There are few topics that can divide people who are normally ideological bedfellows like the legal doctrine of the “incorporation” of the Bill of Rights against the states and the Second Amendment. This subject is rearing its head again with the upcoming appointment of a new Supreme Court justice as well as federal courts' recent conflicting opinions in regards to the Second Amendment. The Wall Street Journal reports that on June 2nd, “A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled … that the Second Amendment doesn't bar state or local governments from regulating guns, adopting the same position that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, did when faced with the same question earlier this year.”
George Stephanopoulos informed ABC television watchers on May 11 that this is “probably the best chance we’ve had in 15 or 16 years to actually get a comprehensive health care plan through.” The major difference between now and 1994, when the Clinton administration failed to push through its healthcare overhaul, is that today’s industry groups would “rather switch than fight,” he said.
United Nations General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann intends to leave his mark on the United Nations and the global economic-political picture before his one-year term ends in September. D'Escoto, a longtime top official in the communist Sandinista government of Nicaragua, has chosen as his primary vehicle for making this mark the UN Conference on the World's Financial and Economic Crisis to be held June 24-26 at the UN headquarters in New York.
In the midst of his travels through the Middle East and Europe, President Barack Obama used his weekly address on June 6 to talk about healthcare reform, just as Congress began dealing with health insurance-reform legislation.
Karen Handel, Georgia secretary of state, issued a scathing press release following a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to deny preclearance for Georgia's (already implemented) plan to verify the legitimacy of its voter-registration lists, including verifying whether or not applicants are U.S. citizens. Because Georgia, like many other southern states, must pre-clear its voting procedures with the U.S. Department of Justice, denial of preclearance equates to denial of permission to do it.
On June 4, the House voted 310-118 for a bill (H.R. 2027) limiting the use of whole-body imaging devices as the sole or primary method of screening at airports. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sponsored the bill, which drew support from both sides of the aisle.
Dr. Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, has formed an exploratory campaign for U.S. Senate from Kentucky. Rand Paul is similar to his father in ideology; he favors a strict application of the Constitution to federal government matters, thus opposes the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Department of Education and supports lower taxes and less spending.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reported on June 3 that U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has dismissed dozens of lawsuits charging illegal spying on Americans through warrantless surveillance. The EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) plan to appeal the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
President Barack Obama tried to strike a conciliatory tone with his June 4 speech at Cairo University. The president referred to such developments as algebra and the magnetic compass as being part of “civilization's debt to Islam.” He included verses from the Koran and the traditional Muslim greeting meaning “peace be upon you” (“Assalaamu alaykum”). He said: “I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
“President Obama, in a pivot from some of his harshest campaign rhetoric, told Democratic senators [on June 2] that he is willing to consider taxing employer-sponsored health benefits to help pay for a broad expansion of coverage,” the Washington Post reported on the following day.
Will Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, be for Republicans and for conservatives in general what many have dubbed Vice President Joe Biden? Biden has been called “the gift that keeps on giving” because of his tendency to stick one and Sotomayor may have some of the same rhetorical tendencies.