Matthew J. Franck
Robert P. George
William J. Haun
David T. Koyzis
Robert T. Miller
James R. Rogers
Russell E. Saltzman
“In Law’s empire, judges are the princes.” Ronald Dworkin, Law’s Empire, p. 407
“Place not thy trust in princes.” Psalm 146
I don’t get the relevance of this quote. It’s usually trotted out when a court overturns a democratically created piece of legislation. Although the majority supports the legislation or practice before it, the princely judge strikes it down, thus ruling in their place.
But here the Court “found a way” to uphold the work of the political branches. That’s more in line with being subservient to the majority will, some might even say in a craven manner if “the way” they found to uphold it is rather dubious (“it’s really a tax, even though they said it wasn’t, so that’s why it’s ok”). How is that “princely”?
Machiavelli quotes Psalm 146 as well. If Chief Justice Roberts wanted to throw the ball back to the public, better to invalidate everything instead creating his own rationale for saving it. He chose one Gordian Knot over another. ACA is a travesty as legislation and designed to confuse and obfuscate and will affect tens of millions. And certainly fiscally irresponsible during a fiscal and financial crisis here and abroad. Throttle up tax powers have hardly been responsive to the will of the people. This bill was produced by another group of princelings (to borrow a Chinese term for the Communist Party leadership’s heirs). One reason the Tea Party was vilified by the left and kept at arms length by the Republican establishment is that it — or rather they — expressed a cri de couer of powerlessness and despair. Nobody was listening. Not having to listen is the definition of princes and princelings and princesses too.
But the ball is always in the public realm. There is absolutely nothing preventing the public from electing representatives who will repeal the law using democratic mechanisms.
Are we so conditioned to the idea of having the Court “save us” from our political judgments that we think it’s a travesty that we are left to our own resources in effectuating our policy choices?