Thursday, July 02, 2015

The imperial judiciary

John Hayward, "The King v. Burwell aftermath" (Breitbart, June 25, 2015):
One of the core problems with a decision like the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell ruling is that it does the opposite of what a Supreme Court presided over by justices-for-life is supposed to do.

As Chief Justice Roberts makes abundantly clear in his ruling, he looked at politics, not the law, concluding that upholding the clear text of the Affordable Care Act would have killed it, and inflicted chaos on a health insurance system already driven mad by ObamaCare.

He made a political judgment – with copious pressure from President Obama and his followers, and the weight of his own previous decision to put politics above the law to preserve the individual mandate – that the Affordable Care Act was a writ of nearly-unlimited power to do what its framers say they want to accomplish today, not a law with a balance of both power and responsibility based on what it said at the moment it was signed.

This is a very bad precedent to set, especially if Roberts’ reasoning is followed to the conclusion that the bigger and more ambiguously-written a law is, the more untrammeled executive power it grants. No matter what ultimately becomes of ObamaCare, that will come back to haunt us in many other contexts in the future.

... I am of the opinion that tough political outcomes are a burden worth bearing to preserve the rule of law, but here we are instead: Democrats doing a creepy “ALL DEBATE IS NOW OVER!” victory dance to celebrate the Constitution-smashing preservation of a law the American people don’t like, whose passage has already blown them into a congressional minority, and which they own 100 percent. It would be easier to maintain optimism about Republicans fighting on such favorable political terrain if they had demonstrated an institutional talent for fighting winning battles on solid ground, and doing important things with the power thus obtained.

The American people are getting a raw deal out of ObamaCare, but the President was not wrong when he crowed today that the law is working the way he wanted it to. The American system has been bent and twisted beyond recognition by the agonizing pain of digesting a law that conflicts with such basic values as the freedom of religion, and even the freedom to decline engaging in commerce. The “consent of the governed” matters less than ever. The amount of money sucked down by ObamaCare and distributed to the government’s Little Partners in the insurance industry is staggering. A huge swath of the formerly independent middle class is now helplessly dependent on subsidy payments, whose termination can be threatened if they get any funny ideas about putting the Leviathan State on a diet.

... The Left will redouble its efforts to silence and marginalize Americans who are suffering under ObamaCare..... Most people get a queasy feeling when they hear the phrase “the ends justify the means.” They know that’s wrong, and they know those words have been cited to justify tyranny and evil. The Roberts decision is wholly based on that idea. The American system was founded on the opposite ideal: that the ends do not justify the means, the system should not be shredded to impose a “good idea” with haste, the rule of law is more important than any goal that could be achieved by discarding it.

... A “law” that imposes no restraint or obligation on the government, not even the need to respect the plain text of the law itself, contains a payload of power that should be unacceptable to every patriotic American. Sometimes Republicans talk about the Constitution as an object of worship, an abstract idea they hold in reverence, without discussing its practical effect upon the real world. Well, Chief Justice Roberts just gave us a very powerful example of how the abandonment of Constitutional principle disrupts the everyday lives of ordinary people. Use it.
[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]


Anonymous said...

For the most part, the justices of the Supreme Court possess first rate intellects that have become sodden with ideological ooze.

Even the conservatives are not immune to this, although their general approach of doing nothing beyond what the law allows is, or at least used to be, salutary.

Roberts is another matter. He is a genuine mediocrity. A lunkhead. He might just buy that bridge you want to sell him. He is an embarrassment to the president who nominated him, or would be, if that president were not a lunkhead himself.

More than most conservatives are willing to admit, Bush WAS Cheney's hand puppet. Makes you wonder whose hand is up to its elbows in Obama's fine fine bottomland. Maybe the ghostly appendage of Saul Alinsky? Alinsky is a regular Jim Henson when it comes to democrat politicians. As we are about to find out again and again.

Maybe we should have given Harriet Miers a chance. How could she have been worse?

Anonymous said...

And as for the point of republicans being now a predominant majority thanks to leftist ideologues and democrats (the terms are convertible), what does that buy a voter? Mostly a guarantee that the applecart will not be upset. Republicanism these days is the afterglow preceding the next leftwing governmental orgasm.

William C. said...

While clearly an opponent of the Democrats, and clearly wishing for a Republical alternative, Hayward is not the least bit sanguine about the Republican as mounting any kind of coherent opposition. If only we had a united coalition of Catholics who understood their faith, together with people of basic traditional American values, it would not be hard to defeat the Antichrist in the White House and buy some more time, at least.