Supreme Political Theater

As you probably know, security expert Bruce Schneier uses (and, I am pretty sure, coined) the term “security theater” for gratuitous, often bogus and ineffective displays of alleged security, such as the extreme TSA searches of airline passengers. That is not my topic today.

Today I refer to the Supreme Court’s conservative membership, its undeniable political bent and its determination to find a “reason” … any reason… to dismantle Obamacare. Who, for example, would have predicted even a month ago that arguments before the Court in the right-wing attempt to take down the Affordable Care Act would include an exchange like this?

Chief Justice John Roberts tried a different tack. “You say health insurance is not purchased for its own sake, like a car or broccoli; it is a means of financing health care consumption and covering universal risks,” he noted. “Well, a car or broccoli aren’t purchased for their own sake, either. They’re purchased for the sake of transportation or, in broccoli, covering the need for food. I don’t understand that distinction.”

“The difference, Mr. Chief Justice, is that health insurance is the means of payment for health care, and broccoli is not the means of payment for anything else,” objected Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.

“It’s the means of satisfying a basic human need,” Roberts rebutted. “[J]ust as insurance is the means of satisfying [a basic human need].”

Sigh. Can our national dialog on serious matters become any sillier?

A few days ago, many commentators thought the plaintiffs had a difficult case to make against the Affordable Care Act. Those commentators neglected the blatant politicization of the supposedly nonpolitical Supreme Court, a politicization resulting from the deliberate efforts of three Republican presidents, the failure of one Democratic president to acknowledge the premeditated thrust toward politicization, and the possibly overly conciliatory efforts of a president whose political affiliation, almost four years into his first term, is difficult to discern by his actions.

I do not know what the positions of, say, the Warren Court would have been on something like the Affordable Care Act. But thanks to a tiny conservative majority engineered by raw politics over three decades, we now have a Court that decides matters 5-4 on questions of… broccoli.

I rest my case. I rest it on three-day-old, steamed, soured, spoiled broccoli.

STFU and eat your green stuff!

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  • Madeleine Begun Kane  On Monday April 2, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Tea Party Talking Points disguised as legal questions. That’s what we got from the Sup Ct’s right wing. Awful!

    • Steve  On Monday April 2, 2012 at 8:30 am

      Mad – that… and broccoli. Either way, we are forced to eat something!

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