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Impeach the Supreme Court Justices If They Overturn Health-Care Law
Daily Beast ^ | 04/04/2012 | David R. Dow

Posted on 04/04/2012 10:51:02 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

You think the idea is laughable? Thomas Jefferson disagreed with you.

Jefferson believed Supreme Court justices who undermine the principles of the Constitution ought to be impeached, and that wasn’t just idle talk. During his presidency, Jefferson led the effort to oust Justice Salmon Chase, arguing that Chase was improperly seizing power. The Senate acquitted Chase in 1805, and no Justice has been impeached since, but as the Supreme Court threatens to nullify the health-care law, Jefferson’s idea is worth revisiting.

The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law. The problem is that this decision would be the latest salvo in what seems to be a sustained effort on the part of the Roberts Court to return the country to the Gilded Age.

During that period—which ran from the years after of the Civil War to the start of the 20th century—wealth became highly concentrated and corporations came to dominate American business.

At the close of the Gilded Age, the U.S. infant mortality rate was around 10 percent—a number you find today in impoverished Central African nations. In some cities, it exceeded 30 percent. Women could not vote, and their lives were controlled by men. Blacks lived apart from whites and comprised an economic, social, and political underclass. Corporations exerted an unchecked and deleterious influence on the lives of workers.

All these ills were ultimately addressed by the federal government, but the strongest and most sustained resistance to fixing them came from the court. One exception was the great Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who argued that where economic regulations are at stake, judges must respect legislative decisions aimed at protecting society’s most vulnerable members. Our Constitution, Holmes famously wrote, does not enact social Darwinism. If the legislature acts to protect the poor and less powerful, its actions must be respected by the judicial branch.

That idea doesn’t appear to hold much water with the current court. Justice Clarence Thomas, in particular, has a well-known affinity for the values of the Gilded Age. But he has quietly gone from being an outlier to being only one of five consistently regressive votes.

The pattern began with the court’s 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, a case involving a rarely used, late-term abortion procedure. In holding that the government can prohibit abortion even where a woman’s life or health is at risk, the court overturned a decision that was not yet 10 years old.

To justify the ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy—an ostensibly staunch believer in individual liberty—explained that some women who might otherwise undergo it would come to regret their decision. Ah, fickle women! Since Roe v. Wade the abortion debate has always involved male-dominated legislatures enacting laws telling women what they can and cannot do. The Roberts Court, it seems, is similarly not averse to helping protect women from themselves.

Also in 2007, the court ruled that a Seattle school district’s plan to achieve racial balance in its public schools was unconstitutional. Reasonable people can of course disagree about whether using race to arrive at a diverse student body is good policy or bad. But there is an unquestionable moral distinction between using race to encourage racial integration versus using race to keep the blacks away.

The latter is, of course, what the court allowed in 1896, when it upheld the so-called “separate but equal” doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson. Justice Harlan famously dissented in Plessy, insisting that the Constitution is colorblind. In a perverse rhetorical move, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court in the Seattle case, suggested that Harlan's phrase applies equally where the government is trying to promote the blending of the races rather than maintaining their separation.

And then came Citizens United, in which the court struck down a popularly supported, bipartisan effort to place limits on the ability of the wealthy to dominate political discourse. Income inequality is a fact of life in a capitalist system. But when it comes to choosing our elected representatives, the people are supposed to stand on equal footing. Your right to control your destiny by electing people who share your visions and values is not supposed to depend on the fatness of your wallet. But now, thanks to five justices, it does. In ruling that corporations have a First Amendment right that precludes Congress from regulating how much money they can spend to support political candidates or causes, the court propped up a regime where the voices of the wealthy drown out all the rest.

Each of these cases was decided by a 5-4 vote, along predictable and ideological lines. Each overturned comparatively recent precedent. Each paid obeisance to a 19th-century norm. And while any individual ruling can always be justified or explained away, a larger truth emerges ineluctably from the whole. A decision overturning the Affordable Care Act will fit snugly into this narrative.

The vacuity of the arguments against the health-care law has been well covered (see especially Akhil Amar’s analysis in Slate). I will add only two points.

First, Congress’s authority in passing the law rests on an elementary syllogism: You don't have to drive, but if you do, the government can make you buy insurance. The logical structure at work here is that if you are going to do something (drive, for example), the government can make you purchase a commercial product (insurance, for example), so long as it has a good reason for doing so (making sure you can pay for any damage you do). That logic is obviously satisfied in the health-care context. You are going to use medical care, so the government can make you buy insurance in order to make sure you can pay for it. Liberty, like every other human and constitutional right, is not absolute. Under some circumstances, it can be regulated.

