Supreme Court justices and opposing lawyers grappled with the question of limits on the power of Congress to regulate interstate markets Tuesday in the middle of three days of hearings at the high court over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the healthcare reform bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2010. There were even sharp differences over just what market is being regulated under the act, who is in it, and when and how one enters it. At one point Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that everyone enters the federally regulated healthcare market upon entering the world.
When Eric Holder said in a speech last week that the President has the authority to order the killing of U.S. citizens abroad, many wondered if the rationale offered by the Attorney General for targeting Americans for non-judicial killing would also apply within the borders of the United States. Testifying at a congressional hearing, FBI Director Robert Mueller (left) said he did not know and would have to check with others at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday that the Obama administration would seek "international permission" before intervening military in Syria's civil war. Both men left open, however, the question of whether the approval of Congress would be either sought or required. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) pressed Panetta repeatedly on that question, but failed to get a definitive answer.
In what may be a tale too bizarre to be believed by millions of Americans, the U.S. Senate appears ready to pass a bill that will designate the entire earth, including the United States and its territories, one all-encompassing “battlefield” in the global “war on terror” and authorize the detention of Americans suspected of terrorist ties indefinitely and without trial or even charges being filed that would necessitate a trial.
If the Republican majority in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., wants to shake up the political establishment, lawmakers there might look for inspiration to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives in Concord, New Hampshire. The rebels in New Hampshire did not fire the "shot heard 'round the world" — not yet anyway — despite Michelle Bachmann's Midwestern confusion on that subject. But they have fired a few salvos that may be worth Washington's attention.
"There cannot be the slightest doubt that the First Amendment reflects the philosophy that Church and State should be separated," said Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in the 1952 Zorach v. Clauson decision. Ten years later, Justice Potter Stewart said in his dissent to Engel v. Vitale: "Moreover, I think that the Court's task, in this as in all areas of constitutional adjudication, is not responsibly aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the 'wall of separation,' a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution."
Hillary Clinton will not easily be mistaken for Sir Winston Churchill, but our nation’s Secretary of State borrowed a metaphor from old “Winnie” recently when lecturing on the importance of freedom on the Internet. As the former British Prime Minister warned of the communist “iron curtain” descending on Eastern Europe at the beginning of the Cold War, Secretary Clinton has warned of an “information curtain” falling in those nations where governments have used modern technology to suppress and plunder, rather than facilitate, the flow of information among peoples and nations.
The U.S. government's Operation Fast and Furious was a plot to subvert gun rights in America, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre (pictured at left) charged October 14 in an interview with Newsmax.TV.
Former FBI agent Ali H. Soufan remembers being at the American embassy in Yemen on September 11, 2001 when, a few hours after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a CIA official finally produced material, including photographs of two of the hijackers, that the FBI had requested months before.
Two federal officials have been reassigned and a third has resigned in the wake of controversy over "Operation Fast and Furious," the controversial sting that is also known as the "Gunwalking Scandal." Kenneth Melson (pictured at left), acting director for the past 28 months of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will become senior advisor on forensic science in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Programs, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, who approved the flawed operation that allowed weapons to be delivered to drug gangs, submitted his resignation to President Obama effective immediately. Emory Hurley, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, has been reassigned from criminal cases to civil casework.