Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
I find this argument of "coercion" absurd (don't give us money if we don't like the strings!) and the concerns set forth are blatant political questions. I know the SC is "political," but there should be a "limiting principle." The SG ended on an eloquent basis, for what it is worth:
In a very fundamental way, this Medicaid expansion, as well as the provisions we discussed yesterday, secure of the blessings of liberty. And I think that that is important as the Court is considering these issues that that be kept in mind. The -- the Congress struggled with the issue of how to deal with this profound problem of 40 million people without health care for many years, and it made a judgment, and its judgment is one that is, I think, in conformity with lots of experts thought, was the best complex of options to handle this problem. ...
That this was a judgment of policy, that democratically accountable branches of this government made by their best lights.
Paul Clement replied that "can simply give the States an offer that they can't refuse" is a strange sort of "liberty," but (as with various other things this advocate so many think so great* said) this isn't true. The states DO have the right to refuse. They just do not want to do so because the alternative is that they would have to handle the health needs of the poor (which they once largely did) alone or just watch them suffer. Also, he argued that something that "forces somebody to purchase an insurance policy" isn't "liberty" either. First, yet again, this is not what occurs here [truth is of limited value, but it remains of some]. Second, yes it is, if it is part of an overall system that benefits all. One might say "forcing" people to pay taxes is a liberty threat too, if we -- like the "Tea Party" -- have a myopic view of how government works.
Meanwhile, the SC handed down a few opinions that don't appear to be too important, but might be of interest in context.
* Check, e.g., here or various comments by Dahlia Litwick in the past etc. This is not to say he isn't an excellent advocate overall, especially given the marathon here [he did one better than the S.G., the morning argument today left to an assistant of the S.G.]. But, and I listened to the orals here and others he made, and my impression was mixed. The same would be said for his briefing. Of course, he has to brief imho weak cases.
And, overall, though I realize it is not the same, the merits repeatedly are crap (see also, his promotion of liberty by support of Gitmo detention without habeas or promotion of DOMA, which has an added federalism "benefit" of harming states who support SSM). His dry business like approach there has benefits but also (to be honest) aggravates, since the dispassionate promotion of crap leads to a lot of well you know.