Which leads to the second point: critics of the health-care law say the only reason the rest of us have to pay for medical services used by people who have no money is that laws require hospitals to treat people who come in for emergencies regardless of their ability to pay. In other words, the critics say, the only reason there is a social cost—the only reason the syllogism works—is because of the underlying laws requiring hospitals to treat the poor.

Unlike silly examples involving broccoli and cell phones, that so-called “bootstrap” argument is sound. But here the critics drop their ideological mask as surely as the court dropped it in the Gonzales ruling. Their argument can be restated thusly: if you repeal laws requiring hospitals to treat the poor, you eliminate the constitutional basis for mandatory insurance coverage.

You don’t have to pull the analytical thread of that reasoning very hard to see that it boils down to an argument for allowing the poor to die. And if the Supreme Court strikes down the health-care law, that is exactly the ideology it will have to embrace. It will be saying that Congress cannot guarantee medical coverage for the poor and then implement a system to pay for it. In other words, the only people entitled to health care are the people who can afford it.

The last time the court went down this path, saner heads prevailed. Oliver Wendell Holmes’s view was historically and constitutionally correct, and the court finally acknowledged this in a pivotal 1937 case, West Coast Hotel v. Parish. In West Coast Hotel, the court ruled that the Constitution safeguards not just individual liberty but community interests as well; and in matters of economics, it is the legislature’s job to strike the appropriate balance between those two. If the Roberts Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, it will be mimicking the discredited court of 1935.

We can argue about whether President Jefferson was right to try to impeach Justice Chase. But there’s no question that he was right to say that impeachment is an option for justices who undermine constitutional values. There are other options, as well. We might amend the Constitution to establish judicial term limits. Or we might increase the number of justices to dilute the influence of its current members (though FDR could tell you how that turned out). In the end, however, it is the duty of the people to protect the Constitution from the court. Social progress cannot be held hostage by five unelected men.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: impeachment; obamacare; scotus
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1 posted on 04/04/2012 10:51:14 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Do these people REALLY believe this excrement they’re spewing?


2 posted on 04/04/2012 10:54:54 AM PDT by ransacked
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To: SeekAndFind

Try it.

If you want war, you’ll have it.


3 posted on 04/04/2012 10:55:25 AM PDT by DB
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To: SeekAndFind

The Supreme Court could easily retaliate against Obama by entertaining a challenge to his ‘qualifications’ to be President.


4 posted on 04/04/2012 10:55:58 AM PDT by MeganC (No way in Hell am I voting for Mitt Romney. Not now, not ever. Deal with it.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Impeach them if they don’t


5 posted on 04/04/2012 10:56:54 AM PDT by conservativebabe
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To: ransacked
Do these people REALLY believe this excrement they’re spewing?

Some do, some don't. The actual content of their drivel is irrelevant -- they believe in their own righteousness.

6 posted on 04/04/2012 10:57:14 AM PDT by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Rempublicam)
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To: SeekAndFind

This is soooooooooo FDR.


7 posted on 04/04/2012 10:58:49 AM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: SeekAndFind

Nobody is impeaching anyone. Nor are they going to pass any “fix” or revamped version of Obamacare.

If the Supremes toss it out this issue will be D-E-A-D until the next time the Dems get super-duper majorities in both houses (which will hopefully be never)


8 posted on 04/04/2012 10:59:44 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: SeekAndFind

“The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law. “

I quit reading here. Such a statement shows he has zero understanding of the Constitution.


9 posted on 04/04/2012 11:00:32 AM PDT by Okieshooter
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To: All

The Left used to wield the courts like a sword....I pray this horrible law gets over turned...


10 posted on 04/04/2012 11:01:03 AM PDT by Maverick68
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To: SeekAndFind

Impeach Zero!!!


11 posted on 04/04/2012 11:01:15 AM PDT by CodeToad (I'm so right-wing if I lifted my left leg I'd go into a spin.)
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To: Cincinatus

Extremely well put!


12 posted on 04/04/2012 11:01:18 AM PDT by ebersole
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To: SeekAndFind

What really burns me up about this article is how pretentious and knowledgeable he tries to sound...but he doesn’t even know that Jefferson tried to impeach Samuel Chase. Salmon Chase was Lincoln’s Secretary of Treasury. Pompous buffoon!


13 posted on 04/04/2012 11:01:24 AM PDT by Benjamin Harrison
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To: Huskrrrr
This is soooooooooo FDR.

Yessiree. Unfortunately the only people who seem to realize that are over 80. Or, like me, they did an extensive college research paper on him.

