I’ve read all the arguments, some ingenious, for why the Roberts majority opinion is actually “good” in the long run. I don’t buy that at all, and worry that rationalizing defeats is no way to learn from them. From now on, the precedent has been established that U.S. citizens can be forced to buy a product that government deems necessary — period. Who cares what a particular president on occasion deems to call it — tax, mandate, whatever — at any given expedient time, or what a justice does to finesse that definition to protect implementation of the law?
The same is true with the Arizona decision. I don’t see how that decision is such great news either: We now live in a country where a state that tries to follow and enforce federal law is seen as a usurping power, while those government entities, such as the sanctuary cities, which deliberately seek to undermine federal immigration law are, for all practical purposes, exempt. Add that Arizona is now supposedly acting unconstitutionally in trying to close its borders, and the president is apparently acting constitutionally as he sidesteps Congress and implements de facto amnesty by fiat, doing far more damage to the notion of federal law than any conceivable action by Arizona. That is surreal.
As for the culture of the Court, we must accept that when four liberal judges vote in typically liberal fashion they are open-minded, and when conservative judges do the same they are partisan and small-minded, putting enormous pressure, apparently, on the latter to now and then vote in liberal fashion, and none at all on the former to do anything but remain orthodox. There is no conservative majority, but rather a 4/3/2 court, with absolutely predictably liberal justices and those inclined often to join them becoming a reliable majority.
As for the Holder contempt charge, nothing much will come of it. Holder will not release the required documents any time soon; the matter will be manufactured into an illiberal assault on an African-American attorney general who has already shamelessly used the race card in his defense; and there will be, as planned, stalling and stasis until after the election and little knowledge about or justice given to a slain American officer.
Meanwhile, after a “disastrous” May and June, Obama is edging up again in the polls. For all the reports of his fundraising problems or his existential election crises, he seems to have many millions in key swing states to run class-warfare hits against Romney. The serial “Swiss bank accounts” and “shipping jobs overseas” don’t seem to be countered, and so are having some effect. If Obama is where he is after a disastrous 60 days, where will he be after a so-so next two months? Conservatives should not listen to themselves and their ingenious rationalization about how things are “really” swinging their way, and instead accept that the presidency, the courts, and much of Congress are doing all they can, as quickly as they can, with enormous powers at their disposal, to change the fundamental nature of the United States — and so far are mostly winning. All of the above should mobilize conservatives in 2012 as never before and open their eyes to the resources and zealotry pledged against them: November is really a sort of last-ditch effort in a way prior elections were not.