Sometimes it can be interesting to listen to men or women of wisdom think out loud. You really get to see the workings of a well-oiled mind going over the facts, churning through information and calculating an equation. This is the kind of thing you would hope for when the nine Supreme Court justices sit down to argue—a philosophical symposium of unparalleled brilliance.
When it comes to this crew, prepare to be underwhelmed.
The Supreme Court has probably already decided on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) but we won’t know until summer whether the law is torn apart or simply bruised. Whatever, it’s only health care. With a six-figure salary and federal health insurance, the nine justices are covered. Pity this has become such a partisan issue, as we all lose in the end–even those out there fighting against their own best interests.
One would expect a judicial court to rise above the pettiness of American politics and rule based on the good of the people, but with the most transparently partisan Supreme Court determining the fate of health care for all the rest of us it is clear that thoughtful and reasoned debate has become a thing of the past.
Take Justice Scalia. Please. During this week’s spectacle the right-wing jurist demonstrated his inability to undertake impartial arguments, employing classic elements of what is known on the right as “judicial activism”—a practice regularly decried on conservative blogs and programs.
Scalia bristled at the thought of poring over the entire 2,700 page bill, seemed unaware that a particular provision had been removed from the bill two years ago, and generally made flippant comments that undermined the seriousness of the decision. Musing out loud, Scalia wondered why government cannot mandate broccoli, under the premise that, “If a government can order you to buy insurance, what can’t it do?”
Why is a Supreme Court justice flirting with such poorly constructed and impossibly strained lines of reasoning? Does Scalia really believe that Congress would pass a bill mandating broccoli consumption? Of course not. Nor does Justice John Roberts believe, as he implied, that cell phone purchases would be required by law, to keep the citizenry prepared in case of emergency. Suggesting unlikely or nearly impossible hypotheticals is not the trademark of high-minded argument, nor is it helpful in determining the constitutionality of a bill that aims to insure and improve Americans’ health care.
It’s a line of thinking that you will commonly find on right-wing comment sections, or in Rick Santorum’s brain. If you allow THIS, then what’s to stop THIS from happening? If we allow two men to marry, what’s next? Man and dog marriage? Monkey-man marriage? Indeed, if we allow government to provide healthcare for all, what’s to prevent government from mandating unjustified wars in foreign lands or torture techniques in undisclosed locations?
The fate of healthcare in America is being weighed by the same body that gave us Bush v. Gore. In case anyone ever hoped for a nonpartisan and truly unbiased court of opinion, all hope—and credibility—was lost in that decision. The end result is a disrespected and divisive ruling that longs for gravitas.
If the court does strike down the ACA, it may achieve the same sad effect as Bush v. Gore had on the country: an incompetent disaster.
Subscribe to my articles at this link