Monthly Archives: June 2012

Supreme Court opinion on health care overhaul


The Supreme Court’s opinion, in full, on health care overhaul.

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS ET AL. v. SEBELIUS, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.

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Supreme Court strikes down Stolen Valor law


 

WASHINGTON (AP) The Supreme Court has struck down a federal law making it a crime to lie about having received the Medal of Honor and other prized military awards.

The court voted 6-3 Thursday in favor of Xavier Alvarez, a former local elected official in California who falsely claimed he was a decorated war veteran.

Alvarez had pleaded guilty to violating a 2006 law that was adopted with the nation at war in Afghanistan and Iraq and aimed at people making phony claims of heroism in battle. The court, in a judgment written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ordered that his conviction be thrown out.

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A look at the ruling upholding Obamacare


WASHINGTON (AP) THE RULING:
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care law, including the most disputed part: the mandate that virtually all Americans have health insurance or pay a fine. The mandate was upheld under the federal government’s power to levy taxes.

The ruling put some limits on the law’s plan to expand the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, a joint effort of the federal government and states. It says the U.S. government cannot threaten to withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment if it doesn’t participate in the expansion.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s four liberal justices — Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — to form the 5-4 majority.

THE CONTEXT
The decision affects nearly every American and marks

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Supreme Court affirms individual mandate in health care ruling


A divided U.S. Supreme Court today largely upheld the Obama administration’s signature health care reform law, a big win for the White House and Democrats in Congress.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. delivered the key vote, joining the 5-4 majority in upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s key provision, the so-called individual mandate, which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. The high court’s opinion is here.

Roberts narrowly interpreted the mandate, saying that “upholding the individual mandate under the Taxing Clause thus does not recognize any new federal power. It determines that Congress has used an existing one.”

“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Robert said. “Because the Constitution permits

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GOP wins contempt fight, but legal dispute looms


WASHINGTON (AP) House Republicans have won a historic political fight to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the GOP likely is still a long way from obtaining documents it wants in an investigation of a bungled gun-tracking operation.

The road leading to a possible lawsuit by the House was filled with emotion Thursday. More than 100 Democrats walked up an aisle and out of the chamber to boycott the first of two contempt votes, saying Republicans were more interested in shameful election-year politics than documents.

Republicans demanded the documents for an ongoing investigation, but their arguments focused more on the need for closure for the family of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Two guns from the gun-tracking operation called Fast and Furious were found near his body after

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Peter Madoff pleads guilty in NYC, blames brother


NEW YORK (AP) The younger brother and business partner of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty Friday to charges he doctored documents, but insisted he knew nothing about his brother’s historic Ponzi scheme and was “in total shock” when he found out about it.

An emotional Peter Madoff, 66, entered the plea in a deal that permits him to remain free on $5 million bail pending his Oct. 4 sentencing. He agreed not to contest a 10-year prison sentence.

“My family was torn apart as a result of my brother’s atrocious conduct,” he said. “I was reviled by strangers as well as friends who assumed that I knew about the Ponzi scheme.”

The plea to charges of conspiracy and falsifying records came in the same Manhattan courthouse where Bernard Madoff was led away in

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Roberts jokes about trip to ‘impregnable’ fortress


FARMINGTON, Pa. (AP) U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts joked that he’ll spend some time on an “impregnable island fortress” now that the court has ended a session that featured him casting the decisive vote to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Responding to a question about his summer break, Roberts said he planned to teach a class for two weeks in Malta, the Mediterranean island nation.

“Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress. It seemed like a good idea,” Roberts said, drawing laughter from about 300 judges, attorneys and others attending a four-day conference Friday at a posh southwestern Pennsylvania resort.

Roberts appeared Friday at a conference hosted by the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit, one day after the Supreme Court said the federal government can require

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Needy Georgians will be affected by new laws


ATLANTA (AP) Out-of-work Georgians will soon see their benefits slashed nearly in half and those seeking food stamps will have to pass a drug test under news laws that start Sunday.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed more than 500 bills into law after the legislative session ended this spring. Many of them, as well as Georgia’s 2013 budget, will take effect at the start of the state’s fiscal year on July 1.

Other new laws include the beginning of sweeping changes to Georgia’s criminal justice system and a rule that would revoke bonuses for teachers who cheat on standardized tests.

This session, Republicans argued that the state needed to find a solution to begin repaying more than $760 million borrowed from the federal government in recent years to cover Georgia’s unemployment benefit payments when the state’s trust

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New Miles Davis Stamp Debuts in Los Angeles

At this year’s Hollywood Bowl Jazz series in Los Angeles, music heavyweights including Herbie Hancock and Vince Wilburn Jr. gathered to play but also celebrate one of their own. The United States Postal Service held an unveiling of the Miles Davis stamp, which was announced earlier this year, for the California crowd, according to LA Weekly

Before the show, there was the West Coast unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s stamp in his honor at the Bowl’s museum. Pianist Herbie Hancock mingled with featured bassist Marcus Miller, while Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo (in a snazzy Joker-esque suit) posed for photos with our man Henry Rollins. Rollins has long been a Davis fan and friend of the Davis family. “When they call, I come,” Rollins said. The unveiling was a nice gesture that had many

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Former Citigroup Exec Sentenced to Prison

For eight years, Citigroup executive Gary Foster was living the high life on borrowed funds. Embezzling more than $22 million in 2003-2011, Foster, vice president in Citigroup’s treasury finance department in Long Island City, N.Y., racked up a $1 million condo in New Jersey, grand apartments in Brooklyn and Manhattan, along with a Maserati, Ferrari and a few BMWs, according to the Daily News.

“I can’t give you an excuse why this happened,” Foster told Judge Eric Vitaliano in Brooklyn Federal Court on Friday.

“It’s just hard for me to comprehend, to look back and comprehend how crazy it was,” he continued. “Why did I go as far as I did? There’s no explanation.”

The judge listened patiently and then summed up Foster’s problem.

“It’s greed,” Vitaliano said. “You wanted the money.”

Citigroup was just as clueless as Foster claims

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