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OpenMarket: Sam Kazman

  • The IRS, Obamacare, and the English Language

    June 17, 2015

    In the days just before the March 4 Supreme Court hearing in King v. Burwell, I got a number of calls from total strangers who had read about the case and who wanted to be plaintiffs in it. I explained to them that it was too late to join the case then, but listened to their stories of cancelled insurance policies and jobs jeopardized by Obamacare. One call stood out in particular. It was from a woman in California who had moved to the U.S. years ago from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. After explaining her health care predicament, she asked me: Do you understand how crazy this is? I left a totally dysfunctional country to come here, and now I find myself trapped in this insanity!



    That’s an interesting contrast to the disaster stories that we’ve been hearing for months, about what will happen if the Supreme Court rules in our favor in King. At issue in the...

  • Seven Quotes about Communism: Take 2

    December 8, 2014

    A few years ago I assembled several quotes about Communism that I thought would make good epitaphs for it.  Unfortunately, the ideology has turned out to be far from dead.  But the quotes I collected were pretty good, and I figure there’s no better time to dust them off again than today, the 23d anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

  • Obamacare: Cert Granted on Friday, and Gruber III on Saturday

    November 11, 2014

    It was very good news, delivered in a very surprising way. Shortly after noon last Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it would review our Fourth Circuit Obamacare challenge, King v. Burwell



    Ever since we filed the case with the Supreme Court this past July, we’d been hopeful that the Court would take the case. The likelihood of the Court accepting any case is extremely low, but there were several major factors in our favor. 



    First, the question involved is extremely important to millions of Americans, be they taxpayers, health insurance policyholders, or workers. (In most cases, they’ll be all three.) The issue is whether Obamacare health insurance subsidies are available nationwide, as the White House claims, or whether they are...

  • Update: Where in the World is Jonathan Gruber?

    October 14, 2014

    Today the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell filed the last brief regarding the cert petition now before the Supreme Court. It effectively rebuts each of the government’s arguments against Supreme Court review. 



    For starters, there’s some interesting history about the government’s switch in its tactics on timing. When Obamacare was first being litigated several years ago and the government lost in the Eleventh Circuit, it quickly sought Supreme Court review even though there were no imminent deadlines facing it regarding Obamacare taking effect.  Now, on the other hand, we have, in the words of the reply brief, “billions of taxpayer dollars … pouring out of the Treasury without congressional authorization and millions of Americans … ordering their lives around...

  • Where in the World is Jonathan Gruber?

    October 9, 2014

    The Obamacare insurance exchange rule is being challenged in four cases, and each one of them has been active over the last two weeks. The IRS rule puts the Obamacare insurance subsidies, and their attendant penalties, into effect nationwide. CEI is involved in two of these casesKing v. Burwell, which we lost in the Fourth Circuit, and Halbig v. Burwell, which we won in a 2-1 D.C. Circuit panel ruling. We argue that this is contrary to the underlying statute, which provides for such subsidies only in states that have chosen to set up their own exchanges—a choice that 34 states have declined.



    The King plaintiffs have ...

  • Kings, Contracts, and the Rule of Law: Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital

    April 29, 2014
    Co-authored with John Norton Moore and Robert F. Turner

    Last Monday, April 21, the Supreme Court heard argument in a major case involving issues at the core of the rule of law, sovereign immunity, and the right of contract. The case, Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, involves Argentina’s attempt to avoid liability for its 2001 default on billions of dollars in foreign debt. The specific issue is whether a group of American bondholders, which won court judgments against Argentina over that default, can seek discovery (that is, legally-compelled information) against Argentinian assets outside the U.S. in order to satisfy these judgments. The Second Circuit upheld this discovery. Argentina, supported somewhat surprisingly by the U.S. State Department, is asking the Supreme...
  • EPA, Freedom of Information, and Good Faith

    January 31, 2014
    Yes, the recent ruling in Competitive Enterprise Institute v. Environmental Protection Agency (D.D.C. No. 12-1617) is good news for the EPA, but the lawsuit still produced some pretty valuable results for both CEI and the public at large.

    This case involved then-Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of her "Richard Windsor” email alias. As the court noted, the fact that administrator Jackson and other EPA officials used alternative email addresses “raised questions about the agency's compliance with federal record-keeping laws as well as the completeness of its responses to certain FOIA requests.” In the court’s words, this was a matter of “appropriate… concern,” and not just for us.

    The court ruling has some entertaining references to CEI’s so-called “conspiracy theory.” We didn’t use that phrase in...
  • Obamacare Court Ruling in Halbig a Major Blow to Opt-Out States

    January 15, 2014
    The court’s ruling today in Halbig v. Sebelius delivers a major blow to the states that chose not to participate in the Obamacare insurance exchange program. It is also a blow to the small businesses, employees and individuals who live in those states as well. In upholding this IRS regulation that is contrary to the law enacted by Congress, this decision guts the choice made by a majority of the states to stay out of the exchange program. It imposes Obamacare penalties on employers and on many individuals in those states, penalties that Congress never authorized, putting their livelihoods and the jobs of their employees at risk. Worst of all, it gives a stamp of approval to the Administration’s attempt to substitute its version of Obamacare for the law that Congress enacted.

    The court does all this despite its...
  • Excuses, Excuses

    May 10, 2013
    The IRS today acknowledged that it had wrongfully targeted Tea Party groups for heightened scrutiny. In trying to explain the agency’s mistake, IRS spokeswoman Lois Lerner reportedly stated “I’m not good at math” -- an excuse that now seems to be going viral.

    Given the smashing success of this phrase, we wonder whether the IRS will now use a few variations of it in the new Obamacare lawsuit that it’s facing. This lawsuit challenges the legality of the IRS’ unauthorized...
  • Government Files Motion To Dismiss Dodd-Frank Lawsuit

    November 21, 2012
    Dodd-Frank’s destructive economic impact continues to grow week by week. Last June, CEI and two other plaintiffs, the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, and the 60 Plus Association, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of several major parts of the law. In September, the states of Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Carolina joined the lawsuit.

    Yesterday, the government filed a motion to dismiss the suit. The government contends that the constitutional issues raised by this massive law are not ripe, and that none of plaintiffs have standing to raise them.

    Constitutional litigation, however, is not a matter of...

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