Post’s Dionne: Health Care Arguments Showcased Judicial Activism


Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. says the Supreme Court arguments over the health care law “demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.” Dionne says it was difficult to discern at times whether it was a courtroom or a lobbyist’s office. He writes, “It fell to the court's liberals — the so-called ‘judicial activists,’ remember? — to remind their conservative brethren that legislative power is supposed to rest in our government's elected branches.”

He continues, “The conservative justices were obsessed with weird hypotheticals. If the federal government could make you buy health insurance, might it require you to buy broccoli, health club memberships, cellphones, burial services and cars? All of which have nothing to do with an uninsured person getting expensive treatment that others — often taxpayers — have to pay for. Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today's hard-line conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed, single-payer system. What he got back from conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism — for adopting their own proposal.”

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