Senator Patrick Leahy
Reference: your statement on May 15, 2012 on the Supreme court’s review of the Affordable Care Act.
Our founding fathers saw the need for the restraining power of the Judiciary when the legislature goes beyond the lines that mark the limits of discretion and to ensure that the constitutional protections of human rights are not subverted, intentionally or unintentionally. When asked, they provide judicial reviews and render their opinions. This is one of those occasions.
The first point in your commentary, links a supposed viewpoint of the future Chief Justice Roberts to the Bush vs Gore decision in 2000. To assume that he saw it the same way as you is not only an over-reach, but a continued miss-representation of what actually occurred.
The US Supreme Court did not make a decision that determined the outcome of the 2000 election. The Sec. of State certified the election on Nov. 22. US Code requires that after 6 days prior to electoral college meeting, congress cannot change the results. There was no practical way for Florida to meet that Dec. 12 deadline, and cherry picking Counties to recount and visual interpretations of voter intent with hanging chads were contrary to a democratic election (as a Constitutional equal protection issue). The US Supreme Court reaffirmed that there could only be one election nationally, and it must occur on the same day with the state laws prevailing on election day remaining in effect. The Florida Supreme Court subsequently concurred with this US Supreme Court decision and an UN-official re-vote count showed that no change in the results would have occurred had there been an official re-count in Florida.
The public reaction to Bush vs Gore was a consequence of an uniformed public and the lack of better explanations from those, like yourself that knew better. To view that 5-4 decision as partisan and allow it to shake the confidence of the American people is a dereliction of the responsibility of your public office. Partisan politicians responded to that public opinion by reinforcing it to gain favor with their constituents, thus closing the circle of misinformation.
Regarding your commentary on the Supreme court review of The Affordability Care Act, we again see a poisoning of public opinion for partisan purposes. If the Supreme Court returns an opinion different than yours, you would like us to believe it resulted from judicial activism, not from careful thought, with proper “judicial modesty, honoring precedent – – and that will undoubtedly further erode the reputation and legitimacy of the Supreme Court”. The respect that you want from the Supreme Court for the Legislature is not returned in your characterization here of the Court.
The legislature has unlimited opportunity to provide social necessities within the framework of our Constitutional freedoms. To anguish over Legislative indiscretions that the court may define as an over-reach, is shortsighted. The Legislature can go back to the drawing board and get it right, to achieve the desired end without infringing on liberty and freedoms. Observe the ingenuity and invention that occurs continuously in the private sector. The public rightfully expects the same from its elected representatives. While all this hand wringing in advance of a decision may be useful for partisan politics, it further poisons the public view of a congress that we expect to work together to serves our national interest.
It has been nearly twelve years since Bush vs Gore, which wasn’t the only time that the electoral college differed from the popular vote. There has been ample time to formulate a constitutional change that would provide greater assurance that the electoral college vote would reflect the popular vote. Even now, the Senate Judiciary Committee can and should begin this useful public discussion.
Leslie J. Allen
Notes & Events
Thursday, May 31: The Administration and the Green Mountain Care Board will jointly host a public hearing from 3:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. This hearing is open to the public. Reservations for testimony are being taken and filling up fast so please follow the guidance below and reserve a slot to let the state know what you think of the direction, scope and pace of health care reform in Vermont. This may be the best (or only) opportunity to tell the Shumlin Administration and Green Mountain Care Board what you think about their race to implement government monopoly single payer health care program.
The hearing will be held using Vermont Interactive Technologies video-conferencing. Individuals can attend the hearing at one of 11 sites around the state (see below). It will begin with a brief presentation to be followed by public testimony. Healthcare providers and patient advocates are requested to offer thier perspective on benefit design and benefits that should be included in the single payer plan.
Each individual wishing to speak will be given a set amount of time depending on attendance. Please e-mail SOV.HCR@state.vt.us or call Marisa Melamed at 802-828-2316 to sign up in advance. Those who sign up by May 24th will be given preference for the timeframe they would like to speak in. People will also be allowed to sign up when they arrive but reservations will be honored first.
When you call or write please indicate:
1) Your name
2) The VIT site you plan to attend
3) Your title or affiliation, if applicable; and
4) The best time for you to speak between 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. on May 31st.
The public hearing will be held at the following VIT Studios. Please visit the VIT Website for directions.
Bennington, Brattleboro, Lyndonville, Middlebury, Montpelier, Newport, Rutland, Springfield, St. Albans, White River Junction, Williston
Tuesday June 16: David Coats will speak as part of the Sheraton Economic Series at 7pm Sheraton University Amphitheatre on the subject of Vermont’s unfunded liabilities.
We look forward to your feedback, tips, and comments. Please send them to email@example.com. I’ll have the opportunity to review your ideas upon my return. Thanks!