'Oyez, oyez, oyez, Decision Day on the Supreme Court of the United States Live! will come to order. I'm your host, Chuck Flannely.
The Court is sitting en banc today, to announce its decision in the Affordable Health Care Act dispute; Chief Justice John (WhiteBread) Roberts presiding. He's a Harvard man, a Californian, the only Justice with extensive experience arguing cases before the Court himself; he's the only non-ethnic Catholic on the Court, and he needs no further introduction. Chief Justice Roberts!
To his immediate right today (although many days he is on the left) will be Justice Anthony Kennedy. One of three "Anthonys" on the Court, he's not as consistent in his decisions as the other two, but, like every good Kantian, his heart is in the right place. Attended Stanford. London School of Economics. Harvard Law School. On the plus side, he served a year in the California National Guard. Made his bones as "the head of the [Ninth Circuit] court’s conservative minority." Famous quote: "...indifference to personal liberty is but the precursor of the state's hostility to it." A respected jurist, representing the Irish-American faction of the citizenry, Justice Anthony Kennedy!
To his right is Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, the Italian Stallion of Trenton, New Jersey, and the favorite of right-to-lifers for "His... sole dissent in a 1991 decision overruling a Pennsylvania law which restricted abortion." "Alito has been described by the Cato Institute as a conservative jurist with a libertarian streak." A young up-and-comer, Sam is one of the Yalies on the Court. Justice Alito!
Next we have Justice Antonin Scalia, another Trentonite, who just celebrated his 76th birthday, making him the oldest male member of the Court. He's also among the "most controversial," although he denies both his and Alito's Mafia connections. A Harvard Law grad, but he has flourished in spite of it. Welcome Don Scalia!
Moving further right, we now meet Justice Clarence Thomas. He's famous for rarely asking questions during oral arguments before the Court. Another Yale Law grad, he was once considered to hold Thurgood Marshall's "Black Chair" on the Court. He set the record straight by saying, "My chair is the same color as all the others." Considered by "those in the know" as the most intelligent of the Justices. You've heard of Silent Calvin Coolidge. Welcome, Silent Clarence Thomas!
To the left of Justice Roberts today, as he is every day, will be Justice Stephen Breyer. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, he is "known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law," which tells you all you need to know about his judicial temperament and approach. Madame Ruth (you know, that Gypsy with the gold-capped tooth) could predict how he will rule on almost any case. Famous quote: "Here's my decision; wake me when we're done." Claim to fame: Slightly better known than the next Justice. A big hand for Justice Stephen Breyer!
Next left is Justice David Souter, a President Warren Rudman/John Sununu/George H. W. Bush nomin--what? He retired? You sure? Oh, yes, now I remember. Here today is his successor, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, another Yale graduate. She made her name in Yale Law School when "she filed a formal complaint against the established Washington, D.C., law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge for suggesting during a recruiting dinner that she was only at Yale via affirmative action," and proved them wrong by winning the case and receiving an apology. She was named to replace Justice Souter when President Obama recognized the need for balance on the Court, giving her a seat to make sure that type 1 diabetics were properly represented. A big welcome for Justice Sonia "SoSo" Sotomayor!
To her left is another new Justice, Elena Kagan. As Solicitor General for President Obama, she must have been very familiar with the people who crafted the Affordable Health Care Act, and although this reference doesn't mention any questions about it during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the same source says that during the hearing to confirm her as Solicitor General, she "indicated that she would defend the [Defense of Marriage] act if 'there was any reasonable basis to do so.'" When the time came, she couldn't find any, so we'll find out today what she really thinks about the AHCA. We do know that, while she was the very successful and popular Dean of the Harvard Law School (whence she graduated), she wrote an email stating "I abhor the military's discriminatory recruitment policy" because she was forced by a Supreme Court decision to allow military recruiters back on the Harvard Law campus. Justice Elena Kagan, a softball-playing, non-Catholic member of the Court!
We are now at the far left end of the bench, and where else would we find our final Associate Justice? Ruth Bader Ginsberg has been on the court since 1993, nominated by President Bill Clinton when she was found to be available. Her memorable statement is about a new Constitution for Egypt: "I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a Constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa...." "Ginsburg has also been an advocate for using foreign law and norms to shape U.S. law in judicial opinions...." The only Justice in history whose weight might be less than her age (79), and who abandoned Harvard Law for Columbia Law, Ruth Bader Ginsberg!
(sotto voce)--And now the moment we have waited almost three months for (although it was final in March), Chief Justice Roberts will read the decision.'
Roberts: "In this matter, the Court finds first that the penalty is a penalty, not a tax, so the issue is ripe for adjudicating. (How 'bout that word, Barack? And we didn't make a liar out of you. You said you wouldn't raise taxes, and this wasn't one.) The decision was 8-1. The "1" side came up "Shorty." Heh.
Second, The court finds by a majority of 5 to 4 that the "mandate" is an unConstitutional over-reach for even a 60-40 Democrat Senate. The Commerce clause was intended to regulate "Commerce;" business--not individual decisions to buy or not to buy commercial products. Furthermore, we find that Congress and the four Justices who voted to keep the mandate are "knuckleheads" under the Three Stooges Code of Conduct. All those who voted the wrong way will be sentenced to noogies and woo-woos administered by Curley and Moe. Those who have since resigned or were defeated in 2010 will be excused, except for former Congressman Bart Stupak, who should be hunted down like a dog and tickled into unconsciousness for exhibiting sheer stupidity. Additionally, there was nothing in any of the arguments presented by the Solicitor General and his Corps of Stammering Counselors that was even close to a cogent, persuasive argument that the mandate was Constitutional. Not even close! Maybe you should have kept the old S-G, although then you might have lost 6-3. Heh. You are all sentenced to go to Crawford, Texas, they way you used to, the next time the President takes a vacation. No Gay Paree for you guys! (That's a WWI historical reference, for you history buffs, not a slur.)
Finally, severable, shmeverable. Scalia said it best--you expect us to read this pile of crapola and fix it for you? The 8th Amendment protects both us and our clerks. It ain't our job to straighten up this mess. You may have inherited some problems, but you created this one and we aren't about to let you hand it off to us. Get real! It's your (Congress's) job to "read the bill before you pass it." How many of you did? If you don't know what you're passing, VOTE "NO," DAMMIT! It's really that simple! If you'd even thought about it a little bit, you'd have been able to tell that it couldn't do what you were being told. Not "wouldn't," COULDN'T! WE could tell that, and we didn't even read ALL of it. The law is struck down, 5-4.
Court is adjourned. Really. (Anthonys and Clarence, you're dismissed. Justices on my left--my office--NOW. Time for the Constitution Class from Hillsdale College.)"
Chuck Flannely: "There you have it, folks. Tune in next time when we'll be talking about the imposition of martial law and the suspension of elections in November, 2012!"