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Clarification offered on high court decisions


Recent teeth-gnashing by progressives and the media about politicization of the Supreme Court calls for clarification of some points:

For years we have heard outraged indignation that the Court wrongfully "gave" the 2000 presidential election to Bush following Florida's recount effort. In actual fact, the court ruled that Florida could not keep changing their recounting rules in a never-ending effort to make the vote count come out "right." By a 7-2 ruling, the court said Florida must follow its own law uniformly, and if that means Bush won, too bad. The end.

More recently, liberals championed by President Obama himself in his 2010 State of the Union address have decried the "Citizens United" decision. This ruled that campaign finance laws permitting unlimited campaign financial/political support exclusively to trade unions and information media violate the First Amendment. The decisive point in that argument came when the solicitor general affirmed that the law in question required a hypothetical book published during an election which even mentioned a candidate to be banned. Astoundingly, four justices of the court felt such law should be upheld! The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that associations of citizens, including corporations, have the same rights to support candidates as trade unions.

During Senate confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John Roberts testified he considers the function of the court as simply to call the balls and strikes it sees. Applying that metaphor in the recent Obamacare case, Chief Justice Roberts presumably felt a responsibility to deflect surging criticism that "his" court had become completely politicized. Rather than calling this "wild pitch" a "strike," which it clearly wasn't, he declared it a foul ball and thus a strike, even though the batter never moved his bat! Thus Obamacare's mandatory provisions are now a "tax," even though none of the Constitutional attributes of a federal tax [must originate in the House of Representatives; can only be a duty, excise, income or personal tax, ie, equally applicable to everyone] has been met. Calling a dog a horse doesn't make it one, even if five Supreme Court justices say so.

Now what?

Guy E. Miller


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