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Consistency, Yes; Logical, No

July 31st, 2011

Jeffrey Rosen writes:

As Matthew Zeitlin has argued in TNR, if Obama invoked the Fourteenth Amendment to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, the most likely outcome is that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear the case. The conservative justices have long required clear evidence of legal “standing” before opening the courthouse door—something they showed in their recent 5-4 decision rejecting a taxpayer’s challenge to an Arizona school vouchers program—and it’s hard to imagine who could establish enough of a legal injury to establish standing in this case.

I think he misreads the right-wingers on the court. They are, like their brethren in Congress and elsewhere, not about consistency. They are about ideology. For example, when it comes to the Ninth Amendment, Scalia and Thomas consider it irrelevant, a deprecated piece of constitutional flotsam, if it ever meant anything at all. The Second Amendment, on the other hand, was all about individual gun rights and had nothing to do with the militia, and is not at all outdated or irrelevant in today’s society. The truth is reversed; the Ninth is fully alive and relevant, while the Second is outdated; in fact, gun ownership rights best derive from the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The only consistency for right-wingers like the Big Four on the court today is ideological, not legal or logical. They pretend that the Ninth Amendment doesn’t exist because it would open up Pandora’s box to all sorts of civil rights they disagree with, like the right to privacy. The same ideological fervor allows them to rule that there is no separation of church and state simply because the principle has been violated so often–as if breaking a law means it doesn’t exist any more. In which case, theft would be legal today–if they were consistent.

I think they would quite easily manufacture whatever kind of legal injury they might desire in order to create standing, or else simply ignore legal standing altogether and claim that the nation’s best interests demand they address the issue. If they wanted to. They might not–they might find legal standing a convenient way to ignore the case, or they might take it and decide, as Rosen also argues, to uphold expanded executive powers, or to allow Obama to take the blame for the debt.

I’m just saying they they won’t be ruled by any need for consistency–they will do exactly what they want, when they want, for any reason they want. That’s their pattern.

With far too many right-wingers today, reality is defined by little more than what they want it to be at any given moment.

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