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Letters to the editor

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 12:01 am

U.S. Supreme Court exceeded its authority

On June 28 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled “Obamacare” to be constitutional by a 5-4 majority vote. However, it is how that ruling was arrived at that should be of the utmost concern to each of us, no matter what one’s politics might be or whether one supports or opposes “Obamacare.”

The key issue before the court was to determine the constitutionality of the legislation’s individual mandate. And it all came down to the court’s definition of two very simple but clearly mutually exclusive words, “tax” and “penalty.”

Not wanting to use the word “tax” (for obvious political reasons) in defining a fee charged to those who would choose not to take part under Obamacare, the Obama administration opted to use the word “penalty” instead. And that word is used exclusively throughout the legislation, including in Title 1, which is its operative core.

However, during their presentation before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Obama administration’s attorneys argued the fee was, indeed, a “tax” (thereby making the individual mandate constitutional) and not a “penalty” (which would make the individual mandate unconstitutional). This, even though as stated above, the legislation contained the word “penalty” throughout.

As such, for Chief Justice Roberts to rule that the individual mandate “simply imposes a tax” (even though the word “tax” is nowhere to be found in the legislation) is not to interpret the legislation but to rewrite it. Only Congress has the constitutional authority to write such legislation. The U.S. Supreme Court may have a wide range of constitutional authority, but that does not include usurping the authority accorded the U.S. Congress under the Constitution. But that is exactly what Chief Justice Roberts did by rewriting instead of interpreting the legislation. And in so doing, he exceeded his and the Supreme Court’s authority.

Don F. Graham

Outrageous gaffes?

Have you ever created a gaffe in your conversation? Something you wish you hadn’t said, dumb, inane, tasteless or something else? Of course, we all have. The next step is to fess up, apologize, make amends and move on. Forgive and forget.

Why is it then that politicians, who spend a lot of their waking hours speaking, often publicly, are not allowed to do the same? It’s often because of the “Gotcha” mentality of the mainstream media. Especially is this true that no “moving on” or ”forgiving and forgetting” are allowed when the gaffer is someone of an opposite political persuasion.

For example, one of our local papers recently had an article in their op-ed section labeled “Outrageous gaffes through the years have earned these politicians dubious spots in the … Hall of Lame”

For those of you who deny bias in the eyes of the paper’s editors, note the following: of the 12 gaffers listed were nine Republicans, one independent and three Democrats. The independent was James Stockdale, a wounded, decorated war hero, who was ridiculed without end for starting a speech with the questions, “Who am I and why am I here?” Dan Quayle is also included for misspelling potato (e). Now there’s an unforgivable sin if I ever heard one! At least that’s what the media thought. Talk about whipping a dead horse? President G.W. Bush is also listed with the intro, “Where to begin?” Two Dems are President Clinton, I guess lying to Congress and getting impeached cannot be overlooked, and President Obama, with the disclaimer (the only one in the article) that “his remarks have been taken completely out of context.” No mention of Obama’s saying he visited 57 states, or the time he mangled corpsman into corpseman. And guess who’s missing from the article? Joe Biden. Do you know there is a website titled “The Top Ten Joe Biden Gaffes”?

So perhaps “Outrageous” and “Hall of Lame” are hyperbole. Next time we can only hope that the editor’s bias is not so obvious and he can be more fair and balanced.

Jim Ackmann