July 14, 2015

One Hand Gives, the Other Takes Away

It's kind of funny (if it wasn't sad) when you see one Supreme Court justice (Roberts) so desperate to apply a fig-leaf to the Court's loin, while another (Scalia) so intent on revealing the truth that the emperor hath no clothes. From the Scalia dissent:
"It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words 'established by the State.' And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words 'by the State.' other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges. '[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover..' Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved....
"Ordinary connotation does not always prevail, but the more unnatural the proposed interpretation of a law, the more compelling the contextual evidence must be to show that it is correct. Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that 'Exchange established by the State' means 'Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government'?... It is probably piling on to add that the Congress that wrote the Affordable Care Act knew how to equate two different types of Exchanges when it wanted to do so."
 The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges."
The irony is that by trying desperately to protect the reputation of the Court he ultimately undermines it.  He makes the Court look silly (when it doesn't look malicious, such as in the finding a right to an abortion). It reminds me how the Church tried so hard to protect her reputation (by allowing pedophile priests to go to other parishes) that it ended up damaging her reputation much more severely.

The case is textbook in that it also neatly explains how it is that the Bible has been so often misinterpreted or ignored.   I used to wish, naively, that Jesus had emphasized Peter as the rock more often in the gospels, or that He would've made it even clearer (how could He?) that the bread and wine becomes his Body and Blood.  But words are fragile things in the face of a powerful desire for an alternate reality.  Even miracles, we have on good authority, aren't enough.

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In other news...Watched the adorable Nikki Haley on Meet the Press. She may end up being the Sarah Palin that Palin so utterly failed to be: a smart woman governor and presidential prospect. Admirably adult.

I do find it almost amusing to see how the national media thinks the removal of the confederate flag from the SC state capitol as worthy of twenty minutes of an hour weekly news show.  Shows the unbelievable power of symbol. You'd think that someone had just cured cancer, or racism, when all that happened was a flag got hid from view. People and media are certainly foolish enough to be entertaining.

I feel a bit uneasy over the continued erasure of regional differences. Soon all will have the sins and blindnesses of the north without the virtues of the south.

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