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Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

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  • Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

    Wednesday during the third day of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law the following question was asked by Supreme Court justice Kagan. Remember, Elena Kagan is the most junior justice, a former solicitor general for Obama who worked on the defense of the Healthcare Reform Act at the Supreme Court. Ethically she should have recused herself. These are the comments she made about the commerce clause and coercion.

    KAGAN: Why is a big gift from the federal government a matter of coercion? In other words, the federal government is here saying: We're giving you a boatload of money. There are no matching funds requirement. There are no extraneous conditions attached to it. It's just a boatload of federal money for you to take and spend on poor people's health care. It doesn't sound coercive to me, I have to tell you.
    This is the intellectual constitutional analysis we get from a member of the Supreme Court the former dean of Harvard Law? Can you say Affirmative Action? A big gift from the federal government? Does she understand where the government acquires this boatload of money? No strings attached? I believe there are around 2,700 pages of strings. No extraneous conditions attached? No - just telling all American citizens they must buy insurance or pay a fine. With this incredible lack of logic from a member of the Supreme Court I fear for this countrys future.

  • #2
    Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

    I think that she understands where it comes from. It's just that she doesn't care.

    In the mind of such people anything and everything is justifiable if your intentions are good.

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    • #3
      Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

      Originally posted by lutherf View Post
      I think that she understands where it comes from. It's just that she doesn't care.

      In the mind of such people anything and everything is justifiable if your intentions are good.
      Yes, the ambition of modern liberalism. Results are irrelevant as long as intentions are good. But again, this seriously frightens me if a lifetime member of the Supreme Court truly believes that good intentions trump the Constitution.

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      • #4
        Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

        I get where you're coming from, but in the context of what's being contested here, it's irrelevant. The government's tax power is unlimited thank to the income tax amendment. So there's no way to challenge the Medicaid expansion on that ground.

        What the states are claiming is that they have to increase Medicaid spending or else lose Medicaid funding. Kagan's argument is that they are essentially getting a lot of money for free. Which as far as I remember isn't really true. States have to spend more themselves as well.

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        • #5
          Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

          Originally posted by adaher View Post
          I get where you're coming from, but in the context of what's being contested here, it's irrelevant. The government's tax power is unlimited thank to the income tax amendment. So there's no way to challenge the Medicaid expansion on that ground.

          What the states are claiming is that they have to increase Medicaid spending or else lose Medicaid funding. Kagan's argument is that they are essentially getting a lot of money for free. Which as far as I remember isn't really true. States have to spend more themselves as well.
          States have been sacrificing their autonomy for a while now. They may piss and moan once in a while but in the end power of the almighty dollar wins out.

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          • #6
            Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

            Originally posted by SupPackFan View Post
            Yes, the ambition of modern liberalism. Results are irrelevant as long as intentions are good. But again, this seriously frightens me if a lifetime member of the Supreme Court truly believes that good intentions trump the Constitution.
            Well you didn't think a moron like Owebama would put someone on the court with anything so inconvenient as principles did you?

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            • #7
              Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

              Originally posted by SupPackFan View Post
              This is the intellectual constitutional analysis we get from a member of the Supreme Court the former dean of Harvard Law? Can you say Affirmative Action? A big gift from the federal government? Does she understand where the government acquires this boatload of money? No strings attached? I believe there are around 2,700 pages of strings. No extraneous conditions attached? No - just telling all American citizens they must buy insurance or pay a fine. With this incredible lack of logic from a member of the Supreme Court I fear for this countrys future.
              Here's the underline problem, Liberals think there is an endless supply of money. So a big gift from the federal government is the norm when it comes to their capacity to think logically.

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              • #8
                Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                Originally posted by SupPackFan View Post
                A big gift from the federal government? Does she understand where the government acquires this ‘boatload’ of money? No strings attached? I believe there are around 2,700 pages of ‘strings’. No extraneous conditions attached? No - just telling all American citizens they must buy insurance or pay a fine. With this incredible lack of logic from a member of the Supreme Court I fear for this country’s future.
                She's specifically talking about the federal government creating a new mandatory eligibility category in Medicaid, paid for almost entirely by the federal government. There's no provision that makes that funding contingent on the state enacting its own individual mandate or anything like that.

                Originally posted by adaher View Post
                What the states are claiming is that they have to increase Medicaid spending or else lose Medicaid funding. Kagan's argument is that they are essentially getting a lot of money for free. Which as far as I remember isn't really true. States have to spend more themselves as well.
                States are financing a very small portion of the Medicaid expansion, which is Kagan's point. They are indeed getting a boatload of federal money.



                That number for the states' share is, of course, spread over 51 separate state Medicaid programs.

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                • #9
                  Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                  But doesn't the state share grow after the first 10 years? I'm not sure which version of the expansion ended up in the final bill.

                  If the state share does grow, it's classic drug pusher tactics from the federal government.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                    No, it doesn't grow after the first ten years. It grows during the first six years (i.e. until 2020), at which point it levels off at a 90% federal share indefinitely.

