Washington Post: “The clash between the black nationalist and the white lawyer has mushroomed into a fierce debate over the government’s enforcement of civil rights laws, a dispute that will be aired next week when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights unveils findings from a year-long investigation.”
Arizona Republic: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down Arizona’s requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that a federal voter-registration law supersedes Arizona’s requirement.”
Arizona Republic: “Armed with expanded authority to prosecute hate crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona has taken to the road to drum up business for its civil-rights division, advising minority groups about protections and offering law-enforcement training on how to recognize and investigate hate-driven activities.”
The Corner: “there is eye-popping new evidence to add to the already disturbing indications that the department is engaged in racially discriminatory enforcement of the civil-rights laws, and that high-ranking department officials have both obstructed justice and provided intentionally false testimony in the Civil Rights Commission’s investigation of the New Black Panther Party voter-intimidation case.”
Associated Press: “The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.”
Investors Business Daily: “Those who thought hope and change meant equal enforcement of the law were wrong. A top DOJ official testifies about a deliberate policy of not prosecuting minorities or protecting the rights of anybody else. . . . Coates said the Panther decision was ‘the result of their deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of white voters who have been discriminated against’.”
See “Misbehaving Federal Prosecutors – A USA Today investigation finds egregious misconduct at the Department of Justice, with few consequences.”
Washington Post: “A veteran Justice Department lawyer accused his agency Friday of being unwilling to pursue racial discrimination cases on behalf of white voters, turning what had been a lower-level controversy into an escalating political headache for the Obama administration.”
See “Voting Rights Official Calls Dismissal of Black Panther Case a ‘Travesty of Justice’,” “Time for Change: Gov’t Must Address Lawlessness Uncovered by Christopher Coates” and “Prosecutor alleges Department of Justice bias.”
New York Times: “At a time of growing tensions involving Muslims in the United States, a record number of Muslim workers are complaining of employment discrimination, from co-workers calling them “terrorist” or “Osama” to employers barring them from wearing head scarves or taking prayer breaks.”
Georgetown law Professor Randy E. Barnett has written a scholarly article called “Commandeering the People: Why the Individual Health Insurance Mandate is Unconstitutional.” Here’s the abstract:
The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” includes what is called an “individual responsibility requirement” or mandate that all persons buy health insurance from a private company and a separate “penalty” enforcing this requirement. In this paper, I do not critique the individual mandate on originalist grounds. Instead, I explain why the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the existing doctrine by which the Supreme Court construes the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses and the tax power. There are three principal claims.
First (Part II), since the New Deal, the Supreme Court has developed a doctrine allowing the regulation of wholly intrastate activity: the substantial effects doctrine. Although commonly conceived as a Commerce Clause doctrine, from its inception this doctrine has been grounded in the Necessary and Proper Clause. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court developed a judicially administrable test for whether it is “necessary” for Congress to reach intrastate activity that substantially affects interstate commerce: the distinction between economic and noneconomic intrastate activity. Because the individual mandate fails to satisfy the requirements of this test as understood under existing doctrine, it exceeds the power granted to Congress by the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses as currently construed by the Supreme Court. The mandate also fails to satisfy an alternative to the substantial effects doctrine that was proposed by Justice Scalia in a concurring opinion.
Second (Part III), because the “individual responsibility requirement” purports to be a regulation of commerce and cannot possibly be construed as a tax, it is not justified under the tax power of Congress; and, if the “requirement” or mandate is an unconstitutional regulation, there is nothing for the “penalty” to enforce. Neither is the penalty, considered apart from the regulatory requirement, a tax under current doctrine.
Third (Part IV), the Supreme Court should not further expand Congress’s power beyond existing doctrine to allow it to mandate that individuals engage in economic activity by entering into contracts with private companies. Such economic mandates are directly analogous to the commandeering of the states that the Supreme Court has held to be an improper exercise of the commerce power. The very few mandates that are imposed on the people pertain to their fundamental duties as citizens of the United States, such as the duty to defend the country or to pay for its operation. A newfound congressional power to impose economic mandates to facilitate the regulation of interstate commerce would fundamentally alter the relationship of citizen and state by unconstitutionally commandeering the people.
In Part V, I conclude with a “realist” assessment of likelihood that the Supreme Court will actually find the mandate to be unconstitutional.