibitively expensive to provide and thus unavailable for many women in Virginia.

Please protect women's access to reproductive health care and OPPOSE HB 393.

Bigots 1, Chesapeake 0

We learned today that the Chesapeake City Council caved to the bullying tactics of the ACLU and the so-called "Freedom From Religion Foundation" and changed their prayer policy to censor "sectarian" prayers, or prayers in Jesus name. This is yet another disappointing case of overreacting to the threats of anti-religious bigots by an elected body that simply does not understand the law. According to the most recent federal appellate court that has reviewed all the case law in this area, neither the Supreme Court or any appellate court has mandated "non-sectarian" prayer at public meetings. It is another success case for the ACLU's strategy of misleading the public on what the courts actually say.

Religious liberty loses again.

Virginia News Stand: October 8, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Late And Washington Post Poll Edition

The big news was from the Washington Post this afternoon, when it releases its latest poll showing all three Republicans — Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Senator Ken Cuccinelli — leading their respective races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general by nine points. The other big news today concerning the statewide races is that Cuccinelli's opponent for attorney general, Democrat Delegate Steve Shannon, tried to emulate his gubernatorial ticket mate Creigh Deeds in question dodging (see Tertium Quids below). Who does it better? You watch. You decide.

Other than that, the debt is at third world levels, the CBO says BaucusCare is nearly as expensive, the Supreme Court hears a religious liberty case, and a more ineffective "jobs programs" is on its way. The good news is that we have some superior insights from Larry Kudlow, Michelle Malkin, Bobby Eberle, Michael Barone and Lisa Fabrizio on ObamaCare, his Olympic flame-out and political weakness, and how to create real and plenty jobs.  

News:

McDonnell Widens Lead in Virginia Governor's Race (Washington Post)

WaPo Poll: McDonnell, Bolling, Cuccinelli all +9 (Tertium Quids Blog)

Explicit 'Banned Book' Infuriates Virginia Father, Leads to School Review (FoxNews.com)

Democrats beg Deeds for positive message (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Democrats vowing to hold strong in fight for governor (Northern Virginia Daily)

Deeds avoids Obama, embraces Warner (Washington Times)

Videos Highlight Dueling Images (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, at the AG Debate . . . (Tertium Quids Blog)

Delegates candidates speak at Henrico forum (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Contrasting Candidates Enter Final Month In Race For House Of Delegates (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Hurt will seek GOP nomination to challenge Perriello (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

Sharp debate at high court over cross on US land (AP/GOPUSA.com)

CBO: Budget deficit triples to record $1.4T in 2009 (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health bill would cost $829B, cover 94 percent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bill increases spending on food stamps, nutrition (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Lawmaker: Cost of presidential copter tripled (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama huddles with Democratic leaders over jobs (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

The Mundell-Laffer Solution (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

Weak Himself, Obama Draws Strength From Bush (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

O-lympics (Lisa Fabrizio/GOPUSA.com)

Couldn't the 'Men in White Coats' Just Take Obama Away? (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Spin Doctors For Obamacare (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Obama's 'No I in Team Syndrome (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: September 29, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Return Of The Editorial Comic/Twisted Tax Logic

When a friend sent me a comic today today, I thought it would make a good addition to the blog. Then I remembered that I used to provide a link to one or more editorial comics each week. So, enjoy. You don't even have to click a link to get to it.

The big news in the campaign today is Democrat Creigh Deeds' continuing saga of twisted tax logic. He put up a television ad, then pulled it because he realized it didn't make much sense for Mark Warner to talk about Deeds lowering taxes yet continuing his (Warner's) policies (which raised them considerably). Yes, not too clear (see here).

Nationally, the Supreme Court will hear a case about Crosses in the Mojave desert. In Commentary, we have the excellent Thomas Sowell writing on the Obama administration's reputed brilliance, Bobby Eberle about the same's indoctrination of our children, and Bart Hinkle about property rights (or, the government trying to take them away). But, in what may be the most entertaining piece today, aside from the comic, is an article from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot about socialists — who say they are misunderstood. Let them talk to the Obama administration.

