...Health care reform, SB1070: A good week for President Obama. Not a perfect week, but definitely one that will go in the "good" column...
First, the US Supreme Court overturned three of the four sections of Arizona's SB1070 anti-immigrant law that the Obama administration challenged in court. The downside is that the USSC left in place (for now, anyway) the section that allows/requires law enforcement officials to demand to see "the papers" of anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally. However, the justices declined to rule on that because it hasn't actually been implemented yet.
The Republicans/nativists have been spinning this as an unequivocal victory for them but this cartoon from Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press best sums up that school of "thought" -
Then, the USSC upheld President Obama's signature initiative, the Affordable Care Act. Democrats were overjoyed; Republicans were apoplectic. Especially since one of the justices who voted to uphold the law was Chief Justice John Roberts, heretofore a Republican hero. However, he seems to have realized that the USSC's main strength is its credibility and and years of deciding cases on a partisan basis instead of their merits is pissing away the credibility of the Court.
At roughly the same time that the Court released its decision on health care reform, the Republicans (aided and abetted by a few spineless Democrats, including AZ's Ron Barber) in Congress snapped-to and voted to find US Attorney General in contempt of Congress when gun industry lobbyists at the NRA crooked their little fingers.
Not a good thing for the president (and certainly not for Holder himself), but not as bad as it could be, if the vote wasn't a purely political stunt/hatchet job. Even the Republicans realize that this one could come back to bite them in the ass, which may be why the vote was deliberately scheduled so that it would be lost in the hubbub surrounding the USSC's ruling on health care reform.
...Still, while the focus this week was on Washington, not all of the political news came out of DC this week.
- Former AZ state representative Daniel Patterson, who resigned his office earlier this year after some allegations of domestic violence arose, withdrew his application for membership on a municipal planning and zoning board in New Mexico after it became known that the "D.R. Patterson" on the application was the disgraced former AZ lawmaker "Daniel R. Patterson."
Left unexplained is how someone who is supposedly a resident of Arizona (one of the requirements to be a member of the AZ legislature) could also be a resident of New Mexico (one of the requirements to be on a municipal board there). I'm not a lawyer, so I can't say for certain, but his withdrawal from consideration in NM may allow him to avoid fraud related charges (or something similar). On the other hand, he has hinted that he will run for office again in 2014 (in AZ, as of last hint); expect this matter to come up again if he chooses to do so.
- Not wanting to be out-"get-a-clued" by Patterson is his former legislative colleague, former state senator Scott Bundgaard.
Like Patterson, he resigned from office before he was expelled from the lege over domestic violence issues.
Like Patterson, he has a history of domestic violence allegations, both involving an ex-wife (past divorce matter) and a girlfriend (the more recent case).
Like Patterson, he blamed the victim rather than taking responsibility for his actions..
Like Patterson, he said his troubles were part of a conspiracy to destroy his political career.
Unlike Patterson, however, he's not going away to New Mexico; he's going to court.
From the Arizona Republic, written by Mary Jo Pitzl -
Former state Sen. Scott Bundgaard is seeking $10 million in damages from the city of Phoenix, alleging the city bungled his arrest and investigation stemming from a freeway fight with his ex-girlfriend 16 months ago.
In a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, Bundgaard, a Peoria Republican, alleges Phoenix police withheld reports of the February 2011 event and colluded with the state Senate's Ethics Committee as it examined a complaint against him. That left him with little choice but to resign rather than be expelled from the Legislature, Bundgaard said in an interview Friday.
Truth be told, I'm not sure which one is more pathetic...
...Related to the first item above (SB1070 ruling) - news broke this week that the costs to Arizona's taxpayers aren't limited to just the costs of defending Russell Pearce's (and Jan Brewer's) bigoted legislation in court. After the bill passed in 2010 and Brewer signed it.
From the Arizona Republic, written by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez -
Gov. Jan Brewer's office paid about $98,000 in fees after she canceled the Border Governors Conference scheduled to take place at the Arizona Biltmore in September 2010, The Arizona Republic has learned.
Brewer canceled the annual conference between the governors of U.S. border states and their counterparts in Mexico after the Mexican governors refused to attend because of immigration law Senate Bill 1070.
Guess that in Jan Brewer's world fiscal responsibility takes a back seat to nativist posturing...or making sure that her "friends" in the private prison industry have plenty of bodies filling their revenue generators.