Tag Archives: Chief Justice John Roberts

Trump continues scorched-Earth rhetorical policy

We’ve been wondering around our house for, oh, the entire length of the election season and now as the new president gets ready to take office.

It is this: Is Donald J. Trump seeking to undermine his presidency the way he seemed to inflict damage on his candidacy?

You’ll recall the campaign. He offended Hispanics right off the bat; he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s record as a Vietnam War hero; he criticized a Gold Star couple; he mocked a disabled New York Times reporter; he admitted to Billy Bush that he’d groped women by grabbing them in their private parts.

None of that mattered. Trump won the election, despite his seemingly deliberate effort to torpedo himself.

Now he’s getting ready for the inauguration. What does he do?

He continues to disparage intelligence professionals who insist that Russian spooks launched a cyberwar to influence the election; he keeps tweeting idiotic messages in response to criticisms great and small; he declares war on the media; he declines to say he trusts German Chancellor Angela Merkel more than he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin; he fires back at a legendary member of Congress, John Lewis, who questioned Trump’s legitimacy as president, saying Lewis is “all talk, no action”; he accuses CIA Director John Brennan of possibly leaking classified information about alleged Russian hacking.

Sheesh, man!

What’s this guy doing?

He’s got to work with the intelligence pros beginning the moment he takes his hand off the Bible on Friday, shakes the hand of Chief Justice John Roberts and becomes president. How in the world does he work with the dedicated intelligence staffers who will remain after John Brennan leaves to make way for Trump’s pick to be CIA director?

How is he going to work with African-Americans after labeling Lewis — Congress’ most venerated member and a champion of civil and voting rights marches — be an “all talk” kind of individual?

And how is this individual going to assure staunch and trusted allies, such as Chancellor Merkel, that he trusts her implicitly and really and truly doesn’t equate her trust level with that of the former head of the KGB in Moscow?

Let’s all get ready, dear reader, for the roughest ride imaginable.

Obamacare upheld … once again

Federal court rulings aren’t supposed to be viewed as bipartisan or partisan, given that federal judges technically aren’t politicians.

They hold these jobs for life and, thus, are able to rule without regard to party affiliation. That’s how it’s supposed to go, if I’m to assume correctly.

However, today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the federal subsidies that were one of the keys to the Affordable Care Act, must be seen as a bipartisan victory for the ACA, aka Obamacare.

The ruling was a 6-3 affirmation of the act, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the court’s liberal wing. Roberts was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush; Kennedy was selected by the late President Reagan, the patron saint of the modern conservative movement.

So, there you have it. The ACA remains intact. The Supreme Court, which the Constitution established as the final ruling on the constitutionality of federal law, has upheld the subsidies.


It’s a huge victory for President Obama. As The Associated Press reported: “Nationally, 10.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the Obama health overhaul. That includes the 8.7 million people who are receiving an average subsidy of $272 a month to help pay their insurance premiums.”

Denying the subsidies would have cost millions of Americans their health insurance obtained under the ACA. Roberts wrote in his majority opinion: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

It is my sincere hope that we can end this foolish effort to overturn, revoke, discard or otherwise gut what’s now becoming — with each court decision — established law.

Tinker with it? Make it better? Sure. There have been few, if any, landmark laws that have been perfect from the moment they receive the president’s signature.

Enough, already, with these court challenges!


Great work, judge, if you can get it

This thought didn’t originate with me. It comes from my friend Jon Mark Beilue, a columnist for the Amarillo Globe-News, who took note of something he saw.

I’m passing it along here.

It is that Judy Scheindlin, aka Judge Judy, I going to rake in tens of millions of dollars annually dispensing “justice” on television.


Judge Judy has been given a contract extension that will pay her an undisclosed amount of money through 2020. If history is a guide, it’s going to be for lots and lots of money.

Her Honor earned $47 million in 2014.

As Jon Mark noted in his social media post, the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, earns about $225,000 annually. All he and his eight colleagues on the highest court in the land do for a living is determine whether federal laws comport with the U.S. Constitution. They get to decide things like, oh, the fate of the Affordable Care Act, whether someone deserves to be executed for crimes they commit or whether abortion remains legal.

Judge Judy? She gets to scold people for not making good on fender-bender accident claims, or shaving their neighbor’s pet dog or cat, or absconding with a refrigerator load of food. It’s that kind of thing that Judge Judy gets to hear.

For that she earns millions.

As Jon Mark noted: Only in America …


These 5 men have tin ears

The five men who voted on the U.S. Supreme Court to reel in a part of the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control provisions deserve a serious scolding.

They’re getting it now in the wake of that 5-4 court ruling that involves “closely held” companies, such as Hobby Lobby.


They ruled that these firms are not compelled to offer contraception coverage under the ACA. Some of these companies, such as family-owned Hobby Lobby, can cite religious grounds for refusing to provide coverage for female employees. IUDs, for example, are seen by some as a form of abortion. So, the court said, they don’t have to offer that kind of insurance provision.

Five justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito — comprise the majority. Of the four court members who dissented, three of them — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — are, quite clearly, women; the fourth is Stephen Breyer.

The fact that five men decided this key ruling that affects women provides ammo for those seeking to make inroads in the upcoming mid-term elections. I’m going to bet that we’ll see this ruling show up in campaign ads around the country — perhaps even in Texas — as candidates seek to take note of the decision that has such an impact on the health care that women can receive from their employers.

Let’s add also that all five of the men comprising the court majority were appointed by Republican presidents. Let us also note that one isn’t likely to hear a single word, not one utterance, from those on the left complaining about “unelected judges” wielding too much power without having to answer to the voters for their decision.

The “answering” part will be left ultimately to voters who will get to determine who they want to sit in the president’s office and who they want to appoint the next Supreme Court justice when that opportunity presents itself.

Show us your warrant

What’s this? The Supreme Court of the United States has voted unanimously on a ruling that makes sense for Americans? Did hell freeze over or what?

The court ruled 9-to-zip that police need warrants to search people’s cell phones. They can’t just grab them and start poring through text messages, missed calls, voice mails and the other stuff that piles up in people’s cell phones.


What’s more, the ruling has implications to go far beyond the devices people pack on their hips, in their pockets or their purses. It could involve other “smart” devices such as I-pads and laptops.

As the New York Times reported: “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, was keenly alert to the central role that cellphones play in contemporary life. They are, he said, ‘such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.’”

Privacy advocates are happy. Heck, I’m happy about it, even though my own phone doesn’t have much in the way secret messages stashed on it.

A back story, here, is the unanimity aspect of the ruling. The court usually splits 5-4 or 6-3 — along liberal-conservative lines. This time all nine of ’em were on the same page.

The Digital Age keeps adding wrinkles that few of us ever imagined when this technology first became available. Even though we can access information much more readily these days, certain principles of privacy and constitutional protection must prevail.

The highest court in America has realized that truth.