Say what? Can it be true that, after all this lead up, the Supreme Court won’t begin hearings on the Affordable Health Care Act on Monday? Really????
Uh, yeah. Apparently it’s quite possible the Supremes may decide that, legally speaking, they’re jumping the gun in hearing the case—or at least on the most important part of the challenge. (No matter what, the court will hear the Medicare expansion part of the arguments on Wednesday).
As an introduction, you need to know that everybody involved—the Obama Administration and the challengers from the various states, et al—want this sucker—ahem….this Constitutional challenge—to move forward now, for crying out loud.
Here’s a clip from Savage’s article (which I’ve excerpted from the Sac Bee, although it will also be in the LA Times but, as I write this, it isn’t on the LAT site yet).
The Supreme Court’s opening day of arguments on the health care law will not focus on whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Instead, the justices will consider whether the legal challenge to it has arrived too soon.
The problem is the Anti-Injunction Act, which dates to 1867. It says, “No suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person.”
Question: How does this figure in the health care case?
Answer: It could block a suit against this key part of the health care law if it imposes a tax. The law seems to say that no one can sue over a tax provision until he or she has paid the tax.
Q: How is the Affordable Care Act a tax law?
A: During the debate over it, President Barack Obama insisted it did not impose new taxes. However, people who do not have minimum health coverage in 2014 will be assessed a “penalty” to be paid on their tax return, which will be due in April 2015.
And here’s a clip from Barnes in the WaPo.
The Supreme Court begins its constitutional review of the health-care overhaul law Monday with a fundamental question: Is the court barred from making such a decision at this time?
The justices will hear 90 minutes of argument about whether an obscure 19th-century law — the Anti-Injunction Act — means that the court cannot pass judgment on the law until its key provisions go into effect in 2014.
At the heart of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the requirement that almost all Americans either obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. The question the court will consider Monday is whether that penalty should be considered a tax. And if it is, does the Anti-Injunction Act mean that courts must stay out of the way until someone is actually required to pay it?
The first time that could occur is when someone files a tax return in 2015, because that is how the penalty would be collected.
TRAYVON MARTIN AND THE “BLACK MALE CODE”
Thus far, WLA hasn’t commented or reported on the heart-shattering story of Trayvon Martin’s death, in part because so much has already been said and written, thus I wasn’t sure what exactly we could add to the conversation.
But speaking personally, the main reason I’ve not written about the issue is because every time I stare at Travon’s photo, rather than being inspired to post something wise and meaningful, I find that I am simply struck dumb with grief for his mother—and for his dad, and the rest of his family of course too. But I am a mother of a son, so it is to Sybrina Fulton that my deepest sorrow goes.
If course, Trayvon is far from the only young person to die tragically and violently these past weeks. LA’s Youth Justice Coalition head, Kim McGill, tells me they’ve buried five of their own young members in the past two months. (I’ll have more on the five in the future.)
But some deaths get to you more than others; perhaps in that way they stand in for stand in for all the others. Travon Martin’s is one of those deaths.
Still, as much fearful empathy as I feel for Travon’s mother Sybrina, I do so with the understanding that there is one part of her experience that I cannot adequately feel into, at least not in the bone-deep way that many other American parents, sadly, can.
That difference has to do with the fear described in this story by Jesse Washington writing for the Associated Press. It is titled “Trayvon Martin, my son, and the Black Male Code,” and I’ve excerpted it below. But I urge you to read the whole thing.
I thought my son would be much older before I had to tell him about the Black Male Code. He’s only 12, still sleeping with stuffed animals, still afraid of the dark. But after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I needed to explain to my child that soon people might be afraid of him.
We were in the car on the way to school when a story about Martin came on the radio. “The guy who killed him should get arrested. The dead guy was unarmed!” my son said after hearing that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman had claimed self-defense in the shooting in Sanford, Fla.
We listened to the rest of the story, describing how Zimmerman had spotted Martin, who was 17, walking home from the store on a rainy night, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. When it was over, I turned off the radio and told my son about the rules he needs to follow to avoid becoming another Trayvon Martin — a black male who Zimmerman assumed was “suspicious” and “up to no good.”
As I explained it, the Code goes like this:
Always pay close attention to your surroundings, son, especially if you are in an affluent neighborhood where black folks are few. Understand that even though you are not a criminal, some people might assume you are, especially if you are wearing certain clothes.
Read the rest. It’s worth it.
WHY DID THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA TAKE SO LONG TO BEGIN REPORTING ON THE TRAYVON MARTIN STORY?
Howard Kurtz asked that question on CNN on Sunday, and opened it for a round-table discussion you can read here.
I can’t say that the discussion is brilliant or even all that insightful, frankly, but listening in may stimulate your own thinking. (Really, I think Jon Stewart had the right take when he said of another big story that the media has two settings: blackout….and circus.
In truth, I think, the better question is what made the mainstream media finally snap awake. I credit Trayvon’s parents who refused to let the injustice of their son’s death go unnoticed and, together with supporters, were able to frame a clear narrative around the shooting of their son, together with a good picture, that gradually got the press’s attention—and has kept it. In a similar way, Kelly Thomas’s father in Fullerton exhibited the same well-focused determination, in which he was clear about what the story needed to be, and managed to keep it in the news rather than letting it be reported on once or twice and then vanish without a trace. As a result, Jim Thomas may get some kind of justice for his son.
Moreover, the rest of us should be grateful that Trayvon’s parents did not let their son’s death go unrecognized. As a consequence, out of their sorrow we are being shoved into having another round of the national conversion about race that we very much need to continue to have, but too often avoid.
AND SPEAKING OF THAT CONVERSATION….
Here’s Marion Wright Edelman (pictured above) president of the Children’s Defense Fund, with her own thoughts about Trayvon Martin, what his death should signify.
Here’s a clip:
….Just as sadly, Trayvon’s death was not unique. In 2008 and 2009, 2,582 black children and teens were killed by gunfire. Black children and teens were only 15 percent of the child population, but 45 percent of the 5,740 child and teen gun deaths in those two years. Black males 15 to 19 years-old were eight times as likely as white males to be gun homicide victims. The outcry over Trayvon’s death is absolutely right and just. We need the same sense of outrage over every one of these child deaths…
Photo by AP, for the Children’s Defense Fund