Jewish World Review July 5, 2012/ 15 Tamuz, 5772
Supreme Court hypocrisies
By Victor Davis Hanson
Until last week, Chief Justice
Among our elites -- journalists, pundits and academics -- liberal
No surprise, then, that a surreal discussion followed the recent ruling of the high court. Our legal establishment expected that the four liberal judges would not deviate one iota in their affirmation of the health-care law, even as it hoped that a conservative or two would show judicial character by joining the liberals.
Democrats like activist federal courts to overturn -- in matters of gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action and illegal immigration -- ballot propositions and majority votes of legislatures fostered by supposedly illiberal and unsophisticated voters. But on health care, liberals -- led by the president -- made the argument that a wrongly activist
President Obama was incoherent in his commentary on the
Of course, the
To get the health-care bill passed in the first place, the Obama administration swore that it was a mandate and not a tax raise, which would have contradicted his campaign pledge not to hike taxes on the middle class. Yet Verrilli worried that a mandate would be declared unconstitutional, so he argued in the chambers of the court that it was a tax -- and a majority of justices agreed.
But then the Obama administration flipped again at the thought of raising taxes on the middle class and is now calling the mandate/tax a "penalty" -- thanking the court for its wisdom while rebuking the means by which it came to it.
Conservatives have come to distrust federal courts that overturn legislative majorities. But this time, conservatives hoped that the
A big reason for all the hypocrisies and paradoxes is that the 2,409-page health care act is a mess. Even its creators cannot agree whether it involves a mandate, tax or penalty. The public doesn't like or want it -- at least the parts it must soon pay for. It was passed only on a strictly partisan vote and under shady means (remember the "Cornhusker Kickback"). Hundreds of friends of influential Democratic politicians have already had their companies exempted from what was sold as a wonderful change. The country is nearly insolvent and
This mess is only the beginning, since we won't even feel the full effect (or cost) of the law for another two years. But we should assume that what starts out this badly will end even more badly.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
© 2012, TMS