In another sign of the creeping Orszagization of America, today is the first day of school for kids in Lynden and I think the rest of Whatcom County as well. How awful is that — to be dragged back into school before Labor Day. Put me down on record as thinking this is cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court should rule against it. Though with our luck John Roberts would side with the liberals on the Court and say that the earlier start time is a tax and thus constitutional.
Palpable conservative anger at John Roberts over the Obamacare ruling reminded me of something out of US History 101. John Jay, our first Supreme Court Chief Justice, turns out not to have been a terribly well liked guy either.
While serving on the court, Jay negotiated a treaty with Britain that… proved unpopular. It inspired perhaps the most famous bit of political graffiti in American history: “Damn John Jay! Damn everyone who won’t damn John Jay!! Damn everyone that won’t put lights in his windows and sit up all night damning John Jay!!!” The Wikipedia entry adds, “Jay complained that he could travel from Boston to Philadelphia solely by the light of his burning effigies.”
I did a Google search for “damn John Roberts” yesterday but came up empty. Wonder how long it will take our more historically-minded, Tricorne-hat wearing tea partiers to dust off that old taunt and repurpose it.
Well how about that? John Roberts, the justice that George W. Bush appointed and elevated to Supreme Court Chief Justice, effectively just saved Obamacare. (For now!)
And Anthony Kennedy, the judge that most people were worried would go soft on this one, was the justice who ended up reading for the dissent. He formed part of a bloc of four justices who wanted to tear the whole edifice down. They would have done just that if the court’s purportedly conservative justices had held together.
What this ruling means is that politics survives. The court will continue to play its job as an only occasionally effective referee, but the efforts to repeal Obamacare are now firmly in the political arena. To beat Obamacare, you need to beat Obama and put a majority of Republicans in the Senate.
“But what about the filibuster?” some people are asking.
One thing I will confidently predict is that if you have a Republican president and a Republican majority and the Democrats move to block, the filibuster is toast. This is especially true because Democrats used an odd parliamentary maneuver called “reconciliation” to skirt Republican filibuster threats in the first place.
To get more updates on fallout from the Obamacare decision today, stop by The Mark-Up.