Liberal journalists are in near panic about the fate of Obama’s health care reform in the Supreme Court this week.
The first signs of the freakout came from the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin, in a tweet.
Some reporters looked for glimmers of home. In a writeup for Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur pointed out that it was the liberal justices on the Court who made the better arguments for the individual mandate than its actual advocate, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
But Dahlia Lithwick at Slate was utterly poleaxed after witnessing oral arguments yesterday.
Her writeup about it doesn’t once engage the argument at hand: whether under the Constitution, the federal government has the power to compel the purchase of health insurance. Instead it is a despairing assessment that the Supreme Court wants to return America to a definition of freedom that excludes all responsibilities to each other.
“[W]e got a window into the freedom some of the justices long for. And it is a dark, dark place.” she wrote.
Her conclusion paints the dystopian future that the conservatives on the Court are preparing for us:
This morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of “liberty.” This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.
So basically, if the law is overturned children will be sick, and the elderly will die without care. Without government to make it real our obligations to each other don’t even exist.
This isn’t an argument. It’s a defeated whimper: You just don’t … CARE!
We still don’t have a real clue how the court will eventually decide this in June. We’ve seen scepticism from the two “swing votes,” Chief Justice Roberts and Anthony Kennedy. But even that has people terrified.
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