14 posted on 04/04/2012 11:01:47 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: SeekAndFind
Jefferson believed Supreme Court justices who undermine the principles of the Constitution ought to be impeached

The writer is a driveling dork, but I think he's onto something here. . .

15 posted on 04/04/2012 11:01:52 AM PDT by SamuraiScot
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To: SeekAndFind

Right after we throw out the illegal alien sitting in the White House.


16 posted on 04/04/2012 11:02:26 AM PDT by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: SeekAndFind
Got this far...

The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law.

...before I realized the author is clearly FOS.

17 posted on 04/04/2012 11:03:23 AM PDT by Cyber Liberty (The only flaw is that America doesn't recognize Cyber's omniscience. -- sergeantdave)
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To: SeekAndFind
Another silly attempt to bob and weave around the Constitution. Do you see them discussion whether the Federal Gov’t has this power? No. They dance around non-sequitors.

The car insurance canard. Yes, the mandate requires all people to pay, you don't have to have car insurance unless you want to drive. Good analogy. However, they still miss the point that the insurance requirements are a STATE level obligation - not a federal mandate. Pretty big distinction.

The second nonsense about requiring hospitals to treat everyone as the basis for mandate is another distraction.

I can't begin to address the core issues as well as the “unelected” justices did in their blistering examination of the brilliant Solicitor General. It is obvious the law should be reversed in total.

It won't, of course. I don't believe Robert's has the cajones to reverse this law.

I think Obama knows this and is ratcheting up the pressure, no matter how shrill it makes the One look. Stephens will concur with a 5-4 upholding the law. Then the left will love the Court again!

18 posted on 04/04/2012 11:03:23 AM PDT by dan on the right
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To: SeekAndFind

Did anyone inform this dumkopf, this trottel that the GOP controls the House and will probably regain control of the senate this Fall? And even were that not the case, can anyone here imagine a scenario where FIVE justices were impeached at the same time?!


19 posted on 04/04/2012 11:04:00 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)
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To: SeekAndFind
Oh please open up that can of whoop a$$. The unelected judiciary, especially the 9th Circus court, is all that has pushed the liberal agenda for decades. Over and over again conservative laws pass with massive majorities only to be struck down by the courts. Set the precedent that we can start taking out Federal judges and this country will turn right in a heartbeat. Just like the recalls the GOP did in California that are biting us now in Wisconsin this can backfire on the libs big time. Be careful what you wish for libs. You just might get it.
20 posted on 04/04/2012 11:04:31 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: ransacked

Yes they do.
They believe like a acolyte in a monastery..............


21 posted on 04/04/2012 11:06:04 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: SeekAndFind

Nowhere in the Constitution did it grant Congress the power to mandate anybody buy anything. And Jefferson once said something to the effect “If the government were to direct us
to plant wheat we should soon want for bread.” and elsewhere Jefferson said “to compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” IMO if the supreme Court FAILS to nullify ObamaCare they will have failed to honor their Oath of Office and ought be impeached.Obama’s health care reform is UNconstitutional root and stock.


22 posted on 04/04/2012 11:06:11 AM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
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To: SeekAndFind
Talk about red herrings. This article is arguing the court wants to return the country to the Gilded age, and seems to contribute all the problems of the "Gilded Age" to the Supreme court, but I see no evidence of that. "The problem is that this decision would be the latest salvo in what seems to be a sustained effort on the part of the Roberts Court to return the country to the Gilded Age."

"At the close of the Gilded Age, the U.S. infant mortality rate was around 10 percent—a number you find today in impoverished Central African nations. "

Which was the lowest infant mortality rate in U.S. history. It's completely unfair to compare a rate then to current rates, and what does that have to do with the court anyway. Besides you want a fair comparison, include abortion in the infant mortality rates. Is the court trying to raise the infant mortality rate? No. A red herring.

"Women could not vote, and their lives were controlled by men."

Again, That wasn't due to the court in the Gilded age, that was due to the founding fathers and all of western history that preceded them. Is the court trying to take away women's right to vote. No. A red herring.

"Blacks lived apart from whites and comprised an economic, social, and political underclass."

Again, what does that have to do with this court or the court in the Gilded Age. Nothing. A red herring.

"Corporations exerted an unchecked and deleterious influence on the lives of workers."

This is the only thing that the current court has actually touched on. And since the article doesn't expound on how times might be similar or what the court did or didn't do, it's a worthless article.

