Here is the patient. The prognosis is bleak:
The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law.
–It’s clearly constitutional to the writer, not so much to the judges who struck it down.
The problem is that this decision would be the latest salvo in what seems to be a sustained effort on the part of the Roberts Court to return the country to the Gilded Age.
—Because breaking up a federal health-care monopoly is exactly like permitting railroad monopolies.
During that period—which ran from the years after of the Civil War to the start of the 20th century—wealth became highly concentrated and corporations came to dominate American business.
And, per wikipedia, “…the U.S. economy rose at the fastest rate in its history, with real wages, wealth, GDP, and capital formation all increasing rapidly.” This isn’t germane to the discussion, apparently.
At the close of the Gilded Age, the U.S. infant mortality rate was around 10 percent—a number you find today in impoverished Central African nations.
—Where “strong-man” minority governments dictate life to the majority.
Blacks lived apart from whites and constituted an economic, social, and political underclass.
–Robert Byrd and Spike Lee could not be reached for comment.
Corporations exerted an unchecked and deleterious influence on the lives of workers.—
Justice Clarence Thomas, in particular, has a well-known affinity for the values of the Gilded Age.
Liberty, productivity, philanthropy?
But he has quietly gone from being an outlier to being only one of five consistently regressive votes.—
“Limited government” and “checks and balances” being relics of the past.
Since Roe v. Wade the abortion debate has always involved male-dominated legislatures enacting laws telling women what they can and cannot do.
Unlike the drug debate, where prude-dominated legislatures tell partyers what they can and cannot do.
Also in 2007, the court ruled that a Seattle school district’s plan to achieve racial balance in its public schools was unconstitutional. Reasonable people can of course disagree about whether using race to arrive at a diverse student body is good policy or bad.
—Actually, reasonable people know it’s bad policy, due to decades of blatant and horrible unintended consequences. Just as reasonable people do not ingest dietary sodium and potassium in elemental form with an ice-water chaser.
But there is an unquestionable moral distinction between using race to encourage racial integration versus using race to keep the blacks away.
–So, then: is the NAACP evil, or are “CP”s moral children compared to non-“CP” adults?
Justice Harlan famously dissented in Plessy, insisting that the Constitution is colorblind. In a perverse rhetorical move, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court in the Seattle case, suggested that Harlan’s phrase applies equally where the government is trying to promote the blending of the races rather than maintaining their separation.
—“Perverse”: when free Americans make choices that Mr. Dow doesn’t like.
And then came Citizens United, in which the court struck down a popularly supported, bipartisan effort to place limits on the ability of the wealthy to dominate political discourse…the court propped up a regime where the voices of the wealthy drown out all the rest.
–Despite the best efforts of wealthy media corporations to outlaw competition.
…Congress’s authority in passing the law rests on an elementary syllogism: You don’t have to drive, but if you do, the government can make you buy insurance.
—Agreed! State governments can require auto insurance. Or proof of financial responsibility. Or nothing. Or absolutely anything that doesn’t violate the driver’s constitutional rights. My recommendation: eliminate all powered vehicles in favor of Flintstone-style transport. Think of the incidental health benefits!
That logic is obviously satisfied in the health-care context.
–Your breathing is proof of the need for regulation.
You are going to use medical care—
–Can we discuss “separation of church and state” in this context? Because it feels like these folks are in for a royal screwing. It’s like drafting Amish lads into the military.
–so the government can make you buy insurance—
–Agreed. But permit a slight emphasis here. Each STATE!! government can do exactly that. Or they can do nothing. See “auto insurance”, above. My recommendation: mandate adamantium-coated bones and mutant healing factors for all residents. (In which case, relax the auto insurance requirement.)
Every state makes its choices and citizens can move to nanny states or away from busybody states, which are one and the same.
Liberty, like every other human and constitutional right, is not absolute. Under some circumstances, it can be regulated.—
–That is a beautiful summation of why federalism is best. Mr. Dow’s freedom to meddle in other people’s business must be regulated, along with all his fellow buttinskis and know-it-alls.
Which leads to the second point: critics of the health-care law say the only reason the rest of us have to pay for medical services used by people who have no money is that laws require hospitals to treat people who come in for emergencies regardless of their ability to pay. In other words, the critics say, the only reason there is a social cost—the only reason the syllogism works—is because of the underlying laws requiring hospitals to treat the poor.
–Out of curiosity, what exactly is the composition of a straw man’s straw man?
Unlike silly examples involving broccoli and cell phones, that so-called “bootstrap” argument is sound.—
–“Silly”, because the writer isn’t seeking control of your trivial decisions. Only all of the important ones.
But here the critics drop their ideological mask as surely as the court dropped it in the Gonzales ruling. Their argument can be restated thusly: if you repeal laws requiring hospitals to treat the poor, you eliminate the constitutional basis for mandatory insurance coverage.
—-Again the “critics”. No doubt some feverish dolt has advanced that argument somewhere. But in one billion words of reading I’ve never seen it. Odd, how the court references are precise and the “critic” references are nonexistent.
You don’t have to pull the analytical thread of that reasoning very hard to see that it boils down to an argument for allowing the poor to die.
–It’s “straw”, not thread. Or whatever it is a straw man pulls out of his straw man.
And if the Supreme Court strikes down the health-care law, that is exactly the ideology it will have to embrace. It will be saying that Congress cannot guarantee medical coverage for the poor and then implement a system to pay for it.
Actually Congress says that…whenever honest math and accounting are allowed to intrude
The last time the court went down this path, saner heads prevailed.
In West Coast Hotel, the court ruled that the Constitution safeguards not just individual liberty but community interests as well—
–Now that’s nuts. The Constitution safeguards states’ rights, not community interests. The Founders guaranteed “free assembly”, knowing that would safeguard communities through the only possible way: by the accumulated choices of free people.
Perhaps someday, saner heads will prevail.
We can argue about whether President Jefferson was right to try to impeach Justice Chase.
–No we can’t. It’s impossible to debate someone who only communicates via assertion and proclamation.
There are other options, as well. We might amend the Constitution to establish judicial term limits. Or we might increase the number of justices to dilute the influence of its current members (though FDR could tell you how that turned out).
–WTFDR? It turned out great for Roosevelt, since the threat broke the Court’s will and let FDR have his own way. (For which “Wheels” earned a blindfold, a cigarette, and a bullet-ridden corpse, though unfortunately he was never remunerated.)
In the end, however, it is the duty of the people…
…to protect the Constitution from the court. Social progress cannot be held hostage by five unelected men.
Nor, evidently, by federalism, majority rule, or consent of the governed. “Progressivism” above all.