Wyoming Liberty Group
I made a quick trip to D.C. last week to meet with some fellow campaign finance attorneys and attend the second hearing on our Advisory Opinion request that’s before the FEC regarding Free Speech, a grassroots organization here in Wyoming that wants to know if it can, well, speak freely. Free Speech is concerned that a regulation, 11 CFR § 100.22(b), will cause the FEC to consider its criticism of President Obama’s policies “express advocacy” for or against a candidate for office. If that’s the case, then Free Speech needs to register with the FEC and report all its spending just to talk about politics. This is not an easy task: they’ll have to track contributions, their contributors’ information, keep highly detailed records, and file a whole lot of reports (with many categories of spending to boot).
Today’s arguments at the Supreme Court in Florida v. Health and Human Services–the last day for arguments–were heard in a morning and afternoon session. Audio and a transcript are now available for the morning session, and I give a lot of credit to the staff at the Supreme Court for posting these so quickly over the last three days. In the morning, the Court heard 90 minutes of arguments devoted to the severability of the individual mandate: if this is ruled unconstitutional—i.e., the Court rules favorably in the argument held yesterday—can the rest of Obamacare stand? In the early afternoon, the Court scheduled an hour of arguments on Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, another part of the law that the Court will have to decide is severable or not if it’s overturned. I will have a post on the afternoon arguments soon.
“With all due respect, Mr. Chief Justice, I don’t think we can say that, you know, the States have gotten pretty dependent, so let’s call this whole federalism thing off.”
This afternoon, the final round of oral arguments in Florida v. Health and Human Services focused on Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. The audio and transcript are now available. The 26 states involved in the lawsuit (including Wyoming), represented by Paul Clement, claim that Medicaid has become so large and is allotting so much money that even though states technically have the choice of participating in the program or not, in reality there is no choice since so much money is on the line.
The first day of Supreme Court oral arguments in the Obamacare litigation—Florida v. Health and Human Services—indicates that the Court will most likely decide the case on its merits. In other words, the next two days will probably mean something and the court will rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare’s individual mandate and Medicaid expansion.
Last year, the Health Care Freedom Amendment (HCFA) passed the Wyoming Legislature and was signed by the governor. If ratified by ballot this November, the HCFA will provide strong protection against state takeover of health care and an alternative challenge against Obamacare. Even before its ratification, this year the Legislature heeded the spirit of the HCFA by eliminating the Healthy Frontiers program and restricting Wyoming officers and agencies from applying for Obamacare establishment grants until after the ruling in the pending litigation. Not a bad two years as far as Wyoming goes.
With nearly 250 bills coming out of the Legislative Services Office this session, and only about 20 business days to deal with them, it’s easy to see how liberty can get subverted in Wyoming. Even liberty-friendly legislators don’t have the time to carefully consider everything that comes up, and instead of taking the liberty-safe route (simply voting no), too often things fly past our legislators and into the Wyoming Statutes. Here at WyLiberty, we’re keeping close track of health care and other bills, but we don’t have the resources to follow and fight every encroachment, either.