Thursday, March 29, 2012
I will admit watching the Supreme Court coverage has been moderately amusing, especially when reporters have interviewed the Tea Party types protesting in front of the court building. If those people ever had a clue as to how our government actually works, they lost it long ago.
Of course, the talking heads on MSNBC, CNN, et al. aren't much better. They all seem to think that the oral arguments are it -- that whatever drivel emerges from the attorneys arguing pro and con is the sole support for whatever conclusions the justices reach. Bizarre. Haven't they ever heard of a brief? Are they really all so ignorant that they truly believe that the way the system works is that the justices listen to the oral arguments and then disappear into the equivalent of a jury room to make a decision then and there? I can understand the tinfoil hat types with the funny costumes and misspelled signs not grasping how the process works, but shouldn't the so-called professionals know better? There is a reason there's usually a gap of several months between the time oral arguments are heard and when the court's decision is released: the justices are spending that time reviewing the mountain of documentation associated with each case (the merits briefs submitted by the plaintiff and defendant, the friends of the court briefs submitted by various interested parties, the summaries prepared by the justices' clerks, the preliminary drafts of each other's opinions, etc.).
In short, although it's quite possible that the final decision will indeed fall along the lines the pundits are currently predicting, we're not going to know that for awhile -- so why did everyone insist on talking like the court would announce its findings as soon as oral arguments ended?
As a side note, I keep having this feeling that this whole mess could turn into cause for major regret among the conservative anti-federalism foamers who made the short-sighted decision to fight "Obamacare." If the Supreme Court tosses out the Affordable Care Act on the basis of it being unconstitutional to require people to buy private insurance, then the door is wide open for Medicare for All -- a single payer, national healthcare system administered by the government -- because it'll be the only legal option left. Despite all the babbling about how the U.S. has the best healthcare in the world, most people recognize that line as bullshit -- if we had the best healthcare in the world, there would be no need for fundraisers to help people pay their medical bills. Everyone knows reform is needed, and if a plan that was originally designed by the Heritage Foundation doesn't cut it with the court, what's the alternative?