Monday, July 2, 2012

A Black-Robed Political Shyster for Our Time

In a piece of legal  craftsmanship worthy of a first-year student (who had not yet taken a basic constitutional law class) at one of the nation’s less-than-stellar law schools, the Supreme Court’s chief shyster has come down – way down – on the side of upholding Obamacare.

Shamefully, his decision clearly was a political rather than a legal one. He succumbed to a highly visible and virulent campaign by liberal politicians and media figures who always decry as political any legal ruling that doesn’t go their way.  An editorial in the July 3 edition of The Wall Street Journal accurately noted that . . . the integrity of liberal justices who reliably line up for whatever outcome is desired by the Democratic Party goes unquestioned. Indeed, the definition of integrity assumes one direction. 

Apparently embarrassed by what he was doing, the author of the deciding opinion sought cover for himself in two ways. First, he tried (without success) to get one of his supposedly fellow conservative jurists to join him in switching sides. And second, he sought exculpation by writing that it is not the job of the court to protect the nation's citizens from their poor electoral choices . . .  neglecting to add that it is not the job of Supreme Court justices to engage in unprecedented legal contortions to achieve a desired political result.

The flaws in the decision and its potential consequences, which go far beyond health care, are spelled out in this excellent Wall Street Journal essay, and in detail by the panelists in the superb Cato Institute forum that can be viewed by clicking here.  

The upshot of all this is that the nation’s high court now has a cowardly political chief who lacks the integrity and character that is called for by the job he occupies. The court and the nation deserve better.

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