I Am the Walrus, with the incomparable Ike Willis on vocals. Warning: The video ends pretty abruptly. (The other vids I've found end just as abruptly and look worse; let me know if you find a better one and I'll post it up.)
Day: June 29, 2012
Not My Constitution
To briefly summarize my opinion of the recently-upheld Affordable Care Act: I'm a liberal. I want real universal healthcare, not something run by private industry with a profit motive.
The Affordable Care Act isn't what I had in mind -- for fuck's sake, it was designed by the Heritage Foundation -- but it's Better than Nothing. I've got my reservations about the government mandating that consumers support a specific private industry (again, Heritage Foundation), but it's an improvement and it's already saved lives.
What's baffling to me is hearing people rail, following yesterday's ruling, that it's unconstitutional. Well, it's not.
Rand Paul actually said "Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so." Well, I guess that depends on your definition of "a couple", Rand, but if by "a couple" you mean "five", then yes, actually that's exactly what it means. By definition. Deciding what is and isn't constitutional is the Supreme Court's entire job description. (Now, if you want to argue about Marbury v Madison we can go down that rabbit hole, but are you really prepared to challenge the last 209 years of case law?)
That doesn't mean you have to agree with their rulings! I think, for example, that Citizens United was a terrible ruling! But it was, by definition, constitutional.
And we can also argue that something is "not what the Founding Fathers intended" (provided that we keep in mind, you know, that neither was freeing the slaves nor giving women the vote). For example, I think that modern interpretations of the Second Amendment that essentially completely ignore the "well-regulated militia" clause are at odds with the original intent of the Bill of Rights. But again -- if the Supreme Court says something is constitutional, it's constitutional, whether you personally agree with it or not.
And now we get to the title of the post. Because something occurred to me: this is pretty much the political version of Not My Batman.
See, in comics, you've got fanboys who only acknowledge one interpretation of Batman and declare all other interpretations to be somehow wrong, no matter what the actual owners of Batman at DC Comics have to say about it. And in politics, you've got fanboys who only acknowledge one interpretation of the Constitution and declare all other interpretations to be somehow wrong, no matter what the actual arbiters of constitutionality at the Supreme Court have to say about it. It's the same instinct, the same sense of entitlement.
It's okay to say you don't like something. There are plenty of Batman stories and Supreme Court rulings that I can point to and say that they stink and should never have happened. I can even say they're inconsistent with how I think Batman's history/the Constitution should be read.
But they're still valid, whether I like it or not.
The main difference is that DC overturns precedent a hell of a lot more frequently than the Supreme Court.
Related: Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be, The Onion, November 14, 2009.