Affordable Care Act Upheld! Full Speed Ahead!

By Anthony Wright
Health Access California

Earlier this morning the Supreme Court largely upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act - landmark legislation that will provide new consumer protections and secure and expand access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans regardless of age, income, or pre-existing condition.

This Supreme Court decision upholds the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land, and removes a cloud over its implementation. California now has the ability to go full speed ahead to ensure that millions of Californians enjoy these new options and consumer protections.

The Impact Of The Supreme Court Decision On Health Care May Not Be What You Think

By Anthony Wright
Health Access

Lots of ink has been spilled on the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, but it's unclear that the public has a clear sense of what is at stake. Like with the law itself, the Supreme Court case is broad and far-reaching, and prone to misinformation. So here are two under-reported angles to covering the lead-up to the Supreme Court decision, and its immediate aftermath.

1. The impact of striking down the whole law will be much bigger and more immediate than you think.

Karl Rove’s Supreme Court

By Randy Shaw
Beyond Chron

As the nation awaits the Supreme Court revoking all or part of the landmark health care law, Karl Rove’s control of the Court’s agenda is clear. Rove’s core goals since George W. Bush became President are threefold: unleash unlimited campaign spending, defund unions, trial lawyers and other key Democratic contributors, and limit challenges to unbridled corporate power.

Rove picked Roberts and Alito to enact this political agenda, which they have done. Rove had no problem with the Arizona immigration ruling, which supposedly showed that the Court majority is more than Republican political activists; he wants Republicans to attract Latino votes and Bush backed immigration reform through 2007. I know from my years in law school and as an attorney that many still believe that federal judges base decisions on legal analysis not politics, but Rove and the current Supreme Court have dealt a death blow to such naiveté.

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Some of Arizona's SB 1070

By Duane Campbell

The U.S. Supreme court today struck down most provisions of the Arizona law SB 1070 while sustaining one of its most controversial provisions.

The court sustained the “show me your papers” provision of the law that requires state law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest.

The most conservative members of the court voted to sustain the entire law. Imagine this.  Judges who consider themselves conservative support a law that requires all persons to carry papers to show their immigration/citizenship status.   This is a practice most often found in repressive regimes such as that of Syria or Nazi Germany.

Last Chapter for Proposition 8?

By Shannon Minter, Esq., and Christopher Stoll, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights   

On June 5, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that it would not reconsider a three-judge panel’s February 7 decision striking down Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped same-sex couples in California of the freedom to marry. Following a vote by all 27 active Ninth Circuit judges, the court declined to send the case to a larger panel of judges that would have reconsidered the February decision. 

Who Was Standing His Ground? The Case of Trayvon Martin

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

By now most people know the basic facts of the Trayvon Martin case. On February 26, George Zimmerman, member of a neighborhood watch, spotted Martin entering a gated community where Martin and his father were visiting the father’s fiancé. Martin was returning from purchasing Skittles at a local convenience store and was talking with his girlfriend on his cell phone.

Zimmerman phoned the police dispatcher about seeing someone acting suspicious in the rain, “just walking around looking about.” The dispatcher asked if Zimmerman was following him and advised, “You don’t need to do that.” Zimmerman said “Okay”; but didn’t stay put.

There are various versions of what happened next. According to Martin’s girlfriend, Martin told her there was a man he described as "crazy and creepy” watching him. In any case, it was Zimmerman who followed Martin. Zimmerman was not a uniformed police officer and had no legal authority.

No Lawsuit Has Ever Been Filed After Using a Lawnmower as a Hedge Trimmer – But the Story Persists

By JG Preston
Protect Consumer Justice

It’s the urban legend that refuses to die…never mind that it was debunked in 1977.

A story posted May 29 on the website of Advisen addressed the state of the product liability insurance market. The story, credited to BestWire Services, originated from the offices of A.M. Best, “a full-service credit rating organization dedicated to serving the insurance industry,” and was written by Meg Green, senior associate editor of BestWeek, the company’s subscription publication that contains ratings information and analysis.

Green wrote that product liability “was the least profitable line among property/casualty insurers from 2001 to 2010, according to A.M. Best data.” She described the business as “beset by high costs,” for reasons one insurance executive spelled out in simple English.

Advocacy Day Draws Trans Folks, Allies to Capitol

By Dan Aiello

More than 50 transgender Californians and non-U.S. residents gathered at the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento Monday, May 21 as they prepared to lobby legislators on behalf of two bills aimed at addressing discrimination against transgender youth in California's foster care system and non-US residents victims of crime who risk deportation under federal law.

Both Assembly bills are authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

ACLU/SC Sues California Secretary of State For Excluding Minor Political Parties From November Presidential Election Ballot

By David Sapp
ACLU of Southern California

Yesterday, the ACLU of Southern California filed suit against California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on behalf of the Justice Party and the Constitution Party of California, which seek to have their nominees for President and Vice President included on November’s presidential election ballot, and individual voters who support the groups.  The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Political groups cannot place their candidates on California’s ballot unless they are formally recognized by the State as political parties.  Yet the deadline for qualifying as a recognized political party is more than 10 months before the Presidential election.  Since California first enacted the early party-qualification deadline in 1953, only seven new political parties have met the qualification standards, and only one new party has done so since 1995.

Vermont Was Third. Will California Be Next?

By Jonah Minkoff-Zern
Public Citizen

Vermont today became the third state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

Which state will be next? It could very well be California.

If the state approves AJR 22, introduced in January by Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski and Michael Allen, California would be the fourth state in the union to back an amendment (Hawaii and New Mexico are the first two). The resolution calls for an amendment that would prevent corporations from being granted the same rights as individuals. It would help create fair elections, in which Congress could regulate all forms of campaign spending.

The resolution passed the Assembly in March by a 48-22 vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing will be held on May 1.