“Steven Pearlstein: Eat your broccoli, Justice Scalia”
Silly conservative Justices, so busy politicizing Good Public Policy and using sophomoric hypotheticals to make “arguments” that they keep letting this “Constitution” thingy get in the way of Doing What The People Want. Don’t these dullards realize that the remedy for what concluding legitimately what is and isn’t constitutional is the people’s ability to vote out politicians they believe went too far? Pearlstein, WaPO:
Judging from their blatantly partisan bleating from the bench, it is certain that Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito will join Clarence Thomas in doing whatever it takes to impose their conservative, free-market, nothing’s-changed-since-1788 agenda on the country.
An essential element of the Republican strategy these days is that, whenever confronted with an obvious failure of the free market, the correct response is always to try to turn the tables and blame it on misguided government policy. So it was this week when the solicitor general and several justices tried to make the obvious point that one reason so many Americans lack health insurance is that the market is inherently unlike any other in that we don’t deny medical care to sick people who can’t pay for it. It is from this anomaly that springs the “individual mandate,” a requirement that all citizens buy health insurance, to prevent them from becoming free-riders on a system paid for by others.
Normally, I’d take the opportunity here to link to a piece showing that the free rider “problem” is entirely unsolved by this legislation — and note that it is actually the young, who are being forced into the market, that end up subsidizing the health care of others and so are being financially taken advantage of by this top-down government-run health care mandate. But why bother? Facts don’t rank when the narrative is set, and the “battle” is being fought by the Good and the Caring against the Hidebound Conservatives who Won’t Change with the Times, so concerned are they to a supposed fidelity to a really old document that smart people don’t take terribly seriously any more.
– Unless what’s found in it is a right to privacy . Then, the thing is absolutely sacrosanct.
But I digress. More Pearlstein:
It is axiomatic, of course, that the power to regulate, or to tax, or to criminalize is the power to regulate, tax or criminalize stupidly. The power to require you to buy airbags for your car is also the power to require you to buy leather seats and a surround-sound stereo. The power to levy a fee for buying a handgun is the power to levy a fee for not buying a handgun. The power to criminalize abortions is the power to criminalize condoms and birth-control pills.
But for some reason, when it comes to requiring Americans either to buy health insurance or pay a fee, we are now supposed to believe that “all bets are off,” according to Chief Justice John Roberts, or that “a fundamental shift” has occurred in the relationship between the individual and government, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy.
For starters, the Constitution already limits the “abuse” of such power by subjecting those who wield it to regular elections in which citizens are free to decide what is going too far and what is not.
– Like, for instance, what the voters did in 2010, you mean?
And yet somehow, even after the people rushed to vote out the single-term Congress responsible for unpopular Obamination, the unconstitutional legislation this temporary Congress left behind is still extant!
If only the founders and framers had conceived of a way to prevent either a Trojan legislature or a populist mob from using convenient elections and/or the thwarting of the popular will to claim power for themselves at the expense of the unalienable rights reserved to the individual…!
Look: the clear rhetorical tack sneering progressives are going to take with respect to a potential legal defeat for ObamaCare is to declare in advance any adverse ruling “political” and partisan, and in the interim, to try to shame “conservative” Justices (read: those Justices who actually interpret the Constitution coherently) into acting in the “enlightened” fashion of those who have declared themselves, by virtue of their own high regard for their own morality and intellects, far more intellectually and historically prepared to govern than those men who set up our Constitutional system on the heels of a revolution in which they’d fought against the tyranny of a centralized authority.
After all, that was a long time ago. And you can’t “progress” unless you’re willing to bracket the past.
And the lessons of history. And the imperfect nature of man. And the whole ridiculous notion of unalienable rights.
That is, you can’t have a Great Leap Forward if you continue to anchor yourself to hoary old totems like the Constitution.
Free yourself, people! Let Good Men do your thinking and planning for you! Because that way lies Utopia! This time.