Roundtable: Healthcare, Soledad Cross, Stolen Valor And Military Sexual Assaults
Affordable Healthcare Act Ruling: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act Thursday, including the mandate that most Americans are required to have health insurance.
The 5-4 ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the mandate under the power of Congress to impose a tax, rather than on Congress’ power to regulate commerce.
Republicans -- including San Diego Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa -- immediately vowed to repeal the legislation if they gain control of Congress and the Presidency in November.
Many analysts and politicians were stunned by the decision and have also expressed surprise that the provision of the act that is being most discussed in the aftermath is the Medicaid expansion.
The AHA mandated an expansion of state Medicaid rolls to cover millions more adults. San Diego County would have had to enroll more than 200,000 adults. States that didn't comply would have lost all their federal Medicaid funding. The court struck down that element of the act as too coercive.
Many questions remain -- about how the insurance exchanges will work, about costs to consumers and insurance companies, and about who is actually covered by the AHA.
Sexual Assault in the Military/Stolen Valor Act: Sexual assault in the military seems to be on the rise, and many experts believe that it is vastly under-reported.
In the Marine Corps, San Diego's three bases have dozens of reported assaults. 76 of the 346 sexual assaults at Marine Corps bases in 2011 were reported; one in five were reported in San Diego: 64 at Camp Pendleton, three at MCAS Miramar, nine at MCRD.
Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the largest Marine installation in the U.S., had the most sexual assaults, 70.
The Supreme Court voted 6 to 3 to strike down the federal law making it a crime to lie about having received the Medal of Honor and other awards.
The government argued that the law was essential to protect the integrity of war decorations. The court declined to decree this speech as criminal. Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito dissented.
The Cross On Mt. Soledad: In the latest twist on the longest-running court case of its kind, the Supreme Court declined to rule on a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the cross on federal land atop Mt. Soledad represents a violation of the Constitutional prohibition against the establishment of a particular religion.
The court said it was too soon to decide on the ruling by the appeals court because no remedy had yet been crafted. The issue goes back to the U.S. District Court in San Diego to decide what will be done with the cross. If more litigation challenges the remedy, it is probable the Supreme Court will accept the case.
The cross on Mt. Soledad, built in the nineteen fifties on city land, has been controversial at least since 1989, when two Vietnam veterans filed the first of many lawsuits to have it removed.