23 posted on 04/04/2012 11:06:46 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I say impeach Kagan the mouth breathing troll regardless of the decision. She had no business even being in the room.
24 posted on 04/04/2012 11:07:08 AM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Romney - Santorum: Twin Sons of Different Mothers...)
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To: SeekAndFind
RE :”We might amend the Constitution to establish judicial term limits. Or we might increase the number of justices to dilute the influence of its current members (though FDR could tell you how that turned out). In the end, however, it is the duty of the people to protect the Constitution from the court. Social progress cannot be held hostage by five unelected men.

HA_HA, Mark Levin recommended some of those things in 2005 before the GWB appointees to the SCOTUS. The roles have flipped completely.

Men In Black:
How the Supreme Court is Destroying America
Author: Mark R. Levin
Publisher: Regnery
Date of Publication: February 2005
Levin's 2005 Men in Black (brief Sample and summary)

25 posted on 04/04/2012 11:09:49 AM PDT by sickoflibs (Obama : "I will just make insurance companies give you health care for 'free, What Mandates??' ")
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To: SeekAndFind

How about impeaching members of congress and the president for not upholding the constitution they’ve sworn to protect?

The constitution trumps federal statute. To make the mandate constitutional, you’d need an ammendment.

Nothing wrong w/the court pointing that out.


26 posted on 04/04/2012 11:09:59 AM PDT by fruser1
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To: SeekAndFind

Impeachment proceedings for the 4 social liberal justices that are totally unfamiliar with the Constitution. They have no business being on the bench. Does anyone ever listen to Newt? He is right. Too bad we are going to get a Romney that is not much better than King Obama on many things.


27 posted on 04/04/2012 11:10:08 AM PDT by Logical me
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Obama and friends will go around the court’s decision, if not ignore it outright.


28 posted on 04/04/2012 11:10:41 AM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: SeekAndFind

Someti8ng tells me our country is about to be torn to pieces one way or the other or both.


29 posted on 04/04/2012 11:10:41 AM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: MeganC

A big chunk of the electorate would love that to happen, say in about September of this year.


30 posted on 04/04/2012 11:11:12 AM PDT by RightWingConspirator (Obamanation--the most corrupt regime since Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe)
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To: SeekAndFind

No barfing chunks alert?


31 posted on 04/04/2012 11:11:26 AM PDT by treetopsandroofs (Had FDR been GOP, there would have been no World Wars, just "The Great War" and "Roosevelt's Wars".)
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To: ransacked

“Do these people REALLY believe this excrement they’re spewing?”

Why yes, they do.

And they will NEVER let go of their beliefs, even if reason and reality is staring them right in the eyes.

Here’s a question for you:

Do you REALLY believe that reconciliation with the left is possible?


32 posted on 04/04/2012 11:11:52 AM PDT by Road Glide
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To: SeekAndFind

How about we impeach them if they DON’T overturn it


33 posted on 04/04/2012 11:13:10 AM PDT by Mr. K (If Romney wins the primary, I am writing-in PALIN)
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To: SeekAndFind
First, Congress’s authority in passing the law rests on an elementary syllogism: You don't have to drive, but if you do, the government can make you buy insurance.

Auto insurance laws are state laws, so the syllogism in terms of a federal fails first on that score at the outset.

It also fails because the requirement to buy insurance doesn't arise until you actually have a car, despite the risk that uninsured people can (and do) drive anyway.

So, if there was a federal requirement that all people buy car insurance, regardless of whether they owned a car or even had a license, that might make a nice anology. But that's not the case, is it?

34 posted on 04/04/2012 11:13:43 AM PDT by Bruce Campbells Chin
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To: SeekAndFind
It will be saying that Congress cannot guarantee medical coverage for the poor and then implement a system to pay for it. In other words, the only people entitled to health care are the people who can afford it.

States can.

Like my retarded state.

The author of this piece is an intellectual lightweight.

35 posted on 04/04/2012 11:15:21 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: SeekAndFind

Yes let’s impeach the liberals on the court who look to today’s international laws and other countries laws to determine what is constitutional in America.


36 posted on 04/04/2012 11:16:50 AM PDT by for-q-clinton (If at first you don't succeed keep on sucking until you do succeed)
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To: SeekAndFind
The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down [Obamacare]...

Yeah it is. That's the sum total of your problem with this court at this time. If they were considered likely to uphold that crummy law, this author would be singing their praises to the rooftops.

This author is lying through his teeth, and what's more, he knows it, and he knows (or should know) that WE know it.

So, that being the case, what's his point?

37 posted on 04/04/2012 11:17:00 AM PDT by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Notice they didn’t have this view after the Kelo decision. Funny how things work out that way.


38 posted on 04/04/2012 11:17:05 AM PDT by ScottinVA (A single drop of American blood for muslims is one drop too many!)
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To: SeekAndFind
.... because forcing us to enter a commerce agreement is O! so constitutional.

