Ronald Dworkin weighs in on the constitutionality of ObamaCare. Some comments:
- Dworkin says that "the legal issues, most analysts think, are not really controversial." Ha! Then why has the case reached the United States Supreme Court? Isn't that the very definition of "controversial"? Does the Court agree to hear uncontroversial cases? Maybe Dworkin means "progressive analysts," in which case I suggest that he get out of his academic bubble. He might find that one or two people in this country don't share his values and beliefs.
- Dworkin says that "the Constitution's text, the Supreme Court's own precedents, and basic constitutional principle seem obviously to require upholding the act." Obviously? Really? Once again, we see a progressive projecting his or her certitude (an emotional state) onto the law.
- Dworkin says that the justices of the Supreme Court fall into two categories: "liberals and ultra conservatives." How convenient! He may as well call them "philosopher-kings and wackos." How's that for manipulative rhetoric? I'm reminded here of Maimon Schwarzschild's complaint (in an academic review) about Dworkin's "relentless spin." Having read Dworkin for 30 years, I'm not sure he is even capable of fairly characterizing his opponents or their positions.
- There is nothing "frightening" about "the prospect of an overruling." (Dworkin, a Harvard-educated lawyer now in his 80s, still doesn't know the difference between overruling and striking down. Courts overrule their own precedents; they strike down statutes.) If ObamaCare is struck down as unconstitutional, Congress can (and presumably will) go back to work to produce a bill that comports with the Constitution. Dworkin makes it seem as though it's ObamaCare or nothing.
- To Dworkin, the United States Constitution is "antique." How convenient! When the Constitution stands in the way of Dworkin's progressive agenda of remaking this country, it's antique. When it supports his agenda, it's a bulwark of liberty. Heads I win, tails you lose.
- There is no discussion in Dworkin's essay of the Commerce Clause. To him, it's all about interpreting the Constitution in moral terms. Dworkin has spent a career reading his egalitarian values into our founding document and then claiming to have found them there. Having found what he put there, he proceeds to attack the motives of anyone who reads it differently.
- Dworkin says that "Every American already has health insurance." Then what is the problem to which ObamaCare is the solution? Does Dworkin think before he writes?
- Dworkin thinks that "human decency" requires government-funded health care. No. Human decency requires that individuals be responsible for their own health care. It's called autonomy. Dworkin thinks that he is decent and his opponents indecent. How charitable.
- Dworkin fails to see the difference between a state mandate and a national mandate. The difference, which should not escape the notice of a lawyer, much less a Harvard-educated lawyer, is that the federal government is a government of limited powers. I wonder sometimes whether Dworkin has even read the Constitution.
- Dworkin gets in the obligatory jab at Michele Bachmann. I'm surprised he didn't work Sarah Palin into the essay.
- Dworkin admits that Congress could, if it wanted, mandate the purchase of broccoli. This, my friends, is called a reductio ad absurdum of his argument. Remember: To a progressive such as Dworkin, the end justifies the means. The end is controlling the lives of American citizens—for their own benefit, of course. Dworkin and his fellow progressive elites know best. The rest of us should submit to their wise and benevolent guidance.
- Dworkin says that ObamaCare is "plainly constitutional." If you say so, Ron! I hope it makes you feel good to keep saying that, despite its obvious falsity.
Dworkin has no philosophical credentials and has never had a philosophical academic appointment, but he is viewed in some quarters as an honorary philosopher. He is as far from being a philosopher as a person could be. He is a partisan political hack, relentlessly spinning.