December 20, 2019
Just hours after ObamaCare's open enrollment ended for the year, a federal court of appeals threw the law into legal jeopardy based on a far-fetched lawsuit. Once again, the wellbeing of millions of people has been imperiled by the caucus of conservative federal judges intent on working hand-in-glove with Republican politicians to roll back universal health care in America.The latest lawsuit, Texas v. United States, is a bizarre posthumous attack on ObamaCare's individual mandate, which congressional Republicans effectively repealed in their 2017 tax bill. Yet on Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declared the post-repeal husk of the mandate unconstitutional because it no longer functions as a tax. (Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the mandate as a tax in 2012.) More ominously, the court suggested that much of the rest of the law — its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, its health exchanges, the Medicaid expansion, and more — could fall with it. The court punted the work of figuring out just which provisions can be spared to district court judge Reed O'Connor, a conservative activist judge who already ruled that all of ObamaCare should be wiped out.It's a stunning judicial power grab. To reach its conclusion, the court had to conjure a sort of Schrodinger's mandate, both dead and alive at the same time: too dead to generate any government revenue (and thus no longer technically a tax), but alive enough to still compel people to buy insurance (and thus allowing them to sue at all).And the idea that courts have the power to invalidate any of the rest of ObamaCare is willfully blind to what actually played out in Congress in 2017. After trying and failing to repeal ObamaCare, congressional Republicans gave up, moved on to tax cuts, and sacked just the individual mandate for its cost savings. Congress itself already determined that the rest of ObamaCare could stand even without a functioning individual mandate, and Congress certainly did not hide full ObamaCare repeal in a tax bill.Nevertheless, one of the country's most conservative judges has just been tasked by one of its most conservative appellate courts with picking through the carcass of ObamaCare to determine what — if anything — can be salvaged.It's the third time this decade that an off-the-wall legal claim against ObamaCare quickly became on-the-wall after being rubber-stamped by conservative judges. Legal scholar Brian Highsmith — who warned a year ago that the Texas case could take down ObamaCare — attributes this pattern to the GOP's adept use of what he calls "partisan constitutionalism." Republicans, he wrote, "us[e] courts to relitigate battles that they can't win through the democratic process." The party's entire apparatus is mobilized: Republican state attorneys general bring lawsuits, and national Republicans in Washington endorse those lawsuits through conservative media and legal briefs filed in courts, which lends Republican-appointed federal judges sufficient institutional cover to validate the legal arguments. In Texas, the 18 Republican attorneys general behind the lawsuit even had the support of Trump's Department of Justice, which refused to defend ObamaCare in court.The predictable advancement of ObamaCare lawsuits stems from the fact that conservatives across government feel in their bones that universal health care is illegitimate and un-American. The legal arguments are just formalistic dressing for ideological belief. For example, in the first round of individual mandate litigation in 2010, what really bugged conservative judges wasn't whether the individual mandate actually pertained to interstate commerce or not — the technical legal claim at issue — but rather the sense that it was anathema to individual liberty.The same is true in Texas, where political ideology is hardly submerged in the court's opinion. In one footnote, the appeals court needlessly speculates that the ACA was perhaps "enacted as part of a fraud on the American people, designed to ultimately lead to a federal, single-payer health-care system." To support this wild theory, the court cites a statement by a one-term Republican congressman who was not even in Congress when ObamaCare was passed.In another gratuitous footnote, the court felt compelled to point out that "[o]pponents of the ACA … argue that the act goes too far in limiting individuals' freedom to choose health-care coverage." For that, the court relies on a statement by former GOP Rep. Darrell Issa criticizing the Obama administration's "if you like your plan, you can keep it" pledge.There are also career incentives for judges at work. President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have packed the courts with conservative judges. And by attacking Chief Justice Roberts over his votes upholding ObamaCare, Trump has sent a clear signal to aspiring judges: to win appointments — or just be invited to the right Federalist Society engagements — they must maintain their anti-ObamaCare bonafides.The perpetual legal assault on ObamaCare is the leading edge of the GOP's growing takeover of the federal judiciary. Millions of people who depend on the law for their health care could be the ones who pay the price.More stories from theweek.com Porn is evil. Don't ban it.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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