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Chief Justice Roberts' Opinion Upholding Affordable Care Act: Introduction

By Wilson Huhn Published: June 28, 2012

The introductory portion of Chief Justice Robert's opinion reads like a primer on constitutional law. The Chief Justice lays out the basic structure of our constitutional system, including quotations from the two foundation cases in constitutional law authored by the great Chief Justice John Marshall: Marbury v. Madison and McColloch v. Maryland.

Roberts sets forth the concept of limited government simply and clearly:

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Affordable Care Act Upheld

By Wilson Huhn Published: June 28, 2012

 The United States Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this morning. The decision of the Court is available here.

The justices upheld the individual mandate and almost all of the remainder of the statute by a vote of 5-4. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court ruling that the mandate constitutes a "tax" and is therefore a valid exercise of Congress' power to tax and spend for the general welfare - the "power of the purse." Justice Ginsburg authored a concurring opinion in which she concluded that the individual mandate is a valid exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause. Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas jointly authored a dissenting opinion in which they would have found that the entire Act was unconstitutional.

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Is the Team Production Theory of the Corporation a Real Entity Theory?

By Prof. Padfield Published: June 3, 2012

Some thoughts on that here.

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First Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down DOMA

By Wilson Huhn Published: June 1, 2012

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has issued its decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. The Court has ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The decision is available here.

I reviewed the facts of the Gill case and the decision of the District Court in a previous post, Federal District Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional (July 8, 2010), and describe an important amicus brief that was filed in the case in Major Corporations, Law Firms, Civil Organizations, and Cities File Brief Opposing DOMA (November 10, 2011)

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The Meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 27, 2012

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

It is appropriate this weekend to remember not only our fallen soldiers but what they fought for and why they defended us and our way of life.

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Another California Federal Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 26, 2012

Two days ago Judge Claudia Wilken of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a decision in Dragovich v. Geithner striking down DOMA as unconstitutional. This is the third federal district court to come to the same conclusion.

In the last two years two other federal district courts have ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. In 2010 Judge Joseph Tauro struck down DOMA in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, 699 F.Supp.2d 374 (D.Mass. 2010). The First Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument in Gill on April 4, 2012. On February 22, 2012, Judge Jeffrey S. White reached the same result in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management (N.D. Cal. 2012). Golinski has been scheduled for oral argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in September, 2012. My earlier posting on the Golinski case may be accessed here.

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Court's Decision in Astrue v. Capato (Equal Protection)

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 22, 2012

The Supreme Court issued a decision yesterday in the case of Astrue v. Capato, No. 11-159. The case mainly involved a question of statutory interpretation, but the outcome was influenced by a constitutional consideration.

Robert and Karen Capato were married in 1999. Robert was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and concerned that the treatment would leave him sterile he had his sperm frozen. When his health improved, he and Karen conceived a child naturally. But his health then deteriorated, and Robert died in March 2002. Several months later Karen underwent in vitro fertilization, and bore twins eighteen months after Robert's death. See Bill Mears, CNN, Justices deny benefits for child conceived after death of parent (May 21, 2012)

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Catholic Institutions and Private Business File Lawsuits Over Birth Control Mandate

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 21, 2012

Dozens of Roman Catholic institutions in eight different states filed suit against the federal government today challenging the constitutionality of the requirement that employers provide birth control coverage to their employees. In this they joined by a private employer who filed a similar suit in a Missouri two months ago. The plaintiffs all contend that the the federal mandate violates their right to religious freedom. Furthermore, the Missouri legislature has reportedly enacted a statute authorizing employers not to cover contraception or sterilization services.

Here are links to some of the news stories reporting this development:

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Whale Hunting Continues

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 20, 2012

The Japanese continue to flout the international ban on whale hunting under the guise of "scientific research." See World Society for the Protection of Animals, After the ban, whaling continues.

On March 6 of this year it was reported that the anti-whaling organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had brought whale hunting to a close for 2012. Nick Perry of 3 News (New Zealand) quoted Paul Watson, the President of Sea Shepherd, to the effect that they had found the Japanese "factory ship" and had disrupted hunting using laser beams and flares fired from the Sea Shepherd ship the Bob Barker. Sea Shepherd claims 2012 Japanese whale hunt over.

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