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by Joe “Alamo Joe” Briggs

7/17/12 Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman; President Barack Obama made a campaign stop in Austin, Texas Tuesday evening to attend two private fundraising events for his re-election candidacy. He was greeted enthusiastically at the Austin Music Hall where he talked of his achievements and the need for four more years. (related story)
The only thing Obama likes about Texas is flying out after a fundraiser.

President Obama hasn’t hidden his distaste of Texas and all things Texan. To be fair, our state government has responded in kind.

This past week, President Obama claimed to have the authority to stop states who enforce biological gender separation when it comes to restrooms and changing rooms. (In other words, states which don’t allow boys to ‘identify’ as girls to permit access to the opposite gender’s facilities).

This article is an attempt to explain that Obama has both already lost this fight in the ACA (Obamacare) debacle, and also that Obama is once more in jeopardy of being held in contempt of Federal Court for his extra-legislative actions.

Let me explain:

In 2012, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) v. Sebelius. At stake were several important issues, but I am going to focus on one. That being the part where the federal government was withholding certain Medicaid funds from states which had not set up a health care exchange.

The Supreme Court ruled that the executive department couldn’t simply take funds away from states’ Medicare programs since that funding was existing and taking it away would be ‘coercive’.

“Section 1396c gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to penalize States that choose not to participate in the Medicaid expansion by taking away their existing Medicaid funding. 42 U. S. C. §1396c. The threatened loss of over 10 percent of a State’s overall budget is economic dragooning that leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion. The Government claims that the expansion is properly viewed as only a modification of the existing program, and that this modification is permissible because Congress reserved the “right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision” of Medicaid. §1304. But the expansion accomplishes a shift in kind, not merely degree. The original program was designed to cover medical services for particular categories of vulnerable individuals. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid is transformed into a program to meet the health care needs of the entire nonelderly population with income below 133 percent of the poverty level. A State could hardly anticipate that Congress’s reservation of the right to “alter” or “amend” the Medicaid program included the power to transform it so dramatically. The Medicaid expansion thus violates the Constitution by threatening States with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.” (Source, Cornell University Law)

The majority held that withholding existing funding from states is coercive and unconstitutional.

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Chief Justice Roberts penned this in his majority opinion,

The States also contend that the Medicaid expansion exceeds Congress’s authority under the Spending Clause. They claim that Congress is coercing the States to adopt the changes it wants by threatening to withhold all of a State’s Medicaid grants, unless the State accepts the new expanded funding and complies with the conditions that come with it. This, they argue, violates the basic principle that the “Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program… Permitting the Federal Government to force the States to implement a federal program would threaten the political accountability key to our federal system. “[W]here the Federal Government directs the States to regulate, it may be state officials who will bear the brunt of public disapproval, while the federal officials who devised the regu-latory program may remain insulated from the electoral ramifications of their decision.” Id., at 169. Spending Clause programs do not pose this danger when a State has a legitimate choice whether to accept the federal conditions in exchange for federal funds. In such a situation, state officials can fairly be held politically accountable for choosing to accept or refuse the federal offer. But when the State has no choice, the Federal Government can achieve its objectives without accountability, just as in New York and Printz. Indeed, this danger is heightened when Congress acts under the Spending Clause, because Congress can use that power to implement federal policy it could not impose directly under its enumerated powers.”

In other words, Obama’s great Affordable Care Act victory stripped the executive branch of the federal government of the authority to coercively withhold existing funding from the various states.

Lt. Governor Patrick says that Texas can go without federal funding for public schools.

I say that we don’t have to.

The Supreme Court has already decided against Obamarooms.

(Sources of quotes above are from SCOTUSblog and Cornell University)

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