Result-oriented expedients, that is. Whether manifesting in special pleading pronouncements of Hate, or what plain words definitely do not mean, America is Earth’s prodigy of unprincipled expediency.
The country’s judicial performance in this regard is particularly scintillating. As time may pass and components exchanged, our supreme tribunal retains its six sigma precision in rendering exquisite rationalizations for predestined results. And that is why only those at the legal profession’s apogee are considered for appointment to this panel. Not, obviously, for their knowledge of or fidelity to the constitutional framework. But rather selection is premised on how florid (or opaque as the occasion may demand) their prose in veiling true intent from the dull stares of a flummoxed citizenry. Because soaring sententious rhetoric always finds refuge in cozy penumbras. And that is where jurists discover what is constitutional and what is not. It’s a process quite beyond the reckoning of the hoi polloi, and thus something best left unexamined. Think of the Supreme Court as the constitution’s SPLC: Trust us, we’re the experts.
Though one man has made an admirable career of exploding this black-robed Hindenburg with a formidable array of barbs and mockery. I’ve always found Antonin Scalia to be a romantic anachronism. The kind of stubbornly immovable thinker that if nominated today couldn’t hope to sniff the air of that office. He simply hasn’t grown over the course of his tenure, as so many of his craven conservative peers. Oh the cocktail parties he must have missed. Of course one of those peers, John Roberts, is about to see his calendar blossom with invitations in the wake of his latest capitulation. Perhaps the memories of which will offer some solace in surveying the cultural wreckage of his winter.
So how fitting that these two antipodal conservatives should form opposing ranks in the now concluded struggle over a very liberal piece of legislation. Although fait accompli is a more apt description of the proceedings. You will recall Roberts’ previous immaculate resuscitation of the affordable care act in 2012. The cringing calisthenics deployed at that time should have dispensed any notion that he would permit injury to Obama’s showcase. His unfaltering allegiance along with the embarrassingly coquettish Kennedy and four potted liberal plants made the entire exercise little more than choreography. Though, as per custom, Scalia added tart ridicule to our latest sip of hemlock.
For readers not aware, the question before the court was as prosaic as can be imagined. The law stated that people qualify for handouts when purchasing insurance on an exchange “established by the state.”
Not established by the federal government.
Not established by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Not established by Tolerance and Inclusion.
The point is reiterated multiple times throughout the text. It would have been particularly amusing had congress appended the qualifier “and yes we actually mean ‘by the state’ John Roberts, you mincing faggot.” Yet you may be assured that verbiage would have only necessitated additional dance steps in the majority opinion, not a different outcome.
Because the problem with those words is only about a third of the states have erected exchanges. Thus a finding for the plaintiffs would leave many nibbling mice sans their government cheese. And since Roberts’ occupational assignment is to protect the work of liberal executives, and certainly not to be influenced by mere words on paper, he found himself again in the role of crafting another meticulous rationalization. Let’s hope the herd again agrees to swallow it whole. Scalia did not.
Speaking beside a stoic Roberts, Antonin loosed a fusillade of righteous ridicule that will, after all, accrue to nothing aside from another piquant entry in our Chinese museum exhibit. It concluded as follows:
Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.
And while always worthy for their aesthetic alone, Scalia’s dissents are now mostly just mordant “fuck yous” to lackeys speeding left into the distance. But if there is some beauty remaining in the misshapen visage of this decaying society, it is in those recalcitrant rebels who never grew an inch.