I was busy traveling when the Supremes ruled on the Affordable Health Care Act and didn't get a chance to read or post anything. So I thought I would comment now. I was a little surprised, not so much be the decision, but by Roberts instead of Kennedy being the rational voice from the right. What surprised me even more is that a lot of what Roberts wrote is consistent with what I've been saying about the Individual Mandate. The commerce clause is a tough argument to win since you can claim that virtually everything is covered by the commerce clause or you can claim that virtually nothing is covered by the commerce clause and nobody can really prove either position. On the other hand, arguing that the only thing wrong with the law is paying for the program with an individual mandate is absolutely silly. How do you argue that forcing people to pay a tax that will provide a regulated service is not a violation of rights but forcing people to pay directly for the same regulated service is a violation? The only reason this silly position got this far is because the right wing echo chamber has spent so much time and money trying to make it sound reasonable. My other observation is optimistic. Supreme court justices are about the closest thing to paid pure philosophical thinkers that we have in this society. Once appointed, their job is to contemplate how each law presented to them is or is not consistent with the principles the Nation is based on. They are paid to bring wisdom to our legislative/executive efforts. What we've seen over the years, at least since the 1960's, are that once justices are in a position to contemplate legal principles, they often find more wisdom in liberal thought than they did prior to taking this position. We have seen many Supreme Court justices who were appointed by Republicans shock that party as their decisions moved often to the left. By the 1980's the Republicans realized that what they needed to do was appoint justices who would never seek wisdom - justices so entrenched in their partisan faith that they would never think - justices like Clarence Thomas. He is surely safe from ever contemplating principles or fairness or becoming wise. Alito and Scalia seem similarly un-inclined to ever seek wisdom or legal principle as long as there is a partisan position to guide them. But finding such mental cretins is clearly difficult. Most people who have survived significant formal education are in danger of thinking and seeking principle based wisdom if given the opportunity and paid to do so. Is this what we're seeing in Roberts?
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