The opening for a fresh ObamaCare challenge

By defining the mandate as a tax, one that will not be uniformly applied, the Supreme Court ran afoul of the Constitution.

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

ObamaCare is being implemented, having been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in June in a series of cases now known as National Federation of Independent Business v. HHS. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the court took a law that was flawed but potentially workable and transformed it into one that is almost certainly unworkable. More important, the justices also may have created new and fatal constitutional problems.

ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act, was conceived as a complex statutory scheme designed to provide Americans with near-universal health-care coverage and to effectively federalize the nation’s health-care system. The law’s core provision was an individual health-insurance purchase mandate, adopted by Congress as a “regulation” of interstate commerce. The provision required most Americans to buy federally determined minimum health-care insurance, or to pay a penalty more or less equivalent to the cost of that coverage.

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Plenty of debates, not much about states

Democrats regard federalism as quaint, Republicans at least pay lip service to it

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley

In the presidential debates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ranged across dozens of topics, but an important one didn’t come up: federalism. And no wonder.

The idea that the Constitution grants only limited and enumerated powers and leaves the remainder to the states is foreign to those who believe that the national government should or even could address voters’ every concern. But contrary to the view widely shared by the political class, Washington—in particular, Congress—does not have the power to pass any law it wants in the name of the “general welfare.”

Politicians should take heed. Voters are increasingly focused on the proper role of government in society: Witness the rise of the tea party and unease over the massive debt caused by entitlements and other government handouts. The continuing loud objection to ObamaCare’s takeover of health care shows that voters want to preserve the Constitution’s architecture of limited federal power.

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Failed U.S. leadership in foreign policy

Unfortunately, examples of failed U.S. leadership in foreign policy continue to increase in both frequency and gravity:

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  1. We have failed to stop Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.
  2. We have failed to punish Tehran for facilitating the deaths of American soldiers
  3. We have failed to punish them for plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2012, an even more tragic failure,the Obama administration failed to have Iraq extradite Hezbollah terrorist Ali Musa Daqduq to the U.S. for trial. The president continues to reinforce the impression of American impotence. In December 2011, nearly a year ago, we predicted that the failure to extradite Daqduq would “have serious repercussions, measured in diplomatic defeats and lost lives.”

Did the fact that an Iraqi court cleared Daqduq of all charges embolden the attackers on Benghazi last month?

The Supreme Court ruling on federal government’s police powers: The good, the bad, and the Fig Leaf

The Supreme Court ObamaCare ruling is the topic at a Federalist Society forum on October 4 at Florida International University College of Law. David Rivkin, who led the 26-state case against the US government, and Prof. Elizabeth Foley will present.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 01, 2012 –

The issue of government takeover of healthcare isn’t going away. While Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion on the legality of ObamaCare put limits on Congress’ power to regulate citizens’ activity, it gutted limitations on Congress’ taxing power.

David Rivkin, who led the 26-state case against the U.S. government in Florida’s 11th District Court (whose judge, Roger Vinson, ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor), said that the Supreme Court decision in June was both “excellent and bad.” The Supreme Court ObamaCare ruling is the discussion topic on Thursday, October 4, at Florida International University College of Law.Prof. Elizabeth Foley, a “founding faculty” of the FIU College of Law, will serve as commentator for the event.

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Not just the Middle East: Obama foreign policy record is appalling

The organizing principle of the administration’s foreign policy is one of weakness and passivity, coupled with a conspicuous rhetorical abdication of American leadership, write David Rivkin and Lee Casey.

by David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey | September 21, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

A few days ago on The Daily Beast, Leslie Gelb praised President Obama’s handling of the unfolding crisis in the Middle East last week and evidently discerns no connection between the ensuing wave of anti-American violence and the broader parameters of American foreign policy. He is wrong on both counts. The administration’s crisis management has been mediocre. Even more fundamentally, the current assault on America’s position in the Middle East is attributable not to the trailer for an obscure anti-Muslim movie, but to Obama’s own foreign-policy failures.

The administration’s crisis-management strategy continues to emphasize its regret about that film, Innocence of Muslims. This was manifest not only in the original (and subsequently retracted) statement from our embassy in Cairo, but in all statements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the president. But deploring efforts to denigrate Muslim religious beliefs is only the first half of the sentence. The administration should have also robustly propounded its commitment to the virtues and values of free expression in a free society, and why this must necessarily encompass offensive speech. Whenever the White House mentions the First Amendment these days, it is done mostly in a defensive mode, by way of explaining (almost in sorrow) to the Muslim world why the U.S. government cannot legally suppress anti-Muslim films rather than a compelling explanation of why such films should not be suppressed. As Clinton stated on Sept. 14, “I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day.” But simply saying that free speech is enshrined in our Constitution “is not enough” the administration must explain why that is a good thing to which they too should aspire.

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The myth of occupied Gaza

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

(originally published in The Washington Post on Saturday, May 10, 2008)

Hamas claims that former president Jimmy Carter’s recent meeting with its leader, Khaled Meshal, marks its recognition as a “national liberation movement” — even though Hamas rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, which Hamas rules as an elected “government,” continue to rain down on Israel’s civilian population. While Hamas is clearly trying to bolster its legitimacy, the conflict along Israel’s southern border has a broader legal dimension — the question of whether, as a matter of international law, Israel “occupies” Gaza. The answer is pivotal: It governs the legal rights of Israel and Gaza’s population and may well set a legal precedent for wars between sovereign states and non-state entities, including terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

Israel’s critics argue that Gaza remains “occupied” territory, even though Israeli forces were unilaterally withdrawn from the area in August 2005. (Hamas won a majority in the Gazan assembly in 2006 and seized control militarily in 2007.) If this is so, Jerusalem is responsible for the health and welfare of Gazans and is arguably limited in any type of military force it uses in response to continuing Hamas attacks. Moreover, even Israel’s nonmilitary responses to Hamas-led terrorist activities — severely limiting the flow of food, fuel and other commodities into Gaza — would violate its obligations as an occupying power.

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