Sunday, July 1st, 2012...10:45 am

Game Change or Mind Change?: ACA, Politics, Courts

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In a fine analysis, “Unpopular Mandate,” in the 25 June 2012 issue of the New Yorker, Ezra Klein notes research indicating that we don’t “make up our minds” so much on the basis of evidence and logic as on our tribal affiliation (and its shifting principles and alliances). Documenting the Republicon origins of the health insurance mandate (the Heritage Foundation in the 1980s, Senate Republicons in the 1990s, Republicon governor Romney in the last decade):

What is notable about the conservative response to the individual mandate is not only the speed with which a legal argument that was considered [by all sides of the political spectrum] fringe in 2010 had become mainstream by 2012; it’s the implication that the Republicans spent two decades pushing legislation that was in clear violation of the nation’s founding document.

Revival time: Republicons discovered that for two decades they had been straying from The True Way until Elmer Gantry (in the form of the Koch-sucking Tea Baggers) came along. However, as Klein also points out (to no one’s surprise now because most of us feel this way, again across the political spectrum):

But the courts are not as distant from the political process as some like to think. The first judge to rule against the individual mandate was Judge Henry Hudson, of Virginia’s Eastern District Court. Hudson was heavily invested in a Republican consulting firm called Campaign Solutions, Inc. the company had worked with the Presidential campaigns of John McCain and George W. Bush, the Republican National Committee, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and Ken Cuccinelli–the Virginia state attorney general who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act.

Of course Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is a well-paid opponent of ACA. As several pundits suggested before the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding ACA, Chief Justice Roberts needed some demonstration that the Court could act in disinterested good faith, rather than its majority serving as a board of activist judges bent on on advancing the Republicon agenda.

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