Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Question of Constitution

Constitutional or unconstitutional? That is the question the U.S. Supreme Court eventually may get to decide on President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law.

(By one definition, constitution can also refer to one’s health — just throwing that in.) 

A judge in Virginia declared unconstitutional a provision that requires individuals to buy health insurance or face a fine, backing arguments by the state that Congress exceeded its authority. USA-COURT/KAGAN

The White House begged to differ. 
“We disagree with the ruling,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
“We’re confident that it is constitutional,” he said.

If it does go to the highest court in the land, there are 4 liberals (Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan), 4 conservatives (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) and one moderate conservative (Justice Anthony Kennedy) who often controls the outcome.

Washington Extra – A belief in tea, and the Constitution

The Tea Party takes pride in its belief in the importance and centrality of the Constitution of the United States. Indeed, Senate Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell has been reported as referring to the document as a “covenant” based on “divine principles”.

So there was some disbelieving laughter from the audience in Delaware today when O’Donnell showed she did not know the contents of the First Amendment. “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” she asked Democratic opponent Chris Coons. OBAMA/

“The First Amendment does?” O’Donnell went on to ask. “Let me just clarify: You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?” Watch the whole eight-minute exchange here, part of a debate about whether schools should teach intelligent design or evolution.