Højesteret og ObamaCare – aktivisme eller tilbageholdenhed?

Wall Street Journal har en glimrende leder om den udfordring det er, for den amerikanske højesteret, at skulle tage stilling til Affordable Care Act, alias ObamaCare. WSJ-lederen fokuserer på de offentlige ytringer rettet mod navngivne højesteretsdommere, som politiske aktører over den seneste tid er kommet med og bemærker særligt Pat Leahy’s kommentar om, at retspræsident Roberts, hvis retten når frem til, at ACA-loven (eller dele deraf) er forfatningsstridig, for al fremtid vil blive opfattet som en partisk aktivist: ”The conservative activism of recent years has not been good for the Court” osv.

The elite liberal press has followed with pointed warnings that Mr. Roberts has a choice—either uphold ObamaCare, or be portrayed a radical who wants to repeal the New Deal and a century of precedent. This attack is itself clearly partisan, but it’s worth rehearsing the arguments to show how truly flawed they are.

WSJ bemærker hertil (mine fremhævninger):

The first fallacy is defining judicial activism as overturning a Congressional law. Since Marbury v. Madison established judicial review in 1803, the High Court has overturned hundreds of laws in part or whole. The real measure of activism is whether the Court’s reasoning is rooted in Constitutional principle. If it is, the Court is not activist but is adhering to the highest legal principles.

Regarding the Affordable Care Act, we’d argue that upholding the individual mandate to buy health insurance requires far more judicial activism. That’s because if the Court finds this federal mandate to be Constitutional, it will have no principle on which to limit future purchase mandates.

Once health insurance can be mandated, Congress will inevitably find that other products or services are equally essential to national well-being. Future Courts will either have to find all such purchase mandates to be legal, in which case there is no limiting principle, or they will have to pick and choose, which means an endless exercise in policy-making.

Far better for judicial modesty—and the reputation of the Court—to draw the line that the Commerce Clause forbids Congress from mandating that individuals engage in commerce because such police powers are reserved for the states. This is the truly restrained judicial position.

The most dishonest argument is the liberal media chant that overturning the law means overturning the New Deal era’s Commerce Clause precedents. This is propaganda. None of the plaintiffs advocated that any precedents be overturned, even though in our view some of those cases deserve to be overturned. Paul Clement and Michael Carvin, who argued for the plaintiffs before the Court, explicitly denied any such desire.

HT: Randy Barnett.

1 Comment

  1. Nikolaj Hawaleschka Stenberg

    22. maj 2012 at 12:21

    WSJ-lederen taler derefter om, hvordan venstrefløjen i USA har det med at skyde Højesteret liberale holdninger i skoene, så at sige. Dét er (desværre) ikke korrekt:

    The left is playing up the libertarian legal views of academic Randy Barnett in particular, to suggest that he’s a pied piper for the conservative Justices. We often agree with Mr. Barnett, who has written for these pages, but on ObamaCare his influence has been overstated. Lawyers David Rivkin and Lee Casey were far more consequential in developing the legal and Constitutional case.

    As recently as the gun rights case McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, a conservative majority ignored Mr. Barnett’s pleas to revive the long-dormant Privileges and Immunities Clause. Justice Antonin Scalia quipped during oral argument that this view was “the darling of the professoriate,” and libertarian legal activists denounced him for it. But in the Court’s 5-4 ruling, Justice Samuel Alito employed the conventional legal analysis known as substantive due process. So much for the primrose path to the 19th century.

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