News:

GOP candidates tout controlled spending, budget reform (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Jindal boosts McDonnell; Linwood Holton backs Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Howell decries Deeds' tax plan for roads (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Deeds New Ad Makes Mark Warner a Liar, Quickly Takes it Down (BearingDrift.com)

Deeds gambles on riding Obama's coattails (Washington Times)

Campaign issue No. 1 (Virginia Business Magazine)

House candidates face off during evening forums (The Daily Press)

Socialists say their true beliefs are being misconstrued (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News:

The Old Secular Cross? (Washington Post)

Public plan debate could pit Democrat vs. Democrat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Roanoke: Eminent-Domain Case Looks Like Kelo Redux (Bart Hinkle/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Brainy Bunch (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

O.K. kids . . . Today's lesson: Sing Praises to Obama (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Editorial Cartoon:

lying pols

U.N. President Is Right

The following comes from a President of the United Nations:

"I am going home America — farewell.

"For seventeen years I have enjoyed your hospitality, visited every one of your 50 states. I can say I know you well.

"I admire and love America. It is my second home.

"What I have to say now in parting is both a tribute and a warning: Never forget, Americans, that yours is a spiritual country.

"Yes, I know that you are a practical people. Like others, I have marveled at your factories, your skyscrapers and your arsenals.

"But underlying everything else is the fact that America began as a God-loving, God-fearing, God-worshipping people, knowing that there is a spark of the Divine in each one of us. It is the respect for dignity of the human spirit which makes America invincible. May it always endure.

"And so I say again inparting, thank you, America, and farewell. May God keep you always — and may you always keep God."

Shocking, isn't it, that someone associated with the United Nations could ever make such a proclamation?

Oh, I forgot to tell you, these are the words of the former president of the U.N., former Philippino delegate to the U.N. and former Ambassador to the U.S., Carlos Romulo. The words above were spoken in 1962 — just as the United States was discovering the so-called separation of church and state; just as the Supreme Court was ordering God out of schools; just as the cultural revolution of the '60s was about to explode. 

Good thing we know better now. Good thing we didn't listen to Mr. Romulo and "always keep God." I mean, look how much better off our nation is today. Lots more abortion, lots more divorce, lots more out-of-wedlock births, lots more crime, lots more greed, lots more poverty, lots more of all those things that make America "progressive"! Good thing we don't see the divine spark in each one of us — or at least not in the unborn. 

God bless America Amerika.

Washington Post's Ponnuru: "Desperate Deeds"

We don't have a News Stand for you today, but if you take a look yesterday's, you will see a link to a post entitled "Desperate Deeds" from Right Matters, a blog at the Washington Post, by conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru (here). He concisely explains in six points why Democrat Creigh Deeds' sudden, politically  eccentric attack on Republican Bob McDonnell's pro-life positions won't work. Here it is:

Democrat Creigh Deeds, down in the polls in the race for governor of Virginia, has decided to campaign against Republican Robert McDonnell for having spent too much time during his career trying to restrict abortion. Here are five reasons why this tactic is unlikely to work:

1) Most people don't enjoy discussions of abortion, and react negatively when people bring it up. The people who vote on the issue already know where the candidates stand and aren't going to be swayed by ads.

2) Virginia isn't a strongly pro-choice state. Its current governor, after all, is a nominally pro-life Democrat.

3) A lot of voters know that governors can't ban abortion — and that Democrats have the White House, the House, and the Senate, and have just made an appointment to the Supreme Court.

4) Voters have other things on their minds, such as the economy, and will find it odd for a gubernatorial candidate to be talking about something else.

5) This campaign tactic puts Deeds in an impossible position. He has to persuade the voters that the candidate who isn't talking a lot about abortion is the one who is dangerously obsessed with the issue. Good luck with that.

So what do you think? Is Deeds making a big mistake?

Update: I should have added another one. 6) McDonnell is on the right side of public opinion on the specific legislative issues Deeds is pointing at, such as a ban on late-term abortion and a requirement for parental consent.

One can imagine the Deeds team on a conference call last week, depressed by the poll numbers, frantically searching for in issue with traction. Finding none, someone yells, "I've got it! Abortion!" "Right," the others would say, "the abortion card! Let's play it!" But it's no winning hand, as documented here.

It's funny: Liberals always talk about conservatives "taking us back to bad times." But this demagoguery is the real time warp.

It Took Less Than A Week

He hasn't been in office for a week, yet the misfit Al Franken has reverted to form, making jokes at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor (per AOL news wire, here). Perry Mason jokes, of all things. Probably because he's so out of his depth he has no clue what to ask. He is a product of TV, after all, so, most likely, that's the basis for his frame of legal and political references. What's next, a quote from President Jed Bartlett (West Wing)? Webster. Clay. Taft. Dirksen. Franken. Embarrassing! The dumbing down of the U.S. Senate (and the country), a monumental achievement not worthy of celebration. (If you haven't done so, our Al Franken poll remains open. Click here to vote and comment.)