“What’s at stake with this particular nomination is whether or not a president can put up someone who on paper has sterling credentials,” says Tom Donnelly, director of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center. Millet would fill the seat vacated by Chief Justice John Roberts a decade ago.
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"It forces back open the discussion about rules reform in the Senate," said Doug Kendall, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal legal advocacy group.
Filling the vacancies is “a favorable next political fight” for Reid, because Republicans would only reinforce his charge that they’re being obstructionists if they try to block the nominees, said Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, an advocacy group.
The implications of granting corporations the right to free expression of religion are horrific. The precedent, writes David H. Gans of the Constitutional Accountability Center, would allow companies to fire workers "for engaging in all manner of activities that do not conform to the religious code of the companies' owners, including using contraceptives, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, or marrying a person of the same sex."
"This is definitely heating up. It is now the major focus of the Republican strategy for undoing the Affordable Care Act," said Simon Lazarus, a lawyer for the Constitutional Accountability Center. "The lawsuits should be seen as preposterous," he said, because they ask judges to give the law a "nonsensical" interpretation.
David Gans of the Constitutional Accountability Center points out that “no decision of the Supreme Court, not even Citizens United, has ever invested business corporations with the basic rights of human dignity and conscience,” the essence of religious liberty.
"It doesn't make sense to view a corporation as a person trying to exercise religion," said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the liberal-leaning Constitutional Accountability Center. "To say that a corporation can engage in religion -- something that was considered at the founding to be a fundamental right of conscience -- would be taking the corporate personhood element of Citizens United to an absurd result."
“I think it’s preposterous,” said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center. “I can’t imagine that the supporters of the Affordable Care Act would want to punish the Americans who arguably need the support of the exchanges the most by saying they don’t get acess to the tax credits that give them access to affordable health insurance.”
The Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC), which filed an amicus brief in these cases, has an issue brief about the litigation. They note that actual religious organizations are already exempt from the law, meaning, “non-profit organizations whose ‘purpose’ is ‘the inculcation of religious values,’ and which ‘primarily employ persons who share the religious tenets of the organization,’ and ‘serve primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the organization.’”
David Gans, Director of the Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program at the Constitutional Accountability Center, wrote on the Center's blog earlier this year that 'election of Senators by state legislatures was a disaster.' "Far from being good politics or good constitutional design, the system led to rampant and blatant corruption, letting corporations and other moneyed interests effectively buy U.S. Senators, and tied state legislatures up in numerous, lengthy deadlocks over whom to send to Washington," Gans wrote.
Adding the new cases, which will be consolidated into one, makes environmental regulation a major topic for the court. "This term is shaping up to be a critical test of the court's view of the federal government's power to solve trans-boundary and trans-national problems like air pollution," said Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
"It's simply a historical fact that the framers of the 14th Amendment chose language that would protect the national debt broadly," [CAC Chief Counsel Elizabeth] Wydra argued. "They didn't want to focus on just Confederate debt or Union debt -- they were thinking about the general interests of the country and the importance they placed on protecting the nation's credit and withdrawing it from the power of Congress to deny it."