2012-06-30

Poor, Sensitive Justice Roberts

The Los Angeles Times reports that poor Justice Roberts got his feelings hurt.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.considers it an insult when he hears it said that he and the justices are playing politics. He has always insisted his sole duty was to decide the law, not to pick the political winners.
Well, farbeit from me to hurt the feelings of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Golly, the poor guy. Imagine how tough it is to have to answer to the court of public opinion. I mean, he's the chief justice of the most important court in the world, right? I mean, how dare anyone condemn him in lowly courts like that of... *shudder*... public opinion!?

What a heel.

Roberts' written decision is wholly incoherent. To make any sense of it at all requires that we are more generous about his thoughts than even he was about the ACA. I seem to recall that when Roberts was nominated for his current position, many of those opposed to his nomination pointed out his relative inexperience - but this is just a memory I have, and may not be fully accurate. If true, the written decision on the ACA is fully consistent with a poor mind and a novice thinker. I know most bloggers I admire are far too classy and charitable to make a statement of that kind - but not me. I'm gruff and opinionated and I think it is good for public servants to understand that many of us reject their so-called authority, especially when they uphold it using such primary-school logic.

The inconsistency of his ruling has been discussed at length on better blogs than mine. For a few, concise demonstrations of just how clumsy the logic is, I recommend starting with Landsburg's excellent couple of posts at www.TheBigQuestions.com. No need to re-hash it here.

As to the question of whether or not the Supreme Court plays politics, of course it does. Despite the LA Times' attempt to sell it the other way, the story goes on to say:
"It was masterful. Roberts believes in a modest role for the court, and he was doing just what he promised he would do," said Stanford law professor Michael W. McConnell, a former appeals court judge appointed by President George W. Bush. "Had the court struck down the law, they would have been the focal point of the campaign. Now, the court comes out with its reputation enhanced."
What is an "enhanced reputation," if not the booty of a political maneuver? Are we to believe that maintaining the reputation of the Supreme Court is some noble, apolitical act? I thought courts were supposed to be rule according to a preponderance of evidence, not to the perceptions of the teeming masses.

The ultimate conclusion here is not a particularly rosy one. Governments will act to self-perpetuate. I figured the ACA would be upheld, simply because it greatly expands the size and scope of government. When has the Supreme Court ever had the courage and objectivity to limit the size and scope of the federal government? Even those rulings which we are taught have "limited" the power of government are often rather minor issues affecting very few people. When it comes to actually limiting the government's power, the Supreme Court has been no friend of the 10th Amendment.

If an argument can be made to expand the government, the Supreme Court will lend it credence. And, as we saw this past Thursday, when the government itself cannot make that argument, the Court will make it on behalf of the government and rule accordingly.

Do you still think we live under a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?