                    Under the Medicaid program, the federal government offers matching funds for state expenditures. The amount the feds contribute, the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), generally varies from state-to-state based on the state's per capita income but is always 50% or higher (meaning the federal government always pays at least half of any state's Medicaid expenses). What the ACA does is create a new eligibility category--since Medicaid eligibility generally requires having not only a low income but fitting into a particular category, like parents, children, or pregnant women--for adults under 133% of the poverty line.

                    But anyone who becomes newly eligible under this expansion gets an enhanced match (FMAP) from the feds under the ACA. The statutory language is:

                    (y) INCREASED FMAP FOR MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR NEWLY ELIGIBLE MANDATORY INDIVIDUALS.
                    (1) AMOUNT OF INCREASE.Notwithstanding subsection (b), the Federal medical assistance percentage for a State that is one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia, with respect to amounts expended by such State for medical assistance for newly eligible individuals described in subclause (VIII) of section 1902(a)(10)(A)(i), shall be equal to
                    (A) 100 percent for calendar quarters in 2014, 2015, and 2016;
                    (B) 95 percent for calendar quarters in 2017;
                    (C) 94 percent for calendar quarters in 2018;
                    (D) 93 percent for calendar quarters in 2019; and
                    (E) 90 percent for calendar quarters in 2020 and each year thereafter.
                    So for the first three years of the Medicaid expansion, states pay nothing for the newly eligible enrollees. Then over the subsequent years, they pay 5%, 6% and then 7% of these people's costs. In 2020 and forever after, they pay only 10% of the newly eligibles' costs, which is a much, much better matching percentage than they get on any of their traditional Medicaid populations.

                    Given that the ACA not only gives them a boatload of cash for new eligibles' medical expenses, but 1) is also offering 90% of the funding for states to streamline and update their IT systems (in some states, that means bringing their information systems out of the 1980s and into the 21st century) to handle eligibility and enrollment functions for Medicaid and also link to the new state exchanges, and 2) the ACA offers a number of new state options and voluntary demonstrations in Medicaid that states can participate in to cut costs, they're getting a pretty good deal.

                    ?


                    • #11
                      Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                      Originally posted by SupPackFan View Post
                      Yes, the ambition of modern liberalism. Results are irrelevant as long as intentions are good. But again, this seriously frightens me if a lifetime member of the Supreme Court truly believes that good intentions trump the Constitution.
                      I think the Court is under more pressure than ever with this case, as many people are watching to see if their decision is based on factual interpretation of the law as it relates to the Constitution, or if they make a decision based on partisan lines. If we see yet another 5-4 decision along conservative-liberal lines, then it'll be assumed that following Bush v Gore, and MCain-Feingold, that the court is simply another partisan tool, and not the independent deliberative body it is supposed to be.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                        Yeah, but which side is being partisan? A case can be made for either. Liberals may be upholding precedent, but it's only an 80 year precedent. Back when liberals were regularly throwing out 150 years of precedent, that was okay. Not to mention liberals still place new limits on government power whenever they can to defend the rights they care about(such as gay marriage). As a libertarian, I applaud this. But they shouldn't complain when conservatives start limiting government power to defend the rights THEY care about. YOu know, the ones actually listed in the Bill of Rights, as opposed to the ones liberals made up.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                          Originally posted by Greenbeard View Post
                          She's specifically talking about the federal government creating a new mandatory eligibility category in Medicaid, paid for almost entirely by the federal government. There's no provision that makes that funding contingent on the state enacting its own individual mandate or anything like that.

                          States are financing a very small portion of the Medicaid expansion, which is Kagan's point. They are indeed getting a boatload of federal money.

                          That number for the states' share is, of course, spread over 51 separate state Medicaid programs.
                          Both you and adaher are making the same mistake with how you are looking at who is paying for what. In reality, the federal government doesn't really pay for anything that it hasn't taken from the constituents of each state. So, in other words, the states pay 100% of the bill.

                          ?


                          • #14
                            Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                            Originally posted by SupPackFan View Post
                            Wednesday during the third day of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law the following question was asked by Supreme Court justice Kagan. Remember, Elena Kagan is the most junior justice, a former solicitor general for Obama who worked on the defense of the Healthcare Reform Act at the Supreme Court. Ethically she should have recused herself. These are the comments she made about the commerce clause and coercion.

                            This is the intellectual constitutional analysis we get from a member of the Supreme Court – the former dean of Harvard Law? Can you say “Affirmative Action”? A big gift from the federal government? Does she understand where the government acquires this ‘boatload’ of money? No strings attached? I believe there are around 2,700 pages of ‘strings’. No extraneous conditions attached? No - just telling all American citizens they must buy insurance or pay a fine. With this incredible lack of logic from a member of the Supreme Court I fear for this country’s future.
                            That quote is a perfect example of how liberal judges base their rulings on emotions, feeling, and intentions. Notice how there was no attempt to draw the basis for her statement from the Constitution, the only thing that is supposed to matter in making the decision.

                            ?


                            • #15
                              Re: Justice Kagan's Contitutional Analysis

                              Originally posted by fishjoel View Post
                              Both you and adaher are making the same mistake with how you are looking at who is paying for what. In reality, the federal government doesn't really pay for anything that it hasn't taken from the constituents of each state. So, in other words, the states pay 100% of the bill.
                              That's true. The federal government made states poorer and enriched itself by poaching the states' revenue sources.

                              ?

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