Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Switch in Time?

Hoo Rah!  It's time for the conspiracy nuts to crawl out of the woodwork.  The Supreme Court, as we all know by now, decided that the colloquially named Obamacare is constitutional, by a 5-4 vote.  What's interesting in that is who was the 5th vote in favor of upholding the law.  Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote and wrote the opinion.

This makes two cases where he sided with the liberal side of the court (Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsberg & Breyer) and against the "conservatives" (Scalia, Thomas & Alito).  Surprisingly, Chief Justice Roberts had voted against Arizona's restrictive immigration tactics as an affront to an area specifically designated for Federal control.  That kind of obviousness didn't stop the three mental midgets from voting for Arizona, or Scalia from shooting off his ignorant mouth at the release of the decision to attack President Obama on an issue entirely unrelated to the decision at hand (amnesty to illegal immigrants brought here as minors).

These switches by the previously solidly conservative Roberts reminded me of The Switch in Time that Saved Nine in 1937.  Then there was the threat of expansion of the court to 15 justices because FDR was frustrated by the court's continual overturning of New Deal legislation and state legislation regulating business.  There was no such threat this time, though.  Coincidentally, the justice who switched from voting with the conservative block of four then was also named Roberts.  Justice Owen Roberts was the one that time.

I'm thinking that the switch this time may have something to do with Justice Scalia.  He's so unreasonable, so partisan and so divorced from any clear legal thinking, Roberts may be trying to separate himself from Scalia to show that it's his court rather than Know Nothing darling Scalia's court.  Roberts is the Chief Justice, after all.  Scalia can keep his posse of Alito (a cypher so far as any thoughts of his own) and Thomas (the most unqualified justice to serve in half a century), who support whatever he says without question.  Like the wing nuts they represent, they're only driving themselves further away from the majority and relegating themselves to the ash can of history.

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