On Thursday the Court will have the chance to redeem itself, hitting it out of the park by upholding the health insurance reform law. But don't hold your breath. Given today's two decisions, it's obvious the GOP appointees on the Court are all politics and little law. Underscoring this is Scalia's attack on Obama from the bench today, blasting the President for allowing 800,000 young people to stay in this country where they grew up. Scalia failed to note that prior presidents have declared amnesty for aliens on a far bigger scale, including GOP presidents.
Scalia's attack was unprecedented. Attacking a president for his politics is something that the Supreme Court just doesn't do. Never. But, what the hell? The Republican justices on this Court don't care about precedent. They have been ignoring legal precedents beginning with the decision to make George W. Bush president back in 2000. Whenever it's a question of Democrats v. Republicans, as it was then and with Citizens United and is in the three cases this week, the GOP Court members go with party..... not legal precedent.
Folks, we're in big trouble. It ain't supposed to be this way.
There is a way the Court could avoid dealing with the "mandate" provision entirely. As I noted in March, there really is no enforcement mechanism for the requirement that everybody get health insurance. The IRS is prohibited from attaching any property of someone who doesn't get the insurance or seeking criminal sanctions. So there's no mandate. No enforcement provision means no mandate. Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC, formerly chief counsel to the Senate Tax Committee, has also noted this. So has a law professor at the University of Minnesota in an op-ed piece in the LA Times about a week ago. So has the insurance industry. That's why the insurance industry suddenly started opposing the health insurance bill just before it passed. The industry had caught on. The provision that was supposed to deliver them 30 million new customers has no teeth in it.
Chief Justice Roberts mentioned this too during oral argument, and I was hopeful that he might do the right thing and decide that there was nothing to decide, i.e. the mandate couldn't be unconstitutional because it wasn't a mandate. But looking at what the GOPers on the Court did today, I'm doubtful they'll pay serious attention to the language of the act or anything else except the Republican agenda.
I can't tell you how this hurts. I went to law school as a single mother of six children because I believed in our judicial system and the law and, above all, in the Constitution. But it doesn't begin to hurt me as much as it will hurt you and your children. My faith has been trashed, but your whole lives may be ruined by this GOP Court. What's to stop them knocking down consumer protection or environmental law any time the Republican money folks don't want such laws interfering with "a free economy'? And what of your civil rights and civil liberties? You've breathed freedom like air all your lives, hardly noticing it. But you'll notice it when it's gone.
As bad as things are, they stand to get a whole lot worse. Unless Obama is re-elected, Romney will have the opportunity to appoint two justices and possibly three. The two for-sure ones are both in the minority that now is trying to hold the line against the GOP politicians they share the bench with. In other words, this election is EXTREMELY important. And if you don't contribute time and money to help Obama, you're a damn fool!
I'm outta here in a few years, the effect of being 76 years old. You and your children and grandchildren are the ones who will have to live with the Romney Court for a long time. DON'T do this to yourselves!
Let's hope that my gloom this Monday is replaced by joy on Thursday. Let's hope the Supreme Court does the right thing.
Meantime, as we say around here, don't bet the farm on it.