Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Are Supreme Court justices allowed to lie about the law with impunity?

Wow, are Supreme Court justices really allowed to lie through their teeth about the law with impunity? Is nothing sacred?
According to a CNN article, Justice Scalia said something that I know is factually "incorrect" about the law:
"You want us to go through 2,700 pages" of the law, asked Justice Antonin Scalia. "Is this not totally unrealistic ... to go through one by one and decide each one?"
I just happened to download the official version of the law from the Government Printing Office (GPO) and it clocks in at only 906 pages. I suspect that his confusion was that the drafts of the bill were printed in larger type and double-spaced for purposes of "markup" and at least one was purported to be 2,400 pages.
Hmmm... but I wonder if this means that he hasn't actually seen the final law whose fate he is deciding. After all, with two branches and a conference committee, looking at any draft before the president signs the bill is risky.
Incidentally, the bill/law does not use the term "mandate." It does refer to "individual responsibility", "Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage", and "Individual responsibility requirement." And, significantly, section 1501, which defines this "individual responsibility requirement" clearly lays out its constitutional basis in terms of interstate commerce from an economic and legal perspective, even to the point of citing a 1944 court case where "the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that insurance is interstate commerce subject to Federal regulation." So, clearly, Congress carefully crafted the "individual responsibility requirement" in a way that was specifically designed to be able to pass constitutional muster before the Supreme Court.


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