Emily Bazelon

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit ruled against Matt Sissel, the Iowa artist and entrepreneur who challenged the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate on the grounds that the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s Origination Clause. Article I, § 7, clause 1 requires that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.” Obamacare raises government revenue by billions of dollars, but it was drafted in the Senate. Judge Judith Rogers wrote the opinion in Sissel v. HHS for a panel including two newly minted Obama appointees, Judge Nina Pillard and Judge Robert Wilkins.

This ruling comes in the wake of last week’s dueling decisions in Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell. Another D.C. Circuit panel found that Obamacare subsidies were illegal in the 36 states that refused to set up state healthcare exchanges. On the same day, the Fourth Circuit disagreed. In court battles, Obamacare opponents are winning some and losing some.

What should we make of their track record so far?

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My parents separated for a brief period of time when I was in the fourth grade. I don’t remember there being too much controversy over where I would be crashing as (a) the separation didn’t last long and (b) I was not exactly the prize pig over which anyone in their right mind would compete. Anyway, the one thing I remember about that time was how my dad treated me. My father, who had previously acted as the proximate cause in his son’s nervousness and irritable bowels, was now a prince among men. He took me to a basketball game and laughed at my jokes in a deeply insincere way. If you ask me, this is the highest compliment another person can pay you.

I tell this story to establish my bona fides in the areas of family law, custody disputes, and even the fathers’ rights movement. I’m pretty much an expert. In the past week, the issue of fathers’ rights has popped up in unusual ways and places. Fox News reported over the weekend that a group of fathers are suing the state of Utah over their adoption laws. Bode Miller, meanwhile, won a bronze medal on Sunday, which prompted Slate to reprint an Emily Bazelon post on Miller’s odd custody dispute. And finally, a law firm in Florida has elevated fathers’ rights to perhaps its highest purpose: marketing.

The question posed by all of this is what if, with all apologies to Shaq Fu, the biological does bother?

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The media has toppled a barrel of digital ink on the issue of Justice Ginsburg’s insistence on retaining her seat on the Supreme Court. Above the Law has even mentioned it once or twice or thrice. Like any other conventional wisdom story emanating from inside the Beltway, someone raised the issue, Justice Ginsburg said “no,” and then scores of pages were written explaining how she was wrong. And now, as that’s played itself out, scores of pages are going to be written taking the stance that maybe Justice Ginsburg… isn’t wrong?

Well, she is wrong, and bucking the trend of conventional wisdom makes for fun thought experiments, but isn’t as helpful when it comes to discrete, short-term decision-making. The thinking is all too clever by half and should be heaved onto the bonfire of civil liberties Scalia has cooking in his mind….

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So I’ve thought about this a lot….

Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy (affiliate link), responding to Stephen Colbert’s query, “Do you think I’m a bully?” The exchange brought Colbert to tears.

(Full video of the interview, after the jump….)

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* Sammy Alito and the roots of a compassionate constitutional conservatism. By Emily Bazelon. Foreblurb by Juggalo Law. [New York Times]

* A U.S. vulture fund is having problems collecting a certain debt from the Democratic Republic of Congo via certain chinamen. Yes, I know that’s not the preferred nomenclature. But these men actually do build railroads. [Bloomberg]

* This business professor thinks law firms should start acting like real businesses. Somewhere, a theater professor thinks law firms should just start acting. [Washington Post]

* This fascinating story’s many intimations about State Senator Carl Kruger make it difficult to discern who is doinking who. Sorry, doinking whom. Whom is doinking whom. [New York Times]

* It is spring, which means the New York Mets are feisty. Silly Mets. [New York Post]

* The FDA is weighing whether to ban menthol cigarettes. Good thing Elie already quit. What’s that? You didn’t smoke menthols, Elie? Wow, this is awkward… [Chicago Tribune]

* The Barry Bonds trial is going to be a heavyweight fight. However, most of that weight will be located in Bonds’s head. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Of shaken babies and unsure verdicts. This long piece in the Times Magazine, by Emily Bazelon, is well worth your time. For those who require a funny take on shaking, there’s always this totally NSFW Chris Rock bit. [New York Times Magazine]

* What do willful violations of antitrust law and not being admitted to the Super Bowl with a valid ticket have in common? Treble damages. [SI.com]

* David Stern got it turned around on him, like a guy who was the foreclosure king and won’t have any need for a strap-on where he’s going. [ABC News]

* Let us celebrate the Green Bay Packers win last night by remembering a more innocent time — a year ago, when viewers of the Super Bowl weren’t eye-raped by the Black Eyed Peas and, instead, eye-caressed by sweet sweet porn. [New York Daily News]

* Speaking of innocent Super Bowl revelry… child prostitution! [Time]

* Raquel Balsam paid too much for her SUNY education and now she says “I pretty much felt cheated on.” Like it got turned around on her… yeah, I’m using that twice. [New York Times]

* Yale law professor Akhil Amar shows Judge Vinson his pimp hand is way strong. [Los Angeles Times]

* AOL has purchased The Huffington Post. AOL, like Radio Shack, refuses to die. [Reuters]