Partisan games and the Supreme Court: ObamaCare edition

By Jessica Huseman

Unless you’re trapped in a box, or maybe Canada (which is worse?), you know that the U.S. media is exploding with pontifications on what the Supreme Court’s eventual decision on ObamaCare will be. Will they say it’s ok? Will they kill it? What if they just knock out parts of it?

No one has come to any groundbreaking conclusions.

But one thing that has been peaking through the type in the newspapers, magazines and computer screens, is an overwhelming stench of partisan language. And, I’m sorry, isn’t the Supreme Court supposed to be non-partisan or something? I mean, I know that our robed friends are all appointed by very partisan presidents, but shouldn’t the lack of elections, lack of affiliations, lack of donkey/elephant mascot mean that they are exempt from our seriously deranged form of partisan politics?

No, no it doesn’t.

First, let’s take a look at how the case got to where it is in the first place. Rob Weiner at ACS Blog does a really great job of breaking it down. Here is a list of my favorite nuggets of info:

  • The case, started by the Florida attorney general, logically should have been tried in Tallahassee, but the AG there decided to move it down to Pensacola to get an all Republican-appointed panel of judges.
  • And even though the logic was “constitutional” and not “partisan” Republican governors pushed for only Republican participation. As Weiner wonderfully words it, they acted “as if it were the political analogue of a gang initiation.”
  • Four states who participated in the suits had Democratic AGs. They all decided it the lawsuit was baseless. When they declined participation, their Republican governor bosses did it for them.

There’s more, but you’ll have to read Weiner’s blog to get the full scoop.

Now, I’m not levying judgement here. I don’t pretend to have read the entire text of the bill, nor do I pretend to know its actual Constitutional implications, two things I think are necessary to actually bring down an opinion on its Constitutionality, I’m just pointing out the convenient split in how our government leaders are choosing to interpret the Constitution.

Since when is the Constitution Republican or Democratic? In fact, of the 47 Republican senators who submitted amicus briefs arguing the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate, 10 had previously sponsored legislation to impose essentially identical mandates. Are you kidding?

If our own government leaders can’t figure out what the Constitution says, what hope do we really have?

And while Republicans had their fun getting the case to court, Democrats are now having their fun trying to get what they want from the Court.

Remember Obama’s infamous line on April 2nd that stirred up huge amounts of flack from Republicans? If you don’t, here it is again:

“Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” Then he said, ““I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Or what about Vermont Senator Pat Leahy running around giving advice to Chief Justice Roberts? He said in order to avoid a damaging 5-4 decision, Roberts should mimic “the leadership that Chief Justice Warren provided in the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education.” He also went on insufferably about “appropriate deference” to the “elected branch” before saying Roberts needed to be “a chief justice for all of us” because the mandated was “consistent with the understanding of the Constitution.”


Come on, people. The Supreme Court is the only real shot the United States has at a menial attempt at non-partisanship. So sit down, take off your elephant pin and your donkey bandana, and let the big boys handle this one. Believe me, you’ve said enough.


Posted by on June 8, 2012. Filed under Judicial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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