While the constitutional issues surrounding the use of federal preemption under the Supremacy Clause are of great consequence for our system of federalism, it is also important to note the significance of the PLIVA case in the lives of everyday Americans.
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If the Supreme Court holds that Arizona's Clean Elections Act is unconstitutional, it will make the fifth straight ruling of the Roberts Court striking down campaign finance legislation.
Perhaps the Justices now wish they had listened to Ms. Halligan.
Last year, in Citizens United v. FEC, in an opinion starkly at odds with the Constitution’s text and history, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons with the same First Amendment rights as individuals to spend money to influence elections and that the government’s only interest in limiting corporate electioneering is to prevent bribery, or its functional equivalent. The Citizens United ruling will likely be front and center at the Supreme Court on Monday, when the Court hears oral argument in McComish v.
Forty years ago this week, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was approved by Congress and proposed to the states for ratification. In less than four months, 18-year-olds were guaranteed the right to vote when North Carolina made it official on July 1, 1971 – the shortest amount of time yet for any proposed Amendment to be ratified.
The text of the Amendment is straightforward:
Don’t judge Ms. Halligan by the votes of conservative Senators against her confirmation. Folks who would rather see for themselves just what kind of lawyer Ms. Halligan is should head down to the Supreme Court on Monday morning. It will be a rare opportunity to watch a judicial nominee ply her craft before the highest court in the land.
Whatever Senator Grassley may think about Caitlin Halligan’s substantive qualifications to be a federal judge, he should at least get the numbers right, and be consistent about them.
During testimony recently before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the constitutionality of the health care reform law, Georgetown Law Professor and opponent of the Affordable Care Act Randy Barnett asserted that “No one claims that the individual mandate is justified by the original meaning of either the Commerce Clause or Necessary and Proper Clause.” Well, Professor Barnett cannot make that assertion any longer.
In the current age of Tea Party nostalgia for our "original" Constitution, coupled with calls for state secession and nullification of federal laws, our nation's history in the immediate pre-civil War period is a useful reminder of the "more perfect union" we live in today. No one should "celebrate" a war that took such a horrible toll in American lives. But as the nation marks the sesquicentennial of beginning of that War, we should remember what the Civil War was all about.
Just as in baseball, where the real action comes at the end of the season, the nation will get a better idea of how the Chamber is really doing as the Term heats up later this spring