Justice Roberts to Blinder: “I don’t care”

If Alan Blinder understood why Tommy Lee Jones’ character said, “I don’t care,” in the scene below from The Fugitive, I doubt wouldn’t have written this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal lamenting what he fears will be the Supreme Court doing its job.

Blinder admits:

I claim no special expertise in constitutional law…

It shows with his closer:

This is another real shame. If we are going to have political decision-making, at least elected politicians should do the deciding. Come to think of it, they already have.

But, it doesn’t take an expert in Constitutional law to know what all of us should have learned by the 10th grade.

We have political decision-making, but what can be decided on by our representatives in Congress is limited by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution for very good reasons.

The individual mandate may be good, it might cause a disaster or it might do nothing. But, that’s not what the Supreme Court will be judging. Much like Tommy Lee Jones’ character in The Fugitive, it isn’t the Supreme Court’s job to care about that. Jones’s job was not to judge Harrison Ford’s character’s innocence or guilt. His job was to catch him.

The Supreme Court shouldn’t be judging the merits of the individual mandate. Their job is to determine if the Constitution gives government the power to force people to buy insurance.

Now, if the Supreme Court decides against the mandate, there is a very simple way for proponents of an individual mandate to give government the power to enact it: Amend the Constitution using Article V, by getting the legislatures of three-quarters of states to agree to the amendment.

That is another element of the political decision-making process that folks like Blinder are clueless about. If we want to change the power of government, there is a political decision-making process for that. Why do they want to short-circuit that process? Is it ignorance or do they only have respect for the political decision-making processes that they think will yield their desired results?

I was disappointed that the Wall Street Journal was willing to publish an op-ed that should be able to be debunked by any 10th grader.


6 thoughts on “Justice Roberts to Blinder: “I don’t care”

  1. Seth:

    Right out of the gate Blinder makes an error: “Republicans want to repeal it even though the federal law is patterned after a Massachusetts law…”

    It’s not the pattern or the implicit comparison. It’s the reference to –legislation- as “federal law” and “Massachusetts law”. Legislation is made by the few for the many. It’s a top down and temporary in that it can be changed or for that matter repealed by the stroke of a pen or by judicial review.

    -Law- is a spontaneous order/emergent order phenomena [in western civilization] that is a census of the many for the many. It’s a bottom up and many centuries or millennia occurrence.

    Hence Binder applies politics in that he frames legislation as law.

  2. “I was disappointed that the Wall Street Journal was willing to publish an op-ed that should be able to be debunked by any 10th grader.”

    It’s called comic relief.

    • I often wonder if both Krugman and Blinder actually believe the stuff they write, or if they just write as devil’s advocate.

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  4. But can you really blame Blinder? Opinions are much easier to come by than facts! “I’m no expert, but let me tell you something…” This is market efficiency in journalism!

    And great scene, by the way. Perfect application!


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