“Sadly, even before the sessions on health-care reform had ended, some liberals were preemptively trying to delegitimize a potential defeat at the court. If the justices strike down the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, they said, they will prove themselves partisan, activist and, essentially, intellectually corrupt. We share in the disappointment that the justices on both sides of their ideological divide are, for the most part, so predictable. That’s not, in the ideal world, how judging is supposed to work. But we also think there’s a kind of cynicism, or at least intellectual laziness, in asserting that this is an easy or obvious call — that no justice could possibly strike down the mandate out of honest, reasoned conviction.”
—The Editors of the Washington Post in this morning’s superb, balanced and fair editorial entitled “Civics Lesson From
the Supreme Court.” The Post leaves no question that it supports the individual mandate as necessary—at least now, after the fact of
Obamacare’s passage into law—because “no American should go without health care, and that society as a whole should be willing to pitch in toward that end.” But the editors also properly chastise the cynical and cowardly political calculations by the bill’s supporters that placed the constitutionally-dubious mandate in the position to jeopardize the whole law, as well as criticize the unethical phenomenon that Ethics Alarms discussed here-–the preemptive effort by Democrats and their pundit allies to blame the rejection of Obamacare, if it occurs, on “judicial activism” and political bias by the conservative justices.
The Post’s editorial, if anything, understates the intensity of Democratic efforts to impugn the integrity of the Supreme Court by making the intellectually indefensible claim that the constitutional arguments against the mandate are not legitimate and strong, whether or not one believes they should prevail. This, I believe, shows a disgraceful preference for undermining public trust in an essential American institution that has repeatedly–and recently— served the nation well rather than accepting responsibility for their own carelessness, recklessness and arrogance. Yes, yes, I can see the Supreme Court’s conservative tilt already being penciled-in at the White House as an Obama re-election theme (“This can work in our favor, I’m telling you!”), but the Post, to its great credit, points the finger of accountability where it belongs. As Peggy Noonan stated yesterday with a bit more bite,
“…the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare….have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration. The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn’t notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen? Maybe a stinging decision is coming, maybe not, but in a purely political sense this is how it looks: We were in crisis in 2009—we still are—and instead of doing something strong and pertinent about our economic woes, the president wasted history’s time. He wasted time that was precious—the debt clock is still ticking!—by following an imaginary bunny that disappeared down a rabbit hole. The high court’s hearings gave off an overall air not of political misfeasance but malfeasance. “
So of course it’s the Supreme Court’s fault. Has any administration ever been so allergic to the ethical concept of accountability?
As the New York Times has deteriorated into a predictable, partisan, biased parody of a liberal mouthpiece, its equally liberal-minded rival to the South has made impressive strides in the direction of fairness and objectivity. The Post is still routinely bashed by Rush, Fox and the rest for its ideological leanings, and it has had some bad moments in the past 12 months that epitomized the worst of left-leaning yellow journalism, like the embarrassing (to the Post) “Niggerhead” smear on Gov. Rick Perry. But its editors, while clearly not abandoning their instinctive support for President Obama and their distaste for Republicans, refuse to bury unpleasant truths….unlike the Times.