Entries in President Bill Clinton (2)


President Clinton Cites Cases He Would Have Used in Health Care Law Case

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Bill Clinton, who used to teach constitutional law, has a list of cases he seems surprised the Obama administration didn’t cite in its arguments defending the health care law before the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

“It seemed to me that the conservative justices were just accepting as a matter of course that there was a serious constitutional question here,” the former president said, “and that they didn’t make the plaintiffs, the people that want to strike the law down, prove their case.”

“Nobody asked, for example, do they want to overturn a case called Wickard v. Filburn in 1942,” Clinton said. “Where in the beginning of World War II, where we were still coming out of the Depression, a farmer was told and the Supreme Court upheld the ability of the federal government to limit his ability to grow food on his own farm for personal consumption. Because they said it affected the aggregate amount of food consumed in interstate commerce and the price of food.”

Said Clinton, of the case, “that goes far further than the individual mandate. No one can question that the accumulated decisions by American individuals not to buy health care adds $1,000 a year to your health care premium.”

President Clinton noted, smiling, that “Justice (Antonin) Scalia loves the framers, right? We’re somehow supposed to follow the intent of the framers. I believe George Washington signed a bill to require shipping companies to insure their employees. I believe George Washington– I could be wrong about this. I believe he signed a bill to require able-bodied male citizens to have a rifle in their home. In case the British came back. Now, that’s not the right to keep and bear arms. You don’t have a right not to bear one. All the Quakers were supposed to buy rifles.” He added that President “John Adams, another framer, signed a bill to require individual seamen to buy hospitalization insurance.”

“So if those facts are right, what is this case about, anyway? Unless it’s politics,” Clinton said.

The president made his comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News focused on his work with Clinton Global Initiative University.

Asked if he thinks the Supreme Court is too political, the president said, “only occasionally.” This court, he said, is “genuinely more conservative. And I think that conservatives in general believe that every branch of government should advance their philosophy. Prosecutors, judges, no different than members of Congress. That’s a different view than we’ve had in the past. But you saw that in the Bush V. Gore decision.”

The former president began recalling that 2000 case in detail, calling it “a pretty political decision. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.”

How would that case impact this one?

“I think it will make them either more willing to do it again, or maybe they say, ‘You know, we probably shouldn’t do that again,’” Clinton said.

The president reiterated that he found it “interesting that– that there was apparently no discussion of those previous examples of individual mandates.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Clinton Announces Initiative to End HIV Infections In Kids

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former President Bill Clinton joined U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the United Nations Thursday to launch a global plan that aims to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015.

"Countdown to Zero," as the plan is called, will focus on 22 countries with the highest numbers of pregnant women living with HIV.

The countries are Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

"There are still too many babies born with HIV," Clinton said, addressing world leaders in attendance. "The time has come to end pediatric AIDS worldwide. We know we can do it."

Reaching zero HIV transmission will require greater resources allocated to the fight against HIV, more financial investment, and more access to essential supplies, many observers say. Under the plan, each country will come up with a cost for the resources needed to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015. Domestic investments will also be increased to step up efforts toward tackling the epidemic.

"We are here today to ensure that all children are born healthy and free of disease. We are here to ensure that their mothers live to see them grow," Ban Ki-moon said at the launch.

The goal is to mobilize national and global leaders in providing adequate resources -- human and financial -- to enable, empower and support women by providing access to HIV prevention, treatment and care so that their children are born HIV-free.

Significant progress has been made in the past decade in reducing mother-to-child transmission, with infection rates among children born to mothers living with HIV having declined by 26 percent from 2001 to 2009, according UNAIDS.

Still, more than 1 million pregnant women are living with HIV worldwide and a child is born with HIV every minute.

In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, addressing the epidemic means not just access to ARV, but also tackling the stigma associated with having HIV. President Jonathan announced not only his support for the plan but an additional bill to end discrimination against the people with the virus, a problem that has been as widespread as the pandemic itself within Nigeria.

"The time is now for Africa to take the lead," Jonathan said.

The launch of the global plan is one of several events taking place this week as part of the three-day, high-level meeting of the General Assembly on AIDS, which began Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio