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Monday, July 02, 2012

SCOTUS Observations

Reading the Roberts opinion in the challenge to Obamacare has convinced me of a couple of things.  One, stare decisis is killing the coherence of the law.  Wickard v. Fillburn, like Jason Vorhees of Friday the 13th, refuses to die.  As long as it keeps being propped up, there will exist no practical limit to the abuse of the commerce clause.  Two, Estase is very happy he did not become a lawyer, as the pedantry of these arguments makes one long for the forthright simplicity of medieval metaphysics.  Three, although many commentators have excoriated Justice Roberts for the claim that the government may not force you to buy insurance, but may heavily tax you for not buying insurance, the really scary person in the room was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who not only believes in the broadly constructed commerce clause, but apparently also believes that the Federal Government has the right to coerce the states into expanding Medicaid into an entirely different program than what it originally was.  So, apparently, Justice Ginsburg does not see state governments and the Federal Government as relative equals, which is what federalism suggests, but she thinks that states are merely a dependent appendage of the Federal Government, which can compel the states to do whatever it bids.

Some commentators also act surprised that Roberts is a moderate.  I saw that right away when he was being confirmed, and said he believed in the right to privacy.  Anyone who is over the age of 13 knows that that meant that Roberts was saying by that that he would uphold Roe v. Wade.  So for people to now be surprised that Roberts isn't a Scalia is a little naive.

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