Monday, July 2, 2012

John Roberts' Staining of the Court

I've declined to do much blogging on political topics of late, content to leave the task to others more capable and knowledgeable than myself in that area. However, shock, horror, disbelief, and outrage are magnificent motivators to write and have provided fuel for my flame.

Were my angst and discontent over the recent Supreme Court Obamacare ruling a mere matter of technical disagreement on the legal specifics of the case, I would respectfully -- but vehemently -- object to the opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, siding with the four dissenters. However, the written opinion itself raised questions about whether Roberts' conclusion was purely wrought in the fires of Constitutional jurisprudence, and subsequent information is confirming suspicions that it was not. Instead it seems as if the opinion was the product of the Chief Justice weighing a variety of considerations and interests, many of which have nothing to do with his duties as a faithful interpreter of the text and of the relevant precedents. It's not only that Roberts has erred in his decision, going beyond the principle of generous interpretation and effectively legislating from the bench -- which would be bad enough -- but that his motivations for doing so seem to be concerns which should be, in principle, bracketed out to begin with and never taken into consideration.

Considerations such as the role of Chief Justice as a "steward" of the court, or of "the court's reputation", or making compromises toward some imaginary "long view", or declining to "obstruct" Congress and the President on an important piece of legislation. If faithful, accurate interpretation and application of the Constitution causes the "reputation of the court" to suffer, then please suffer dutifully and with honor. If reading the caterwauling of the elite media class causes you to believe the "reputation of the court" is actually at stake when it isn't, then please put down the New York Times Op-ed page immediately. If it makes you uncomfortable to strike down the cornerstone of a President's political and legislative agenda, then please decline to take the oath of your office which requires you to -- at times -- do precisely that.

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