With Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy holding the power in the SCOTUS argument on the constitutionality (and legality or illegality) of ObamaCare, Mark Steyn has a piece on what pivoting on one man’s opinion means to you and me, and how Abraham Lincoln viewed the Supreme Court:
“If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
This past week from Justice Anthony Kennedy, regarding ObamaCare:
“The government is saying that the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases, and that changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.”
As John Hinderaker wrote at the Powerline blog, “In that last observation, Kennedy seems to be channeling Mark Steyn.” Which is true. As I wrote in National Review only two or three issues back, “I’ve argued for years in these pages that governmentalized health care fundamentally transforms the relationship between citizen and state in ways that” – and here’s the bit Justice Kennedy isn’t quite on board with yet – “make it all but impossible to have genuinely conservative government ever again.”
So I’m naturally heartened to hear him meeting me halfway. This was one of the highlights of a week that a shellshocked Jeffrey Toobin, crawling out from under the rubble of the solicitor general’s presentation, told CNN viewers was “a train wreck” for the government’s case.
And yet, and yet… If you incline to the view that Obamacare is a transformative act, isn’t there something slightly pitiful about the fact that the liberties of more than 300 million people hinge on the somewhat whimsical leanings of just one man?…
Thus, in this week’s debate on whether Obamacare is merely the latest harmless evolution of the interstate commerce clause, the most learned and highly remunerated jurists in the land chewed over the matter of whether a person, simply by virtue of being born, was participating in a “market.”
A 2,700-page law is not a “law” by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there’s no equality: Instead, there’s a hierarchy of privilege microregulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown and unnumbered bureaucracy. It’s not just that the legislators who legislate it don’t know what’s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can ever hope to understand it, but that even the nation’s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.
If the Supreme Court really wished to perform a service, it would declare that henceforth no law can be longer than, say, 27 pages – or, at any rate, longer than the copy of Playboy Congressman Conyers was reading on that commuter flight.
In the summer months leading up to the 2010 elections, one Republican candidate after another promised us small, small bill. Bills easily read and understood and always posted online before a vote. None of it mattered because we do not have the majority in the Senate, but this is something we must pound home to our candidates this Summer and Fall. So our battle cry: No Bills Bigger Than Playboy Magazine! Today, the Senate has abdicated their constitutional obligations, and so we have no self-government. Which reminds me to tell you that tomorrow the Department of Homeland Security will post a new “Rule,” for comment, that will turn itself into an Executive Order allowing all illegal aliens who are immediate relatives of citizens, to stay in the U.S. Read it here.