Thursday, March 5, 2015

SCOTUS POCUS (The ObamaCare Case)

Remember Kids: Just Because It Polls Well Doesn't Mean You Have To Do It.
Unless It's a DHS Shutdown To Remove Obama's Amnesty--Which Didn't Poll Well, So Was Fair Game
The ACA had its (latest) day in court and now people are trying to discern what the justices made of it. Considering that of the nine justices, seven are "already spoken for" this isn't as hard as it might be. On the other hand, you never know.

The word, however is that the two Justices (Chief Justice Roberts, who saved the ACA last time) and Kennedy--who is sort of naturally a 'swing vote'--seem like they might be leaning in favor of the government. This is the analysis from a number of conservative and liberal blogs both--so, the opinion being bi-partisan (as it sort-of-were) The Omnivore trusts that that's the correct view of what what happened.

But, of course, no one knows for sure.

We're all just looking into our own crystal balls.

What's interesting to The Omnivore is how strong each side thinks their case is--specifically? Iron clad. As in "Can't lose." As in "Bet ALL your money on this horse." Let's see some examples:

From PowerLine (on the Right)
At issue in King is the legality of the IRS’s provision of tax credits in Obamacare exchanges established by the federal government. As Professor Jonathan Adler writes in USA Today, the case “presents a straightforward case of statutory interpretation.” As such, it’s not a hard case; it’s an unbelievably easy case.
From Gawker (on the Left)
Does the argument have any serious merit?
Oh, Good God, no.
From Red State (On the Right)
As we have written about extensively here before, the Democrats are attempting to overcome a really terrible set of facts (from a legal standpoint) with a facade of rhetorical bravado and strawmen.
And so on . . .

Now, most observers do in fact have an opinion--and they get to be "pretty sure" theirs is right--but the idea that the door isn't open for either ruling generally gets blamed on the squishiness of the justices. That is: the four liberals are bought and paid for ideologues. The three conservatives  are stalwart judicial icons--but Roberts is unduly concerned with his legacy and Kennedy is, you know, some kind of constitutionalist mutant or something. The argument (for whichever side) cannot fail--it can only be failed.

The problem isn't exactly that the justices have their own sides--yes, that is a problem--but it is not at odds with reality. The problem is that many partisan observers cannot fathom a way that their argument is actually wrong. Thus, when the ruling goes against somebody, the only possible reason is . . . conspiracy.

To be fair, a lot of people have rationales other than "conspiracy" (Neo-Neocon thinks that the ACA will survive because killing it in that fashion will inflict chaos and the court does not want chaos. Another PowerLine piece sums up the arguments and decides the case has "plenty of moving pieces.") but if you look at the comments no one there seems to think this is up-in-the-air in a meaningful sense--just in a Good-Justices or Bad-Justices sense.

But still, this looks like partisan world-view building and it's all too common these days.

On the other hand, The Omnivore still thinks the smart money is on Roberts killing the ACA because he's going to rule pro-gay marriage in a few weeks and wants to balance the books on that. Plus, he'd like to get invited back to his pal's poker game at the country club. You never know where the conspiracy will strike!

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