And the ruling on the health care law is…

Today, the Supreme Court will announce its decision on the 2010 health care bill. According to the official schedule, the ruling won’t have occurred by the time this post goes live — and it certainly hasn’t happened as I actually write this post on Wednesday night — so I don’t have a lot to say about the decision right now. But presumably you all will, as events unfold.

If you’re reading this before the decision has been announced, you can read SCOTUSblog’s helpful summary of what exactly we’re waiting for. Law junkies can also follow SCOTUSblog’s live coverage of the event throughout the day – they’ve even created a backup site in case their main site gets flooded with viewers.

So, did the Supreme Court get it right?

The right to lie about your accomplishments?

Though easily overlooked in all the discussion about the health care decision, the Supreme Court is announcing its decision in other cases today, as well. Perhaps most interesting is United States v. Alvarez, in which the issue is (as summarized by SCOTUSblog):

Whether a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about receiving military medals or honors violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech.

I assume we all agree that it is morally wrong for a person to lie about what honors they have received. The question is: should this moral failing also be criminalized? And, perhaps an even more important question is: why or why not? What criteria must a moral failing meet in order to merit criminalization?

Arizona v. United States

From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down several key parts of Arizona’s tough law on illegal immigrants, but it left standing a controversial provision requiring police to check the immigration status of people they detain and suspect to be in the country illegally.

SCOTUSblog provides an explanation “in plain English”:

The decision was largely (but not entirely) a victory for the federal government:  the Court held that three of the four provisions of the law at issue in the case cannot go into effect at all because they are “preempted,” or trumped, by federal immigration laws.  And while the Court allowed one provision – which requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone whom they detain or arrest before they release that person – to go into effect, even here it left open the possibility that this provision would eventually be held unconstitutional if not applied narrowly in Arizona.

Click on the latter link to read more about the four provisions at issue.

So what do you think? Does this only further increase the federal government’s power, with a commensurate erosion of state control? Or is this a proper understanding of the federal government’s constitutional control over immigration?


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