Eat yer f****g peas and shut up, plebian.

39 posted on 04/04/2012 11:18:23 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Shut up and drill.)
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To: DB; All

Henry Bowman...


40 posted on 04/04/2012 11:18:39 AM PDT by Chasaway (Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?)
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To: SeekAndFind
The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law.


41 posted on 04/04/2012 11:18:55 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (I will not comply. I will NEVER submit.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Dow, David R
Houston, TX 77005
University of Houston/law Professor
MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION $500
primary 01/01/10

Dow, David
Houston, TX 77005
university of houston/law professor DEAN, HOWARD (D)
President
DEAN FOR AMERICA $300
primary 09/10/03

Dow, David R
Houston, TX 77005
Univ of Houston/Professor EDWARDS, JOHN (D)
President
EDWARDS FOR PRESIDENT $250
primary 06/30/03


42 posted on 04/04/2012 11:19:14 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: SeekAndFind
"A decision striking down the health care law would be a statement that the only people entitled to health care are the people who can afford it."

I have some really bad news for you: The only people entitled to anything other people produce are the people who can afford it. Notice I didn't say everyone shouldn't be able to get it. But that's not what you said. You said entitled. As if it is a person's God-given right to be provide with something that other people have to work to create.

But hey, why don't we just make all nurses work for free? Why don't we just force all doctors to work for free? I mean, it's not our fault they went through all the trouble to learn how to do stuff and we didn't. That's not stealing from them, right? They know how to do it and we don't. We're entitled to their labor!

'Course, exept for a few diehards, most people won't want to be a doctor or nurse anymore. We'll need to make more. I know! We'll force people to become nurses and doctors! Yeah! I'm certain they'll be just as good as the people who used become doctors and nurses voluntarily, right? Right? Ooh, and then we'll do the same for the farmers! And the military! And in the factories! This will be great!
43 posted on 04/04/2012 11:24:23 AM PDT by servo1969
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To: Cincinatus
they believe in their own righteousness.

Bing, bing bing. We have a WINNER!

Oh, and don't forget feelings. Feelings are important too.

44 posted on 04/04/2012 11:24:27 AM PDT by Drill Thrawl (Brass, copper, lead. The new precious metals.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thomas Jefferson was a hypocritical scribbler who financially screwed his male friends, secretly worked against Washington while he served in his cabinet, screwed his female slaves. The luckiest thing that happened to this country was that he was an ocean away in France while the constitutional convention was held and it took weeks for communication. He talked about civil rights and due process but tried to railroad Burr to the gallows; he talked about freedom but would not put any effort toward freeing the slaves even after he was retired from the Presidency,
He and his cohorts tried to close down free speech and press by prosecuting his opponents for telling the truth.
He closed down the military and had to fight the wars with the military that had been built up by Washington and Adams
he set up embargoes that helped ruin the economy and caused the New Englanders to consider Secession;
The Louisiana Purchase fell into to his lap and caused him to abandon his position regarding the extent of Executive Power.
Not surprised the Democraps use him and Jackson for templates for their excesses.


45 posted on 04/04/2012 11:26:23 AM PDT by BilLies (Ass.Press ABCBSNBCNN, NYTimes, WaPOSt , etc., hate your Traditional American guts!)
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To: Logical me
Romney may leave much to be desired in regards to his past, but he is in no way, even close to Obama in even one area.

That is a fact. One thing about Romney, he knows a great thinker when he sees one, and Newt is bound to be involved in the future administration. That is not a bad thing.

46 posted on 04/04/2012 11:29:56 AM PDT by PSYCHO-FREEP (If you come to a fork in the road, take it........)
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To: SamuraiScot
That thought crossed my mind at the same passage, so we're obviously sexist pigs  ;-)
47 posted on 04/04/2012 11:30:46 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: Okieshooter
“The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law. “

I quit reading here. Such a statement shows he has zero understanding of the Constitution.

Ditto! These people have no clue!

48 posted on 04/04/2012 11:31:58 AM PDT by Conservative_Jedi (Give me Liberty or give me Death!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I predict race riots by the summer. If they overturn Obama care the Race-baiter in chief and Sharpton types will declare that the Health Care law is a civil rights issue and stir up trouble! The DEMOCRAT convention in Charlotte is going to be a Powerder Keg....


49 posted on 04/04/2012 11:32:32 AM PDT by jakerobins
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To: sickoflibs

But he wasn’t talking about one case.


50 posted on 04/04/2012 11:34:45 AM PDT by Politics4US
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