Vol. 7    No. 13
JUNE 28, 2012

The Capital City Hues
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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                        Supreme Court Rulings
Most people who keep track of politics and the rulings issued by the U.S. Supreme Court were waiting
with baited breath as the Court issued some pretty significant rulings this week. First they upheld the
monstrosity of Citizens United, which held that there could be unlimited corporate spending in elections.
All individuals are able to spend unlimited amounts of money and since corporations are considered to be
“individuals” under the law, they also can spend unlimited amounts of money.

In their recent ruling, they made sure that it applied to state elections as well. More than likely, we will
see repeats of the recent Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election where upwards of $100 million was
spent, the vast majority of it coming from wealthy individuals and corporations. Yeah, we all have the
right to free speech, but their $100 million will have the tendency to drown out my measly $25
contribution. Maybe if I save up my money for 10-20 years, I’ll be able to buy one political ad that will air at
4 a.m. Is that democracy and the sifting and winnowing of ideas for the common good?

Another big ruling was the Arizona immigration case. Most of Arizona’s archaic and discriminatory
immigration law was ruled to be unconstitutional because it is the federal government’s right to maintain
relations between the U.S. and other nations i.e. Mexico and her citizens. A lot of the harsh actions that
Arizona wanted to take against undocumented individuals and anyone who might aide them was struck
down.

But what was left standing was Arizona’s right to stop people — if they have a “legitimate” reason — and
ask them about their citizenship. Some people feel that this gives Arizona the legal right to racially profile
Latinos. Undocumented individuals residing in the United States come from almost every — if not every —
country on Earth. But it is individuals particularly of Mexican descent that Arizonian lawmakers have in
mind when the police detain and inquire about an individual’s citizenship. I doubt if many folks from
England will be getting stopped. Perhaps it will be, as Sal Carranza suggests in an article on this page,
that the remaining provision of Arizona law will be declared unconstitutional after it is used time and time
again to profile and harass individuals of Mexican descent. We shall see.

And perhaps in their most overarching decision of the week — I guess it is all a matter of perspective —
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to
as Obamacare, were constitutional. For the past 2-3 weeks, I found it almost impossible to watch cable
network news from all political viewpoints — the news isn’t objective anymore — because they were so
sure that ACA was going to be overturned by the Supreme Court. It reminded me of the sports pundits who
are so sure of a team that they almost suggest that the actual game doesn’t have to be played.
Even Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee got cocky when he suggested that President
Obama wasn’t getting much sleep because Romney was so sure that the Supreme Court was going to
overturn the ACA. When the ruling came down that all provisions except for the expansion of Medicaid
were constitutional.

And actually, this is the only way that the Supreme Court could have ruled. If they had ruled against the
individual health insurance mandate, it would have eroded the whole basis for Social Security and
Medicare, which are also individual mandates. While I am sure that Scalia, Thomas and the other
conservative justices would have loved to do that, it would have put the 80 year old program in jeopardy,
a program that millions of Americans depend on.

As it is, I am a little weary of Justice Roberts, the chief justice who wrote the opinion of the majority.
While the Obama Administration argued that the federal government had the right to enact ACA because of
the Commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution, Roberts, as he is apt to do, legislated from the bench and
said it was Congress’ authority to tax that gave it the right to enact the individual mandate. So now
Roberts has created the lasting impression that the ACE is a health insurance tax, placing an additional
burden on the American people during a time of recession, never mind that people are already paying for
it through needless trips to the emergency room by uninsured individuals.

But just in time for the November election, Justice Roberts has made ACA a tax issue, which Fox News
and other conservative news outlets have already pounced upon. I can’t help but think that Justice
Roberts had his thumb pressed down on the scales of justice, tipping it to his conservative breather just
in time for the November elections. I liked it better when the Supreme Court wasn’t filled with political
activists prone to reach out and legislate from the bench.