For someone who still considers himself a novice at writing a weekly commentary, I struggle coming up with a topic each week, frequently agonizing throughout the weekend, trying to play out some outlines in my head before sitting down in front of the computer Sunday evening to work up the first draft. Somehow the folks in Washington and Albany continue to provide me material to work with and I hope that, for you, the reader, they are matters of interest, worth investing some time to digest.
Well, this last week was a real bell ringer, starting the landmark decision by the Supreme Court on the Affordable Health Care Act. Not only was the outcome a surprise, as most pundits had the odds on the Court’s finding at least a portion of the legislation unconstitutional, but the votes by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy seemed out of character. In the 5-4 split decision the normally conservative Roberts opted to side with the more liberal justices, while Justice Kennedy, a moderate, who normally comes in on the side of the more liberal judges, opted to rule with the majority.
Going into the major ruling last week the Supreme Court, like most branches of government these days, hasn’t posted a high favorable rating among the American public. Prior to the most recent rulings, the Rasmussen Report had the justices at a 34 percent excellent or good rating while 17 percent rated the court poor. After the rulings, the excellent to good rating dropped to 22 percent, while the poor rating had increased to 30 percent. Now, I’m no expert on constitutional law or the voting records of the justices, but it seems to me that over the course of time, based on the presidential appointments, justices bring a certain political slant to the bench. I do understand the justices are supposed to be impartial, but let’s face it, in Washington, to reach the level of a lifetime appointment in the Supreme Court, the highest in our land, I must admit I am skeptical that all that political baggage can be left at the door. We carry a certain bias slant based on years of experience.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.