I spent about an hour yesterday reading the 100 or so pages of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the new healthcare law, which included Justice Ginsburg’s opinion, the dissent and Justice Thomas’s separate dissent.
If you’ve followed this blog, you know it is not political. The only time I delve into politics here is to attempt to offer a Kingdom perspective outside of the left-right game. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision offers just such an opportunity.
After reading yesterday’s Supreme Court decision it became clear to me the decision was illustrative of a more fundamental issue than those made the subject of the decision, and it is best demonstrated by a question.
If our Supreme Court justices are supposed to be guided by the Constitution, precedent and reason then why can’t 9 intelligent justices reading the same Constitution and precedent, applying reason, come to the same conclusion? All the justices have taken an oath to uphold the constitution and are expected to apply the law dispassionately, yet on the big issues we get one 5-4 decision after another.
Yesterday the 4 liberal justices voted to uphold a healthcare law, which just so happens advance a value embraced almost universally accepted by liberals. Four Republican justices voted against upholding the law, a law that would result in an expansion in government regulation and taxes, both of which are opposed by Republicans.
Universal healthcare, limited government and low taxation are all values. They have nothing to do with whether the healthcare law is constitutional. That was supposed to have been determined by the Constitution, precedent and reason.
My point is one I’ve made here before: The mind justifies what the heart desires. Kingdom people realize that humans are fallen and reason through the prism of what they desire, i.e. their values.
So, what about Chief Justice Roberts? He’s a conservative yet he voted with the liberals. My guess is wanted the Supreme Court over which he presides to be seen as above partisan politics, particularly after the heat he took for the decision in the Citizen’s United case. In short, my guess–and it is only a guess–is Roberts was driven to the result he reached by the value he placed on his legacy as Chief Justice. A reading of his tortured result-oriented argument on why the individual mandate is a tax and not a penalty certainly suggests a motive other than reason, precedent and the Constitution.
Therefore, it is not enough to simply appointment smart people to the Supreme Court, or any other position of authority, but smart people with the right values. Values are a compass; intelligence merely a tool. GS