Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh, the Wily Ways of John Roberts

A cynics view of the health care decision: 

Am I being cynical?   Or did Justice Roberts just toss a poison pill into the Health Care ruling by calling the individual mandate penalty a “tax” thereby handing Romney a big fat issue to bolster his Presidential campaign.  

While the Health Care ruling is a major victory for the Obama Administration and, we can only hope, a step toward a more comprehensive health care system such as Medicare for All, Roberts has cleverly and as deftly as robed Carl Rove and Grover Norquist, handed Romney and the republicans a big fat political contribution disguised as an insightful reading of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which, according to Roberts, would not allow such a mandate, while the “taxing” clause does. 

Avoiding or wading into the political arena?

In her Friday Chronicle column, Deborah Saunders spins this as the Court wisely staying out of politics, but what could be more political than tossing the “tax grenade” into your opponent’s lap?

And never think for one moment that Roberts and the conservative members of the Supreme Court Justices are not the opponents of the Obama Administration and Democratic principles?  Usually voting with his gang of five right wing colleagues to undercut civil liberties, criminal justice and other progressive legislation, Roberts took a more nuanced and devious route to achieving the goals of the conservative agenda – showing his prowess at playing the political game as astutely as the best of the back room operatives and lobbyists.

Separation of powers, or bring on corporate rule?

Is this a portent of rulings to come?   Yes, I am cynical. As a lawyer, it is disheartening to see the lines between the branches of government blurring and then even worse, the lines between government and corporatism having been but all erased, thanks to the Roberts Court.  It’s all part of a continuum, down the rabbit hole we go with decisions like Bush v. Gore, Citizens United and whatever the fallout will be in the November 2012 election with this health care decision.