Saturday, July 28, 2012

Uranium Mining in Inuit Territory

Uranium Territory: Inuit campaign for referendum over mine in far north
The struggle against uranium mining dates back to the 1970s. At that time, Inuit in Baker Lake unsuccessfully initiated legal challenges against uranium exploration near their community. In the late 1980s, Inuit successfully opposed a proposal by German company Urangesellschaft to mine the same Kiggavik uranium ore body that AREVA plans to exploit. In a local plebiscite in 1990, over 90 per cent of the residents of Baker Lake rejected Urangesellschaft’s proposal.

Reading the Supreme Court's Decision re: Affordable Care Act

From the opinion of the court:
Our permissive reading of these ["police" or "governing"] powers is explained in part by a general reticence to invalidate the acts of the Nation’s elected leaders. “Proper respect for a co-ordinate branch of the government” requires that we strike down an Act of Congress only if “the lack of constitutional authority to pass [the] act in question is clearly demonstrated.”  United States v. Harris, 106 U. S. 629, 635 (1883). Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments.  Those decisions  are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them.  It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.
and, very next paragraph:

Our deference in matters of policy cannot, however, become abdication in matters of law.  “The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the constitution is written.”  Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 176 (1803). Our respect for Congress’s policy judgments thus can never extend so far as to disavow restraints on federal power that the Constitution  carefully constructed.  “The peculiar circumstances of the moment may render a measure more or less wise, but cannot render it more or less constitutional.” Chief Justice John Marshall, A Friend of the Constitution No. V, Alexandria Gazette, July 5, 1819, in John Marshall’s Defense of McCulloch v. Maryland 190–191 (G. Gunther ed. 1969).  And there can be no question that it is the responsibility of this Court to enforce the limits on federal power by striking down acts of Congress that transgress those limits.  Marbury v. Madison, supra, at 175–176.